Many of us carry lifelong habits with us that are learned from our parents. Things like how you organize your home, brands you buy, and (especially) what you eat are basically inherent. However, it is becoming more common to see parents taking cues from their kids, as younger generations become more conscientious about the social and environmental impact their choices make — and dietary decisions are a big factor in that.
A lot of us grew up in homes where a balanced meal was actually quite the opposite — centralized on animal-based proteins and a couple spoonfuls of vegetables. It’s ingrained in us that we won’t be full or satisfied without a cut of steak or chicken breast on the plate. But for someone like Max Raudaschl, son of Arlene’s founder Helene, he chose a different dietary path. A path his mother has tried and followed. A path that inspired a new, global plant-based food business.
Max had already been eating a vegan diet for two months, but because of his ambitions for playing basketball at a competitive level and a need for a more inclusive diet to support his training, he decided to try the flexitarian lifestyle. “It began in January 2020,” says Max. “I wanted to experience the effects of the plant-based diet and it was a big benefit to me in terms of my work. It helps with my fitness and weight maintenance, so that got me inspired.”
You might think a young athlete and student like Max would be a meat and potatoes guy, but he says he has a lot more to gain from the flexitarian lifestyle. “I know it’s quite hard for people to restrict meat completely, but even if you limit your meat intake, it can still help you improve your energy,” he explains. “I’m eating flexitarian right now and I’ve experienced an increase in energy that lasts me through a busy day with university, my other work errands, and basketball as well.”
Helene says Max introduced her to the flexitarian lifestyle, which gave way to the development and launch of Arlene. Though she never would’ve given plant-based meals a try in the past, she took her son’s recent lifestyle change to heart and found she enjoyed this new flexitarian way. “He introduced me to trying this lifestyle because of his sports, and I wanted to try and see what he’s into and see what he’s really talking about,” Helene says.
Like most of us, she based her protein intake on meats and animal-based proteins, but Max thinks it’s easy to change that way of thinking. “People don’t know that plant-based proteins give you that same effect. People say they need meat simply because they grew up on it. It’s just been a part of their life for so long, but they might change their mind if they gave it a shot,” he says. “Maybe the flexitarian lifestyle can start from a young age and change the narrative to needing plant-based proteins over meat in their diet.”
With Max serving as living proof, the flexitarian lifestyle is an easy transition with great health benefits. There may even be some financial benefits to cutting down on meat proteins. Where you might find yourself stretched thin trying to put together a filling meal centered on animal-based proteins, Max says he finds himself feeling full, fresh, and with a little more money in his pocket by filling up on veg-heavy meals — and that’s what he hopes Arlene will bring into the homes of other people. “You can get a lot more vegetables for your money than meat,” he says. ”We’re trying to be a company that’s affordable to people. A lot of other products out there are kind of expensive and why a lot of people may not feel encouraged to go with plant-based foods.”
Max says he finds the products from Arlene to be ones that are easily approachable, flavorful, and exciting. “I’ve tried all of the products and if I were to encourage someone to try it, I’d say to eat the kebabs. I think it would change people’s perspective because it tastes like meat but they all know it’s plant-based,” he says.
At the end of the day, Max’s path to flexitarianism ultimately brought about a new wave of plant-based food products you’ll only find from Arlene. If nothing else, he’s an example that shows the next time someone younger tells you to try something new, try it. You might just find yourself on the path to a more fulfilling culinary lifestyle.
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