Smoked collard greens, macaroni, peach cobbler. They’re all delectable dishes, some you can expect on dining tables this holiday season. They’re also just a small taste of natural, plant-based alkaline meals you can make at home with help from Plantbaed.
The Georgia-based lifestyle brand and meal-prep delivery service has amassed quite the following for its nutritional, delicious meals made with organic, plant-based alkaline ingredients. The founder and chief chef of Plantbaed, Anne Onyeneho, began moving processed foods out of her diet in favor of healthy fruits, vegetables, legumes and seeds after a relative experienced a serious health care, deemed hereditary by doctors, in 2018.
“I am a root cause analysis type of person and wanted to know the underlying issues rather than just treating ad hoc symptoms,” Onyeneho tells ESSENCE. “I began to go knee-deep in research into naturopathic medicine. When I stepped outside of Google and delved into peer-reviewed studies, women’s wellness groups and watched documentaries, I learned of hundreds of testimonies of self-healing of many conditions, including diabetes, fibroids, infertility—and all were attributed to switching to a whole-foods, plant-based lifestyle, specifically the alkaline lifestyle.”
Three years later, she’s helping feed people who have eaten a plant-based alkaline diet for years, as well as those who are interested in incorporating it more into their lifestyle. That includes the new clients who made up for the 300 percent increase in orders she noticed amid the pandemic. These days, she’s not only reaching people in Georgia with her meal-prep services, but Onyeneho is taking Plantbaed around the country through two self-published recipe books. That includes a standard or gold edition of the Plantbaed Cookbook (also sold as an e-book), as well as an alkaline plant-based drink and smoothie recipe book being made available this holiday season. (She also has a “clean” lime papaya pepper seasoning that people can use in place of lemon pepper).
We chatted with Onyeneho about how a few requests for healthy meal-prep options exploded into a thriving business, what people can learn to make at home with her cookbooks, as well as the tips she has to help people eat the plant-based alkaline way, not because it’s trendy but because it will allow them to live healthier and in turn, longer.
ESSENCE: Tell me about how Plantbaed meal prep came to be and what has been the reception to your services?
Anne Onyeneho: On the eve of the cookbook launch, a former colleague reached out to me asking could I prepare specialized meals for her after learning she had to give up dairy and soy for health-related reasons. She enjoyed my recipes so much, she requested for weekly meal prep services. She then referred my services to a friend and soon after, I was receiving meal prep requests from TV & Film hairstylists, costume designers, actors, executives, requests to prepare meals for private events, wellness groups, housewives, their husbands and their children, etc.
People who may be interested in plant-based food or eating clean may fret about what will be available to them to eat. What advice would you offer?
It’s all about education and information. Most people who want to transition to “eating clean” are curious but don’t have the right information. For instance, many newcomers to “eating clean,” are sprinting towards “vegan” foods but they should be running towards whole food, plant-based foods, especially if they’re concerned about more nourishing food choices. I think if everyone knew that a plant-based lifestyle can be an anti-ager, a weight-management tool and a preventer of chronic illness and or disease reverser, again, they would be dashing towards the infinite lifestyle.
Can you share what kinds of options are in the food and smoothie cookbooks?
Yes! I have two versions of the alkaline plant-based cookbook, a Standard Edition and a Gold Edition. Our cookbooks include over 45 delicious, healthful, alkaline plant-based seasonings, sauces, meals and beverages. I named the cookbooks after a term that I created “Plantbaed”: The process of transforming a meal from the Standard American Diet into a alkaline, delicious, and beautiful plant-based alternative. All of the recipes pay homage to meals that are American favorites. I created my own signature seasoning called Lime-Papaya Pepper (which is included when you purchase the Gold Edition) for my Crispy Lemon Pepper Chicken recipe alternative that’ll blow you away! Additionally, the cookbooks are comprised of more than 15 sauces, because sauces make everything taste yummier–including my Brazil Nut Mayo, Cilantro, Lime Hemp dressing, Vanilla-Date Caramel, Agave Hot Sauce, my DCMD Sauce which is a tribute to my birthplace, Washington DC’s infamous mumbo sauce, and so many more delicious sauces and dressings. There’s equally delightful and filling breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert options. I have oyster mushroom ceviche, pizza, Chipotle-inspired bowls, Asian, Peruvian and Mediterranean cuisine and desserts including a mouth-watering Snickerdoodle Vanilla Ice Cream Sandwich.
You can purchase the cookbooks at plantbaed.com. I also have a few surprises in store for the holiday season for my 45,000 social media followers at @plantbaed. Our Mocktail Party eBook and our Lime-Papaya Pepper signature seasoning will finally be available for retail and wholesale consumers this December!
How have you seen interest in a plant-based diet increase amid the pandemic?
Personally, I’ve seen a 200% spike in cookbook sales and a 300% spike in my meal prep enrollments, with most of our customers transitioning due to health-related concerns.We’re getting a lot of clients who are purchasing the cookbooks as gifts for their parents, siblings, colleagues, loved ones who suffered from COVID-19, wedding gifts, and birthdays. I also read a study from Harvard Medical School that found that a healthy plant-based diet was associated with decreased risk of severe Covid-19 and that could be a huge reason more people in 2021 are prioritizing and maximizing health and wellness by refocusing on healthy eating.
What advice do you have for those who are interested in a plant based diet but don’t know where to start? And what’s next for you and your growing business?
Start with purchasing my cookbook [laughs]! Seriously, I am a true foodie, an epicurean. In the cookbook, I do a pretty good job with answering frequently asked questions regarding transitioning to a plant-based lifestyle. I explain how to get started, I break down the science and proven health benefits of adopting an alkaline plant-based lifestyle. I also provide a list of alkaline essential foods and spices.
When dining out, I suggest you carefully read the menu and customer reviews. If you’re in “it” for health reasons, avoid “vegan” substitutes. Instead, look for menus that list exactly what you’re ordering. For example, “vegan chik’n” is probably soy-based and not as healthful. Instead, look for detailed menu items, like “Fried Mushrooms” or “Hempseed Mayo” rather than “Vegan Mayo.” If you are curious about a plant-based diet and need a little help, you can purchase our cookbook at plantbaed.com for more tips on transitioning.
Our roadmap consists of meeting growing demands for our meal prep services. In the near future, we are preparing to open an all-alkaline plant-based restaurant based in Alpharetta, Georgia. The establishment will be a full-service restaurant with meal-prep delivery and pickup options as well. Stay tuned! I’m also working on a dining and entertainment collection that will consist of serverware and dinnerware. If want to keep up with the plantbaed lifestyle, follow us @plantbaed.