by Eric Helms, Founder of Juice Generation
"...what seems like an inconsequential decision can have an astonishing effect on the health of your body and on the community… Maybe even the world."
You have dozens of choices to make, every day. Some big, some not so big. What you may not realize, however, is just how big an impact even the smallest choice can have. Take lunch: You have to choose something for your midday meal, but what seems like an inconsequential decision can have an astonishing effect on the health of your body and on the community… Maybe even the world.
Vegan 4 Lunch is a new movement created by Juice Generation. The idea is simple, but the implications are far reaching: Eat one locally sourced, plant-based meal per day, and in so doing, vastly increase your daily intake of fruits and vegetables (which are naturally low in in saturated fats, calories, and cholesterol) — and simultaneously decrease the demand for meat and meat products, which takes a serious toll on the environment.
"The idea is simple, but the implications are far reaching: Eat one locally sourced, plant-based meal per day..."
I am not a vegan, and I don’t think everyone has to be. But consider this: If every American swapped in a vegetarian meal for a meat-based meal per week, the carbon dioxide savings would be the equivalent of taking more than half a million cars off the road. Now imagine if we each swapped one out every day. And just because it’s vegan, doesn’t mean it has to be something only vegans would eat.
"And just because it’s vegan, doesn’t mean it has to be something only vegans would eat."
Over a year in the making, Vegan 4 Lunch features 8 grab-and-go, chef-designed entrees (7 of which are gluten-free) inspired by a range of your favorite (non-vegan) meals — tacos, pad thai, pasta bolognese, barbecue pulled pork. I met with virtually every raw and vegan chef in the city before teaming up with Jason Hall (executive chef at Craft, Gotham Bar & Grill, The Lion). Jason’s background may be in big celebrity restaurants that serve foie gras, but as it turns out, he’s been dying to try his hand at vegan food. I was blown away by what he created.
Vegan 4 Lunch features dishes inspired by Mexican, Japanese, Thai, Italian, and Southern foods, and uses fresh, local, and organic ingredients, made fresh daily. From Green Papaya Pad Thai and Spicy Crunchy Mango Rolls to the Kale Quinoa Burger to Jackfruit Tacos, there’s something for every taste. Each locally sourced vegan dish is under 500 calories, and costs just $9.95. Try finding a healthy meal for that price anywhere else in New York City! Fact is, not all vegan food is healthy or flavorful. We wanted to make vegan food for everyone. We used dishes that are already familiar and beloved, and presented them with traditional spices and flavor profiles.
The rising star ingredient in the new line, and the BOLDEST one, hands down, is jackfruit, a tropical fruit related to the mulberry family that’s high in protein, potassium, and vitamin B, and lower in calories than most meat-free alternatives like corn and soy. This versatile, sustainable, and fast-trending vegan ingredient will fool more than one non-vegetarian with its surprisingly meaty texture (you’ll swear you’re eating pulled pork).
"The rising star ingredient in the new line, and the BOLDEST one, hands down, is jackfruit, a tropical fruit related to the mulberry family that’s high in protein, potassium, and vitamin B, and lower in calories than most meat-free alternatives like corn and soy."
There’s no arguing the benefits of a diet low in saturated fats and high in fresh fruits and vegetables. And while lunch doesn’t seem like a big deal, fact is, if we all ate just one plant-based meal every day, we could greatly reduce the burden of factory farming on our environment and the world at large. Who knew that of all the things you can do that make a difference, lunch could be one of them?
Vegan 4 Lunch Menu
● Southern BBQ Jackfruit
● Green Papaya Pad Thai
● Jackfruit Tacos
● Kale Quinoa Burger
● Wild Mushroom Avocado Roll
● Spicy Crunchy Mango Roll
● Root Noodle Ragu
Eric Helms is the founder of Juice Generation, New York City's premier juicery. Since 1999 his mission has been to create a friendly, accessible, juice bar where New Yorkers of all lifestyles could experience the energizing effects of fresh, raw juices. Eric also cofounded the national juice delivery service Cooler Cleanse with Salma Hayek in 2009. Cooler Cleanse brings short functional juice cleanse programs directly to the doors of women and men of all ages and lifestyles, empowering them to return to vitality, vibrancy, and balance.
Expanding across Manhattan, with 15 stores and counting, Juice Generation continues to deliver on Eric's original mission by leading a lifestyle movement — one that supports healthier, greener options. Juice Generation remains a local and independently owned business. Helms is the author of the best-selling “The Juice Generation: 100 Recipes For Fresh Juices and Superfood Smoothies,” where he shares revitalizing recipes and tips to make you feel lighter and brighter, inside and out.