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Originally, we wanted to name this post, ‘how to be vegan”. But as we looked into veganism, we realized that being a vegan doesn’t always mean that you are living ethically. This may surprise you a little. Veganism sounds so RIGHT that we tend to ignore the heavy environmental repercussions that come with it. So this post is about how to live ethically not necessarily vegan so you can have a healthy lifestyle all while doing minimum damage to mother earth or your health. 

To live ethically, you need to consider four things

1. What are you eating and how are you eating it?

2. What are you wearing and what do you do with the old clothes?

3. How are you using natural resources like water?

4. How your lifestyle is impacting the planet, other species, and other humans who are living in less privileged conditions.

Vegan vs. ethical lifestyle 

A vegan lifestyle means simply choosing products and accessories that do not come from the animals. Ethical lifestyle, on the other hand, means choosing products and accessories that were sourced sustainably and ethically. Now it may sound like they are the same thing but they are not. For example, many vegan clothing brands use materials that haven’t been sourced sustainably and do more damage than good. Most vegan food in North America travels thousands of miles, adding to the carbon footprint. So while you are saving the animals you are harming the planet. That’s why it’s important to live ethically and not simply vegan. 

Living ethically includes a vegan lifestyle but considers the ethical aspects of it. 

Let’s start with some common arguments against going vegan or adopting a vegan lifestyle. 

Animals eat other animals

Yeah, they do. Also, they are called animals and not humans. Animals are designed to eat other animals. Humans have longer intestines that are designed to absorb nutrients from plant-based diets, whereas animals who are carnivores have shorter intestines designed to readily digest raw meat. Additionally, the gastric environment of predators is different from ours. Remember we came from apes, not lions. 

We need protein 

Meat is not the best source of protein. It is one of the most notable causes of diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension. Humans need a balanced diet rich in fruits, veggies, and nuts and seeds to maintain health. Plant-based sources of meat offer far more nutrition without the risk of deadly diseases. 

If we don’t eat meat what do we eat? 

A plant-based diet has more variety than meat-based products that are made of a single ingredient, meat. Plant-based protein sources include soy, buckweed, and quinoa to mention just a few. Protein is found in varying amounts in several plant-based sources. 

Our ancestors ate meat 

Our ancestors were not hunters, they were scavengers. And most of our ancestors were vegetarians, relying on plant-based sources. They only started eating meat because the geological changes won’t grow the fruits and the plants that were nourishing them. 

I am worried I won’t get all the nutrients with a plant-based diet 

The only nutrient missing from a plant-based diet is vitamin b12 which is only found in dairy and meat. However, this can be easily tackled with fortified foods and supplements. 

Why choosing an ethical lifestyle is important 

You will encounter people who will argue that God made animals for us to use. But remember that there used to be people who would say that black people don’t feel pain and are therefore okay to be experimented on or used as slaves. 

It’s very easy not to care and just live your life quietly. But imagine if your pet dog was in one of the cages in a Chinese dog farm. Imagine a virus worse than Coronavirus. 

According to biologist Nathan Wolfe, “Pandemics always begin with the transmission of an animal microbe to a human.”

The meat and dairy industry is one of the biggest causes of such transmissions. Here are some of the diseases that spread due to the dairy and meat industry. 

Bovine Tuberculosis spread from infected cows’ milk.

Q Fever broke in a dairy farm in Queensland, Australia.

Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) spreads from the consumption of infected cattle meat.

H5N1 Bird Flu spread due to direct or indirect contact with infected (dead or alive) poultry and live bird markets.

Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) spread via close contact with animals in Guangdong province, Southern China.

H7N7 Bird Flu spread due to direct or indirect contact with dead poultry.

H1N1 Swine Flu spread because of infected meat.

Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (Mers) spread via infected animals and first broke in Saudi Arabia.

When you order Mcdonald’s or any of the mainstream meat meals, you are directly contributing your hard-earned income to the farms where many of these pandemics including Covid originated.

Switch to an all-vegan diet and stop supporting the animal farms. They thrive on your contributions. when you stop eating meat, stop wearing fur or stop using leather, it cuts the demand that drives these brutal industries that not only harm the planet and the animals but give way to deadly diseases that harm us.

How to live ethically by choosing vegan food

First off, we are not here to advocate meatless meals. Your diet is a very crucial component of your physical and mental health, any changes to the diet should be considered carefully. While it’s admirable to quit meat for ethical reasons, it is not safe to change your diet without proper knowledge of essential nutrients.

Our body needs 9 essential amino acids with protein, vitamins, fats, carbohydrates, minerals, and water daily.

Here’s what the basic nutrients are:

Vitamins
A, D, E, K (fat-soluble)
B1, B12, B6, B2, B5, B3, B9, B7, C (Water-soluble)

Minerals
Magnesium, Calcium, Phosphorus, Sulfur, Sodium, Potassium, and Chloride.

Trace minerals
Iron, selenium, zinc, manganese, chromium, iodine, fluoride, and molybdenum.

Fats
Good fats are found in vegetable oils, nuts, seeds, and fish.

Carbohydrates
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans, every person should consume around 65% of complex carbohydrates that are found in brown rice, quinoa, oatmeal, whole grains, fruits, barley, and vegetables.

How to get all of these nutrients ethically?

When you are trying to eat ethically you have to consider a few things:

1. How is my food being prepared? Are there people involved in making that food that is underpaid? What conditions are they working in? 

2. What harm does my food cause to the planet?

3. What are my alternatives?

Generally, the meat and the dairy industry are some of the worst violators of the planet’s health and even our health. It is so bad that the Union of Concerned Scientists lists meat-eating as one of the biggest environmental hazards. and not to mention that the meat and dairy industry is a torture ring for animals, which should be a reason enough to quit meat. 

