After releasing my last blog, Cruelty Free Lifestyle, I was asked to create a blog guide on taking those baby steps to a cruelty free lifestyle. I’m far from being an expert, so instead of creating an actual guide, I’m taking this idea to inspire me to share the steps Scott & I are taking to living more eco-conscious with those interested. I would like to take this opportunity to share our cruelty free lifestyle journey. For every product we find or are introduced to, we gladly test on ourselves only. The products we found fit quite well in our home, so far. Everyone is different. We all have different palates, reactions, styles, etc. You don’t have to agree with some of the products I’ve listed here, but we certainly our open to suggestions or new finds.
A Head Start
Before meeting my husband, Scott, I had a little bit of a head start toward a cruelty free lifestyle. I was raised on a fruit & veggie based diet & trips to fast food restaurants were like a trip to Disneyland, not often enough. ;P As mentioned in my previous blog, I chose a vegan, then vegetarian lifestyle for a total of 8 years. I started out with reading materials that pertained to how our food is raised, especially farm animals. The 2 books that had an impact on me were “Diet For A New America” by John Robbins & “Animal Liberation” by Peter Singer. I’ve also read books on nutrition. The one I chose as my bible was “Prescription For Nutritional Healing” by Phyllis A. Balch, CNC. I, also, watched films about the fast food industry, especially after my 4.5 year healthy food apocalypse, (read my previous blog).
Our Steps To An Eco-Conscious Lifestyle
After my big hiccup in eating all the meat I could get, I knew it was time for change. Scott was on board, but this time we took some baby steps to a cruelty free lifestyle. I began to research the farms we were buying our meats from. I wanted to know how the animals were raised, what they were eating & how they were killed. This brought us to only supporting farms that were raising animals humanely & practiced sustainable methods, such as Son-Rise Ranch or Cooks Pigs. We were only eating wild caught fish that followed sustainable methods. We chose restaurants that supported all these methods, such as Harney Sushi, Chipotle & Burger Lounge. Scott’s father & uncle are responsible hunters so we included elk in our menu, when it was available.
I didn’t just stop at researching meats, but continued to look into where we buy our produce. So we started to support local farmers as much as possible. This way you know where your fruits & veggies come from. Many local farms allow for tours, including those farms that raise animals. Much of the produce you buy in grocery stores are tainted with pesticides & other chemicals. Also, many have to be transported from other countries. In this day in time, where climate change is a big problem, buying local is the way to a more sustainable living. These steps alone were a good starting point for myself & Scott. We were still able to eat meat & continue to eat our fruits & veggies, just in a healthier, eco-conscious & more humane manner.
Our Views Continue To Change
As Scott & I continued on the path to learning more about living a cruelty free lifestyle, we were led to look more closely into our views & habits. Cruelty free means just that. Every living being deserves to live free & to be respected. Non-human beings & their natural home are to be protected, not destroyed. Personally, I feel very strongly about cruelty & I do what I can to stand up to it. One day, I brought up how raising animals for food is a form of slavery, no matter how well a farmer treats them. Scott knew where I was going with this, so our path took another turn. I found myself re-reading materials on a vegan lifestyle. I started to research the ingredients of all the products we had at home. From our food, clothing, to home supplies. I want to understand what we were buying & who we were supporting.
Not only did our eating habits change again, but so did the way we shopped in general. The vegan lifestyle offers great alternative options. Since chicken is my favorite meat, I found that Tofurky Chkn‘ selections calms my cravings just right. Scott loves his sandwiches, but he didn’t like the Tofurky brand of sandwich slices, but he now enjoys the Chkn selections in a wrap. Instead of mayo, I picked out a vegan one he likes best, Spectrum Light Canola Mayo. I’m not saying I don’t miss meat, because we both do. I seem to crave it more than Scott, but we have a responsibility as consumers. This means we have to change old habits & ways of thinking. This is very challenging for most of us, but today, we are lucky to have cruelty free options that offer an array supply of ethical & healthy products.
Other Baby Steps To Take
Our “baby steps” may not work for some of you. Maybe that’s diving in too quickly. You could always start with buying 1 or 2 animal products that are humanely raised & slowly incorporate it into your weekly grocery list. Try making one meal a week with just humanely raised animal products. When recipes require eggs, use pasture raised eggs only. If a recipe requires using meat, try a vegan alternative. Even if you don’t like it, don’t give up. There’s many options out there, just be patient with trial & error. Look up vegan recipes on sites like AllRecipes. I often just look up recipes I like, not necessarily vegan, & whip them up to be completely vegan. Join vegan groups on social media. Many of them give great step by step meal ideas. Personally, I follow the “What I Eat In A Day” YouTube videos.
Scott & I are still learning as we continue to try our best to live a cruelty free lifestyle. We have cleared up most of our home of items that didn’t fit our lifestyle. We now do our very best to be more aware of what we are purchasing, making sure we contribute to companies that follow a similar view. This includes, fair labor & palm oil free products. We can’t list all of the items we use, but do ask away.
Final Thought & Harsh Truth
Many of us find change to be an inconvenience or terrifying, but it is necessary for positive growth. What we thought was right or good in the past, doesn’t mean it necessarily works today. Yes, it’s scary to leave your comfort zone, but what’s scarier to me are the consequences of when we refuse to change our ways due to selfishness, greed or even fear. What we have been doing to our planet is barbaric & egotistical. We legitimize our ways by blaming it on traditions, religion & superiority, which makes us a very cruel & ignorant species. Nature is already speaking loudly & if we don’t change our ways now, then the consequences of our actions are well deserved. The unfortunate part of that is we’re taking everything else down with us. I’m not only devoted to learning from mother nature, but she holds my life in her grip.