LETTERS: Afraid to let go; Plant-based food options

Afraid to let go

As the new year approached, I was in a melancholy state of mind. The approaching displays of fireworks and people celebrating with spectacles of gaiety and joyfulness in streets across the world at the stroke of midnight milled the touch of hope that each passing year used to hand off to the next. It seems as if the torch of our metamorphosis into the next phase of our humanity has been extinguished. New Year’s Eve was about passing the torch and illuminating the path that lies ahead.

I sense a despondency in the air, and I feel a discontent in the winds that blow across our land.

The world around us commiserates with those of us who have seen the strength and potency of this great nation damaged and vandalized by scoundrels and rogues disguised as patriots and stalwarts of all that kept our nation strong and our character unswerving.

I am fearful of letting go of 2019. I am anxious of the new year and of the growing fear and disquiet that is growing in our streets and in our communities. I am uneasy with the growing deceit and betrayal by ordinary people of basic human decency and adherence to common ideals that once epitomized who we were as a nation and as a people.

It is fear of the unknown.

Fear that the hateful words and detestable actions of 2019 may become the core of a heartless and soulless nation.

I miss that touch of hope that every New Year’s Eve brought.

I miss that genuine joy and the celebration of better days that the countdown to the new year brought.

There is no stopping the ticking clock. And there seems no stopping the hate and hostility that is flourishing amid the decaying decency, morality and righteousness that once brought hope when the clock struck the hour of 12.

Al Garcia

Palm Valley

Plant-based food options

The end-of-year/New Year holidays seem to whiplash us from one extreme to the other: eat, drink and be merry vs. the customary New Year’s resolutions: reduce social media, reduce weight and embrace a plant-based diet!

One-third of consumers already report reducing their consumption of animal foods. Hundreds of school, college, hospital and corporate cafeterias have embraced Meatless Monday. Even fast-food chains Chipotle, Denny’s, Panera, Subway, Taco Bell and White Castle are rolling out plantbased options.

A dozen start-ups, led by Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods, are creating healthy, eco-friendly, compassionate, convenient, delicious plant-based meat and dairy alternatives. Meat industry giants Tyson Foods, Cargill and Canada’s Maple Leaf Foods have invested heavily in plant-based meat development. So have a number of Microsoft, Google, Twitter and PayPal pioneers.

According to the Plant-Based Foods Association, plant-based food sales have grown by 20% in recent years, 10 times the growth rate of all foods. Sales of plant-based cheeses, creamers, butter, yogurts and ice creams are exploding at a 50% growth rate.

Plant-based milks now account for 15% of the milk market.

The plant-based New Year’s resolution requires no sweat or deprivation — just some fun exploration of your favorite supermarket, restaurants and food websites.

Joel Kriviak

McAllen

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