Molly McBride, RD, LD

Promoting Veganism in the Corporate World

by Anne Custer

Corporate Dietitian Molly McBride has maintained her vegan lifestyle throughout her four years working for the retail food store Kroger. She has written articles for the Kroger Simple Truth blog promoting veganism and offering meat-free recipes such as Vegetarian BBQ, Quinoa Made Easy, and A Day in the Life of a Vegan. While working full time, McBride is also in school getting her master's degree in nutrition at the University of Cincinnati.

McBride was first introduced to plant-based diets after watching the documentary Forks Over Knives. She initially wanted to challenge herself "as a nutrition professional as to how easy or hard it would be to maintain adequate nutrient intakes without consuming animal products." She and her boyfriend decided to begin a plant-based journey and four years later they are married and following a vegan diet. She is a member of the Vegetarian Nutrition Dietetic Practice Group and donates her Kroger rewards that she gets from shopping with her rewards card to a local animal rescue. Knowing she has made "one of the most compassionate decisions a human can make by going vegan," keeps her motivated. She said that going vegan is one of the best decisions she has ever made in her life. "It makes me feel better about my existence, knowing I have a lighter impact on the environment and save animals in the process."

In her professional life, McBride "provides education, reviews literature, offers recipes, writes content, and counsels on vegan principles." She finds it disappointing to face all the misconceptions about vegan diets head-on because of the amount of misinformation out there. She encourages dialog with her clients in order to figure out and clear up confusion about vegan nutrition. She puts an emphasis on making fruit, vegetables, nuts, legumes, and grains the center of a meal rather than animal products. McBride explains her activism: "The purpose of advocating for veganism is pushing people towards 100% plant foods and 0% animal foods. I think that if I can meet the customer where they are with their diet and preferences and make these adjustments, that is more impactful than asking them to overhaul their diet and choose only vegan foods/beverages if they aren't ready... I have the useful testimony that I became vegan right in the middle of being a Kroger shopper (and towards the beginning of my career with Kroger)," says McBride.

Vegans might be surprised to know the plethora of options found at Kroger, and for a more affordable price than other stores carrying natural foods. Molly's favorite choices are Gardein Golden Fishless Fillets, Daiya Mozzarella Cheese, and Simple Truth Breakfast Patties. Most people who call the customer line are wondering about allergies or other dietary restrictions and Molly has become the go-to person to answer those inquiries, offering them vegan alternatives they can buy in the store.

With the vegan population growing, it's a comfort to know there are health professionals like McBride giving clients quality advice on vegan diets. How can you be an advocate? She advises that "living a life that is compassionate and healthy sends the strongest message."

Anne Custer is a junior at James Madison University studying dietetics. She wrote this article while doing an internship with The Vegetarian Resource Group.