My guest writer today is Sydney Gallimore, a content manager for Pippin Hill Farm, a boutique winery & wedding venue in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Sydney makes some great points about ethical eating. We are what we eat so it is a good idea to practice consciousness when it comes to choosing our food.
The concept of ethics is rather abstract. The line between good and evil is becoming increasingly blurred, and what is “ethical” is getting harder and harder to define. While we can’t vouch for how politicians and big business are dealing with this issue, one trend is emerging in the culinary world that takes the old adage “you are what you eat” to a whole new level.
I’m sure you’ve heard of “locavore” and “farm-to-table” and other culinary hot words that have been tossed around lately, but the concept of “ethical eating” takes these trends to a whole new level. Supporting local farms and businesses is great, but don’t stop there. Instead of just choosing foods and restaurants that are locally sourced, ethical eating requires you to do a little more research and make more conscientious food decisions based on a number of factors, such as sustainability, carbon footprint, ecosystem impact, and whether the food was safely and humanely caught or produced.
Researching where to find ethically produced food doesn’t have to be a chore. Many aquariums around the United States offer sustainability programs that allow you to identify where to find sustainably farmed and ecologically safe fish in your area. The Monterey Bay Aquarium even has an app for your smartphone that you can reference while grocery shopping.
One way to ensure that the vegetables you’re eating are fresh, organically grown, and pesticide free is to grow them in your own backyard. Gardening is making a comeback as more people are choosing to get their hands dirty to grow their own food. With all the resources available online, starting a home garden is easier than ever. You can start simple by cultivating an herb garden or two or three staple crops such as tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, carrots, or green beans. For some reason food always seems to taste better when you use ingredients you grew yourself!
Another way to be ecologically friendly at home is pay homage to your grandmother and starting canning, preserving, and pickling vegetables at home–bonus points if you use veggies from your own garden! Chefs and restaurants across the country have been really getting into preserving in recent years, creating signature pickled vegetables, house-smoked meats, cheeses, jams, and sauces. Start experimenting with spices, flavors, and sauces and preserve the taste of summer long into the winter months. You can get unique, expensive tasting jams, preserves, and pickled vegetables that cost you a fraction of what you’d pay at a fancy restaurant. Plus, there’s nothing better than to reap the rewards of your hard work! The USDA offers a great guide to canning that can help you get started, no matter your level of expertise.
Participating in Meatless Mondays is also a great way to cut down on your meat consumption without having to commit to full-on vegetarianism. Going one day a week without eating meat can help you cut down on saturated fat consumption, and can reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, and certain types of cancer. You’re also helping to reduce your carbon footprint and cut down on the consumption of precious resources and fossil fuels. You can also broaden your palate by experimenting with meatless dishes you might not have otherwise tried!
Socrates said “the unexamined life is not worth living,” so take a moment to examine what you’re eating and where it comes from to ensure you’re choosing foods that are good for you, good for the community, and good for the earth.
Thank you Sydney for the great suggestions. I fix meatless meals that are delicious and very satisfying. If you’d like one or two of my recipes, let me know in the comments section and I’ll send them to you.
Check out my facebook page at www.facebook.com/streamsofconsciousness. I posted conscious eating tips on Monday through Friday of this week.
- Capturing the harvest in a jar (kansascity.com)