1. Become a locavore.
If you have to ask what this is, you are already behind the times. The 2007 Word of the Year from Oxford Dictionary, a “locavore” is someone who buys locally grown food only. This is not to be confused with someone who simply buys food locally, as most people do in fact shop at nearby grocery stores and markets. The locavore lifestyle values the consumption of food in its “most pure and nutritionally complete state” (a direct quote from locavores.com). You hadn’t really considered that your food might be withholding its nutrition from you somehow, but now you know that any food that has to travel to you from too many states away will have some of its goodness evaporated in the process. So, rid yourself of this airplane-to-table lifestyle and start supporting your local farmers. Don’t panic that you can’t really visualize where the nearest farm is, or that your most recent interaction with a farmer was during an elementary school social studies field trip (dressing as a sexy farmer for Halloween probably doesn’t count). Start buying anything that names your state as its home, and feel good knowing that if a tornado were to wipe out the entire Midwest tomorrow, you’d still be able to get your cherry tomatoes. Where can you find this locally grown deliciousness? The best place is at farmers’ markets. The most legitimate markets are outdoors only, no matter the time of year (replicating actual farm conditions), and they are only open from about 9am to noon once a week, usually on a Saturday morning. Get over your hangover because you need to get enough food in this shopping trip to last you the week. Don’t bother with farmers’ markets that accept anything but cash only; accepting credit cards is a sure sign that the seller is too business savvy to be an actual farmer. Similarly, avoid anything being sold for less than double what it would be at Trader Joe’s. Binge-spending once a week this way will feel crazy at first, but the long-term benefits of purity and nutritional completeness are worthwhile; you will become accustomed to the diet of acorn squash and pepper jelly.
2. Become an ethical omnivore.
As an ethical omnivore, you are ensuring that any animal you eat can be considered “free range” meat. This means the animal was allowed to play outside at least once a day while being raised; think of it as farm recess. A little research will reveal that this outdoor time is typically confined to a few minutes in a 5×5 fenced-in space, but hey, you remember wishing your primary school playground were bigger too. You can’t find this free-range deliciousness just anywhere, so promptly apply for a Whole Foods loyalty rewards card. Don’t worry that you may no longer have money to pay your rent; it’s for the animals. And don’t let anyone convince you that this new admirable lifestyle will get in the way of your current day-to-day life. Some people let their eating restrictions keep them from going out to eat, but this doesn’t have to be you. When out to eat, simply work up the courage to ask the waiter about the restaurant’s animal treatment policy. Make sure you have the full attention of your table when you turn to ask, “Was this chicken cordon bleu allowed to play outside while growing up?” You’ll be surprised by how many times you’ll hear “Umm, probably?” And just like that, you’re good to go.
3. Work details of your new eating lifestyle into every conversation.
Achieving a proper eating lifestyle carries with it the burden of becoming a steward of positive eating behavior for others. At first it may seem time-consuming and stressful, but remember that it is your duty and that your family and friends will thank you in the long run. Don’t let conversation default to the typical vegan or vegetarian lifestyle options; these eating trends are becoming so mainstream they are almost passé. You don’t want your moral food standards to be trivialized by the masses, and by this point having Pinterest boards with names like The Simple Veganista or Raw Food is practically as obligatory as having a board for your future wedding. You are more unique, so make sure your eating habits are too.
And just like that, with a few basic alterations a new eating lifestyle awaits you. If you don’t truly connect with either of the above lifestyles, never fear. For a morally upright alternative there is always a good juice diet. It will provide all the daily nutrients you need with essentially the same effects as the options listed above.