If you’re reading this blog, there’s a good chance you’re well aware that our diet has an impact on animals. I covered a few of the basics in a previous post. If you’re ready to adopt some changes in your diet for the benefit of animals – or are looking for some ideas to build on existing practice – I have a few ideas for you!
Pick one food or one food group
When considering how to adjust our diet to reduce its impact on animals, the options can seem endless and overwhelming. If it’s a new area of thought for you, it can also seem extreme. This is where I’m a big believer in starting small and building from there. Don’t overwhelm yourself.
One way you can do this is to pick either one food (such as milk) or one food group (such as dairy) and begin making adjustments to your diet in this area. Sticking with milk as an example, you could use one of the many milk alternatives in your day-to-day meals. Soy milk is a big one, but there’s also almond, coconut, rice and many more. It’s a different sort of taste if you’re not used to it, but in my experience, it doesn’t take long to become accustomed!
Choosing an entire food group is a bigger task but if you’ve already begun making changes this could be a good next step. We’re incredibly lucky to live in a world where there are alternatives for just about everything – so if you are ready to address a whole group of foods, there’s a new world waiting for you. If you’re addressing dairy, you’ll want to think about milk, cheese, yoghurt, cream, and milk chocolate to name a few big ones!
Pick one or two days per week
Another great way to start with small adjustments is to simply pick one or two days per week. On those days you’ll follow a stricter diet. You could adopt the popular “Meat Free Monday“, go vegan for a day, or simply pick a day and your diet of choice and begin making it a habit. Once you start dabbling with changes to your diet, you’ll realise it’s not as difficult as you may have imagined.
Pick an area of interest
In a slightly different approach, you could simply decide you want to know more about a particular area and its impact on animals. By simply committing to finding out more about something in particular, you’ll start a process of self-education that’s like a snowball. As part of this process you’ll also uncover a whole new world of recipes and alternatives for this particular area of interest.
Some ideas to get you started:
- Factory farming (see Food Inc, Cowspiracy, Peaceable Kingdom)
- Plant-based foods (eg Forks over Knives, Vegucated)
- Our reliance on and relationship with animals (eg Earthlings, The Ghosts in our Machine, Speciesism)
These are, of course, a small slice of material in areas in which you could develop further interest. They also have a particular angle and there will always be another side to the story. But they’re a starting point!
Choose higher ethics foods
As awareness in the public grows, producers are becoming more forthright about their practices. It’s becoming easier to find and buy from more ethical producers. Consumers are demanding more information.
If you’re not quite ready to ban foods from your diet, you may wish to consider more ethical or ‘higher welfare’ choices. Again this is an area where a huge amount of information is available so it’s a matter of research and decisions. Ultimately it’s about your values and how you’d like to represent them in your diet.
Whichever method you choose to pursue, it’s a step in the right direction for animals. If everyone took a moment each day to think about a choice they’re making in their diet, animals would benefit. If everyone made substantial changes, the world would be a new place.