In my first blog I touched on the subject of being in boxes, an almost inevitable action because as soon as we think we are out of one, we move ourselves, whether consciously, or not, into another.
How does this happen to us anyway? Who says that because you consume plant based foods, you should or shouldn’t be labeled anything? I had never been so curious as to the origin of the word that is, until now. The word “vegan” is made from the first and last two letters in vegetarian and most us know that it means no animal products or by-products. Some of us use it is as a badge and often a precursor for our conversations and others as a symbol that speaks to their beliefs and values and… there’s nothing wrong with that, but, nonetheless, it’s a word… with explicit meaning and implicit limitations.
The word “vegan” was coined by Vegan Society Founder, Donald Watson in 1944. Now while the intention is not to minimize the efforts of any man… There was a man, and there was word, a word and a lifestyle to define it, a word and philosophy, a word and religion, a word and ethics and a word and well, choice. It’s true…we have a right to call ourselves whatever we please, and identify however we see fit.
Until recently we had considered and identified ourselves as an “All Natural Gourmet ‘Vegan’” Caterer and Manufacturer of Specialty Products, however, the more we used the term “vegan”, the more I realized how it limited us, boxed us in, separated us into an angle of thinking, while frightening potential customers, who we were convinced would love our products, if they could only move themselves beyond… the word… and the thought associated with it. As for those who consider themselves vegans, they were excited to have the option of buying fresh, locally prepared vegan baked goods and products at their local farmer’s market.
While the majority of people who we tempted with our samples did not refuse, we did find that those that did (including the growing population of gluten-free eaters), were in some way turned off by the word or concept of “vegan”. I often heard, “oh, I am not a vegan” or “I like my dairy” or “most vegan stuff doesn’t taste good”. So experiences, perceptions, misconceptions, as well as, fear, had prevented some from even giving what we had to offer, a chance. For some the words, “it’s not only for vegans” or “it’s whole grain, local and unrefined”, “it’s fresh and all natural” seemed to strip away some of the limitation… imposed by the word… and ease themselves into some wholesome sweet pleasure. All in all, the results of our feel-it-out, non-formal survey, yielded results that have brought about a few changes.
So…while our philosophy and plant-based fare have not changed, our identity with being solely a “vegan” food operation has. We have clarified for ourselves that we are more about offering quality plant based foods and less about force fitting ourselves in a box and being a part of a dietary trend. We are also offering more local ingredients in our foods and our involvement with Farmer’s Markets has opened up the possibility of offering more foods and products with locally grown ingredients at affordable prices, such as with our carrot and apple crumb cakes, made with local carrots and apples.
Thus, we are going with “All Natural Gourmet Plant-Based Cuisine”, for more reasons than one. Earth’s Elements mission has always been to encourage more wholesome plant based foods, “outside the box recipes”, and an intuitive approach to choosing quality healing foods. We have gone a step further and cleared our own path while committing to continue to offer healthy options, culinary artistry and awareness in infusing our foods with positive energy and packaging this energetic food in eco-friendly ware.