UU Plant-Based Eating Club
Welcome to the website page of the UU Plant-Based Eating Club! While we are housed at FUUSN, we welcome anyone who is UU or aligned with UU values as reflected in the seven principles and who desires to learn about and eat nutritious and delicious plant-based, whole food meals.
Enjoy a plant-based, whole foods meal with us at an upcoming Potluck Dinner! Attend one of our upcoming events! See Upcoming Events section for more information.
Send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org to join our e-mail list, get more information, and/or sign up for an event.
- We are a group of congregants and friends who desire to learn about and eat more nutritious and delicious meals together using plant-based whole foods.
- Members are primarily interested in learning how to prepare truly delicious, plant-based, healthy meals and sharing the joys of eating with others from our local UU community. We are all exploring the powerful ways food can sustain and improve the health and vitality of people and the planet.
- You are welcome to join us no matter what your dietary practices are, as long as you are interested in supporting other group members in their pursuit of a whole food, plant-based lifestyle and are considering it for yourself whether in whole or in part. Any food items brought to our community dinners should comply with the principles set forth below (e.g., no animal products of any kind and ideally limiting the use of highly refined ingredients).
- Potlucks – We gather approximately every six weeks for a plant-based meal, each bringing a dish to share with the group (including the recipe so others can recreate it later). We are following prevailing COVID19 safety protocols when gathering together or when necessary, are meeting via Zoom.
- Educate – We present and discuss information about healthy plant-based eating during our regular potlucks and periodic events such as film night, community read, farm tours, and forums. We also periodically provide vegan options at UU congregation events.
- Explore and connect – We explore and connect with the broader plant-based eating community through meals at vegan restaurants, attendance at local food conferences, and links to organizations/blogs focused on vegan eating.
- Socialize – We provide a supportive small group community for like-minded eaters to get to know each other and share their passion for whole food, plant-based eating.
Please join us for one or more of these upcoming events sponsored by our group:
Engine 2 Seven Day Rescue Diet – Cohort for people who want to try the diet in community.
- The Engine 2 Seven-Day Rescue Diet: Eat Plants, Lose Weight, Save your Health by author: Rip Esselstyn. Available through the public libraries, this book features the interesting story of how a group of firefighters in Texas decided to try plant-based eating in order to improve their health. The results may surprise you, and the book is also a treasure trove of healthy, easy-to-make, plant-based recipes. It is a heart-healthy diet that is plant-based and minimizes processed foods, sugar, oil and salt.
- The support group cohort is a follow-up to the two part discussion group held this past winter.
- Participants will be given a sample menu and shopping list for the week, and will have opportunities for regular check-ins with the group as well as individual conversations with an assigned buddy. If you are interested in participating, please contact UU-Plant-Basedemail@example.com.
Potluck Dinners – 6 to 8 pm Eastern Time, usually third Sunday of the month, adjusted as-needed for holidays
- Requirements: attendees must be vaccinated and boosted for COVID.
- Plan to bring a plant-based, whole foods dish to share (no animal products/ingredients including eggs, cheese, dairy).
- Small group gatherings in homes typically include up to 10 attendees.
- Dates small group gatherings: 2023/Sept 17, Oct 15 2024/Jan 21, Feb 25, May 19, June 23
- Dates larger group gatherings, at FUUSN unless otherwise noted: 2023/Nov 19 (may be at Waltham UU) 2024/April 21
- Summer 2024 picnic: July 13 at 5, rain date of July 14, location TBD
- Potlucks for Hardcore Group (100% vegan and no SOS): 2023/Dec 17 2024/March 17
Movie Nights – virtual via Zoom, usually 7 to 8:30 pm, details to follow via e-mail to the group list
- Format – attendees watch movies on their own (individually or in small groups at watch parties hosted in members’ homes) and then meet on Zoom for facilitated discussion.
- Months for moving nights: October (Game Changers), February, April 27 (Food, Inc). Will focus on different aspects of plant-based eating.
Other Activities – Stay tuned for more info as plans unfold! Sign up for club’s e-mail list to stay current on emerging events!
- Cooking Together sessions lead by club members – 2023/Nov 5 Sampling session 2024/Jan 6 Instant Pot meals, May 4 Exploring Tasty Grains. All at FUUSN Kitchen.
