Living an ethical life is a priority for most people, but our eating choices are frequently overlooked as ethical actions. What you choose to eat has far-reaching consequences that affect everything from the happiness of your friends and family to the price of grain in developing countries. Here are some things to consider the next time you decide what’s for dinner.
1. Human Welfare
We have a moral duty to protect the health and happiness of the people around us. Each time you choose a meal for yourself or for others, you are acting as the “gatekeeper” to that person’s nutrition – you hold the key to whether those people will benefit or will be harmed with each bite.
Recent developments in genomics have shown that DNA is not set in stone from birth, but is in fact significantly altered throughout our lives by our lifestyle choices, including nutrition. This means that when you cook dinner or purchase food for yourself or for someone else, you are affecting the health and happiness of countless generations!
2. The Environment
Buying organic really does help the environment! Fertilizers and pesticides used by US farmers eventually flow into the Mississippi River. This has created an oxygen-depleted “dead zone” in the Gulf of Mexico where no life can survive that is the size of New Jersey. Similar dead zones have been identified along the US East Coast and around other countries around the world.
Transporting food thousands of miles also creates unnecessary pollution when local foods are available.
Buying locally grown foods or growing your own foods helps create healthier communities. Imagine a neighborhood where neighbors exchange goodies from their garden, children are interested in growing healthy food and a bustling farmers’ market where shoppers buy directly from growers whom they know and trust.
In addition to being part of our local communities, remember that we are also part of a larger global community. Most animals raised for consumption are grain-fed. This raises the price of grains beyond the scope of affordability for so many people in the world who depend on grains for their survival. Going vegetarian or buying grass-fed, local meat can help make sure that some of our global neighbors don’t go hungry because they can’t afford to eat what we feed our livestock.
4. Animal Life
Finally, we all feel some sense of responsibility toward the welfare of animals, especially our own pets or local wildlife. Visit www.peta.org to find out the cruel treatment to which many farm animals are subjected. Then wipe your conscience clean by buying only locally raised meat where you can visit the farms and actually see how the animals live. You can also help protect global ocean life by finding out which species are being overfished.
Here is a recipe for preparing some locally raised, grass-fed Lamb with Dublin Coddle and Honeyed Mint Sauce. For more information on how to prepare your own nutritious and ethical meals, visit http://goodlifeculinary.com.