Why Vegan? {Inspired Eating}

As coined by Donald Watson in 1944:  “The word veganism denotes a philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude — as far as is possible and practical — all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of humans, animals and the environment. In dietary terms it denotes the practice of dispensing with all products derived wholly or partly from animals.”

In Hindu, Buddhist, & Jane traditions, “Ahimsa” is a doctrine expressing belief in the sacredness of all living creatures and urging the avoidance of harm and violence.

I asked some good friends about why they became vegan, benefits they have received, and why they choose to stay on the path. Take a peek at their responses below, in addition to my own 

Leo Babauta of Zen Habits: “I originally went down the path of veganism for health reasons, but it became much more important to me to withdraw from causing so much animal suffering. The system of cruelty we’ve created is horrible, and it’s done solely for our pleasure. I decided to find pleasure in simple, delicious vegan food instead, and not take part in all that. I’m really happy I did — it really feels right, and I feel a lot healthier eating all plants!”

Linda Middlesworth, Vegan Mentor: “I became vegan at first to become healthy and remove my obesity, my heart disease, and my cancer. After only one week on this vegan path, I read the book Animal Liberation by Peter Singer and found out that animals suffer to be on our plates! Before reading his book, I thought humans needed to consume animal flesh, eggs, and dairy to get adequate protein, calcium… and just be healthy! I soon found out that animal foods, including dairy and eggs, were the very foods that are making humans fat and sick! I read Dr. John McDougall’s books and that was it for me! I have not eaten any animal products for 23 years. Now, I go through each day knowing that I am not a part of the suffering of other beings! At 69 years old, I am in great health and continue to teach aerobics, personal train, and teach Food for Life nutrition and cooking classes. This is pure joy as I help and watch others make the transformation to a compassionate and healthy lifestyle. I am still saddened by my family members and friends who do not yet know or want to know about the suffering of other sentient beings. This is the most difficult part of every day for me, so my vegan friendships are my main source of comfort. Thank you my dear vegan friends and my one vegan son, Darren. With your understanding, I can keep on fighting for the voiceless animals and keep my passion to educate others on track!

Vicki Teague-Woolman“Oddly, I slipped into veganism.  For no apparent reason, I walked into a bookstore and, while browsing, I picked up a booked called something like ‘Vegetarian for Dummies’.  I had always wanted to go vegetarian (and attempted it unsuccessfully), but never thought much about going vegan.  The book had a blurb on why dairy and eggs are just as bad as meat (and sometimes worse), with respect to animal abuse and human health.  I later wandered onto PETA’s website, took the 30 day challenge, and never looked back.  Going vegan significantly magnified the peace, contentment,  and spirituality that was already is my life. One thing I didn’t expect was the almost complete disappearance of guilt when it came to food.  Guilt was a big part of my previous relationship with food.  I thought the guilt was all about weight gain, fat, and gluttony, but it actually came from a much deeper level.  I now believe it was almost all about the damage we cause by consuming animals (animal abuse/murder, human health, and environmental, not to mention karma).  I feel like I’m clued in on a big awesome secret that many people just aren’t ready to hear.” 

Will Tuttle, Author of The World Peace Diet: “I remember very clearly the “aha moment” when I went vegetarian – it was in December of 1975 and I was at The Farm in Tennessee, and had the inspirational and educational example of 900 people being vegetarian and radiantly healthy. I was only there a few weeks, and have never eaten meat again in my life. The aha moment was a combination of learning about animal suffering and simultaneously having the experience of an entire community who were all thriving. My transition to veganism was around 1980, and by then I was in San Francisco, and it was just a gradual thing – I heard about the suffering of dairy cows and layer hens, and learned about vegans, and went vegan, but it wasn’t abrupt and public like going vegetarian was for me. It was more gradual and private. In the 33 years since being a vegan, I have thrived on every level, and it is definitely the single best choice I have ever made (and continue to make every day). I realize now that veganism is nothing to be proud of. It is simply returning home and looking with eyes that see beings when I look at beings, rather than seeing mere commodities as we’ve all been trained to do by our culture’s relentlessly violent meal rituals. I feel enormously blessed to be a vegan. Vegan living liberates not just animals, but our Earth and all of us from the toxic mental program injected into us by our culture. To me, vegan living is our bright future calling us to wake up and live our lives authentically and according to our values. I feel that it calls us to ever-greater levels of understanding and illumination, so that we can more fully live our lives as expressions of joy, freedom, abundance, sustainability, harmony, and wisdom. There is nothing preventing us from embracing vegan living and the sooner we do so, the better for everyone! It is the foundation of everything life-affirming and worthy of respect and support. My advice to everyone is: question the official stories that promote slavery and disease. Go vegan. And do it now!” 

Jill Bernard, WellBEing Resource Producer: “I saw a chicken slaughtered before my eyes. The moment I realized what was about to happen, I said “I’m going vegetarian!” It was a feeling, no… it was a knowing, from my soul. The chicken’s will to live was apparent as she vehemently flapped her wings in her best efforts to fly away, but the slaughterer had complete control. Though she truly wanted to live, the chicken’s chance of continuing her life was an impossibility. I was heartbroken. Tears streaming down my face, I yelped as the final pound of the gavel on the blade pressed firmly against the chicken’s neck. Her head fell to the ground and simultaneously her body proceeded to run around (thus the phrase was created “running around like a chicken with it’s head cut off”). From that moment on, my life has never been the same. Since this experience, over two years ago, I have learned about the unacceptable conditions & treatment of farmed animals (including “organic & grass fed”), for the sole purpose of producing milk products, eggs, and flesh for human consumption. I have thus transitioned to a plant based/vegan diet, with the help of many resources I’ve compiled at the bottom of this post. I am amazed that I am now eating a wider variety of foods now, have become more intuitive in the kitchen as I cook more now than I ever have before! Since becoming vegetarian, I noticed that I immediately had an increase in creativity, feel more connected and compassionate (with and for all BEings), and am more purposeful than ever before in my life. My eyes are open, I am awake, and I feel blessed, grateful, and joyful to be on this path.”

For additional resources, restaurants, and guidance, visit iLoveWellBEing.com/Vegan

5 thoughts on “Why Vegan? {Inspired Eating}”

  1. Thank you Jill for mentioning the Expanding Light Retreat.
    Also, nice to have the comprehensive list of restaurants in the Sac area.
    Many blessings,
    Lalaan Hickey, The Expanding Light

  2. Pingback: Greater Sacramento Vegan Resources - WellBEing Resource Guide for Sacramento & Surrounding

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