Wednesday, January 2, 2013

How to Kill an Orangoutang and the Ethics of Purchasing Food Without Dooming all of Humanity

I prepped for the detox the way I typically prep for all of my detoxes - I purchased a vegetarian magazine. And this time I took it a step further and purchased a vegan magazine. Whoa. I know.

A side note which you can totally ignore: I am scared of the the internet. Seriously. I am a little freaked out at people ripping my writing to shreds. People are mean out there! I saw a Jenna Marbles video about the ethical repercussions of being a slut and people ripped that video in half! I watched that video, and thought "Wow, Jenna, those were some good points" and went on my merry day. But people literally responded by making their own videos and called her a dumb blonde bitch who was sad and lonely because she broke up with her boyfriend. Whoa! Wow! I think that both frightened me more and emboldened me. My writing will be torn up and taken out of context no matter what. Plus there's only, like, 10 people that read my blog.

So, right. Orangoutang killing. In VegNews I happened upon an article about how palm oil is destroying the environment. (No link - they haven't posted on their website - google it). I was surprisingly impressed with it. I thought it would be this fluffy piece about saving our rain forests but I was really moved by the destruction that this oil has wrought through ignorance and greed. It is violently destructive to the environment and to the animals where these plantations are created. Animals are cruelly beaten and set on fire, and land that is critical to combating green house gases is being destroyed because palm oil is the hot new thing. I am always taken aback by the casual disregard for the habitats that sustain our planet.

My point here is twofold. When deciding where to put your money there are a gazillion logistics to take into account. Do you save the planet, the animals or your body? Vegetarian diets are typically higher in soy consumption which is mostly GM'd, requires an assload of toxic chemicals to grow and increases your estrogen levels. You save an animal, but you aren't helping the environment and is questionable for your body. My 3% Glycolic Acid face wash which is amazing for my skin - has palm oil in it. Good for my body - not so good for everyone else, including my wallet. I would imagine there are very few products out there that are good for all three - including cleaning supplies, clothing, and beauty products.

For a long time I encountered a vegetarian brick wall, so to speak. I would be really turned off by the way some vegetarians treated their lifestyle like a religion or cult for which they had to recruit people for. I felt like people would try to convert me - and I wanted nothing to do with it. There is still a lot of that going on - and I still feel that I encounter a lot of preachy judgmental people who vehemently and vocally disagree with my carnivorism.

In doing this research, I realized that I wasn't necessarily any better. I would look for reasons to find fault with certain logic. I would scan labels of cruelty free 100% vegetarian products looking for palm oil so I could say "ah-ha! you are still killing animals and destroying the environment!" How awful is that? The truth is that I found this article in a vegetarian magazine - and while vegheads may not be cutting out palm oil from their life at least they are bringing attention to this.

We live in a world where I think it is possible to live a life in which everything (or most of) you purchase has been sustainably created and does not harm body, planet or animal. It takes a lot work and some amount of sacrifice - but there are people that do it. I think it is important to try to be aware of what you are buying and what you are putting into and onto your body. I think it is important to think about someone besides yourself. You won't be seeing me handing out pamphlets anytime soon, but I am learning to be more open minded about information that I read instead of paranoidly wondering if someone is trying to brain wash me.

All this being said here are other names for which palm oil might be listed on any number of products in your household:

Elaesis guineensis
FP(K)O Fractionated Palm Oil
Glyceryl stearate
Hydrated Palm Glycerides
OPKO (Organic Palm Kernel Oil)
Sodium dodecyl sulphate
Sodium isostearoyl lactylaye
Sodium laureth sulphate
Sodium lauryl sulphate
stearic acid

I would definitely avoid these products until the palm oil industry is able to find a way to become less destructive.

Thanks for reading!

Save the animals!

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