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. In order to succeed, we've rounded up some simple tips on how choosing, preparing and cooking your food can create a ripple effect of kindness.
Choose your ingredients wisely
Most animal-based products include cruelty, as they come from intensive keeping systems where animals aren't kept nor treated appropriately. You can take small steps and decide with every meal what ingredients to include and where they are sourced. Look out for labels and check to see what hidden animal ingredients are listed which might be disguised under fancy unfamiliar names.
Good Food = Good Mood
Can we eat ourselves happier? Oh Yes we can! A very large body of evidence now exists that suggests diet is as important to mental health as it is to physical health, says Felice Jacka, president of the International Society for Nutritional Psychiatry Research. "A healthy diet is protective and an unhealthy diet is a risk factor for depression and anxiety" ¹. Avocados are known to give brain power,Walnuts are rich in mood-boosting Omega-3 fatty acids, tomatoes as well as potatoes are known to be depression fighters ². Increasing your overall veggie intake can increase the feel-good vibes so that's always a great thing to incorporate.
Cook at home
There is nothing like setting aside time to lovingly prepare a home-cooked meal. Browse through different food blogs, social media and cookbooks for inspiring animal-friendly meals, which will bring joy to your home -no matter if it's an old cozy favorite or an exciting new dish! When you pay attention to the ingredients that go into a dish, it's easier to appreciate the meal as a whole.
Buy local whenever possible
Not only will it save you money, you will get to know the framers, where your food comes from, how it was sourced, it helps your community, the economy and is better for the planet since local markets reduce waste from packaging, which reduces 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, as every day tones of good uneaten food is unnecessarily thrown away. By optimizing your shopping list, don’t over-serve food when you´re cooking, save and eat leftovers and keep track of what you throw away you can significantly reduce your food waste quite easily in your daily life.
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 515 km? And 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!
It takes three times more water to produce milk than vegetables, ten times more water to produce eggs, fourteen times more water to produce chicken meat, nineteen times more water to produce pork, and forty-eight times more water to produce beef than vegetables ³. The good news is that every day when you eat a plant-based diet, you save 1,100 gallons of water! By 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, having open discussions with family and friends about different foods can help spread awareness on making more compassionate food choices. The ultimate animal and climate friendly diet is a plant based one, and though you might not switch vegan overnight, the variety of animal friendly alternatives on the market today makes it so much easier to replace meat, dairy eggs whenever you like.
¹ 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