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Five Simple Ways to Eat a More Humane and Healthy Menu

giving back

I’ve had animals for as long as I can remember. I've always had animals and once my husband and I were married we started the slow process of becoming more and more self-sufficient. That's why I'm glad the ASPCA is going beyond a message of just adopting a #ShelterPet, but also becoming more concerned with the welfare of farm animals as well. Here are five simple ways to become a more aware and humane-conscious consumer when shopping for your family’s groceries.

Shop seasonally and locally for more humane farm animal welfare.

Eat Seasonally - Eating foods in season means that you’re able to buy from a more local economy and avoid having your food ship from other countries. This means fresher foods picked at peak ripeness too! If I can't grow it myself, I will do my best to purchase from someone nearby who is. Then I know I'm getting the best option available.

Shop Locally - CSA’s and local farmers’ markets help support local, often smaller scale, farmers and ranchers who are producing outside of the traditional factory-farm system. If you aren’t sure where to start, visit your local farmers’ market and start asking some question - this guide will get you started. We love buying our milk from the local Amish dairy where we can see the cows and come during milking time. Not only is it less expensive than commercially produced milk for us but it's also a great feeling knowing exactly where our milk comes from and how wonderfully the animals are treated.

Conquer Labeling Confusion - It can be confusing when you're shopping to know which labels actually mean something and it seems like marketers don't always help. Marketers create confusion with their flashy labels and clever catch-phrases. Unfortunately, sometimes they care more about finances than transparency. Words like “natural” or “humane” often don’t have any oversight to actually tell you as a consumer anything concrete. However, some phrases and labels do have regulations associated with their use, and that’s what you can start to look for as a savvy shopper. Here’s a guide to labeling to get you started.

Be Careful to Minimize Waste - One of the ways we can treat the animals used for food respectfully and humanely is by making the most of the food we purchase. Purchase only what you know you’ll use and serve the right sized portions to avoid wasting what your family buys. See other ways to reduce and be more green in the coming year.

Look for Certifications That Mean Something - Unlike marketing gimmicks there are certain certifications and awards that have true meaning. For example the USDA Organic label shows that the produce grown (or fed to the animal) didn’t use banned pesticides. Others include Animal Welfare Approved or Certified Humane. Now that I know what to look for when I'm shopping I'll be able to shop with more confidence.

See The Good Groceries Guide for more information about how our shopping habits impact the lives of those around us - animals included.  Find more resources for savvy shoppers at the ASCPA Shop With Your Heart website!

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Angela England is a professional blogger, social media teacher, and Editor-in-Chief of Blissfully Domestic. She's recently published a new ebook, 30 Days to Make and Market a Fabulous Ebook, to help others reach their online goals. A homeschooling mother of four living with her husband in rural Oklahoma, her tweets range from chickens and beehives, to business and blogging.

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