I have recently decided to go Cruelty-Free and the biggest part of this was my diet. I was eating like a normal college kid, I suppose, with Chick-fil-A, Subway, chicken, eggs, beef, etc. However, I had a conviction to no longer support a system that was cruel to animals--aka commercial farming and mass production methods.
I started this journey by weaning myself off meat products. I knew if I went 'cold turkey', it was likely not going to stick because the change was so dramatic. I slowly started switching my foods to cruelty-free options and slowly started eating less and less meat.
I also chose to wean myself off animal products because I already had many animal products in my fridge and I didn't want to waste them. Wasting the products felt even worse than eating them, and was contributing to my less-waste conviction too. (Read more about my waste conviction here!) So I ate the products, but then replaced them with Vegan or cruelty-free options, which finally led me to a 100% cruelty-free diet.
What Is Cruelty-Free Eating?
Cruelty-Free eating is the same as Vegan, except when I know the animal products were obtained in a professional, humane way. I choose to eat animal products that are raised by us, raised locally, or commercially with very high standards that delegate how the animals are treated.
So, on a normal day, I eat vegan. I stay away from all animal products--meat, dairy, and eggs.
But when I purchase items from humane sources and know how the animals were treated, I choose to eat animal products!
Eggs: We raise them or I buy free-range commercial eggs.
Meat: We raise meat chickens and pigs. I choose to eat beef that we buy from local farmers in Shelbyville, and I will eat any deer that Dad hunts.
Dairy: I choose to avoid all dairy, simply because of the digestive issues it causes. However, if you don't have any digestive issues with dairy products, feel free to eat local products!
Why Did I Choose to be Cruelty-Free?
I was reading Genesis in a Bible study here at school when I first felt convicted to be humane towards the animals. Before the flood, they were not allowed to eat meat but after the flood, God gave them dominance over the animals and they were allowed to eat them (as long as there was no blood left in it).
I believe that we do have dominance over the animals and CAN eat them, but only in humane ways. Animals are still God's creatures and creation, so treating them in inhumane ways is sinful.
So, Yes: we have dominance over the animals and it is not a sin to kill and eat them.
But it is sinful to be inhumane to God's creation. There's a huge difference.
So I decided to go Cruelty-Free, eating only animal products that were raised humanely and within what I felt was God's standards. Eating animal products that were raised inhumanely feels sinful to me, so I am no longer eating these products OR supporting the companies that do this.
What Do I Eat Instead?
When I am avoiding animal products, I have found many substitutes that work very well. Right now, our chickens aren't laying eggs and we currently aren't raising any meat, so substitutes are a must.
I love Boca brand meatless products. I buy spicy chicken patties as well as meatless crumbles (tastes like ground beef).
There are so many brands that carry delicious meatless products. I honestly can't tell a difference. I also eat tofu and tempeh--great in stir fry.
As for dairy products, I drink almond milk, almond milk coffee creamer, Daiya cheese, and dairy-free sour cream. These products also taste amazing!
I'm seriously loving this cruelty-free way of living. Of course, I'm still working out details and figuring out the best way to accomplish this new way of living, but the benefits are so rewarding--knowing that I am obeying and living life the way God intended--one small step at a time.