Some facts:
-16 pounds of vegetation converts to a pound of flesh.

– It takes 2,500 gallons of water for a pound of flesh and only 25 gallons for a pound of wheat.

– One-third of fossil fuel usage in the U.S. is dedicated to raising animals for food.

– A single pig factory generates just as much waste as a city with over 10K people.

-The meat industry alone causes over 85% of soil erosion in the U.S.

– The world’s cattle raised for food consumes enough nutrients for over 8 billion people.

So if we don’t eat meat, what do we eat? The truth is there aren’t enough options for going vegan. If your diet is rich in protein and fruits and veggies, then you are getting all the vitamins you need. If need be, you can always have a supplement. The good news is that you don’t need to eat meat to get all the nutrients. Just getting your protein from meat isn’t even healthy. You need to include a wide variety of foods into your diet to get the whole spectrum of vitamins.

Try these vegan food brands (in North America) to give your taste buds something different while getting the essential nutrients and protein. 

Meal 

Before the butcher (California)Beyond Meat
BOCA
No evil foods
Alpha foods
Field roast
Amy’s kitchen
Meatless farm
Daring foods
Lightlife
The very good butchers
Impossible foods
Make foods
Hungry planet
Upton’s Naturals 
MorningStar Farms
Gardein
Tofurky
Field Roast
Yves Veggie Cuisine
Sweet Earth Natural Foods
Memphis Meat
New wave foods  
Food for lovers
Gold and green foods
Gardein
Quorn
Snacks, Desserts, vegan dairy, and sweets

Wei ChocolateSilk vegan milk
Adam’s chocolate
Califia farms
Booja Booja ice cream
Daiya cheese
So delicious ice cream
Earth Balance
Massel 
Indie bay snacks

How to live ethically by choosing vegan brands and recycling

Again, just because a brand has a ‘vegan’ banner does not mean they are truly ethical. If a brand is truly ethical, they would choose suppliers who produce materials ethically or create ethical materials that do not use too many natural resources or cause substantial harm to the animals in the process. Most truly ethical vegan brands hone in on recycling as it is one of the most beneficial ways to reuse our current clothes so they don’t end up in landfills contributing to environmental pollution. Here are some vegan brands that are BCorp-certified and offer recycling as a part of their commitment to healing the planet.

Vegan brands to try

@patagonia
@pact
@kotn
@quince
@whimseyandrow
@reformation
@hass
@vetta
@tentree
@boden
@svala
@337brand
@harvest&mill
@miakoda
@yesand
@kent
@ravenandlily
@thegoodtee
@miloplusnicki
@chicmadeconciously
@kninkey
@hyergoods
@nube
@arielle
@franc
@altar
@thercollective
@malaikanewyork
@happyearth
@unspun
@fairindigo
@threads4thought
@outerknown
@tonle
@consciousstep
@wama
@tamgadesigns
@article22
@thesus(alicepluswhittles)
@vitamina
@seekcollective
@marahoffman
@triarchy
@eclipse
@redone
@alohas
@jwanderson
@bitestudios
@brownfashion
@pradarenylon
@chopovalowena
@oliviarosethelabel
@gerbase
@paper
@theory
@pringleofscotland
@houseofsunny
@laraintimates
@soniacarrasco
@rafa
@karalynnecall
@trashisfortossers
@aditimayer
@plantbasedblonde
@zerowasteguy
@forageandsustain
@going.zero.waste
@zerowastehome
@moralfibresblog
@sustainablesabs
@thesoulfulsprout
@zero.waste.collective
@simply.living.well
@melissa.hemsley
@zerowastechef
@robjgreenfield
@waterthruskin
@plantedinthewoods
@weareilive
@ssustainably_
@kameachayne
@treadingmyownpath
@uncomplicatedspaces
@jhanneu
@taylor.pforwords
@summersalt
@outerknown
@levis
@matethelabel
@able
@aday
@fairindigo
@tradlands
@fairtradewinds
@christydawn
@girlfriendcollective
@backbeatco
@eileenfisher
@cuyana
@amourvert
@thoughtclothing
@lacausa
@hackwithdesignhouse
@peopletree
@unitedbyblue
@encircled
@twodaysoff
@sotela
@petitestudio
@pangaia
@sotela
@boyish
@grammar
@anekdot
@nudiejeans
@kingsofindigo
@kowtow
@aiayu
@frame
@doralarsen
@ifonlyifnightwear
@connorives
@lesvacancesssdirina
@laurapitharas
@stellamccartney
@caes
@faithfulthebrand
@petitpli
@cawleystudio
@appetitestudio
@maisoncleo
@swarovski
@prismsquared
@marineserre
@hereu
@anddaughter
@wolford
@livetheprocess
@stinegoya
@baumundpferdgarten
@veja
@itsrooper
@aeance
@marybensonlondon 
@ravereview
@boyishjeans
@brothervellies
@baserange
@motherofpearl
@musierparis
@wrightlechapelain
@larkandberry
@edun
@kitx
@jeanerica
@plasticfreemermaid
@impactforgood
@wastelandrebel
@sustainabledish
@rocket_science
@sustainably_vegan
@thatcurlytop
@heyashleyrenne
@connieandluna
@zerowastenerd
@readtealeaves
@shelbizleee
@wasteless
@sustainyrself
@zerowastedoc
@sedonachhristina

To live ethically, just ask yourself what am I choosing for my lifestyle, and how it impacts others and the planet and you will know what to do. 

Check out these brands today to start your journey towards an ethical, vegan lifestyle. 

We did a post about animal treatment and how it resembles the slave treatment that the black people went through in America. Check it out here. It will help you see how those seen differently were and continue to be treated. 


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