Plant-Based Pause No 25: Read Labels

In November 2011, I made the decision to progress towards a plant-based diet and lifestyle. Since then, I have learnt so much about where our food comes from, and what it does to our bodies and the environment. Along the way, I have encountered many obstacles and challenges. I have also been asked lots of questions, most of them valid and a few off them more than a little odd. One of the aims of my blog is to chronicle my experiences as a plant-based traveller. So, hopefully these Plant-Based Pauses will provide a little more explanation and maybe answer some questions that my readers may still have.

‘Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance.’ – Will Durant

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This one may seem obvious. I mean, anyone who’s following a diet other than an omnivore eat-whatever-you-want option has to read labels to make sure they can eat whatever they are sizing up. What I’m suggesting, though, is that you should pay more attention to some of the lesser read parts of labels. The nutritional information, allergies and vegan suitability are all important, but there’s quite often a lot of other good stuff on there as well. Most companies include their website address, which can provide a whole lot of information and new recipes. And if you’re eating vegan/plant-based/organic, you’ll quite often find that the products you buy affiliate themselves with other good causes. For example, the brand of coffee I buy runs a scheme where you can collect tokens and send them in to help The Yorkshire Rainforest Project (I think it’s a charity based in Yorkshire that helps rainforests in other parts of the world as opposed to someone trying to create a rainforest in Yorkshire!). Sometimes you’ll find interesting info typed on the packaging itself. I’ve learnt more about the UK hemp industry from the information typed on the side of Good Hemp Milk cartons than anywhere else.

Before you throw that empty carton or package away, take a closer look at what’s written on it. You never, know, you may learn something new.

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