What You Eat Can Be an Act of Social Justice

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With all of the devastating events happening across the globe, it can be hard as just one person to feel like you can make a difference. But it is when all of us make choices that collectively we can make big changes. It is when enough people believe in something and make a shift. Big or small the choices we make in our personal lives can move us forward as a global society.

So, how does this fit into what you eat, you ask?

Let’s look at one recent global issue - the burning of the Amazon Rain Forest. Epic devastation of a natural resource that cannot be restored. (This feels like a sad theme across the earth, currently.) The destruction of the Amazon rainforest is accelerating rapidly due to humans. The land is being cleared for cattle production and lumber. At this point, you might be thinking, “Sure, but I don’t live there, I am not responsible, I have no control over this.” Actually, that is not true.

 Those of us who eat red meat are supporting those who are burning of the rainforest for cattle production through our purchase of beef. When there is a high demand for red meat, there is an incentive for governments and businesses to encourage cattle production to expand.

 Now, this may feel like a huge global issue to take on as one person, but your food choices can make a difference. You and I, and those around us that eat beef, can make a difference. Even if you don’t want to eat more heart-healthy meals, or cut down on your meat consumption, hear me out. Challenge yourself to replace two to three meals a week, in which you would normally eat beef, with a plant-based meal. Not only will it help your health, but a well-balanced plant-based meal will help the planet.

By reducing your red-meat meals each week and increasing your plant-based consumption, you are performing an act of social justice!

How do you do this if you are not used to cooking vegan or vegetarian meals?

It takes a bit of time. If you want to make it really easy on yourself, just go to a great plant-based restaurant or look in your local grocery store for plant-based meal options. This will help you gain ideas for how you can start preparing your own plant-based meals each week. Seed Café, voted Best Vegan Restaurant in Minneapolis, is a great resource. Easy grab-and-go, or full menu items are available. These are heart-healthy, nutrient and protein-rich whole meals that are entirely made of plants! Once you get into the habit and start to learn what you love the most, you can start to experiment at home with your own vegetarian and vegan recipes.

 Yes, we live in Minnesota, which is far from a tropical rainforest. But when a massive global shared resource is threatened, it is our responsibility as citizens of this planet to decide if there is a way we can help. It doesn’t have to be a huge action. It can be an action that helps yourself, as well as others. So, go ahead! Start dreaming of ways your food choices can have an impact on the world! The options are endless!