Being a vegetarian is being aware that, to live, we don't need to cause the death of any animal. It's about being more connected to the planet and all that it holds. After all, there is no planet B.

Some follow a vegetarian diet for animal welfare, others for the environment, others for their health.

I go further, because I can be a vegetarian eating French fries and drinking soda from the USA, so I'm a vegetarian but without a conscience.

This awareness encompasses not only food but also the origin of the products, their seasonality, their processing, and packaging.

I often find myself looking at the labelling of vegetables and realizing that a good percentage of “made in” another distant far away countries is way higher than local national produce. Does it make sense when we want our economy to improve to be promoting other economies and thereby increasing our environmental footprint?

Eating food in season and locally allows you not only to acquire fresher and more nutritious food but also to promote local production, protect the environment and, when food is consumed in season, the quality/price ratio is always better.

Another situation, with today's stress, vegetarians and non-vegetarians often opt for highly processed products, with dyes, preservatives and other compounds added to convince them to become an active consumer in the industry.

Usually, these products not only have a quantity of added ingredients, but the quality of the raw material is mediocre, except when organic, as well as its origin, and I raise the question of packaging, which is usually in plastic.

Plastic releases various compounds, such as the famous BPA and phthalates that are considered endocrine disruptors, so they harm your health, when discarded and not recycled, they will take centuries to disappear and with them also disappear other animals, such as fish, birds and contaminate the waters and soils.

Thus, vegetarians or non-vegetarians, choosing these products, do not eat animals but harm them, and drive the destruction of the environment.

When we want to do “our part” for the Whole, it's not enough to eat animals, you have to widen your awareness.

So here are some steps to being a conscious vegetarian:

1. Choose foods and not products you eat. Make your own food.

2. Choose organic foods whenever possible. If they are not organic, unpeel them.

3. Whenever possible, choose local production or as close as possible, if you can choose products that that made as close as possible and not “made in Peru” for example.

4. The choice of food must respect seasonality.

5. Whenever possible buy in bulk.

6. Recycle.

7. Reuse glass containers.

About the author

Magda is a nutritionist, trainer, nutritional consultant, and the author of 5 books on food and health. She is specialized in "Plant-based food" by Un. Cornell, USA, "Vegetarian Food" by Health Vegetarian Institute, USA. In Portugal, she has a postgraduate degree in "Health and aging" from University Nova from Lisboa and graduated in "Nutrition Sciences", by the Instituto Egas Moniz. She started her career in 2004 working in the animal food industry, public hospital, private clinics, training, consulting and directed some companies in the health and wellness sectors. Instagram and facebook: @magdaromanutri