It all started with my bucket list. One of my top goals in life is to save 100 animals before I die, which could be done in many ways, but since I live on a small cul-de-sac, I knew I couldn’t rescue all of them. So, this led me to conduct some research. I wondered how long it would take me to save a hundred animals by eating a vegetarian diet.
While the numbers were promising, I knew that being a full-time vegetarian wasn’t for me, and this led to another area of research – responsible eating. As I collected data, my passion grew into an obsession. I am now one of a large and growing group of people that I like to call “Eco-Eaters.”
What is an eco-eater? Well, the underlying principle of eco-eating is conscious eating. It’s considering what you are putting into your mouth on a deeper level than whether or not it will fill you up. Under my definition, eco-eaters:
- avoid chemicals, whether injected into animals or sprayed on the vegetation they eat.
- avoid pesticides sprayed on plant food sources.
- avoid by-products of vegetation and animals affected by the first two items (such as dairy products).
- support small, local farms.
- only eat meat from animals raised in clean, humane environments.
Eco-Eating by the Numbers
For all practical purposes, eco-eaters may be vegetarians, but they don’t have to be. I think most are part-time vegetarians and only eat meat once or twice a week. The one thing meat-eating eco-eaters do not support is factory farming, where animal treatment is sacrificed for production. My research shows that beef and chicken production has shot up since 1950 and will remain high through 2016. I found that the average American eats around 1/10 of a cow per year and around 50 chickens a year. With these numbers, if I only had chicken once every other week, it would take me only around 4 years to save 100 of them. I think I need to ‘up’ my bucket list numbers!
Eco-eaters know that responsible shopping will help reduce the need for factory farming even as consumption rises. Purchasing vegetation and animal products free of cruelty, pesticides, growth hormones and other chemicals will put money in the hands of responsible farmers. One way to support local farmers and avoid chemicals in food is to join a community-supported agriculture (CSA) group in your area. These groups usually charge one amount for the entire growing season and you get a box of fresh, organic produce once a week. Some require that you work on the farm for an hour or two, but many don’t have such requirements. A simple search on the internet will help you find a CSA near you.
Who knew making a bucket list could lead to such changes in diet? In joining this growing group, I understand that it’s very fashionable and the ‘in’ thing to do. I’m hoping, though, that it sticks. I hope that eco-eating isn’t just a fad and that people will feel better, both mentally and physically, after making these changes. After all, it’s really just about making conscious decisions about the food you put on your table and into your body.
Source: Humane Society