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Diet & Nutrition

The Most Ethical Diets And Why

6 Mins read

The reason why people consider ethical diets is because what we choose to eat can and will impact Mother Nature, our planet, and the animals. Everyone knows that the diet you eat has a profound effect on your health. After all, food is what fuels and nourishes the human body, and some foods are very bad for our health. However, you must also consider which diets are the most ethical diets, if you care about animals, the environment, or our planet.

Industrial farming or animal agriculture emits harmful gases, leaving a large carbon footprint that’s known to increase pollution, damage the ozone layer, and perpetuate the harmful “Greenhouse Effect” (excessive warming of the earth’s surface). On top of that, animal abuse, deforestation, habitat loss, ecological imbalance, exploitation of labourers, and use of harmful GMOs are often associated with commercial food production. 

What are some examples of how the human diet can impact animals? Dairy cows are often trapped in a forced cycle of pregnancy, perpetual lactation, and confinement in close quarters to produce the milk people buy at the grocery store. Newborn calves are taken away from their mothers and fed with milk replacer because mother cow’s milk is bottled and pasteurized for human consumption. Sadly, these dairy cows live up to 4 or 5 years before slaughter, which is a stark contrast to free-range cows that live from 20 to 25 years. 

Because of these reasons, people have become more conscious of their diets, and have looked into more ethical diets to start practising. With the realization of how much negative environmental impact, animal suffering and injustice happens behind the scenes, many can no longer be flippant. If you’re having these thoughts, you may be considering a more ethical diet to do your part to create positive change for the world. Choosing this path and making changes with regards to your food consumption are little contributions to assuage your conscience, preserve the planet, fight for animal rights, and impede environmental devastation. 

Are you curious about these ethical diets? Learn more about the most ethical diets below. Then, when you are armed with the right knowledge, you can make more educated food and lifestyle choices that you feel at peace with. 

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1. Veganism

Veganism means you eliminate all meat and animal products from your diet, including animal by-products such as honey, milk, cheese, and eggs. This ethical practise goes as far as using non-animal products for your shampoo, soaps, bags, clothes, etc. For example, you might now forgo your wool sweaters, cashmere coats, silk scarves, suede boots, and leather shoes. In addition, you make a conscious choice in purchasing cruelty-free makeup that doesn’t animal-tests. 

Veganism is one of the strictest ethical diets out there (especially if you’re on a raw vegan diet). Being a vegan means you’re practising the most ethical diet there is. After all, consuming plant-based food uses less of the planet’s resources. As a vegan, you don’t consume excessive resources that are associated with animal farming. A vegan diet is a diet that leaves the smallest carbon footprint. You can help lower greenhouse gas emissions because veganism doesn’t involve any meat intake whatsoever. This also includes excluding any bounty of the sea. As a result, marine ecology is not adversely impacted when you’re vegan. 

However, being vegan severely limits your options. You may have difficulty buying items in the supermarket or ordering from a restaurant menu. These days, however, more and more vegan restaurants are opening, and more and more vegan options are available at stores.

A major consideration when you’re on the vegan diet is your daily intake of vitamins and minerals. Many vegan advocates counter that you can readily fill nutrition gaps with high-quality supplements and vitamins.

Many studies indicate that vegans have the lowest obesity rates than other dietary groups. On top of that, they have the lowest risk for health conditions such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease, hypertension, or thyroid issues.  

2. Vegetarian

The name of this diet speaks for itself. A vegetarian prefers plant-based meals, fruit and vegetables. If you practice this diet, you make an ethical choice by not consuming animal meat, but you may still partake in eggs and dairy. If you want to make the best choices, go for grass-fed butter and dairy, and choose free-range, antibiotic-free eggs.

Some people are reluctant to embark on a vegetarian diet because they believe it will result in a protein and iron deficiency. However, this is just a myth because you can find many plant-based protein sources such as tempeh and tofu. Moreover, you can get the essential amino acids from legumes, nuts, beans, and seaweed. Today, many products replicate the texture of meat, so you won’t miss out on your usual favourites like plant-based burgers or sausages. Furthermore, the best source of iron is actually a plant-based source: raw cacao. 

