Warning: This episode may cause an increase in hunger. We strongly advise against listening to today’s chat about food on an empty stomach. Please plan accordingly. Thank you, and enjoy! (Seriously, we do not want to be held responsible for any hanger situations.)
In today’s episode, we’re spilling the tea on labels. Whether it’s a food label or one that someone chooses to identify with (vegan, vegetarian, etc.), they can be equally helpful and harmful.
So, if you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed when it comes to unintentionally consuming animal products (why does milk powder have to be in everything anyway!?), then hit that play button and find some comfort in the fact that it is okay. You’re doing the best you can, and that is enough.
After all, there’s no use crying over rogue milk.
So grab some tea, get comfy, and hit that play button.
Find our previous episodes at https://theteaonsustainableliving.com.
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Links and resources:
#1 | How we started giving a sh*t
What is Chai Tea?
Disha Ravi: the climate activist who became the face of India's crackdown on dissent
Why is Delhi Police probing a farmers’ protest ‘toolkit’ tweeted by Greta Thunberg?
Fridays For Future
What is gelatin made of?
VEGAN LABEL READING GUIDE
Accidentally Vegan Food and Snacks List
The Carbon Impact of Food Waste: The Problem With What We’re NOT Eating
Milk's impact on the environment
Nearly One in Four in U.S. Have Cut Back on Eating Meat
UK public now eating significantly less meat
About Meatless Monday
Eating Plants | Project Regeneration
Wasting Nothing | Project Regeneration
-Brandee and Hannah
Note: This transcript is mostly unedited.
Hello and welcome to the tea on sustainable living podcast where your hosts, Hannah, and Brandee try and help each other navigate the big messy gray area of giving a shit about the planet and hopefully helping you along the way.
Each episode we have honest chats about our sustainability fails, sometimes amongst ourselves and sometimes with guests, while also leaving you with a little sprinkle of hope and inspiration to keep on giving a shit.
So go make yourself a cup of tea, get comfy, and let's dive into the episode. Hello, Give-a-Shitters. This is Brandee.
And this is Hannah.
And you're listening to episode number six of the tea on sustainable living podcast. Hey,
welcome to episode number six. What are we talking about today? Brandee? Will your highlight reel
we are talking about one of my favorite topics food.
You say it's your favorite topic, but have nothing to say brandee.
There's just too much to talk about.
Where do we start
talking about food and kind of the struggles with you know, labeling yourself, vegan vegetarian, whatever. And then kind of creating, drawing a box around yourself and then people are very quick to like, point a finger like, Oh, you did this thing. You can't be that label. You called yourself you're not vegan because you just ate something with honey in it. I got you. Which I think does more harm than good. And yeah, we'll get into spilling the tea. But you know, there are certain I say I'm vegan for the ease of it. But there are times when I do eat animal products. It's very rare in very specific situations, but just conversation about that. And yeah, whatever you feel like you're struggling with. Alright.
My my struggles vegetarianism. Yeah, there are a lot. Well, maybe No, I don't know. Depends.
Alright, we'll get to that. We'll get into that in this episode. In the meantime, my the only one drinking tea again. Yep, you're
the only one drinking tea. You've got to you know, hold the fort down for tea drinking. I'm drinking water. And I
got to be honest, I'm not drinking the tea that I'm about to tell you about because I think we've already featured all of the teas that I have in my apartment. And I was going to go about go out and buy a tea from a cafe around the corner. But I did not. Here we are
It's okay. Just spill that tea Brandee.
No, I'm gonna drink chamomile tea again. And yeah, we already featured that episode. So I won't go into that but I was looking to chai tea, which is redundant because Chai means tea. So I'm doing the tea is tea tea. I was gonna buy a box of it. But anytime I see a box of it or even like a blend in a bookshop it has what's the ingredient that reminds me of black licorice. Or nice nacf They all have that and there's Cafe around the corner that if it has it in it, I can't taste it. And that's how I got my my Chai.
And on the other hand I love all of the nice flavor I can get licorice and licorice flavored things on my one of my favorite things in the world. Well, but we're not for you. Yeah, continue Tell me about your your chai tea. Tea Tea in your tea tea.
