There are many ways to spread kindness towards all living beings. Compassionate food choices and the increased consumption of vegetable products play a major role.
Here are our simple tips on how to choose, prepare and cook your food to create a ripple effect of kindness.
Choose Your Ingredients Wisely
Most animal-based products involve cruelty because they can come from intensive keeping systems where animals are not kept or treated appropriately.
You can take small steps and decide what ingredients to include with every meal and research where they are sourced. Read labels and check to see what hidden animal ingredients are listed; they might be disguised under fancy unfamiliar names.
Good Food = Good Mood
Do our food choices make us happier?
The answer is yes!
Evidence suggests our diet is as important to mental health as it is to physical health. Increasing your overall veggie intake, especially, can increase these "feel- good" vibes. Avocados are known to give brain power, walnuts are rich in mood-boosting Omega-3 fatty acids, and tomatoes and potatoes are known depression fighters ¹.
Felice Jacka, President of the International Society for Nutritional Psychiatry Research, shares, "A healthy diet is protective and an unhealthy diet is a risk factor for depression and anxiety." ²
Cook At Home
There is nothing like preparing and eating a lovely home-cooked meal.
To get you started, we recommend looking at different food blogs, social media and cookbooks for inspiration. Adding your own ingredients and deciding on your meal ahead of time is a great way to make sure it's animal friendly and to appreciate the ingredients that go into your dish.
When possible, buying local is a great option. You're able to save money, get to know the farmers, understand where your food comes from and how it was sourced, and help your local community. Most times, local markets and farmers also reduce the amount of packaging used, which reduces waste and the use of fossil fuels.
Reduce Food Waste
Food waste is an important issue when it comes to saving and protecting the resources of our planet.
Every day, tons of good, uneaten food is unnecessarily thrown away. Optimize your shopping list to make sure you don’t over- serve food or over- purchase. When you're cooking, save and eat leftovers! If you continute to have or want to get rid of excess food, consider composting as a green alternative!
Minimize Meat Consumption
Did you know that eating one less beef burger a week would be the equivalent of taking your car off the road for approximately 320 miles?
Skipping steak once a week with your family would be the equivalent of taking your car off the road for nearly 3 months!
Reducing meat reduces the number of animals farmed which can only be a good thing! Factory farms and their animals, especially those that work with cows, are a leading contributor of methane, a very harmful greenhouse gas.
It takes 3X more water to produce milk than vegetables, 10X more water to produce eggs, 14X more water to produce chicken meat, 19X more water to produce pork, and 48X more water to produce beef than vegetables ³.
The good news?
Every day you eat a plant-based diet, you save 1,100 gallons of water!
Consider making one meal a week with lentils instead of beef. A family of four can save the equivalent of 17 bathtubs full of water!
Replace with alternatives
Food choices are personal, and we all have our reasons why we love what we eat. However, be open to discussing these choices with family and friends. Help spread awareness about how to make more compassionate food choices. The ultimate animal, and climate, friendly diet is a plant based one. A variety of animal friendly alternatives are available to make it easier than ever to replace meat, dairy and eggs. Small steps are still positive steps forward!
² Can what you eat affect your mental health? https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/news/20150820/food-mental-health#1
³ Dr. Arjen Hoekstra & others: The Water Footprint Assessment Manual