I have been working on this ethical eating lifestyle guide for a while and I am so excited to share it with all of you! Ok, so if you have read my blog post about my own healthy eating and lifestyle journey you know that I consider myself an ethical eater. For those of you that haven’t, heres a quick recap:
My Ethical Eating Lifestyle
- Plant based diet – almost 100% plants! Here is a great overview of what eating “plant based” means.
- I eat eggs – but I buy farm fresh eggs from a friend or pasture raised, local eggs from the coop.
- I sometimes include yogurt in my diet, but its very rare and when I do I look for brands that use grass-fed cows – like Siggis!
- There is no label/diet for how I eat, so I made my own – ethical eater!
My thoughts and experiences on ethical eating:
So, over the last year I have fielded a lot of questions and criticism surrounding my diet. I have gotten pretty good at responding, but sometimes I still find it frustrating. I think this is something a lot of food bloggers can relate to as well. Putting yourself and your food out their on social media leaves you open to criticisms. I always wonder why people are so concerned with my eating choices, and labeling my actions instead of focusing on their own.
With that being said, I wanted to come up with a grocery shopping/lifestyle guide for anyone who wants to try eating more ethically. This could mean so many things, and every person’s needs and preferences are different so it is really just a starting point.
In addition I think it would be helpful for me, and hopefully for all of you as well to have some responses for those nosy people criticizing personal eating and lifestyle decisions.
It can be so intimidating and frustrating to grocery shop. Walking into a store you are attacked by signs and labels spouting all kinds of terms: natural, organic, cage free, free range, grass fed, etc. The goal of this guide is to make your next trip to the store a little less stressful. I will provide you with some basic information so you know exactly what you are buying!
Produce/Grains/Legumes section: Buy all the veggies, fruit, legumes & grains!
- These are the staples of a plant-based diet
- I am not going to give you a list of specific foods because every person is different! Buy what you like to eat and what is available for your budget!
- Here look for milk substitutes like nut milk, rice milk or flax milk. If you really don’t want to give up milk, look for milk from grass fed, pasture raised cows
- There are a variety of nondairy cheese substitutes you can buy, and some pasture raised cheese. Since avoiding cheese will not affect my nutrition, I prefer to avoid cheese substitutes and make my own cashew cheese at home.
- Eggs are so so difficult, and it really comes down to preference.
- When shopping, I look for pasture raised, local eggs – they are more expensive but in my opinion worth it.
- If pasture raised, local eggs are out of the question, I suggest first asking around your community to see if someone raises chickens. This may seem crazy, but many people in rural/suburban areas keep chickens and are more than willing to give away or sell you some eggs!
- If none of these options work there are larger egg companies whose practices have been show to be better. Look for Pete & Gerry’s or Nellies. You should be able to find at least one of these in most big grocery stores.
*Overall it is all about your personal preferences & priorities! This is just a loose guide based on my own research and experiences, in the end you have to find what works for you.
How to talk about your ethical eating lifestyle:
Talking about my choices is a real struggle for me. Especially since I decided to cut out all milk and cheese, and make very conscious decisions when it comes to yogurt and eggs. I constantly find myself justifying my lifestyle when there is no reason for me to be doing so.
Here are some of my go-to responses:
- Tell them “it is none of your business!” – Just kidding! But in all seriousness this is what I usually want to say. But, thats a terrible way to make friends. Instead I try to explain without justifying, which is easier said then done.
- Explain that you don’t eat certain things for moral reasons. I will always leave it here at first. Then, if they are interested I am alway happy to elaborate on the ethical reasons for my eating choices.
- For me these reasons revolve around treatment of animals as well as treatment of workers, yours might be similar or completely different!
- Another simple response I like is “eating this way is what makes me feel my best”. I think this is one thing most people can respect, you should always do what makes you feel the best!
This guide helped me through a big life transition…
At the end of May I moved home from school after graduating. This was a huge transition for me. Part of this had to do with my relationship to food as well as my interpersonal relationships. I had gotten so used to seeing the same people (roommates, co-workers, etc.) each day that I didn’t struggle with explaining my choices.
Moving home, having this all thought out and put on paper really helped me when someone I was eating with or talking to reacted to my decision. So, like I said at the beginning, this guide is for me, but I hope that it will also help some of you!
If this helped you, or you found it interesting please let me know! I would love to hear any comments or questions!