What does it mean to be a conscious consumer?
Here at Food Matters, we advocate for ethical, sustainable and local produce and homewares as much as possible. We love to know where it’s from, the ethical values of the company that makes it, what is in it, and whether it is safe for us and the environment.
Just like us, there are millions of consumers out there who are demanding the same information from manufacturers, growers and major food chains. Why? Because it matters!
Ocean Robbins, co-host and CEO of the Food Revolution Network, explains that in the modern food industry, “our food is being pumped full of antibiotics, products are made with cruelty and exploitation of animals and the environment for short term gains…. Yet, food is an intimate communion with life, everything we consume becomes our body.”
Therefore, it’s no surprise that there is a rampant level of illness all across the world, as we are getting our energy and nutrients from so many contaminated sources!
We can change this, though!
In the captivating and eye-opening film Origins, health experts including Mark Hyman, Alejandro Junger, Mark Sisson, JJ Virgin and Ulrich Steenkamp explore the ways in which our current food supply, lifestyles and demands on the planet are harming us and the earth.
Origins highlights how tens of thousands of years ago we were eating from the land, taking only what we needed, and living as sustainably as possible. No ego, no monetary gains, no mass consumption.
So how did we get into this mess? Finding ourselves stressed, burned out, chronically ill or struggling with niggling health issues that just won’t go away?
For a long time, we thought eating from manufactured boxes, bags and other plastics was okay. Yet our ancestors never used these man-made materials to get by. When we look at the basics, there are only 4 things humans really need - shelter, water, food and fire. Anything beyond this is really just a want.
Modern society throws so much at us that makes us desire things we don’t honestly, truly need. We’re focusing on the things that won’t benefit us in the long term. Ocean Robbins says, “We are biochemical individuals living in different ecosystems. It’s time for us to reclaim our own inner wisdom, bypassing the jargon that the industry throws at us and tune into what our body needs.”
We have lost our innate survival skills to live as one with the land and the other living things that surround us. We have unplugged from the planet.
For humans to survive and thrive in the wilderness, our bodies were primed to instinctively love sweet and fat foods. Historically, ripe and sweet foods were safe to eat, where the poisonous items were bitter. To survive, our bodies learned to love and hunt for fat, as it was highly nutrient-dense, which allowed for satiation and longer periods without food. But does that mean every fat and sweet is good for you? No.
Scientists across the world are given lots of money to create foods with the optimum ‘craveability’ trying to get their portion of your stomach share. So you will literally be addicted to their products. Creating chemicals that taste more like the food than the actual food does. Subverting our conscious to their agenda.
We rushed into mass manufacturing and overproduction so fast without thinking of the consequences: Fossil fuels, BPA, phthalates, plastics - we’re choking in our own chemicals.
In the film Origins, Dave Asprey says, “A lot of these chemicals have never been tested for safety, and we eat low levels of them every day in our food supply that we did not evolve to consume.”
So what can you do to be more of a conscious consumer?
It’s all about reclaiming your relationship with food; mainly, getting rid of food-like products. When you do this, a lot of the junk disappears. Less sugar, less refined ingredients, and less factory-farmed meats.
Consciously Selecting Animal Products
When you choose to eat meat and other animal products, it’s important not to think of animals as just a commodity. If you choose to consume animal products, choose ethically raised, free range, grass-fed products from local farmers with farming practices that are sustainable and as humane as possible.
Currently, there is a lack of transparency and laws regulating this industry, so by choosing to protest against factory farming with our valuable dollars, we’re not only improving the welfare and conditions these animals endure, we are also reducing the scary numbers of antibiotic-resistant bacteria being bred in these conditions.
In an extended interview, Ocean Robbins explains that “our feeding and livestock grounds have become a breeding ground of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. 30,000 American’s died last year from this bacteria! The only way to keep animals alive under such conditions is by using antibiotics. If we didn’t do this, the animals would die. But instead, we are producing bacteria within these places that are literally killing us!”
Shifting to a more sustainable way of living
There are a number of other things you can do to start a cascade effect of positive change across the world. It only takes each person to make a few small changes to their own life to see an incredible impact roll out across the entire globe. Imagine if everyone stopped using plastic bags to bring their groceries home today? What would that look like for the planet? It would be amazing! Yet, it’s a change that is fairly small for each person - offering up a massive positive impact for the entire planet.
Here are some other suggestions to help you be the positive change the world needs today:
- Take out packaged, processed foods and keep adding in local, fresh produce
- Source local, sustainable restaurants and cafes to dine out in
- Switch plastic containers and bottles out for glass, jute and natural, organic materials
- Recycle as much as you can and start a compost bin
- Shop eco-friendly, cruelty-free beauty products and fashion lines
- Take your own coffee mug to the cafe
- Add more houseplants to your home to reduce the pollution in the air
- Move more - take the stairs, park further away, and go for a hike instead of watching tv some afternoons
- Switch to chemical-free cleaning products
- Use reusable alternatives to items commonly thrown out after one use, such as baby diapers, paper towels and batteries
- Source the bulk of your grocery items and fresh produce from local farmer’s markets and shops!
If you would like to hear more about this topic and watch the entire Origins film, you can view it on FMTV here. It’s an incredible documentary that will certainly get you thinking about what, where, and how you’ll purchase your next meal.