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.
‘Judge a man by his questions rather than his answers.’ – Voltaire
Once you become plant-based, you naturally start to question other areas of your life. It’s no longer just about the food you choose to put in your mouth. Before I became plant-based, I rarely questioned where the goods I consumed came from. Food just arrived in my kitchen and on my plate, and clothes and other goods were in the shops ready for me to buy. I blindly trusted the people that put them there.
As consumers, we hold a massive power over producers and sales outlets. When I was a kid, the issue of clothes retailers using sweatshops to produce their goods was highlighted in the British press and the nation reacted angrily. Many people vowed to boycott shops that were revealed to use sweatshops. Nowadays, clothes shops have to be open about their ethical policies and practices to be successful on the high street. They may not yet be perfect, but things have certainly improved. That’s the result of consumer action.
Living ethical does not necessarily mean making your own gifts from recycled waste or pickling your own vegetables, although these are both respectable ventures if you choose them. There are plenty of honest, environmentally friendly businesses out there who provide plenty of options. Here are a few of my personal favourites:
Ethical Superstore – This is my one stop shop for all things ethical. They can deliver almost everything you need to live ethically, right to your front door. I regularly stock up on toiletries, biodegradable baby wipes and kitchenware. And at Christmas, Ethical Superstore is one of my first stops for great gifts. The site is also great value for money, with lots of offers and promotions to help you make more ethical choices.
Vegetarian Shoes – In an ideal world I would own every pair of women’s shoes from Vegetarian Shoes. I regularly order shoes, belts, accessories and even biodegradable pens from their website. They also have a fab shop in Brighton, which I use as an excuse to visit one of my favourite towns whenever I can.
Playmobil – If you’re looking for suitable children’s gifts, Playmobil is a great choice. It’s made in Europe, and they have a great ethical policy which you can read on their website.
Hipo Hyfryd – If anyone ever tells you that vegan chocolate is boring, send them in the direction of Hipo Hyfryd. I use the excuse that I’m shopping for gifts when I buy chocolates from this local Welsh company, but I’m actually just treating myself.