Are you confused about nutrition and health? If you are, you’re not alone. We’re flooded nutritional information these days. Websites, articles in the newspapers, new books being published, scientific studies on the benefits or harm caused by one ingredient or another – it’s hard to keep up with it all, and so much of it seems contradictory or just doesn’t make sense. Many of us wonder just what to believe! So we’d like to share with you some pointers to help you sift through the minefield. Read more
Category Archives: Philosophy and Ethics
Scientists have recently discovered settlements of vegetarian Neanderthals in Europe. It seems that they lived on a plant-based diet and ate no meat at all. This should come as no surprise since everyone from Charles Darwin to Clifford Roberts, the editor-in-chief of the American Journal of Cardiology, to the famous anthropologist Jane Goodall, tells us that we are designed by anatomy and physiology to be vegetarians.
“The human species does not have the physical attributes of a carnivore. If everyone knew and faced up to all the facts, most would either opt for drastically cutting their meat consumption or giving up meat altogether.“
– Jane Goodall, Author of Harvest for Hope
Paleo man didn’t eat as much meat as has been hyped and some ate none at all. Since the mistaken notions and thinking behind the Paleo Diet have continued since our last posting debunking it, we thought we would add a little more refutation to it.
Do animals feel pain? Of course they do! Just ask yourself this question: if animals can’t feel pain, then why do researchers test pain medication on them? Then ask yourself another question: if animals don’t feel pain, then why do they scream or wince when they are hurt? Of course they feel pain and are capable of suffering.
Famous Anthropologist Jane Goodall says that “…farm animals are treated as mere things, yet they are living beings capable of suffering pain and fear.” The Veterinary Merck Manual, perhaps the most standard reference in animal science and veterinary practice, states, “Based on what is known to date, all vertebrates, and some invertebrates, experience pain in response to actual or potential tissue damage.” Read more
At this time of year, many turn their thoughts to the various faith-based communities. Here are just a few new developments of veg-interest that have caught our notice. This adds to the already rich veg-offerings of many faith communities, both East and West, which are already well established.
Israeli PM Joins Meatless Mondays
Vegetarian food choices were already becoming popular in Israel, but they have recently received a big boost from Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara, who have decided to join the Meatless Monday initiative. As far as we know, he is the first head of state to endorse and follow the program. “With my responsibility as prime minister to protect the lives of people here, I feel committed to increase awareness to fight cruelty toward animals,” Netanyahu said. Read more
My fascination with animals seems to have been hardwired from birth, but it took many years and many nuggets of exposure for me to finally get that ‘aha’ moment.
I grew up in the suburbs of Southern California, but spent a few weeks each summer during my early teenage years at a camp which centered around a working farm. The cows spent their days wandering around in one of the many pastures; the chickens were free to roam and munch on bugs in the manure and dirt, the pigs dined on the plants and the camp’s food waste; vegetable were grown on the farm and picked by the campers – this system was balanced and thus, it worked. Read more
Recently, the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) made a recommendation in its regular newsletter to its employees, to consider participating in the Meatless Mondays initiative, which advocates going vegetarian one day a week, citing the health and environmental benefits. The advisory explained that the USDA cafeterias now contain plenty of meatless options to enjoy. The recommendation concluded, “So you can really help yourself and the environment while having a good vegetarian meal!”
But within just a couple of days, the USDA had caved into pressure from the cattle and meat industry, and had retracted the message, claiming that it had been made without proper clearance. It was promptly removed from both the newsletter and their website. Read more
The most important part of the yoga practice is eating a vegetarian diet. -Sri K. Pattabhi Jois
Yoga has hit the mainstream. With yoga studios popping up all over, offering everything from traditional forms of yoga to new forms aimed at special groups ranging from prenatal moms to airline pilots (there are even new and innovative forms of yoga such as laughter yoga and Christian yoga), more and more people are giving it a try. However, in their drive to become more popular, or perhaps because of a shortage of fully trained instructors, many, if not most, yoga studios have dropped the vegetarian portion of yoga theory and practice.
When most people think of yoga, they think of the physical postures taught in yoga classes. This is a yoga practice called asana. It is one of the many yoga practices, such as meditation, pranayama (breathing exercises), and yamas (ethical, moral, philosophical guidelines.) Yoga therefore offers the student both physical health and psychological/moral well being. It turns out that yoga theory considers a vegetarian diet most beneficial to them both, and of course the two, while seeming separate, are really part of the greater whole.
Let’s take a look at the physical aspect first. In their pursuit of good health, the Yogic Masters of old determined that a vegetarian diet was definitely the most conducive to bodily health. They developed a theory of food that explained the basis of good nutrition and the effects that different foods can be expected to have on the consumer.
According to yoga theory, each food has its own particular vibrational frequency associated with it, and when we eat that food a kind of sympathetic vibration is set up in our bodies a result. While there are many different foods available they fortunately all fall into three groups. The first group is known as Sattvaguna and forms the basis of the yogic diet. These are vegetarian foods such as fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts and beans and also includes mild spices. These foods are thought to impart a peaceful, relaxed, calm, loving and enhanced sense of self awareness in the person who eats them. The second grouping is known as Rajaguna and includes foods such caffeinated beverages, strong spices, hot peppers, chocolate, some fermented foods and certain drugs. These foods impart a sense of agitation and restlessness to the person who consumes them. These foods are allowable in the yoga diet but only for special circumstances and purposes. The third grouping is known as Tamaguna and includes meat, poultry, fish and eggs. These foods are thought to impart the vibrations of decay and even death, and are generally not part of the yoga vegetarian diet.
Amongst the moral and ethical guidelines (yamas), the practice of Ahimsa, not killing, injuring or causing pain to humans and animals, is considered by many yoga scholars and practitioners to be the most important. The practice of Ahimsa is said to be conducive to psychological wellbeing, eases the conscience, and is thought to be spiritually enhancing. Obviously, considering the harsh conditions almost all animals are subjected to on both industrialized factory farms and in slaughterhouses, consuming meat is anything but Ahimsa and is therefore not recommended in the yoga diet.
For body, mind and spirit, yoga has long held that the vegetarian diet is best all around. Let’s hope that with all the new yoga studios opening up around the country, those studios that have dropped the vegetarian foundation of yoga and its practice will reincorporate it once they feel more secure, and the popularity of vegetarian diets will grow as a result.