Speaking for myself, I am motivated in part by compassion for animals. But I will not allow myself to suffer mentally for things that I can’t control that others are doing to animals.
I have compassion for my fellow humans as well. I should not judge others. It took me many years for me to learn about things that drive my own convictions about my vegan lifestyle. Having said that, I desire to encourage others to not harm other living creatures.
A crucial reason to consider veganism it's because it's the best diet in terms of human health. Humans are optimally designed to be fruit eaters: Such a diet is naturally compatible to our anatomy and body chemistry.
I believe that science supports that assertion in terms of what has been discovered about primary causes of most human diseases. Most human disease has nothing to do with lack of protein, lack of calories, too much fruit, or intake of too many vegetables. But a great many diseases can be linked to the consumption of animal protein.
Animal protein is almost always eaten in extreme excess. But those who choose to be meat eaters but embrace good dietary practices in other ways can live an extremely long time and be incredibly healthy even if they consume small amounts of animal protein.
In addition to the fact that animal protein is usually eaten to excess, animal protein is unhealthy both because of the way it's prepared and because of how animals are raised in this day and age. As far as preparation is concerned, measures such as avoiding meat that’s not seared in oils or fried and instead eating meat that's grilled or boiled will help minimize meat's deleterious effects.
Avoiding meat that's tainted because of additives, processing measures, and practices associated with raising animals is usually more difficult. Restaurants rarely indicate the sources of the animal proteins in their products. It can be hard to determine if the meats that a restaurant serves are from animals raised naturally on farms instead of from animals raised in industrialized facilities under horrific conditions.
The saying “You are what you eat” is only partially true. You are what you eat, but you are also what you eat eats. If the animal that you eat has been fed with feed that contains unhealthy chemicals, you suffer the consequences of ingesting those chemicals.
Primates are designed so that fruits should be their primary sources of fuel. This is the case for a number of reasons. One reason is that our teeth are designed for grinding, rather than for ripping and shredding. Another is that our digestive systems are long—that's the case because they were designed to extract maximum nutrients from particular food groups.
Some wonder if it would be feasible for a human being to access all the protein he or she needs solely from fruit. Considering the lifestyle that most westernized people live today, that's a legitimate concern. An all-fruit diet would be achievable but tricky. A person going on such a diet would have to be extremely knowledgeable about fruit nutrients.
Although the body is a highly adaptable machine, it doesn't like to deviate from patterns. This works against a human who makes a radical shift from having a clean diet to having a toxic diet; they're likely to get very sick. A person moving from a shitty diet to a healthy one will likely experience some discomfort, but not to the same degree.
Considering the modern-day lifestyle of most, the most “doable" vegan lifestyle is one consisting of fruits and vegetables. The good news is that we have access to a wide variety of fruits and vegetables from all over the world during any season. Healthy, protein-rich fruits and vegetables that are readily available to almost all of us can abundantly provide us with all the nutrients we need.
One of the biggest challenges to health and wellness in this day and age is stress. People in ancient times had stress, but the stress was likely caused by simpler things. Facets of their lifestyle made it so that they experienced stress relief on a day-to-day basis. Sensations that they experienced in the course of living in the wild helped them deal with stress. Living in communities that were the right size also helped them, as did the deeply spiritual world views of many such people.
Today's challenges that cause us to experience stress are different from those of our predecessors. We have more stress in connection with our unnatural lifestyles, and global pollution causes us stress because it negatively affects our detoxification systems.
Another very positive thing about veganism is that plant-based foods convert more efficiently into the types of fuels that are easier for us to absorb. And plant-based foods unquestionably contain every type of macronutrient and micronutrient that a human needs to survive. Some studies may conclude that certain types of nutrients that some people need aren't available through plant sources. But such studies usually don't take the backgrounds, lifestyles, and mindsets of people with nutritional problems into sufficient consideration.
Switching to a plant-based diet certainly entails significant lifestyle changes. Those making such a switch are well advised to seek out a mentor to help them. And both on their own and with guidance from others, they should examine their caloric intake and be prepared for discomfort associated with detoxification from harmful flesh food compounds.
