I am here to say, no, you do not have to be a vegan to reach enlightenment.
If you do a Google for diet and spirituality, you will find a plethora of sites on being a vegetarian or vegan. Many of them will tell you that being vegan is part of the purity on your path to spiritual enlightenment. I am here to tell you that it is possible to be a spiritual omnivore.
Anyone who studies diet and nutrition know plants are where the healing is at. The phytochemicals in the various herbs, fruits, vegetables, and flowers have so many healing properties and I firmly believe nature holds a cure for every ailment (even if we may not yet know what it is). However, it is our ancient practice of eating meat that has allowed our brain to evolve.
Did you know the Dali Lama is not a vegetarian? Yes, he eats animals, however he strongly promotes a non violet, spiritually evolved, and peaceful way of living which includes a vegetarian lifestyle. So is he being a hypocrite? Well, he actually developed liver problems when he went strictly vegetarian. In addition, Tibet is not an area where crops thrive making a non vegetarian diet more indigenous. What can we take from him as a lesson? Be spiritual in your nutrition, even if it involves eating meat. Give your body what it needs. If you are thriving on a vegetarian diet, and many people are, continue to eat that way unless you get a nudge from your body that it needs something more. Don’t ignore it out of guilt or possibly because you think you are a bad person if you eat meat. All diets involve suffering of living things, that is part of the cycle of life. Even pulling weeds is a form of killing on a benign level.
How to be spiritual and eat animals.
When Native Americans went to hunt for food, the whole custom of the hunt was a spiritual occasion. The natives preparing for the hunt and the sacrifice all were deeply spiritual. A prayer was said to the Creator before, during, and after the hunt. They prayed for the animal to appear, they prayed before the kill that it would be successful, and they prayed before the meal a prayer of gratitude. Giving thanks both to the creator and animal itself are one way to use the food as spiritual nourishment.
Imagine if before every meal you thanked the Universe for receiving this food and also asked that it be used to nourish your body so you can continue to serve in your own life? Better yet, thank the animal for giving it’s life so you can thrive. What a beautiful expression it gives to the animal for sacrificing it’s own life for the greater good.
Just being mindful of what and how we eat is a huge step in the right direction.
I believe we all have a purpose here in life and possibly these animals are here to nourish us but it is up to us to make sure they are well cared for and nourished properly themselves so we can be sustained. If we want them to nourish us, we have to do that for them. Otherwise, the lower energies of sickness, obesity, and depression creep in. This is the main problem with meat today. It is purely a commodity. These animals produce cortisol in the slaughterhouse and we then ingest it and in our anxiety laden world the last thing we need more of in our bodies is stress inducing hormones. The factory farm practices have nothing to do with animal welfare. Because of this, the low energy of suffering and unhappiness can be brought right into our bodies when we eat these animals. If you believe in the Law of Attraction, keep this in mind when you buy! You are voting with your wallet on how the animals you consume should be treated.
The grass pastured animals never need antibiotics or hormones. They also are not living in fear and anxiety producing stress chemicals and with a weakened immune system. The animals at many of these smaller farms are living happy lives, caring for their young, and grazing all day on various weeds, grass, and other plants. If an animal is cared for carefully and respectfully managed, each step of the way, would you feel better about feeding it to your family?
As consumers, we vote with your wallet, so vote for people who treat their animals well. Niman Ranch is a great example of a company who you know uses pastured animals that were fed and raised properly, and on a smaller level, De La Ranch is a full service local Southern California grass fed meat farm. The animals are treated beautifully and the consumers can feel good about that and know their money is supporting a local family who values the animals and treats them as such. They can often be found at San Diego and Riverside Farmers Markets. It is owned by a husband and wife. The wife is a vegetarian and she takes care of many of the animals.
But isn’t meat unhealthy?
As mentioned above as with the Dali Lama, many people experience health problems when the go vegetarian. Due to no B vitamins in our soil any longer is necessary to consume animal products to get these essential vitamins. Supplements can be a substitute however, as a vegetarian or vegan you must carefully plan your meals and make sure you are getting all you need including plenty of protein, b vitamins, iron, and zinc. It can be done, but it is a little more challenging when you are eliminating meat. Seek professional help if you are experiencing health issues but would like to remain a vegetarian, sometimes it takes a bit of trial and error to find what works best for you.
Dr Colin Campbell of the well known study The China Project says: “In my view, no chemical carcinogen is nearly so important in causing human cancer as animal protein”. I know this is dangerous territory, but Dr. Campbell, I can’t disagree more. If it were that simple to cure cancer, as a highly intelligent species, humans would have figured that out in the evolutionary process a long time ago. Cancer is probabilistic, you can increase or decrease your probability of getting cancer, but that still means someone with a high risk can not get cancer and somebody with a low risk can get cancer. Plus, there are lots of other contributing factors to cancer, other than simply eating/not eating meat. The rest of your diet, smoking, alcohol consumption, environmental toxins, radiation, how polluted where you live is, genetics, etc… To single out meat is not fair or accurate and to label it as the most dangerous chemical carcinogen is inaccurate. There are known carcinogens produced when meats are heated above 350 degrees for long periods but they are also released in things like olive oil, coconut oil, and other foods at high levels, not just meat.
Here is the thing, we are not meant to eat tons and tons of meat. It is meant to be used sparingly to sustain us for hours on end, to give us energy to be creative and thrive, not to overload our organs so they are too exhausted from digesting so much meat that they cannot function properly. Do you see the difference?
I have been helping people heal their bodies through diet for over 14 years. I am not advocating meat eating for everyone. I personally believe people are more successful using individual diets, not diets that are generalized for a group of people who all have different genetics, preferences, lifestyles, needs, etc. In addition, the “spiritual” feeling that some people initially experience on a vegan or vegetarian diet probably has a lot to do with the conscious effort toward better lifestyle choices, which offers a psychological boost. You can get that from eating mindfully and consciously not matter what path you choose.
So, listed to your body and intuitively decide on your own what is best for you. Do not let someone else’s dogma dictate your nutrition. It is a very individual situation.
So, did I change your mind or views on eating meat? Why or why not? What are some ways you connect your spirituality and nourishment? If you believe we are not meant to eat meat, what purpose do you think all these animals have been put here for? Tell me in the comments.
Thanks for reading.