A Strict Vegetarian Shares Her Tips on How to Eat Ethically
Eating ethically is certainly a loaded issue. Some people are all about it, some don't care, and some have very different ideas on what constitutes an "ethical" meal. According to Sarah Berry, a reporter at Life&Style who describes herself as a "strict ethical vegetarian", a trip to The River Cottage (a largely self-sufficient farm that features in a series of the same name on the Lifestyle channel) turned out to be a crash course in what it means to eat ethically.
Regardless of your views and beliefs on food, there are easy adjustments we can all make to help contribute to a healthier, more responsible food industry. Whether you're vegetarian, vegan, pescatarian or otherwise, keep scrolling for four practical tips you can use to make eating ethically, easy.
This one seems obvious. (Side note: Does anyone actually buy caged eggs anymore?) If you're not yet on board but want to be, cage-free eggs are potentially the easiest and cheapest place to start eating ethically. Berry recommends reading product info carefully to avoid being bamboozled by confusing labelling: "Only buy certified free-range or organic eggs (don't be fooled by 'fresh' egg labels that are often cage-eggs in small-print)." When eating out, ask cafes and restaurants what kind of eggs they choose before you sit down. You can also research venues in advance with the RSPCA's latest search tool.
Berry's visit to The River Cottage demonstrated that farms that place an importance on both "a responsibility towards the animal", and minimisation of waste, do exist. The ethical POV is all about quality (see: grass-fed, certified free-range or organic) over quantity. Not only will the meat you do eat taste that much better, it'll be better for you. There's also a list of ethical meat suppliers in Australia you can turn to for more info. You can also consider cutting meat from a few of your meals per week Meatless Mondays-style. (NB. This is a great way to cut costs as grass-fed meat is invariably more expensive than the regular stuff.)
In the same vein as responsibly farmed meat, choosing sustainable seafood both at home and in restaurants is a great idea. Berry writes that: "three-quarters of the world's oceans are over-exploited and up to 60 per cent of caught fish are discarded." Those are pretty bad stats by anyone's standards, but tools like the free Sustainable Seafood Guide app can help go some way towards helping you choose seafood wisely.
One for vegans, vegetarians and omnivores alike: grow a vegie patch. Homegrown vegetables and fruit (or herbs if you live in a teensy apartment) generally taste better than what you can buy in the supermarket, and almost always work out cheaper too. Plus, having things like herbs on hand means you can use them as needed instead of buying a giant bunch only to waste half.
The Original River Cottage Cookbook by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall ($39) is chock full of info on how to adopt a more ethical lifestyle food-wise.
Click over to Life&Style to read the rest of the article and tell us, do you have any tips for eating ethically? Share them below!
Opening image: Andy Lewis