Being thoughtful about what you eat has become a major trend! Hopefully, it becomes less of a trend and more of a way of life. There are four ways to approach thoughtful eating when it comes to animal products. You can be a (caring) carnivore, a fish-focused pescatarian, a veggie lover vegetarian, or a no animal products ever type of vegan! There are benefits as well as obstacles for all four. It all depends on what works best for you!
If you want to become more animal product conscious, but don’t want to give up meat entirely, this is probably the way to go for you! You can do this by being aware of where your animal products are coming from. Happy farms are the best way to think about doing this. An animal without a bunch of hormones injected in is going to be great for you! Furthermore, cage-free farms make for a happier animal. Animal cruelty free meat is a major thing in my home and I feel so much better knowing where my meat is coming from. Because some farms’ animals don’t ever see sunlight, let alone get to roam around! That’s an absolutely heartbreaking thing to think about.
Another thing you can start implementing is a “meatless Monday” sort of mentality! Now, you don’t have to set aside meat on Monday’s, but think about doing it once sometime during the week. What I do in my home is have potato and onion latkes once a week. Sometimes we do vegetarian meals, but we always do latkes! We also use an egg, but that egg comes from a farm right next to our home! It’s a great way to incorporate less meat into your diet. Just as well, try and limit the type of meat that you are eating. Instead of eating beef four to five days a week, try doing it just one a week!
The benefits of this is that you are still getting in a lot of protein into your diet and you don’t have to give up as much good of food! The downside is that an overload of meat in one’s diet isn’t helping the planet, the animals, or yourself. Just remember that you don’t need as much meat as you think and don’t forget about supporting those animal-cruelty free farms! (Hint: Shop at Whole Foods if you can! They have a five-step system that can help you out big time!)
Seafood is my favorite type of food! Specifically, I love shellfish. I love scallops, shrimp, lobster, crab, and mussels! Literally, if I had an endless supply of shellfish, my life would be made! Unfortunately, shellfish is expensive, especially when you get good quality shellfish. Seafood is more expensive, but if you want to cut out meat from land animals, that’s a price you’ll have to pay.
Being a pescatarian is where you eat meat, but only meat that comes from the sea! Fish has a lot of iron in it and that can benefit your health greatly. Plus, it’s easier to be cruelty free when it comes to fish than when it comes to land animals. A great way to become a pescatarian is by finding a great local fish market near you! This is a lot easier if you live in places such as Florida or Seattle. If you don’t, that’s okay. Just head to your local grocery store! Just like land animals though, there are better quality fish and fish that are cruelty free. Do your research and learn everything you need to know in order to become the type of pescatarian you want to be!
The biggest benefit includes the iron that fish have! The more fish you eat, the greater amount of iron you’ll have. Just as well, you won’t be consuming land animals, so you’ll be more conscious when it comes to those types of meat. The downside is the price. Fish is more expensive, so you’ll have to work around that. Also, fish has a ton of mercury in it, so you’ll have to make sure to maintain that!
If you aren’t okay with eating animals themselves, but you’re okay with them working a bit to produce some food for you still, then this is the option for you! Becoming a vegetarian means that you don’t eat meat. You do however eat things that animals produce such as eggs and milk products. If you eat a lot of heavy food such as Italian food that has a lot of cheese and butter, then this is probably the option for you. You can still have that fettucine alfredo!
Becoming a vegetarian is a big step. It becomes even more difficult when you think of all the things meat can be part. For example, a corn chip can be friend using beef fat. Who knows? It’s a lot more difficult that I think most people realize. Becoming a vegetarian is a huge commitment and something that you’ll have to figure out. Thank goodness though, there are options! If you crave a burger, a black bean burger can help you there!. If you want gravy, make a white gravy instead of a dark one (because dark gravy can have meat products in it). If you think cutting out meat is something that’s greatly important to you, then I support you one hundred percent! It’s a lot of work, but it can be totally worth it!
The benefits of being a vegetarian is that you are in no way responsible of killing an animal. An animal doesn’t have to die in order for you to have a meal. Also, a lot of meat can be bad for you, especially one’s with antibiotics and hormones in it, so you’ll be avoiding those things! The downside is that meat has a lot of protein and protein helps your nails, hair, bones, muscles, blood, skin, etc. You’ll have to find other options to help you gain that protein back!
This is one of the most intense options, but one that is important to a lot of people. Many believe animals shouldn’t be used as something to consume, nor something that you should put to work. There is also an environmental factor! Having to farm animals can affect the environment greatly, so a lot of people don’t support that at all.
Being vegan is simple: no animal products at all, ever. This means you’ll be eating a lot of vegetables and fruits. You’ll be substituting things like dairy milk with coconut or almond milk. The great part about this is that there are a lot of options out there for vegans! (Have you ever tried vegannaise in replacement for mayonnaise for example?) If you want to learn more about the progression of the vegan lifestyle, make sure to check out this interview we did with Courtney Garza awhile back! She’s our favorite vegan and has tons of insight for anyone wanting to go that route!
The benefit of being vegan is an obvious one: animals stay unharmed. If you see animals as something to respect rather than use for food, then this is the best, most positive option for you! The downside is a combination of the downsides from above: a lack of protein, iron, etc. You’ll need to make sure your health stays in balance when you’re a vegan and that can take a lot of time and effort, as well as be a bit time consuming in the beginning.
Whichever way you choose to live your life, do what’s best for you! I don’t believe there’s one wrong way to do things as long as you’re focused on what’s best for you, while still focused on what’s good for the rest of the world!