I am going to start this article by stating that I think going vegan is highly beneficial for the planet and can be a great diet to follow. Veganism has never been quite the right fit for me and I know many others feel the same. Therefore, let’s discuss alternatives to veganism that can have the same beneficial impact on the environment, allow you to consume animal products if you choose, and find a diet that is right for you.
Alternatives to Veganism
Mindful Shopping – Know Exactly What You Are Buying
The easiest step to take is to be mindful of what you are buying. This means doing your homework specifically when it comes to animal products. Do some research and find brands that operate on a small scale or better yet find your local farmer to buy directly from them!
Be sure to read the label for things like:
- Certified Humanely Raised
- Animal Welfare Approved
- American Grassfed Certified
- Free Range
- Certified Organic
Aim to shop local:
Be mindful of where you shop for animal products. Large grocery stores tend to get their supplies from large farms, which are known for not treating animals well and negative impacts on the environment. Opt instead for Co-ops and small local grocery stores.
Decrease Animal Products
Finding responsibly sourced animal products can be tough, so make it your goal to start changing your eating habits. Meaning, instead of focusing your meals around meat think about the veggies as the star. More often than not I eat a vegetarian diet simply because I don’t even think about adding meat because my plate is filled with so many delicious plants!
Vegan out of Necessity
Piggybacking off of the above point, allow yourself to simply avoid animal products. This will make you a sometimes vegan or a vegan out of necessity.
Be in the know of where candidates stand on factory farming, animal welfare, and environmental protection. Aim to support candidates and bills that are aiming to create stricter laws and regulations when it comes to responsible farming.
Farming – Raising Chickens
This is the most radical option and the least likely to work for most folks, but homegrown foods are always the best option. Home growing your food (animal products in this case) allows you to be fully in control of how the animal is treated, what it is fed, and the effects it may have on the environment – which on a small scale should be little to no negative effects.
A good place to start is by raising chickens. You can raise them for just eggs or meat as well. As someone who has lived on a farm almost their entire life, I will say that chickens are pretty dang low maintenance and easy to raise. I would recommend checking your city laws first and do some research on caring for your chickens before getting started.
Connect to Your Food
Whether veganism works for you or your need something a bit different, the take home message is to be more connected to your food. Know where it comes from. Know how the animals are treated. Know what your are putting into your body. Remember, none of us are perfect and if you can eat foods responsibly sources 80% of the time you are doing great!