Anyone who decides to embrace veganism should examine their motives for doing so. Some may do so simply because they want to lose weight. Others may be seeking to improve their overall health. But it can be very helpful to contemplate the aspects of compassion that are associated with veganism. Practicing veganism is compassionate towards animals, but the practicing of compassion will extend into other aspects of the world views of those who embrace veganism as well.
It's not necessary to become a vegan to either have compassion or to develop it in your life. And some people might have more difficulty practicing and experiencing compassion than others. Speaking for myself, it took me approximately seven years to develop a degree of compassion in my own life that really began to change me. I found that the practice of compassion to animals has inspired me to become more compassionate to those of my own species.
Another compelling reason for embracing veganism is that the animal flesh business is responsible for a tremendous amount of worldwide environmental disaster. I can't go into much detail about that subject in this brief article. But the practices associated with raising, marketing, processing, and distributing flesh foods are extremely harmful to the environment. Nor have those practices served to end massive worldwide starvation.
One of the things that makes human beings incredible creatures is that we are adaptable. We can adapt our diets in accordance with conditions on the planet and availability of food. And conditions on earth are now such that we must make radical shifts in our diets if we are to continue to live on this planet. Environmental conditions should be making it clear to us that we must change our foolish behavior. We absolutely must make more intelligent choices about food production and consumption—our very lives depend on it.
Some who concur with me that killing animals is wrong under most circumstances might question if killing plants demonstrates a lack of compassion. This is a legitimate question. Plants actually are conscious creatures. Many plants are so conscious that they've developed methodologies for warding off attackers. This suggests that at some point in their development plants had a will to survive. Whether one sees it as pure chemistry or as something metaphysical that goes beyond pure chemistry, plants have a will to live. This separates them from inanimate objects who lack that type of consciousness.
I believe that there's a universal law of reciprocation that requires that every debt in nature be paid to restore nature’s balance and harmony. Because we are alive, we are going to kill other creatures. (Even when we walk, our steps crush living microorganisms.) In keeping with reciprocation, we will eventually surrender our lives and return the elements we borrowed to planet earth.
When we eat fruit, we have the opportunity to make restitution for ending the plant’s life by spreading fruit seed to another location. Plants’ edibility makes it so that other creatures eating them can enhance the spread of the plants’ seeds. Plants can reproduce more effectively when that happens. No other being on this planet is created in such a way that being eaten is part of its process of efficient reproduction.
Living creatures in essence have contracts with the divine laws of nature. When those contracts are broken, humans (as well as other living creatures who are not humans) struggle. Suffering of many varieties will result from man’s noncompliance to natural laws. If we diligently strive to obey natural laws and make it so that creatures cease to suffer, the collective consciousness of humanity will move from being dominated by darkness to being dominated by light. Philosophical aspects of veganism are such that the lifestyle seeks to be in accordance with natural laws.
To conclude this article, it bears repeating that three particularly compelling reasons to embrace a vegan lifestyle are significant health benefits, the opportunity to demonstrate compassion, and helping to end rampant worldwide environmental destruction. But I’d like to wrap up by emphasizing a few tips for embracing a plant-based lifestyle:
- Educate yourself regarding problems you might encounter in connection with detoxing, feeling an initial lack of energy, and overcoming cravings when you switch.
- Keep a journal and focus journal entries on day-to-day feelings and events associated with your lifestyle change.
- Talk with others about your mental, physical, and emotional health and wellness issues.
- If you choose to continue to eat animal protein, drastically reduce amounts of it, try to limit it to one portion of animal protein per day every other day, eat a large leafy salad every time that you eat animal protein, and avoid eating animal protein after sunset (in order to avoid cellular inflammation).
Embrace a plant-based diet, whether it be fully vegan (highly recommended) or primarily fruit and vegetables supplemented by very limited amounts of animal protein. You, fellow humans, fellow creatures on the planet, and the planet itself will all be glad you did.