In this day and age, it appears as though there’s a new food or diet trend popping up every single day. From sushi burritos and poke to rolled ice cream and açai bowls, eateries are striving to differentiate their menu offerings, while also giving customers the opportunity to customize to their liking.

However, there's also a greater cultural awareness of healthy eating — especially among the millennial generation. People are opting for avocado toast instead of bacon burgers, kale and quinoa salads instead of steak and fries and kombucha instead of milkshakes.

With this increased gravitation toward health food and the knowledge of its benefits, there's a greater deviation from meat consumption. And restaurants have been taking note.

Pauline DiGiorgio, a marketing ambassador for CoreLife Eatery — a fast-casual, health-conscious restaurant chain that locally sources its ingredients — said CoreLife seeks to accommodate a variety of dietary restrictions and eating styles, including the vegan and plant-based diets.

What’s the difference between the plant-based diet and veganism?

Like the vegan diet, people who eat a plant-based diet stay away from animal products like meat, dairy and eggs. However, unlike the vegan diet, the plant-based diet discourages the consumption of processed foods, including white flour and refined sugar and oils. To put it in simpler terms, veganism allows you to eat Oreos and Lay's potato chips. The plant-based diet does not.

It's important to note that the vegan lifestyle extends beyond eating animal products and carries over into the purchasing of other items like shoes, clothing and makeup. The plant-based diet solely emphasizes eating whole, plant-based meals. This means minimizing or eliminating the consumption of animal products and processed foods and focusing on vegetables, fruits, whole grains, seeds, nuts and legumes.

Why do people choose these diets?

DiGiorgio said the plant-based diet became so popular because of its wide array of health benefits, particularly with gut health.

“Your gut is the controller of everything,” she said. “...plant-based dieting came into play because people started realizing that dairy, meats [and] things that weren’t naturally coming from the earth were ruining their digestion.”

She said this has also contributed to the rise of dairy alternatives such as almond, coconut and oat milk.

The plant-based diet has been linked to reducing the risk of heart disease, certain cancers, diabetes and obesity, as well as lowering blood pressure and promoting healthy weight and skin. Veganism has shown similar effects, as well.

Additionally, many people pursue a vegan or plant-based diet for ethical reasons, whether it's to protect animals, the environment or both. Factory farming heavily contributes to pollution and the degradation of the environment, as meat-based diets require more resources, including land, water and energy. This results in higher greenhouse gas emissions than the production of plant-based foods.

What's CoreLife doing?

As the plant-based diet and veganism continue to gain popularity, CoreLife is implementing new menu items and initiatives to satisfy the increased demand.

Seeing that CoreLife only has about four vegan options on its menu, DiGiorgio created a vegan handbook to simplify the ordering process for those who adhere to this diet. This guide consists of modifications to menu items that contain meat products. For example, baked tofu or falafel may be substituted for meat, and vegan dressings are offered in lieu of those that contain honey or dairy.

The restaurant chain is also looking to highlight these options more on its social media channels.

“Because people are turning to a more earth-based, plant-based diet, we’ll start doing a lot more Instagram highlights on let’s say, the sriracha ginger warm grain bowl instead of the steak, bacon and bleu [bowl],” DiGiorgio said.

Additionally, CoreLife launched “CoreLife Lessons” to educate communities on different health-related topics, such as the benefits of the plant-based diet and how to follow it. These “lessons” will be presented in the form of workshops or through speakers.

For more information on CoreLife’s events in your community, you can visit or CoreLife's Facebook page.

CoreLife’s Goals

CoreLife’s mission is to “fuel healthy, active lifestyles and make all of [their] meals from scratch every single day.” With this in mind, the eatery strives to serve the needs of many diets and lifestyles because as many of us know, deciding on a restaurant with friends is not always an easy feat.

“It’s hard to go to a restaurant [and] your girlfriend is like 'Yeah, I’m not doing meat anymore. I’m vegan now.' And then another girlfriend is like ‘No, I would never be vegan. I’m still eating chicken,'" DiGiorgio said. “…CoreLife is somewhere where there’s an option for everyone, whether you want the barbecue chicken ranch bowl, or you want the baked tofu.”

For more information on CoreLife Eatery, visit