So Thai sounded weird. It does feel weird not to say tea after the origin South Asia, I chose India and instead of a project, I found an article about this activist who I'm probably going to mispronounce her name Disha RACV di Sha. Our AV I thought we do a bit of an activist spotlight she founded India's branch of Friday's for future. What is the future is the campaign that Greta Thunberg started in which country? Thank you. So Disha Ravi is yeah, the founder of the branch in India and she was arrested and detained for 10 days and then finally released on bail for sedition and criminal conspiracy. I don't know how I missed this because I do follow good amount of social media accounts. Greta and others. I missed this one. But last February, she she was arrested for a legend involvement with an online toolkit related to Greta Thunberg and the 2000 22,021 Indian farmers protests. The Indian government alleged that the toolkit which is a standard social justice, communications and organizing document, providing a list of ways to support the farmers protests led to unrest in a form of sedition. The arrest is widely criticized within India and internationally. And yeah, there was an I got that part from Wikipedia But then there was a link. There was an article in The Guardian or link that in the show notes. And yeah, very interesting read, especially if you missed it like I did.
Yeah, by oh seven. Stan, I haven't heard about this.
Yeah. Got me thinking that, you know, activism is not the same for everyone. There are different risks for different people. But just the fact that things like this do happen and prevent more people from speaking. Yeah,
absolutely. And then also, like, how both international and local things are, you know, if she's maybe been inspired, or obviously being connected with Greta as movement and started in Sweden, but then it's also using, I guess, using that knowledge to support the, you know, the local movements for Indian farmers. So that's quite like an interesting, global world. situation.
Yeah. And I don't think the case is closed yet, like isn't technically ongoing, but from whatever I read, they're likely to drop the charges because there's, there's no basis to them really. Okay. All right.
All right. Thank you for that information. Brandee.
You're welcome. So I'm, I am one try and debt to myself, I guess, maybe tomorrow as well. Myself.
Yeah, that sounds like a good plan. Shoot yourself. And what was going on treating yourself? Tell me about your your tea that you're spilling on yourself? For the day? Randy, what are you nervous about in relation to our topic today?
Really nervous about but when we were kind of brainstorming ideas, and the food is a very big topic to unpack? Yeah, but one of the things my ongoing struggles is, yeah, being I doesn't really have them so much anymore, I think being called out for, for certain things I do the might not fit the idea of what someone else has. When I say I'm vegan, because really, I just say it for the convenience of it to get in the whole discussion about the nuance of it is sometimes they do but generally not worth it. But I sometimes have like a Don't Ask Don't Tell policy depending on where I am. I think this has kind of changed over the years, there are definitely times where I was super strict. Like if I ordered out in a restaurant, I wanted to know that different, you know, pots and pans are being used. I'm past the point of caring about that. But like sometimes when I travel with especially since COVID, the few flights I have taken, you can't request a vegan meal. And while I bring food on, it's still a long flight. And if I get hungry and oh, there's a warm vegetarian meal. I'd like a warm meal and trying to eat kind of around the dairy but it's not. Yeah, not easy. Yeah. And like it restaurants over Don't Ask Don't Tell policy with wine. Because often wine is not vegan because of the filtration process. But I know don't really care that much. I think I sometimes care more than others.
Do you think the lack of caring just comes from like oversaturation, there's so many things or just that it gets to that kind of point where it crosses over into your like, making your life too difficult versus the enjoyment or the like practicality of the other thing.
All of the above all of what you said I think it is you can get so caught up in an all the little things. And if you the more questions you ask the more, the more answers you'll get. And I don't always want the answer because I just don't care. Like if I'm at a restaurant and then that leaves my only option is something I don't want to be if I have not usually I research a restaurant before I go so I know what I can eat. I know that I can eat what I want there. But if for some reason I find myself at a restaurant, I haven't researched it and there's something that I want and I think is good. I think it's vegan. I likely won't ask the question because I I want I've already decided I want that thing. Alright, interesting. There's one Indian restaurant around here that I go to and I order what I want veggie options, but there are others on the menu that say there's ghee in it. So I ordered the dishes that don't have it on it. There's probably a strong likelihood that there's a little bit and when I'm ordering but I don't ask because I like the dishes. I order.
Yeah. And do you do you think is that good enough for you?
