“The spiritual connection between animals and humans grows out of understanding that we are all expressions of eternal benevolent consciousness, and as we acknowledge this interconnection and live in harmony with it, our lives become prayers of compassion and healing.” – The World Peace Diet
For me, I learned the health benefits of not eating animals right along side learning how they living and died. My logical brain said no more meat because I want to be healthy. My heart and soul ached for all the animals that were ripped from their families, lived tortured lives and then horrific deaths.
I didn’t seem right. I didn’t need a burger that bad. It was more important that I aligned with my soul and that I was congruent with my love for animals.
So, I would say that what started out as a health issue 25 years ago is now much more of a calling to my ageless spirit to honor the fact that we share this planet with an animal kingdom which most populations of the world do not have to eat to survive. At this point it’s about the spirituality of going meatless.
Over the last decade it’s increasingly become accepted as mainstream to be a vegetarian, pescatarian, plant-based diet or vegan. Any of these choices will great enhance your journey of creating an ageless lifestyle after 50. It’s as much of a decision of consciousness of your mind and spirit as a logical choice for a healthy body.
In an article on One Green Planet, Dr. Will Tuttle points out that in its spring 2013 newsletter, California-based health care provider Kaiser Permanente informed their 17,000 physicians about the healthiest way to eat: “Healthy eating may be best achieved with a plant-based diet, which we define as a regimen that encourages whole, plant-based foods and discourages meats, dairy products, and eggs as well as all refined and processed foods.”
That one of the largest health-care organizations in the U.S. is mandating its physicians and its hundreds of thousands of nurses, workers, and patients to emphasize a whole-foods vegan diet as the health baseline is remarkable in its implications. In many ways it is explainable due to the fact that unlike most hospitals and conventional medical organizations whose profits increase as their client base becomes sicker and buys more drugs and surgeries, Kaiser is more profitable when its member patients are healthier and costing them less. It’s quite obvious that as we institute economic incentives that reward good health, we’ll see corresponding increases in vegan education, and vegan living will be increasingly embraced by mainstream populations and institutions.
In fact, the vegan movement continues to gather momentum on a daily basis. We see an explosion of interest on the internet in plant-based recipes and foods, compassion for animals, and sustainable living. And of course, there’s also the corresponding increase in pushback! To the most deeply-rooted and reactionary forces in our culture—what I refer to as the military-industrial-meat-medical-pharmaceutical-media complex—veganism is seen as threatening. Ag-gag laws, “happy meat,” paleo fad diets, soy-bashing, aggressive dairy advertising, government collusion with animal agribusiness, and other phenomena are rampant, and both predictable and indicative of the increasing success of the vegan movement on every front.
The vegan movement is radical in the healthy and original sense of the word in that it questions the roots of our cultural programming. The greatest danger the movement faces is being co-opted and hijacked by wealthy and powerful mainstream forces and thus losing its revolutionary and transformational edge. As we are increasingly understanding, going vegan is far more than exchanging a few foods and so-called foods. It is questioning and rejecting basic principles of our culture’s official story, and embodying principles that are radically more healthy, equitable, and life affirming.
The story runs deep, and for some of us its grip is loosened by realizing that the heart disease, diabetes, cancer, kidney disease, or obesity that “runs in the family” is actually the direct result of eating the culturally mandated meals. For others, it’s a spiritual and moral awakening: suddenly or gradually recognizing the life and subjectivity of the nonhuman animals imprisoned and killed by our food choices. And for still others, it’s making the connection between animal agriculture and world hunger, or deforestation, or global climate breakdown, or environmental pollution, or wildlife extinction, that awakens us from the cultural trance.
Going vegan is probably the most exciting, liberating, and empowering thing that can happen to a person in our culture today. It’s still rare enough that it’s viewed with suspicion bordering on hostility by the shrinking majority trapped in the official stories of animal inferiority, human superiority, protein, calcium, and all the rest. But there’s no denying the fact that the tempo of awakening is increasing. James Cameron is the latest in an ever-lengthening list of celebrities who’ve gone vegan in a public way, and that’s because the changes are happening at a deeper level in the cultural subconscious, to countless numbers of the less visible multitudes as well. Our work at the grass-roots level prepares the cultural field of consciousness for the inevitable harvest of positive transformation.
As each of us awakens in this night of humanity’s colossal violence toward animals, we are profoundly challenged to respond to what is happening. Do we continue to contribute to and eat this violence, or do we conscientiously refuse to do so? The latter is the path of the vegan, and the path is becoming a well-traveled highway as more of us abandon the practice of supporting and causing death and misery, and, like leaving an unseen prison, head into a more conscious world that we are working together to bring into being.
I’d like to thank Dr. Tuttle for sharing his insights in this article.