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Ethical Eating


When we think about food today most of us agree that two things are important: nutritious food and ethical eating. It’s no use eating lots of food if it isn’t doing our body any good. Eating lots of sugary, processed food is not going to provide many nutrients to allow our body to function well or heal properly! Nor is it good to eat food without thinking about where it comes from. It is cruel to treat animals only as a source of food and to subject them to a life of confinement and distress just to fill our supermarkets with never-ending supplies of sausages and bacon.

When we think about ethical nutrition, an increasingly important topic today, we may tend to think of veganism. But is this the answer? Should we be turning to veganism to get nutritious food and to ensure ethical eating?

This blog will give an overview of ethical nutrition and look at the pros and cons of being a vegan or an omnivore…and because it is such an important topic, I will have a couple more blogs to follow up. I want to share a lot of nutritional advice with you and I know one post will not be enough!


Ethical eating

There are a number of ethical issues that face us every time we go shopping for food because we face hunger, limited fuel and climate change on a global scale.

Mass production and packaging

For many foods, plastic packaging helps protect food from spoiling, but one look around a supermarket and it is easy to see that excessive amounts of plastic packaging are not only wasteful, but also very harmful to the environment. Mass production also means we are throwing away more and more food and food waste is one of the biggest challenges to eating ethically. Do you know there are 25 million slices of bread thrown away every day? One interesting way of looking at it is to think ‘If food waste was a country it would have the third largest carbon footprint after China and the US’. That should give us food for thought and I know it makes me so much more careful with the food I buy!

Superfluous foods

I think of superfluous foods as foods that have little or no nutritional benefit, such as sugary fizzy drinks and processed foods. Some of my clients like a naughty treat every now and then. Don’t we all! But there are some families who only eat these kinds of superfluous foods and there is an alarming increase of lifestyle-related diseases like Type 2 Diabetes. Did you know blindness is an increasingly common problem in the UK? And that this is directly related to Type 2 Diabetes? Many people are suffering because of a lack of nutrition and the NHS is struggling to care for them.

On top of this, consider the production and transport costs of making these heavily processed foods. They often cost far more than food that is less processed and they are far less healthy for us! Even at a personal level, you can save money by staying away from pre-prepared foods with excess packaging such as sandwiches, ready meals, washed salads, and bottled drinks with added sugar, and become healthier by drinking filtered tap water and making your own healthy packed lunches!

Meat and dairy industry

One of the most pressing problems is how do we eliminate all forms of exploitation and cruelty to animals? And another is how do we reduce the damaging effects of animal agriculture on the environment? You are probably familiar with alarming statistics about animal agriculture: that it contributes to 65% of global nitrous oxide emissions, 35–40% of methane emissions, and 9% of carbon dioxide emissions. And on top of that, animal agriculture uses thousands of gallons of water to produce 1kg of beef, up to 43 times more water than to produce grains or vegetables.

I know it is tempting to think of giving up meat and animal products altogether when faced with those statistics! But remember that animals are an important part of our food chain and reared humanely they produce the manure we need to grow crops and provide food with some of the most nutrient-rich food humans need for optimal health – including Vitamin B12 that you simply cannot get from plants alone.  It is important to listen to what your body needs and to eat those foods in moderation.


Tips for ethical nutrition

Start to love your leftovers! Freeze them, make soups or stews with leftovers or fry them up with a tasty sauce. Don’t throw old food away or leave it too long that it is only fit for the bin. There is also a food waste app called Olio which is well worth looking at!

Think about packaging! Wherever possible, choose to buy food that has not been packaged in plastic. Carry home your food in your own bags/containers or have it delivered without plastic wrapping and plastic bags.

Find your local farmer’s market for organic vegetables and free-range/grass-fed meat. Not only will you be eating nutritious food without added pesticides, you will also have no plastic packaging. The Soil Association can direct you to local farms that grow and sell organic vegetable boxes.  The box I receive from North Aston Organic contains vegetables that freshly picked and they are all loose in the box, so I don’t feel guilty about using lots of plastic.


I hope this blog has helped you think about the environmental impact of what you eat and how you eat. We all want to eat ethical and nutritious food, so look out for my next blogs on how to eat ethically and healthily as an omnivore or as a vegan!

Every blessing,


Emma Maitland-Carew – Registered Nutritional Therapist

Dip.ION, mBANT, CHNC Registered Practitioner,

Metabolic Balance® Coach, HeartMath Coach.

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