Yeah, I think so. At least, at least for now. If that changes if I start to feel like it's not the one I mean at home I I don't think I ever bring bring any animal products to my home. Unless someone comes over if I'm having people over and they bring their own dish. Has animal products in it then fine. I don't care.
Yeah, it's an interesting one. I also do a little bit the same. On yeah They don't ask about why not alcohol, and I don't really think about it. I know it's a thing. And weirdly with like gummy sweets, I like stuff like that the I'm like, I'm like, okay, like 90% this is probably made with, you know, analytics, but I'm like, I just don't I don't know. I don't look at the back of a packet. Yeah. Okay. Zoo. And that's the thing. This is the interesting like, Don't Ask Don't Tell, right? Because I guess if someone told me specifically that animal products in there, I would feel worse about it. Like there's something about someone else seeing it. Or you like 100%? Knowing? Yeah, that's an interesting one, isn't it? Because really, every the choices we make the first the person we have to like, answer to is ourselves. Yeah. But that influence of other people?
Like really? Front and center. Yeah, and you can't ignore it. If even if you kinda know you can kind of put it on the back of your brain. Yeah, yeah, lots of candy, especially the chewy candies have have gelatin in them. gummy candies don't like candies. But yeah, generally aren't even that sharing. There have been occasions where I have done the same knowing eating them. Because sometimes you just really need a piece of candy. And often at bars, like little mixed like nuts you get sometimes it's the little sweet candies in them, especially about a couple of drinks. Like, I want that candy that's right in front of me.
Yeah, definitely. But ya know, it's an interesting one to think like, I haven't really made it. So firstly, before that, maybe if someone else, like if I was around someone else, and they pointed it out, then I would feel worse about doing the thing.
And maybe is it because someone else is like confirming what you've kind of pushed the back of your head that you're doing something wrong. And now someone's like, calling you out on it?
Yeah, maybe. And I do think it is also that thing about, for me anyway, I'm not sure you'd necessarily agree. But for me, like having the label saying I'm vegetarian, I find that quite helpful. And I also feel like, I can kind of make not make other people's lives difficult. That's not what I mean. I don't care what other people do. But I feel like it'd be like, Okay, we're gonna come and eat out at this restaurant, or I can't go there. There aren't any vegetarian options. So maybe, like, inconvenient someone else. And if I know, I'm not like fully following through, then that's like, harder to do or that that is like, I don't know, maybe somehow negating my like, right, to request someone else to change what they would do. I don't know. I mean, there's also definitely times and someone else being like, oh, you know, there's like Gomez have like gelatin, and I've just eaten them anyway. So I can't have that much of an influence. You just go. Yeah, yeah, I don't know. What to do. Yeah.
I think yeah, sometimes people are trying to be helpful, like, oh, just in case you didn't know. Because, yeah, people don't know, another time, like, you know, this have gelatin in it. Right? What, what is the point of this interaction?
Yeah. And that's also, uh, how does that make you feel? You know, like, I do feel like, there were some people who, you know, they'd like really care about it. So they will go out of their way to be like, Oh, I checked that this wine is like, that I brought is like vegan, and then you're like, Oh, that's great. But also, I would have drugged the other one anyway. Yeah, I don't know. Like,
I find myself in that situation a lot. And I just may not appreciate and I really, I appreciate people going out of their way. I think I felt like this more so in the beginning. But at times, it can feel a bit like, people are making too much of a fuss over you. It's like, no, like, I don't, I don't wanna make a big deal out of it. Like, I'll just all I'll figure it out, I'll deal with it. But people around you want to be helpful. Yeah, members, and I get that, and I appreciate that. But I've just gotten used to kind of looking out for myself. I don't know if that's the best way to phrase it. But looking at ingredients, nine and a half times out of 10.
And I think, how would you feel because I feel like in terms of a vegetarian. It's pretty easy to spot the well. I was gonna say it's pretty easy to spot the things that you don't want to eat like, it's just made
easier, but unnecessarily No, that is true. But like, like, why would there be other products? Why would there be something non vegetarian in a cute piece of candy?
Yeah, no, that is true. But like, and yeah, I guess. I mean, in general, yes. In general. I agree. Like whereas as a vegan, like, you know, the so much rogue milk and things that I like egg
Ooh could that be a bit of an episode title. Something about rogue milk interested?