- FUUSN community breakfast/plant-based menu options and sampling table
- Coffee hour/plant-based information and food samples
- Field trips/TBD fall 2023 tour of Belmont Community Garden, spring 2024 tour of Newton Community Farm
- Civic and political advocacy on critical topics (i.e. US Farm Bill) in conjunction with like-minded organizations.
- List of local Community Supported Ag (CSA) programs, farms, and markets/Update each Nov. See current list in Resources below.
Whole food, plant-based (vegan) eating:
- Plants, no animal products – We strive to eat only plants in their whole form or with minimal processing. Plant-based or vegan eating eschews eating all animal products including meat, dairy, and eggs.
- Whole food, minimally processed – Plant-based eating is often referred to as a vegan diet although a vegan diet can also include highly refined plant products such as soy protein isolate, white flour, sugar, and vegetable oils. Potato chips and soda are vegan but certainly not healthy. Our choices are guided by the growing body of peer-reviewed, scientific evidence of the ways in which whole plants promote good personal and planet health while animal products and highly refined plant foods detract from it.
Healthy vegan food includes:
|* Leafy green vegetables||* Whole grains|
|* Other vegetables||* Fruits|
|* Legumes/beans||* Mushrooms|
|* Nuts and seeds||* Herbs and spices|
This does not include:
|* Meat||* Fish|
|* Dairy||* Eggs|
|* Other animal-based products (honey, gelatin, etc.)|
Many members of our group strive to limit the use of highly refined plant foods such as:
|* Flours (especially white flour)|
|* Oils (yes, even extra virgin olive oil)|
|* Highly processed foods, including meat substitutes such as Beyond, Impossible,etc|
Alcohol: Some members also enjoy wine or beer during our community meals.
*WFPB – whole foods, plant based
* SOS – salt, oil, sugar
- Multiple reasons – Each member of our group is pursuing a whole food, plant-based lifestyle in accordance with that person’s values, which may or may not be the same.
- Compassion for animals – Some members are guided by compassion for animals and have a deep ethical commitment to reduce animal suffering. We respect and admire such strong ethics and are happy that our plant-based eating habits reduce animal suffering, but this is not a primary driver for everyone in our group.
- Environmental sustainability – Many of our members recognize the tremendous burden livestock farming places on soil and water resources, as well as the significant contribution livestock makes to greenhouse gas emissions and climate change. The science is clear; plant-based eating promotes planetary health. For more information, check out this Sierra Club MA Plant-Based Fact Sheet Jan 2023.
- Personal health – In general, the members of our group are very interested in the positive health impacts of a whole foods, plant-based diet. The science is clear; plant-based eating promotes personal health. Refer to Kaiser Permanente and Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
for more information about the health benefits from two reputable organizations.
- UU Principles – In general, our dietary choices are guided by our shared Unitarian Universalist values, and particularly the seventh principle of respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part. These choices are also consistent with the 2011 UU Statement of Conscience on Ethical Eating: Food and Environmental Justice.
There is considerable diversity among members as to where we are in our individual plant-based eating journeys. Some of us have been at this for several years and are quite knowledgeable regarding the nutritional science and meal preparation. Others are “dipping a toe in the water” to explore new tastes and ideas, and hoping to cut through the confusing nutritional messages promoted by food corporations and reported in popular media. We do not mean to be purists nor police each other’s eating habits. We simply try to select food that is both delicious and nutritious based on the best available evidence, and enjoy it with each other.
As noted above, you are welcome to join us no matter where you are on your journey – even if you are just at the first step of considering whether this is for you – as long as you are interested in supporting others on their journey towards a whole food, plant-based lifestyle and are considering it for yourself whether in whole or in part.
Reviews of a few of our favorite cookbooks for delicious plant-based meals!
- How Not to Die
- Cookbooks for Beginners
- Vegetable Kingdom
- China Study Family Cookbook
- Isa Does It: Amazingly Easy, Wildly Delicious Vegan Recipes
- Engine 2 Cookbook
Some delicious plant-based recipes!