Those who opt for a vegetarian diet do not regret it because it comes with many benefits. This high fibre and a low-fat diet are proven to lower cholesterol levels and decrease the risk for chronic illnesses like diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease. In addition, choosing to be an ethical vegetarian allows you to enjoy a wide range of fresh produce, along with products from animals like yoghurt, milk, ice cream, cheese, etc. 

3. Ethical Omnivore

You don’t need to be fully vegetarian to partake in more ethical diets. What is an ethical omnivore? The key is eating meat products coming from the right animal sources. This means these farm animals are grown in more ethical conditions that do not harm the environment, impact health and affect biodiversity. An ethical omnivore is someone who consciously chooses to do the following:

  • Eat locally farmed products
  • Buy organic produce with minimal antibiotics and chemicals
  • Purchase humanely-reared food
  • Opt for grass-fed meat and dairy products
  • Support free-range poultry and eggs

For those who cannot forgo livestock in their diets, you can still make better choices because many factors make meat more ethical. For starters, making a conscious effort to purchase meat without fertilizers, insecticides, or other chemicals means you do not support the release of harmful gases into the atmosphere. More importantly, selecting quality meat ensures that unnatural additives won’t affect your health. 

Instead, you support farmers that implement composting and utilization of organic soil matter. You also patronize producers that nurture their livestock in the correct environment. Some advocates of this diet associate this choice with clean eating, which means letting go of all sorts of processed food. Ultimately, ethical omnivores practice conscious meat-eating and promote animal welfare without eliminating their primary protein source.

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4. Flexitarian

The flexitarian diet lives up to its name by allowing you some room for flexibility. You can enjoy the benefit of being vegetarian while making room for ethically sourced meat products in your diet. This option is the least daunting because you don’t have to ban any meat product entirely. 

In fact, you can go as far as to determine what diet options you want to incorporate into your routine because being flexitarian has not set rules. You can include lean turkey and chicken, which are less damaging to the environment than farming cows or sheep because the latter releases more methane into the environment.

Having the flexibility to decide what you like for your palate is a great incentive when it comes to making ethical choices. In fact, it is very liberating because, without harsh rules imposed on you, there’s no pressure during meal times. You are free to reduce your dairy and meat intake based on your preferences and needs. 

5. Pescatarian

Finally, we have the pescatarian diet, which combines pesce or fish with a vegetarian diet. This also includes crab, mussels, squid, kelp, oysters, etc., along with your veggies, fruits, eggs, and dairy products. You completely shy away from any red meat, poultry meat, or game meat. 

However, this is only ethical if you choose products that are naturally harvested from the sea. This doesn’t include seafood raised in irresponsible fish pens like caged salmon. Partaking in sustainably sourced seafood means you are not part of the pollution and inhumane practices that threaten the marine ecosystem. 

Moreover, an ethical pescatarian supports seafood that is processed in a way that doesn’t harm the earth. You also do not perpetuate the extinction of certain marine life. Fortunately, your fish-eating choices don’t have to be confusing. Some experts noted that the following fish are “safe”:

  • Mackerel
  • Mullet
  • Pollock
  • Herring
  • Sardines
  • Pacific halibut
  • Trout

Doing Your Part By Switching to an Ethical Diet

Becoming more mindful of your diet and choosing to consume sustainable sources is a form of protest against animal cruelty. It’s also you standing up for the planet, and your stand against unsafe environmental practices and exploitation. Sticking with an ethical diet means you stand firmly against animal abuse and shun irresponsible commercial practices. Instead, you embrace and support non-violence and compassion every time you partake in an ethically-sourced meal. 

Something as simple as a conscious dietary change can put an end to the suffering of people and animals. At the same time, you play your part as a good steward of Mother Earth and preserve the planet. This should not come as a surprise because every choice you make has an impact not just on yourself but to other people and sentient beings around you.

Most importantly, ethical diets can improve your health and keep chronic diseases at bay. If you are serious not just about the health of our planet but also about your own health, take a home DNA test like CircleDNA. Test results reveal your health disease risks and the best diet for you, based on your DNA.

Hannah Wabe
149 posts

About author
Hannah Victoria Wabe has an MA in Development Communication, which shows how just much she loves and believes in the power of words. She works part-time as a writer and educator but works full-time as a mother of three kids, ranging from 8 to 18. Though she’s not a big fan of math, she believes in counting blessings and imbibes an attitude of gratitude.
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