I attended the NYC Vegetarian Festival in Manhattan this past weekend, and was filled with loads of impressions, met some wonderful people and listened to some incredible speakers.
Often when we choose a lifestyle that’s not the “norm”, we can feel alone or a bit “crazy” or “extreme” compared to others who are simply following the masses. But being surrounded by other like minded people who believe in the same things as I do and share the same values; namely to do the least possible harm to our bodies, our planet and our fellow animal beings, was so powerful and helped strengthen my belief and confidence in that I’m living in accordance with my true values by doing what is right for me and that I’m part of a very important movement.
This is also what I’d like you to ask yourself: Is your diet in alignment with your values? Do you feel great when you eat the foods you choose to put on your plate on an every day basis? Do you see the results of how you decide to nourish your body, in the form of a strong, slim and energetic body? Can you say that your choices have minimal effect on our planet and life around you? If yes, that’s awesome!! and if not, would you be willing to explore a little further?
Would you be willing to jump on the phone with me to talk about what’s stopping you from reaching your goals? Be it dietary, or goals with your life and where it’s headed, I would love to hear from you. Just CLICK HERE and schedule a time when we can dive into how you’re feeling and how I can support you over a cup of tea or glass of wine 🙂
What are the reasons you have not considered plants as your main source of ‘fuel’? Especially in this day and age, when there is every alternative in the WORLD available out there created to foods traditionally made from animal ingredients, now magically transformed by using plants only. Just check these photos from this past weekend out for proof:
Impressive artisan gourmet cheese from Riverdel Cheese in Brooklyn. I’m typically very skeptical and picky when it comes to imitating cheese made from dairy, but these products had me in awe. A must-try if you are one of the many people who just can’t seem to give up cheese!!
No ducks were tortured/harmed/force fed in the production of this impressive, creative and delicious pate! Wow!
Bahn Mi sandwiches, tarts, pastries, open face sandwiches, you name it… the options are endless!
Beautiful and delicate macaroons.. no eggs needed. And how about this colorful array of sushi… if that doesn’t make your eyes (and tummy) happy, I don’t know what will!
I also attended a super inspiring speech by the impressive Dr. Michael Greger, author of New York Times’ bestseller “How Not To Die” and creator of the not-for-profit educational site nutritionfacts.org, the only site I rely on for scientifically backed nutrition with no “special interests” other than helping people get healthy.
His speech was titled “Food as Medicine” and in it he went through the top 15 diseases Americans (and largely the western world) are struggling with in the world today.
There is scientific proof that a plant based diet can help reduce risk of all of these, with the exception of one of the causes, which were freak accidents and in many cases even prevent them and reverse these diseases.
In his speech, Dr. Greger posed the question; with all of the aforementioned benefits of a plant based diet, if there was only ONE benefit, namely to reduce the risk of the biggest cause for deaths among Americans, namely heart disease – why on earth would we not RUN towards eating this way? Shouldn’t this be enough of a motivator for people to take charge of their own health, and not wait for society to catch up, as with the case of cigarette smoking in the 1950s and 60s? Back then, doctors were even pictured in commercials for Camel and other brands, and preached “everything in moderation” (sound familiar?). This is of course the same lecture we get today from doctors about meat and dairy. Doctors can’t tell you not to eat these foods, because they themselves are indulging in it! And of course, there are a lot of powerful interests behind this way of eating. Nobody will get paid by telling you to eat broccoli, let’s face it.
But I digress… Something new I have gotten out of this lifestyle, a vegan, compassionate way of living, is that it not only helps my health, but also has gotten me interested in living a more spiritual life. When you clean up your diet and start feeding your body vibrant, nourishing foods it responds by becoming alert, creative and helps you want to live more in alignment with your true values.
No humans want to hurt other beings, we innately just want to live in peace and harmony with ourselves and each other. Unfortunately, programming from our childhood where we are taught to detach ourselves from other beings, who also want to live in peace, causes us to do things without even thinking about them. But there is a discord there somewhere deep down if we really feel for it, which leads us to not feel 100% happy, because something is out of touch with our true nature. Just because something has been done for centuries, and because “other people are doing it”, no longer becoming a valid “excuse” for continuing to behave this way.
A plant-based diet can help you want to become a better person, you will automatically want to improve other areas of your life, such as your finances, your relationships with your spouse, children, other family members and friends, explore your spirituality and start becoming more caring about our planet and how we treat everyone and everything around us. Doesn’t this sound like a wonderful way to live?
So what other reasons are there, besides health, to be vegan? Many spiritually enlightened people such as philosophers (Socrates, Plato), writers (George Bernard Shaw), thinkers (Albert Einstein), artists (Leonardo da Vinci), civic leaders (Benjamin Franklin) and humanitarians (Gandhi) throughout history have chosen and adopted a vegan lifestyle. What did they know about this way of living that we could take lessons from?
