To Be or Not to Be... Vegetarian?
Updated: Jan 19
The Practice of Ahimsa
Today I wanted to talk about a controversial part of the teachings. I am not here to preach about a Vegan Planet, as I no longer believe in this notion the way I once did. I have also come to understand that each person is born with a unique constitution, and that no one diet is right for EveryBody, but I would like to offer some food for thought.
The teachings of Yoga invite us to lead or lives with Ahimsa, the practice of Kindness, Compassion & Non-violence, and this is often understood to live a Vegetarian or Vegan life. After all, is it really possible to lead a life rooted in non-violence if you eat animals, or their products? It doesn’t take but a quick google search to find out, that the majority of the animals who’s products you are eating, are living a life in suffering and pain. And plenty of studies are now available to show that living a healthy plant-based life can help keep disease and illnesses at bay.
On the flip-side, there is the ancient science of longevity called Ayurveda (Yoga's sister science) - which to this day is the most sophisticated and powerful mind-body health system. Today it has become a buzzword, and many yogis point to this ancient health system when they explain why they choose to eat animal products. I myself have turned to the healing powers of this ancient practice which I was in search of healing imbalance and dis-ease. Ayurveda teaches us that none us are the same, and that we all have a different constitution - and therefore unique dietary needs. No one diet is right for everybody, and therefore even a Vegan or Vegetarian diet may not be right for everyone - depending on each individuals' physical, mental and emotional state. Which is why some people did not thrive on a Plant-based diet and chose to consume animal products once again. Knowing that we are all born with a different constitution, how can one diet be the best diet for everyone? The answer, however, is not as simple as it may seem at first. Whether your choose to consume animal products or not, you have to look at where your food is coming from. How it is produced. How it is harvested. And, most importantly, how are the animals who's products you are consuming kept, and how are finally slaughtered? Today, when you are consuming meat and products of animals, you are consuming products full of chemicals, disease, and violence. The animal whose product you are eating likely lived its life in suffering. On an energetic level, think about the energy you are absorbing by consuming these products. Is it any surprise that we get sick? So you have to ask yourself - do you really want to consume a product of violence?
This is a decision you are going to have to ask yourself, I am simply inviting you today to contemplate some questions, and sit with your emotions for a few days, and to think about the choices you are making when nourishing your body. In an age, when fruits and vegetables are sold with a heavy dose of chemicals as well, what are we to eat? Don't plants have feelings and emotions as well? Each of us have to make our own decision where we are going to draw the line, and what feels right to us. Maybe we can begin by only consuming organic/biodynamically produced, non-GMO fruits and vegetable. Maybe we can purchase meat from a local farm where we have verified with our own eyes that the animals are pasture raised, ethically treated, and humanely slaughtered. Maybe we can research the source of fish we choose to consume, and how it being caught effects our fragile environmental (im)balance.
Maybe we can practice Ahimsa by choosing the path which causes the least amount of harm to our animals, our environment, and ultimately us.