I'll leave that in your capable creative hands. When milk goes rogue, the Yeah, or something along those lines. Okay. Do you feel obligated to look at labels? Would you want it to be clearer? Like, what do you think about the little? V? Like Reagan V?
Oh, I like that. I like that a lot. Makes it very easy for me. I mean, I'm, I'm more so just in the habit now of Yeah, looking at ingredients. But I'm also used to just buying the same types of products.
Yeah, I think, yeah, I guess that's like environment, chicken. I mean, not just about like a new vegan thing, right? Like, I'm not vegan. So I don't know, I don't look to things to that extent. But I feel like that must be something that makes it quite hard at the beginning, right, that you feel like you have to check everything.
Yes. And depending on the products you buy, it can be very difficult because the list of ingredients will be a list of things that you've never heard of. Right. So there are a lot of sneaky, sneaky items like that. And yeah, resources for the show notes. But the trick is to skip down to the allergens section. assuming there's no meat in it, that it's at least vegetarian dairy will always be an allergen. Yeah. And I think seafood, shellfish, as well. Like gonna say, if something says may contain milk, or whatever, it just means it was made in a facility that was that processes those ingredients. So if you're like, definitely allergic, they're covering their asses. So you don't see them. But as someone who just makes, yeah, visions based on, you know, ethics and the planet, etc. I'm not allergic. So a little bit is fine, big picture. So you can see down to the may contain or main facility, and it's fine. Unless you're allergic to those items.
Right. And that's something that maybe puts firms off putting, like a vegan sign on things. You know, you can find a big list of like, the accidentally vegan products, you know, the most famous being Oreos and like, satin a lot of pastry products like baked good products. Like ready made pastry can be be and yeah, but they weren't actually probably. Yeah,
I wish they would. Yeah,
I mean, yeah, I guess it's like covering that box. I'm not Oh, no, no, maybe you have to like,
why don't main thing. I feel like the reason to not make something I mean, would be less about allergens and more about I don't know. I feel like some people get weird around things that say it's vegan. But people don't realize that. That chickpeas or that's true spinach are vegan and healthy and good for you. It's just food without animal products. Yeah, there are a ton of meat, meat and dairy replacement items that I personally find interesting that people are more grossed out then by the actual product.
And also I think there's there's still a perception, although it's changing that like vegan food. It's not very good. Especially vegan baked goods. So yeah, especially maybe for like the baked goods and sweets. Like maybe that really would people probably bought off like this. Yeah, the idea that it's like development pays very nice.
Yeah, as far as restaurants have come a long way and yet the replacement items you find in grocery stores to be you know, burgers have come a long way. I remember eating Yeah, like black bean patties and the veggie patties that you could see like the pieces of vegetables in them. Yeah, very much what they were they were not trying to replicate. But now we have yet beyond burgers impossible burgers, which are good. And I think in the beginning, I was weird about them. Because they tasted too. Too many too meaty. Yes. What about you, if you're like out of the restaurant, so you order what you think is a vegetarian dish we find out later was made with I don't know, bone broth,
or? Yeah, that's an interesting one because I was trying to work this out. So I guess because I would have always signed like very much vegetarian, but I would have very much come from the environmental direction. So I've always kind of been like, I feel like it is sustainable to eat meat once or twice a month. So I could do that. But I don't because for me it's just easier to be fully vegetarian. So I feel like stuff like that kind of hidden animal products. I feel kind of okay with although I wouldn't necessarily order it if I knew it was in there. And actually, I think in to some extent, I like that I like that all parts of the, you know, I think if you're going to kill an animal to eat it, then we should be using all the parts of the animal. But it is true that I'm definitely like more weirded out by like me. Now, you know now it's been like quite a while like four or five years since I've eaten meat, and I do remember I like I don't know, I was out somewhere and they were like, cheese by. But like, one of them they accidentally put like the chicken bites in that look the same and I bought into it. I was like, oh, and I like just couldn't eat it. And I had another friend that who was also a vegetarian. She's like, Oh, I would like probably just to finish it. Like, I'd started to eat it like, okay, it's it wasn't a choice. But it just like, really? I was like, oh, no,
That's kinda my thought process.
