Small Changes You Can Make to Eat More Ethically

Words: Jess Spiro

Eating ethically may seem like a load of hippy hogwash, but it’s actually very important and it can have a huge effect on your health, animal welfare and the environment. But once you’ve made the decision to be more ethical, how can you actually put that intention into effect? Easy! Make these small, simple changes and you’ll be living that little bit more compassionately.

Eat seasonally

This may seem like it’s been repeated over and over, but it really does have some weight. Eating with the seasons means that you enjoy a constant rotation of different fruit and vegetables happening throughout the year. Eating seasonally is not only ethical but also cheaper because the produce most likely didn’t have to fly miles to get to you. Hate how much avocados cost in February? That’s because they’re out of season and were probably imported from somewhere far and beyond. In season veggies also always taste better too, so you’re saving money, helping the environment and pledging to eat only the best version of a piece of fruit or veggie. If you’re in need of a little help with what’s seasonal, see our chart here.
Small Changes you can make to eat more ethically

Eat locally

Eating seasonally means eating only what is in season. So if you eat seasonally, you’re pretty much halfway to eating locally. To eat locally means only to eat what is available around you. If this sounds difficult, it’s not. All you have to do is look at the food item’s label and see where it’s come from. Was it flown in from some far away foreign country? Put it down. It’s probably not worth eating either as it’s most likely sat in a fridge for the better part of two weeks. Wait until you can find the item at the correct season and it will taste infinitely better.

Grow your herbs where you can

This little act will not only save you money but will mean that you constantly have your pick of fresh herbs readily available. The next time you’re at the shops, don’t pick up another plastic container of herbs, walk to the flower and plant section and pick up a little potted herb plant instead. How often do you open your fridge to find a pile of those plastic tubs filled with dead, wilted herbs? And how often do you chuck out the whole container? A lot of the time, we’re guessing. Think how much easier it is to water a little plant every day and reap the benefits of fresh herbs all the time! For more grow-your-own inspiration check out our Harvest to Table channel.
Small Changes you can make to eat more ethically

Choose free-range where you can

Animals farmed for food mostly live a sad life in South Africa. They spent their short, miserable lives confined within a cold, concrete-floored building with no access to sunshine or grass. The meat that comes from these is animals is cheap, and cheap-tasting, so just don’t eat it. Endeavour to eat less, but better quality meat, not only will your body thank you but you’ll make a huge impact on the environment, as well as help prevent the suffering of even one factory-farmed animal. Check out our list of ethical butcheries. Also, see Andy Fenner’s Meat Manifesto for more information on this lifestyle.

eat more ethically Small Changes you can make to eat more ethically

Choose sustainable seafood

If you’re going to choose your meat, you need to be doing the same with your fish. SASSI has established a very easy to follow list where fish are ranked by their availability. A lot of popular seafood options are on the orange list, such as some tuna, octopus, salmon, sole and even prawns, which means they’re endangered or their numbers are being rapidly depleted. Choose freely from the green list with sea critters like snoek, kingklip, yellowtail and pole caught tuna. There are many, as delicious options to choose from, so choose ethically. Need some  SASSI approved recipe ideas? Check the below ones which have the sustainable stamp of approval. And check out our Fish Buying Guide for South Africa.

Fire Baked Dukkah Oysters

Curried Kaapse Krokodil

eat more ethically Fire Baked Dukkah Oysters
eat more ethically Curried Snoek rotis

Recycle where you can

Have you ever noticed how quickly your bins fill up? That’s because it’s probably packed with a load of recyclable packaging. These recyclables get shipped off to a landfill where they take hundreds of years to break down and take up huge amounts of space. 25% of landfills are made up of recyclable products. So, try to think a little more compassionately, pick up a second bin and rinse out the recyclable container and save it from the landfill. When your recycling bin is full, drop it off at a suitable recycling facility. If that’s too much, you can arrange for Mr Recycle to pick it up for you for a small fee. It’s as easy as that! When you’re at the shops, however, veer away from non-recyclable packaging such as polystyrene, and try to make the world a greener place!

If you think eliminating trash is tough, check out Lauren Singer from Trash is for Tossers who’s trash for two years will fit in a mason jar! 

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