- Sample Plant-Based Recipes
- Forks Over Knives
- Center for Nutrition Studies
- Simple Veganista
- Bad Manners
- Whole Foods Market
- Vegan Huggs
- Vegan Planet Kitchen
Some of our favorite local and regional restaurants that serve whole-food, plant-based menu options!
- Shiva’s Kitchen in Newton
- The Red Lentil in Watertown & Sharon
- Eater Boston, list of popular restaurants
- Nussili118 in Cambridge, take home food
- Plant City in Providence
- Double Zero in Boston
- PlantPub in Boston
- Like No Udder , vegan ice cream, Providence
- Pizzeria Enzina in Waltham
- Oasis Vegan Veggie Parlor in Boston/Dorchester
- Rhythm ‘n Wraps, in Boston/Allston
- Veggie Galaxy in Cambridge
Movies and Videos
- Forks Over Knives – Follows a few chronically ill people as they learn how to eat a plant based diet.
- Vegucated – Focuses on an amusing journey into the lives of three everyday meat lovers.
- The Game Changers – Interviews with pro athletes about vegan diet and results.
- Fast Food Nation – Looks at history of fast food and its impact on health and culture.
- Food, Inc – Investigation into corporate food production, distribution, and consumption.
- A Life on Our Planet – David Attenborough’s reflections on devastating environmental changes and how to address them.
- Seaspiracy – Looks at environmental impact of fishing; advocates for ending fish consumption.
- Cowspiracy – Looks at link between meat industry and ecological disaster including carbon emissions, water shortages, deforestation, and climate change.
- Live and Let Live – Follows stories and experiences of former meat industry workers and their transition to plant based diets.
- Peaceable Kingdom: The Journey Home – Explores farmers’ crisis of conscience about their way of life and animal exploitation.
- PlantPure Nation – Story of three people spreading message of plant-based eating.
- Code Blue – Features the practice of lifestyle medicine to prevent, manage and reverse chronic diseases.
- Milked – Exposes the environmental impacts of the powerful dairy industry in New Zealand.
- Eating You Alive – Documentary revealing the relationship between health and food.
- How Not to Die by Michael Greger M.D. & Gene Stone – Dr. Gregor pleads his case for a plant-based diet as the way to prevent and reverse numerous diseases through well-cited research.
- The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals by Michael Pollan – Follows four meals from the origins of the ingredients to a dinner plate, revealing how food is made and intertwined with our culture, environment, politics, and economy.
- In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan – Pollan answers the question of what we should eat with seven simple but liberating words: Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.
- Food Matters by Mark Bittman – Shows how simple dietary tweaks can help you lose weight, slow global warming, reduce environmental degradation, help stop cruelty to farm animals, AND save money.
- Food Rules by Michael Pollan – This handbook lays out a set of rules for eating wisely, one per page with concise explanation.
- Diet for a Hot Planet by Anna Blythe Lappe – Offers a vision of a planet-healing food system based on seven principles for a climate-friendly diet and success stories from sustainable food advocates around the globe.
- The China Study: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted and the Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss and Long-term Health by T. Colin Campbell & Thomas Campbell II.The book examines the link between the consumption of animal products and many chronic illnesses based somewhat on the China–Cornell–Oxford Project, a 20-year study which looked at mortality rates from cancer and other chronic diseases in China.
CSA (and other) Programs with Local/Regional Farms
Vegan Starter Kits
- Animal Outlook: FREE Vegan Starter Guide
- In Defense of Animals: FREE Vegan Starter Guide
- People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA): FREE Vegan Starter Kit
- United Poultry Concerns: Go Vegan Booklet
- Unitarian Universalist Animal Ministry Empowers individuals and congregations to build justice and compassion for animals.
- Interfaith Vegan Coalition Provides animal liberation materials, resources, and support to activists and spiritual and religious communities.
- Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine Dedicated to saving and improving human and animal lives through plant-based diets and ethical and effective scientific research.
- Boston Vegetarian Society Provides education, community, and outreach to encourage healthy plant-based eating for the benefit of animals, the environment, the climate, and public and personal health.
- Unity Farm Sanctuary Farm in Sherborn dedicated to the lifetime and loving care of a limited population of ill, disabled, senior, orphaned or surrendered farm animals.
- Unitarian Universalist Association Ethical Eating: Food & Environmental Justice 2011 Statement of Conscience.