I don't normally. Yeah,
I just think that was kind of my thought process. Like for flights, it's gonna get wasted. Anyway, it already heated it up, opened it. Yeah, it's gonna get thrown out. So with food waste being such a big issue, which used to work on true, it'd be the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases after US and China. That's huge. So that's a big, big move you could make without having to cut anything out. Just eat the food you buy.
I knew a couple of people who were Freegans they were like vegan if they bought anything, but anything that was free that was like, eat whatever you want. So if they were in like an event, or they got offered something or like, whatever, then they would eat it because of the same thing or like, oh, it would be thrown out anyway. So for me, there's like, I'm just gonna eat it.
I mean, there's a health aspect to the way I choose to eat so yeah, I think I talked about this in our like, Intro episode kind of balancing the what's my priority? Is it ethics, health, the planet because of all of those reasons are? Why I eat the way I eat. But they've all been number one, the number one reason at different times. And I guess they they do kind of fluctuate. Yeah, I was gonna say something else, but I can't remember. What was it?
I don't know. Brandee, I can't read your mind. Unfortunately,
why not? Hello, give a shatter brandy here. I just wanted to quickly interrupt this episode to tell you a little bit more about our show notes. Each episode has a dedicated show notes page on our website, the T on sustainable living.com/show notes, where you can find more information about the topic of the episode. In addition to links to any articles and resources mentioned in the episode, we throw in a few more ways for you to keep on giving a shit. From articles and documentaries to books and apps. We want each show notes page to help you feel better equipped with information and tools to take action today. You can think of it as a choose your own adventure. We'll also update you on our chosen actionable item from the episode to let you know how it's going for us. So after this episode, head on over to our show notes page at the T on sustainable living.com Flash show notes all right now back to the episode
Yeah, it's an interesting one, this kind of topic because it is sort of the around the edges stuff. Like I feel, you know, like the key principles of for me of vegetarianism or few for veganism or like them, you know, 98% of my diet is definitely vegetarian. If I eat something, it's, you know, like, it's like those like really like picky things on the side. Like, you know, what is it worth you investing your energy in? A probably like you say, it depends on what your priorities are. Like, what's your motivation? You know, can we just go down a wormhole of being like, oh, no, I can't have that or having to like, I don't know, maybe? Yeah. Yeah, yeah.
If you make it too stressful, you're not going to maintain it. It's not gonna be a sustainable change for you. I remembered I was gonna say now that something about you when I look at me, I don't look at it and think food. But when I look at Dairy, I look at it like it's something I'm choosing not to eat. Like it's still focused, but I'm choosing not to eat it. Yeah, whereas the meat I'm like, okay, food.
Yeah. Oh, that's interesting. So it's just like drops so far. Yeah, like something you'd ever consider.
Yeah, but would you okay, it gets more honestly no with these beyond impossible burgers because they do look like me. Huh? So I have a different
system but the creeped me out and like you know the the ones which look like they're like, mincemeat you know, you can get them in packs and like the ground. No, like when it's already ground. I'm fine with it. But like, you know, when it's like, oh, the likes, like squiggles. Yeah, there's just something about that. That just like squid like me. Oh, no, like, Oh, no. In the ground packet. I'm like frozen. I'm good. Then like, I don't know why it's in like pieces. I'm fine. Huh? But like when it was not like Squiggy No. Can't do it. You know, it doesn't sound nice. Yeah, no. But like maybe that's because I didn't like the pieces. I would never brought if they were meat. Like when I ate meat, I would definitely buy like the minced meat like the squishy stuff. And that's what I was used to cooking with. And I would never brought the like more processed stuff, or very rarely. So I don't know what I'm trying to say. But like,
I think you can get caught up in the details of it all. But I think, yeah, as far as like, figuring out what to prioritize, it's, it's you, you pick one thing, that's an issue of prioritizing. People say, refer to them as like multiple priorities. Well, they can't all be priorities. They might be a different time. But choosing Yeah, what's important to you? Is it being kinder to the planet, your animals,
I agree with you. But I can feel a part of me resisting that being like, it's all important, like, how is it?
