I was nominated for the 3 day quote challenge by Carol from Cooking For The Time Challenged. Carol’s blog catalogues her brilliant and simple recipes and give a wonderful insight into her daily cooking. We share the same theme of feeding our families healthy nutritious food with meticulous planning and organisation! Please check out her blog and take a look for yourself.
The idea is to post 1 or 3 quotes a day for 3 consecutive days, and then nominate 3 blogs per day (or 9 at the end of the challenge, which is how I’ve chosen to do it) to pass on the philosophy, wisdom and hopefully positivity.
So here goes – day one, I have chosen 3 quotes which contribute to a theme – Ethical choice.
This quotation is my all time favourite, here it is attributed to Edward Everett Hale, but it is also often attributed to Helen Keller. Either way, what it states, I believe should be a fundamental rule for human life! This one speaks to me of ethics, of protest, of standing up for oneself or others, of doing what is right. All too often we can feel like there is no point, that what we do can not possibly have an impact on the world, but this simply isn’t true. Any step, any positive and mindful action is important and influential. The smallest ethical decisions can have far reaching rippling effects. It is empowering (and scary) to know that every decision and action you make can achieve something or touch someone else, and it is comforting to know that you alone do not have to achieve everything.
If you’re reading my blog, there’s a fairly high chance that you’re vegetarian or vegan, or that you are interested in eating meat free, or making some other ethical food choices… Now, as a blog reader and writer I’m hyper aware that writing vegan recipes, while not actually practising veganism, may disappoint some readers. I try to make my ethical food choices and views clear in my posts, and I personally, while having the utmost respect for anyone’s choice to become vegan, find myself struggling with impossible ethical issues which I’m not yet sure can be solved with veganism. I like to think we are all on our own ethical journeys; some of us are just starting out with a gradual awareness, some of us are grappling with complex ethical dichotomies; but all of us, hopefully, are moving forward, increasing in awareness and letting that awareness affect our decision making where food is concerned. It upsets me when people are mocked or ridiculed for taking small steps towards an ethical and sustainable diet, which sadly I feel happens more frequently than it should in the vegetarian/vegan community. For many people, choosing to buy organic food, consciously giving up meat for just one day a week, or simply boycotting a non-ethical company, is a huge step which should be recognised and applauded. When you are part of a large veggie, vegan or organic online community, it is easy to forget that these things are absolutely not mainstream in the real world at all.
Which brings me to Aristotle. He is right, making these choices part of our everyday habits takes time, and a shift in attitude, culture, taste and thought. 10 years ago, I would not have thought it possible or even necessary to shop, cook and eat the way I do, but now it seems like a natural evolution, born out of an increasing awareness. I have developed an evolving set of (until now) unwritten rules which govern my family’s diet.
- I only spend money at a few ethical retailers (and it’s helpful to discount known unethical brands and simply pretend they don’t exist, to prevent the convenience trap) and I remain quite loyal to them, supporting their practices.
- I go home empty handed if the item I require is not available at the quality I want (i.e.. organic, fair-trade, local, palm oil free…), this one was a hard to break, we are used to the convenience of being able to go out and pick up what we want to eat whenever we choose, but this really is a luxury we should consider more deeply. There is always an alternative and it is rarely a disaster to go without an item until something suitable is available.
- I buy in bulk to be able to afford higher ethical prices, and cook from scratch.
- I plan ahead, including meal planning and shopping, so I don’t get caught out without something and I waste nothing.
- I shop seasonally. We don’t eat strawberries in winter.
These ‘rules’ have developed over time, and I break them myself on occasion, but they generally keep us eating good wholesome food, with a low impact on the planet, at a price we can afford.
And this brings me to my last quote of today. All of this ‘inconvenience’ and careful consideration of our diet goes against our modern western food culture. Our supermarkets, convenience food brands and fast-food outlets mask the hidden production methods and ‘costs’ of the majority of the food on offer to us. The artificial additives, the unpaid labour, the unnecessary packaging, the air freighting, the heated greenhouses and toxic pesticides, the unsustainable levels of waste, the deforestation and the inhumane treatment and slaughter of animals. Gandi was right, and once you become acutely aware of the ‘hunger and unhappiness’ that goes into our planet’s food production for the wealthy west, you will take those baby steps, however small, to stop taking part in it. Your food will taste all the more beautiful for it.