2019 Resolutions: Starting Off on the Right (Carbon) Foot(print)

30 Dec

Happy (almost) New Year! I’ve been busy crafting a January vegan(ish) inspired menu for myself. I’m changing course with my previous plan after some trial, error, and soul searching.

I recently had a cold and stomach virus at the same time. My sensitive stomach made eating while sick extra challenging, and I was not prepared. My appetite was minimal, and I caved and ate some chicken breast (an impromptu meat allowance) and an extra serving of fish. While under the viral influence, my vulnerability had convinced me that I needed to end my veg experiment in the interest of my health. But as the post-sick haze dissipated, I regained my resolve.

Original January Plan: Lacto-Ovo (includes unlimited eggs/dairy) vegetarian diet with a fish allowance (1 serving for the whole month)

New Plan: Lacto-Ovo vegetarian diet with a bigger fish allowance (2 servings for the whole month) and a reduced dairy allowance (4 servings for the whole month) – Reducing my dairy consumption earlier than planned helps me feel better about my inability to give up fish (yet).

I will limit my mock meat consumption to once a week. I may need to lower this if these indulgences cause pain flares.

I am also including 2 non-vegetarian products in my diet: cricket flour (daily in my smoothies) and oysters (weekly).

Since my desire to go vegan is based on minimizing my carbon footprint and reducing animal suffering, these two products fit the bill well enough for me. My special needs body may indulge in animal proteins while leaving my conscience mostly unscathed. Win-win!

Why Oysters?

Oysters and mussels are animals, but they are not sentient beings. They do not possess brains and are unlikely to feel pain. Most seafood cultivation results in a depressing amount of bycatch.

From the World Wildlife Fund:

A staggering amount of marine life—including turtles, dolphins and juvenile fish—is hauled up with the catch, and then discarded overboard dead or dying. https://www.worldwildlife.org/threats/bycatch#

Oysters, by contrast, are farmed in a way that causes less harm to other sentient beings. Oyster cultivation even offers environmental benefits. Oysters help clean water by filtering out excess nitrogen which, along with phosphorus, contributes to algae blooms.

Oysters are not vegan by the classic definition, because they are animals (so are sponges). However, eating oysters is consistent enough with the ethical principles behind veganism that a special term was coined for vegans who choose to eat oysters: ostrovegan.

Oysters are a good source of protein, iron, zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids. While all these nutrients are attainable on a well-planned vegan diet, I think my body will appreciate the occasional boost, especially given my malabsorption issues.

Why Crickets?

If you think eating bugs is gross, but you enjoy hot dogs, your opinions are determined by western ideals rather than logic. Or maybe you’ve just never looked into what hot dogs are made of before.

Insects require much less water to produce than livestock, and they emit only trace amounts of greenhouse gases.

Crickets are a nutritional powerhouse. They are a good source of iron and an excellent source of protein, riboflavin, and vitamin B12 (a nutrient that must be supplemented on a vegan diet). Since my body will not allow me to eat isolated proteins (found in mock meats and protein powders) or beans with abandon, I’m doing my best to choose the lesser of all the evils.

Pigs are smarter than your dog (and probably my toddler, for that matter), but because culture doesn’t give a damn about rational decision making, many humans happily munch away on bacon while wagging their finger at people who eat dogs. From a moral standpoint, it’s arbitrary and ridiculous. The jury is still out on whether insects feel pain, but I’m more comfortable with suffering bugs than suffering mammals, even if that’s not entirely ethically sound.

 

References

https://sentientist.org/2013/05/20/the-ethical-case-for-eating-oysters-and-mussels/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IK_tZ7sTwrI

https://www.worldwildlife.org/threats/bycatch#

https://www.seafoodhealthfacts.org/description-top-commercial-seafood-items/oysters

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BwC4WRKi5QY

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/jul/06/will-eating-insects-ever-be-mainstream

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jFRQd-1bv5I&t=378s

https://www.reference.com/pets-animals/smart-pigs-4d7e3191b725823e

 

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