Robert shifts in his chair and grins as the toaster oven on the kitchen counter dings. “That should be done in just a few minutes.” His wife quickly walks over and resets the timer.
We are sitting in their cozy kitchen in a suburb outside of Kansas City, Kansas. In another room I could hear children attempting to play quietly. We began.
“I’m Robert Garcia and I am a supervisor at a machine shop. My motives for going plant based are generally health reasons.”
Robert went on to explain that a few years ago he had to have emergency surgery to remove his gallbladder. This experience motivated him to research how certain foods affect your body. His findings led him to one conclusion: plant-based eating was the solution for better health.
“I was plant based for a while then and also started cycling to lose weight. Due to life circumstances, I kind of got away from it.”
Even though Robert wasn’t able to maintain his plant-based lifestyle long term, he experienced many benefits in a short amount of time. This led him back to a plant-based diet when the time was right. He went on to explain some of those benefits.
“Recently we moved out here and I started flirting with the bicycle again. Immediately I thought, ‘because of the benefits I got last time, like how my recovery time was way less, just how I felt when I was out on the bike -- I felt lighter, I didn’t feel all bloated and, you know, bogged down.’”
I asked Robert where Whole Harvest fit in.
“I got invited to the City Market (a farmers' market in downtown Kansas City, MO) where Whole Harvest was at, and went and tried one of your meals. I was like, ‘Oh my God, where were you guys 10 years ago when I was trying it on my own and making meals that were just bland!?’”
He continued excitedly, “It was nice to get the package, and then I got to see the shop where I saw it's not an assembly line type deal. You guys were making it and then packaging it right there. It’s not a big plant.”
It was important to Robert that the meals were made from scratch in a real kitchen with real people, unlike some of the packaged meals you can buy at the store. It was REAL food.
“It's like having somebody come to your house and make it for you. You just gotta take it home and heat it up.”
Robert also appreciates the variety that Whole Harvest offers. He shared about what many plant-based eaters experience, getting stuck in a rut and eating the same thing every day.
“In my experience, just me being as busy as I am, I eat the same thing every day for months. This helped me get away from that, and that's why I enjoy it.”
Many people start eating plant based by cutting out some or all meat and then move on to eliminate dairy, processed foods, sodium and oil. Robert feels he falls somewhere in the middle.
“So I transitioned as far as taking meat out completely, but dairy was the hardest part. And to be 100% honest, I don't always succeed at that. But when I can buy an alternative, I will. The ones that taste the best are quite expensive.”
Turns out Whole Harvest has been able to help with kicking dairy as well.
“Your meal is already complete. I don't have to try to add anything to it. I don't need to add cheese to it or find a substitute to add to it.”
When talking about how far he’s come with this lifestyle, Robert agreed that it’s about progress, not perfection.
By replacing one meal a day, we know we're making a difference. Hopefully one day we can ascend to those who no longer eat dairy.
What piece of advice does Robert offer to someone struggling to make the transition to a plant-based lifestyle?
“The only person keeping score is themselves. I picture the health consequences later. If you look at the main causes of death, it's heart disease, and that translates to diet. I have family [members] who are diabetic and I know that if I continue and I follow that same path, I already know the outcome.”