To assert that you’re vegan is a complex statement. It means more than one can explain in a soundbite or blog post. Affirming veganism is mostly about having a compassionate heart than protesting outside KFC with PETA sponsored signs or avoiding animal products.
At the heart of the vegan matter is the cruel and unusual practices against animals whenever and wherever. It’s a reiteration of Martin Luther King’s “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Every item we purchase, every dollar we exchange, every click we make on the net, and ever station or channel we tune into is a choice. It’s about who you are in the daily battle of life.
Vegans choose to focus the majority of their compassion on the plight of animals. It’s such a beautiful practice; human beings using their biological advantage of language, abstract and critical thinking to give voice to the voiceless.
Animals communicate in their unique nonverbal language, and sometimes verbal ways. If a mother tiger looses her babies, she will not eat to the point of death. If a couple of close pigs are separated, they will make loud sounds of discomfort for days. Monkeys will gather and scream at the site of a mutual monkey’s burial. Signs of their level of intelligence, the commonalities of social practices and emotional attachments do exist; however the interpretation of these animal expressions and their behavior is entirely subjective.
Yet, people don’t give up juicy steaks, carne asada tacos, and burgers because another species can’t say, “Don’t eat me.”
Consuming animal flesh is not sacrilegious, unless your Hindu or part of a sect that does not eat pork. This is because according to Judeo-Christian creation myth, the planet is our dominion and we are the rulers of the entire animal kingdom. Our guts are omnivores too, evolution doesn’t mind us eating flesh. It can churn it out and make use of it. We can spice it up, marinate it, and give it a delicious chewy texture. Vegan people make it point to not eat meat and protest companies that harm animals.
Vegans are repulsed by the entire system of producing, modifying, and maintaining animal life for the sake of lucrative profit. The behind-the-scenes videos that capture the gore and loathsome state of a factory farm animal is igniting an uproar from activists across the globe; the most prominent of which is PETA. However, the stark reality of animals in factory farms is a mere glint of light on a very bloody diamond.
Much like the novel “The Jungle,” by Upton Sinclair, what’s placed under the microscope is multi-dimensionally horrific. In the novel “The Jungle,” the author’s objective was to depict the horrendous working conditions of the average American worker. He wanted to captivate the attention of the American public and incite a desire to end wage-slavery. Ironically, readers were taken-aback by the filthy conditions of the meat-packing industry and what in the end changed was not labor laws but meat factory laws.
Not eating animals is one angle to living vegan; not using leather is another; not using products that do animal testing, like let’s say Herbal Essence or Pantene Provene, is yet another angle; and rescuing animals, like cleaning oil drenched penguins so they can stay alive, is just another perspective of the vegan option.
Living a vegan is being aware of how your life affects other lives. The first couple of months it’s about being disgusted by the fact that we eat other animals. The second trimester is about watching documentaries, learning about the food industry. The last trimester is about cultivating your compassion. Your health is always at the forefront, or at least it should be, then it’s the animals.
The health benefits is one of the legs in the vegan tri-pod and not just an angle. Recent research, for example The China Study, has scientifically correlated disease with meat and dairy. Furthermore, this 20 year-long study has gone as far as to advocate, based off the research by top university scientist, a vegan diet.
- Plants, grains, non-GMO soy, vegetables are a great source of protein;
- Rich in vitamins, minerals, and amino-acids ;
- High in natural and essential fatty acids (omega-3);
- Helps with the digestive process;
- Lowers bad fat in-take;
- Good portion sizes of green vegetables contributes to healthy cardiovascular system;
- Boosts the immune system with vitamins and reduces inflammation ; and
- The take-home reason: prevents disease.
It’s been four years since I’ve stopped eating animal products and living a pure life. I’m by all means in idealistic person but I try to be as practical as I can and not allow the shining pillars of character to obstruct my insights. The different threads tied to the state of life in modern life merit as much attention, compassion, and action as do the animals suffering at the mercy of our appetites.
For this reason, I welcome vegans and non-vegans to Raw Possibility events. In trying to be animal cruelty free, we can not exclude carnivorous people. Just as we chose to eat vegan, they chose to include meat in their diets. Although we lead different lifestyles, we should always be compelled to share in our common humanity despite our objections or prejudices.
Thus the next phase of veganism, is not more Wholefoods or accessible non-GMO soy, but rather a burgeoning population of conscious hearts who live in counterpoint with a society that is metamorphosing at an unprecedented tempo.