…the question is not,
Can they reason? nor, can they talk? but, can they suffer?
Jeremy Bentham, 1748 – 1832
It was December 2015, a friend and I were contemplating turning dairy free on 1st January 2016. In fact, I personally had been churning the thought for about 6 years and had reduced my dairy intake a lot over the years. Ice cream was the biggest hurdle and especially at summer times, which is most of the year in the Middle East!
On December 25th 2015, I was cooking many items for the Christmas meal. Apart from some Indian items on the menu there was also a Tiramisu cake, risotto mushroom rice, muffins and scones, puff pastry etc., all of which contained dairy or would be consumed with lots of cream.
As I was cooking, I began to feel some inner conflict. Why was I eating, plus feeding others something I knew I did not believe in? And why was I waiting until 1st January 2016 to make some changes, when the decision needed to be taken now! Even though I knew that food would do me and others harm, then why was I putting something into my body that my conscience did not agree with?
So, although I made the food, I did not eat it. I only ate the things that were dairy free. From that point onwards I have been dairy free. I do not give myself the title of vegan, not that I doubt myself, but because there are still a few items in my closet that are in use.
Humans are a part of nature,
not apart from nature.
Also, let me add, because this is normally everyone's fear of how I will manage to continue? Once you decide to make a choice then the universe really does conspire to help and support you. The path really does become easy. You will have many alternative food choices. It is for this reason that I just love Indian food, because there are so many dairy-free options and a huge variety of gluten free options too! There are now more choices for alternatives to milk in most coffee shops, yes, in the Middle East too!
As a result of taking this decision, one's will becomes stronger for it, it disciplines the mind, and each night you go to bed more peacefully and sound.
So, if more and more of us were to take this step towards change, then we would see the trends in the world will change for the better.
Wishing you a happy meal that is free from any kind of sorrow!
1614,000,000,000 (1614 billion) animals are slaughtered annually for one reason: human consumption. Most suffer abominably.
Is this the action of the aware, caring and loving beings, as we all like to consider ourselves to be? Or is it that, as we cuddle our cats and play with our dogs, we are blind of the suffering dealt to other members of the animal kingdom?
Paul McCartney famously said: ‘If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be vegetarian’. All animals suffer when they are being killed. Chickens endure the worst suffering, followed by fish. Once fish are out of water they continue to suffer for up to four hours. Just because these actions are mostly invisible to us because we usually encounter our meat on sanitized supermarket shelves, it does not mean that we are not responsible for them. It is important to realize that that we are complicit in this.
Maybe it is now time to be more mindful and compassionate. To reconsider our food choices and reduce the suffering in the world. Compassion is a big part of being human. In fact, it defines our humanity. We also need to have courage to step out of the norm and demonstrate our personal convictions. Melanie also explained that if we are to live a life of integrity then integrity means doing the right thing even when no one is watching.
If the above argument alone is not enough to sway opinion, then it should also be noted that the evidence is showing that a well-balanced vegan diet is healthier for humans than a standard meat-eaters diet. It helps us to live healthier and longer. A plant-based diet helps us to stay more calm, positive and energized. And taking the spiritual aspect into account, as we clean up our diets we also clean up our karma. We have to remember that our complicit actions have their consequences. As we are no longer taking in the stress hormones of the animals, together with the vibrations of fear and suffering, we are doing a favor for our minds and our souls, as well as our bodies.
As we ask for more alternatives, more will be available on the market and it will be easier to go vegan. Our economy is always driven by demand and supply. Many families have meat or dairy products three times a day, seven days a week. Reducing that number would certainly help the animals. And as you try alternative meals, you will be surprised at the variety and taste. It may even be better than the norm!
Movies to consider watching:
The Game Changers
What the Health
Forks Over Knives
Books to consider reading:
Meat Hooked – Marta Zaraska
Vegan on the Go – Jerome Eckmeier and Daniela Lais
Why we Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, Wear Cows – Melanie Joy
How to Create a Vegan World – Tobias Leenaert
It’s time… to consider going vegan
Aruna's collection of vegan recipes that are tried and tested!