It is important, but each one will be each person will have something that's a little bit more important than the others. For whatever the reason, if it's how they grew up animals in their home, maybe they start to realize, Oh, why am I eating these animals or not those, then the ethics of it, of not eating or harming animals might be the priority for them? Because of their circumstances. Okay, yeah, that the other reasons aren't important, you know, we do need to eventually, sooner rather than later save the planet so that we can all still live on it.
Yeah, that was kind of going to be my response. Like, I mean, it's all very well and good. But like, you know, I'm sharing, you could argue to me, but like, oh, but look at the impact of dairy, that has a huge, huge agriculture, you know, environmental impact, which yes, it does. Like you, you can be like, actually, you don't I mean, you don't really have a choice. I mean, you do have a choice. But you can make the argument, like why you still choosing to harm the the environment in a way that you know, is bad and impactful when it's such a simple choice not to eat in, which
really easy from an outside perspective. But yeah, ended up you know, individual person making a change, when they think when they feel like it's coming from them.
And whatever, it never feels like it's coming from them, which most people it doesn't.
Right. Yeah. I mean, I hope that there are more people that do feel the need to make changes than those, which
I mean, they definitely are, right. I mean, if we looked at the statistic for people eating less meat, yeah, the numbers are definitely a thing. Yeah. It's a no, no.
I guess we'll find out. But, yeah, I mean, the hopeful thing of it all that you you don't have to go all in, I think if you if you do come at it from an ethical standpoint, changing your diet, from an ethical standpoint, it's harder to kind of pick and choose when you're going to what your ethics, like not wanting to harm animals, because you're wrong. I feel like it's harder to like my example, my exception of like, when I fly cheese in the vegetarian meal, trying not to eat the dairy in it. from an ethical standpoint. I don't think you can, I don't know, make an exception. If you made a decision. I'm not going to animal products, because it's bad to animals. Oh, but I will This one time, and ignore the the one animal that this harm, whereas if you're coming from a health perspective, or an environmental perspective, it's got a bit more leeway. Yeah. Because it's, it's the majority like meatless Mondays. That's a great start. If you look at if, if all the people in Spain were to do meatless Mondays, the impact that would have and yeah, people just have meat Mondays, they get to a point where that's the one day a week they eat meat, that's an even bigger impact. So you can make a big impact without having to, to go all in or give yourself a label, if that's not what you want to do. Yeah. I think what I was trying to get out.
Yeah. Well, that's a good point. And
so yeah, so meatless Mondays. That's a great action item. Meet Mondays. I'm on this one website called regeneration.org. Are you laughing at
me? No, I was like, imagining someone being like, yeah, Monday. It's obvious, like, like, you're encouraging people to eat me. But I know what you mean. It's like, Monday, vegetarian the rest of the week?
Yes, that is the point I was trying to make. As far as like an educational resource, there's this website regeneration.org/nexus. It'll be in the show notes. That is basically like a better version of our show notes. Like if you click on a topic, it'll give it starts at the very top call to action and goes through why it's a problem. What individuals can do what companies can do, has a section called bad actors and more We need to change as far as the law, which is very like comprehensive kind of tool if you want to go to like individual topics, and there are a few of our food. And I'll put them in the show notes. And we're a bit late for January. But we've talked in previous episodes, you can go meat free any month of the year. So
yeah, this is probably, maybe what I'll do, because I definitely haven't begun here.
Yeah. And I ultimately, I think, you just lead by example, if you want to make a change, you just change it in your own life, and then let the people around. You come to you with their questions as they have them instead of, you know, going around calling people out. Because as, as we've discussed, that is not very helpful. People Well, that's definitely true. People get mad, offended or just shrug their shoulders and not care. And that yeah, that doesn't do anything. But the more people the more people that around you that make changes, the more likely you are so it's a ripple effect. And it's a great place to start. Yeah. All right. I'm gonna feel guilty and go to bed.
Sounds good. If anyone's listening, let us know what you're aware of vegan vegetarian meat eater. What you choose to do. Where your points of difficulty are? Yeah, know what you're struggling on our Instagram. What's our Instagram Brandee?
at the tea on sustainable living
Excellent. Alright, see you later. Bye. Bye.
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Alright, Give-a-Shitters, tea you later. Get it? Tea you later? As in, see you later? So punny.
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