The second half of the Ethical Eating talk was a vegan’s perspective….miss the meaty first half? Check it out here.
I will admit that as she announced herself as a vegan, I was kind of afraid that her point of view was basically just going to be that it was unethical to eat meat. That was not the case at all.
Something that was stressed throughout the whole Summit was that you need to do what is right for you. There is no diet that is perfect for everyone, you need to find something that suits your body, beliefs and lifestyle.
I also love the fact that Lin mentioned that she likes to eat vegan junk food. See, even vegans live in moderation. 🙂
Lin started her her presentation off with a quote from Aristotle:
To be ethical is to aim for eudaimonia
Eudaimonia is a Greek word commonly translated as happiness. Ethical eating is happy eating.
Here are some key points from her presentation:
- Prioritize yourself and the foods you eat. Listen to what others have to say about “good” and “bad” foods, but make the judgement for yourself.
- You shouldn’t feel restricted by your diet. If you love veggies and prefer them over meat, then that works for you. If you want to have a cupcake, have one. If I ever decided to go full vegetarian, it would never work. Sometimes I want a chicken sandwich, so I have a chicken sandwich.
- Balance and Moderation is key. You can have a cupcake – but you probably shouldn’t have five cupcakes in a sitting. But, then again, you know your body better than I do so maybe your body loves cupcakes! In my opinion, there are no foods that are off limits, moderation is key.
Lin also talked about the importance of buying local. I find that this is a lot easier to do with produce than it is with meat. Many local farmers markets or farm stands have local fruits and vegetables, but not all have meat products.
I will admit, that I am not very good at remembering to go to the farmers market every week to get my local produce. However, when I go to the grocery store to pick it out I make myself aware of what I am buying. Many more times than I would have imagined, I pick something out to buy, look at the sticker and realize it came from Thailand, or Belize or somewhere that is clearly not local to me. Sometimes I see things that have come from Florida or California to get to me – that is still not really local. However, if I have to choose something that came from either Belize or Florida, I will pick the one from Florida. Not everyone can have local farms in their backyard, so sometimes you just have to choose the best from what your options are.
Another topic that Lin talked about was eating organic. She talked about eating organic as “investing in food.” You pay a little bit more money for food that – ideally – is better for you, the environment and everything involved. The cost is also higher because the fees that farmers have to pay to get the government to certify them as organic are very high.
Think about the small farm that you are buying from and how they are probably just trying to make those costs back by upping the price on their produce.
For me, buying organic is a money issue. If I had unlimited funds, I would buy 100% organic. Things that are free of pesticides and chemicals will, of course, be better for you. Since my grocery budget is only that of slightly more than a college student, I cannot afford to do that.
There were a couple of things that came up when people asked how to pick and choose organics that fit into their budget. Here are a couple of lists:
- The “Dirty Dozen” is a list of foods that often have the most chemicals on them and are the hardest to clean off. These include: celery, peaches, strawberries, apples, domestic blueberries, nectarines, sweet bell peppers, spinach, cherries, potatoes, imported grapes, and lettuce.
- The “Clean 15” is a list of foods that have thicker skins and bore little to no trace of chemicals in testing. It includes: onions, avocados, sweet corn, pineapples, mango, sweet peas, asparagus, kiwi, cabbage, eggplant, cantaloupe, watermelon, grapefruit, sweet potatoes, sweet onions.
I found these lists here on thw PBS website.
Please note that this list is just a few examples. It is one way to help decide what is best for you. It also does not mean that if you choose to eat something non-organic off of the “dirty dozen” list that there will be fatal consequences. ( Or at least I hope not, because I will be in trouble if that is the case. )
You should also note, that just because something is not certified organic, it doesn’t mean that it is not chemical free. Since the term “organic” is government regulated, it costs farmers money to get the certification. Some small farms just cannot afford to do this.
Another advantage to shopping at your local farmers market is being able to talk to the farmers. You might find out that “Farmer Joe” is essentially running an organic farm, but he just doesn’t have the money to pay for the certification.
As a whole I really enjoyed the ethical eating discussion that Evan and Lin led. It didn’t make me feel like I was eating the “wrong” way, it just gave me ideas and steps to help move in the right direction.
Along with watching Food, Inc that I mentioned in the last post, I really would also like to read The Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone. People that had read it made it seem like a very readable and interesting book.
Do you think a book or movie can really change the way you eat?