According to Rajinder Singh, an internationally recognized spiritual Master who teaches the oneness at the heart of all religions, there are seven spiritual reasons for vegetarianism:
- Observing Non-Violence We have all heard the religious principle “thou shalt not kill”. The idea is to not do unto others what we ourselves do not want done to us. So why would we participate in killing of innocent lives? If you don’t believe that animals suffer as they are killed for food, you only need to go visit a slaughterhouse, jump on a fishing boat to observe fish caught on a fishing hook or visit a chicken farm to witness the reality here. As someone put it “if it’s not good enough for your eyes, then why is ti good enough for your stomach?” We all know that animals are conscious – just look at your dog and cat and how much personality they have. Chickens, cows, pigs and fish are no different. They also feel pain. Nonviolence recognizes that all animals and all people are children of God. Doesn’t that feel better than thinking we are “better” or “above” any other beings?
- We Are What We Eat. Another spiritual reason for being vegetarian is to avoid lowering our spiritual consciousness with the vibrations of the animal we ingest. When we eat an animal that has been tortured, has lived in fear, suffered and killed against his or her wish, we ingest that same energy and vibration, and it becomes part of us. The stress the animal went through and the fear hormones in the slaughtered animal remains in the body and gets transferred to us. It goes without saying that if you are to become truly spiritual and want to master meditation and become peaceful, it is difficult to do in this state. I don’t know about you, but I prefer eating foods that are alive, vibrant and brimming with energy and brightness.
3. Love for All. This is a very important principle at the center of a vegan diet. Buddha and Mahavira were full of love and compassion. The Bible also teaches us “love thy neighbor as thyself.” All religions teach love. This love extends to all life forms, including insects, reptiles, fish, birds and mammals. To love all includes loving all creation. If we want to fully embrace love as a concept and way of living, we must open our hearts to include all forms of life.
4. Service to Animals, Our Environment and Our Planet.
Our whole planet is our home, not just our immediate surroundings like our house. Just as we don’t want to trash our house, pollute our drinking water, or poison our children with harmful gases, why would we do this to our common home, the earth? A vegan diet supports care and love for animals and a better use of the earth’s resources than any other diet out there today. This way of living and eating offers a more efficient use of our resources since more people can be fed (the grain needed to feed one cow to be slaughtered for food could be used to feed many times the amount of people, just to name one example). Let’s remove our selfishness and make our planet sustainable today and in the future for our children and children’s children. Love is taking steps to care for the planet and its resources and sharing with others today and in the years ahead. Selfishness is using up for ourselves today while not leaving enough for centuries of people in the future.
5. The Law of Karma. This law states in short that for every action, there is a reaction. The law of karma states that all our thoughts, words and deeds are recorded. When we have good thoughts, good has to come back, and when we commit bad deeds, we must pay the consequences, for instance. A great reason for those wanting to become more spiritual is to not create more karma for ourselves that we would have to pay back. Those who believe in the law of karma, believe that if we take the life of an animal, we have to bear the reaction of that action. Whether or not you believe in this law, there have been those who have had near death experiences describing seeing their life play back, where they saw all the good and bad they had done. Not only did they witness it, but they actually experienced what the other people felt when they did good or harm to others. This experience was so profound that they realized the most important principle was that of love. Hence, they were inspired to lead their lives in a more loving, caring manner. It is, after all, a much more pleasant experience to bring joy t others, rather than harm, wouldn’t you agree?
6. Benefits to Meditation. Whether or not you practice meditation, you would be hard pressed to find a person who has started this practice, who won’t say it has changed their life. This is a fundamental practice in order to become more spiritual, to connect with our soul – a vegan diet speeds our progress. By following a vegan diet, we develop non violence and love, and we purify our soul by not partaking in killing other beings (animals or humans). When we are loving to all people and all forms of life, we are on the way back to God. Those who have been successful on the spiritual path know that vegetarianism aids meditation and spiritual progress.
7. Spiritual Enlightenment. Spiritual Masters have required a vegetarian diet as a prerequisite for initiation to truly learn meditation. Why? Killing and eating animals add new karmas. In order to gain spiritual enlightenment and oneness with the creator, we need to reduce our karmas. Thus, we don’t want to live on a diet that takes the life of any animals. (text adapted from the leaflet “The Vegetarian Diet” from Spark of the Divine by Rajinder Singh which I picked up at the NYC Veg Fest this past weekend)
In conclusion, the benefits of a vegan diet is that it is not just good for our body, but for our mind as well and most importantly: our soul. When we feel fulfilled in our mind and soul, the body will follow; we will experience that our excess weight, heightened stress and chronic diseases we have gained as a result of poor lifestyle choices, will magically disappear. This is called looking for the root of the cause, and not just aimlessly deal with the symptoms. If you haven’t been successful at losing weight or getting healthy in the past, chances are you haven’t tackled these other, equally important, areas of your life.
Are you ready to take charge of your health and well being and tired of feeling out of control? Schedule a chat with me here, I’d love to hear from you and what you are challenged with and possibly how I could support you. I am super passionate about this lifestyle and would love to introduce others to it so they too, can experience feeling as fulfilled as I feel, and will repeat after me and so many others who have decided to adopt this lifestyle: “I only wish I had done it sooner.”