ourfoodprint.com was conceived in July 2012. We had both realised that we were impacted enough by the lies, mistruths and unacceptable damage caused by the meat & dairy industries, that it had become a life goal to try and make some change. We flirted with a number of different ideas, until we settled on ourfoodprint.com.
The following were some of the key considerations which caused us to settle on this initiative in it’s current form:
Should we try to reinvent the wheel?
In our search for more information, we have come across the most spectacularly filmed documentaries and well written books by leading documentary makers & writers. There is clear undisputable scientific evidence that has been gathered by organisations like the UN, World Bank, Harvard, Oxford etc. and by some of our leading scientists. We did not have the medical background of a Dean Ornish, Neal Bernard or McDougall to speak as authoritatively on matters of the impact of diet on our health. The investigations, campaigns and demonstrations done by organisations like PETA, Farm Sanctuary, Green Peace, Mercy for Animals, SPCA, PFA, Animals Australia (the list goes on and on) were better than what we could hope to achieve.
As a young married couple with little resources on hand trying to make our own small change, it seemed to make little sense for us to try to re-invent the wheel.
There must be a gap needed to be filled (Objectives 1 & 2)
How is it that as well educated and intelligent individuals, we were not aware of this wealth of information that was easily available in the public domain? Why were we as consumers making choices which were clearly unacceptable to us (individually) once we were aware of all the facts? Simply put, we were unaware.
Similar to us, people all over the world were inadvertently making consumption decision based on half-truths and outright lies propagated by the meat & diary industries. Similar to us, people did not know about the wealth of information available on public domains, which could help them discover, get informed and choose for themselves. Similar to us, we believe a lot of people would choose compassion over abuse, good health over sickness & medication and a green & clean planet over one overburdened by pollution.
We found our gap – Consumer Awareness. While we did not believe we could better the excellent work done by the specialists in this field, we could play an important role of trying to get their work seen and appreciated by a larger group of people.
We realised we did not have the skillsets to reinvent the wheel, but we could promote it.
A single drop does not make an ocean (objective 3)
Can a single married couple with the help of a single website really hope to bring about a large enough change in consumer awareness to make enough of a difference to animal suffering, public health or the environment? We are ambitious, not crazy!
But what happens when they are a hundred, or a thousand or perhaps a million people all trying to use their own specific skill sets & specialisations to help spread the truth to the best of their capacities. Was it possible for us to possibly motivate 10 people like us, who in turn could motivate another 10 and so on? In just 6 such iterations we would reach 1 million people – a force large enough to compete against the tremendous spending and lobbying power of the meat industry.
As ourfoodprint.com we seek to motivate and empower as many people as we can, to go out and conduct activism programs of their own, just as the founders of this site had done only 4 years ago and continue to do so till today. And we would also serve as a platform, to showcase the efforts of these individuals.
You are vegan? It must be so difficult! (Objective no 4)
Both of us have been ex-meat eaters who have converted to a vegan lifestyle for the last 4 years. In conversations with friends and families, we routinely come across people who are amazed by how much we have sacrificed and how difficult it must be for us to be vegans. The reality is quite different.
We have not given up milk – we have only given up the milk we were never borne to consume. There is soya milk, cashew milk, almond milk, rice milk, oat milk and so on. We eat butter and cheese – but plant based forms. We have not given up cakes & chocolates – some of the best chocolates in the world are vegan, since they use a better form of butter – cocoa butter. We have rarely found it to be an issue to find a vegan meal in any restaurant that we have visited (a large benefit of being a vegan in a country like India). We have not given up on meats – we have our chicken, sausages and mutton, but only in the form of mock meats (what we call innovative foods).
Our reality is quite different from the popular perceptions of a vegan lifestyle. We continue to consume a large part of the foods that we have grown up with. We only put in some effort to ensure that (a) no animal is used in its production (b) it does not have an adverse impact on our health (c) it reduces our environmental footprint. Since converting to vegan, we have become more energetic and a number of health issues that we used to face (such as bloating, constipation, dull skin etc.) have all disappeared, as it has for so many others who have made this change.
We have met a lot of people who are uncomfortable with the treatment of animals in factory farms, facing some serious health issues or are environmentalists seeking to reduce their carbon footprint. A vegan lifestyle is a solution to all of these issues, but is often considered to be too difficult to implement because people are not aware of plant based milks, chocolates, cakes and meats that may already be available over the shelf.
We know that these options exist, and in places where it does not, it is simply a question of creating a demand for them and the supply will come forth. Additionally, as with any new technology, as demand continues to increase, the quality, availability and cost of these replacement products will only continue to improve. One day, meat from an animal will be as outdated a concept as tape recorders have become today.
With every product that you choose a plant based option over animal based ones, you help reduce animal suffering, improve your health and reduce your environmental footprint. We aim to showcase the products that make this transition as interesting, tasty and fulfilling as possible.