Ahimsa Veganism

Today’s lunch is a still-warm garden tomato sammich on homemade rosemary olive oil wild yeast bread I made Sunday. Hit it with a little Himalayan pink salt and some Veganaise. UH-mazing.

Sometimes Wikipedia sums things up pretty well:

‘Ahimsa is one of the cardinal virtues and an important tenet of 3 major religions (Jainism, Hinduism, and Buddhism). Ahimsa is a multidimensional concept. Inspired by the premise that all living beings have the spark of the divine spiritual energy; therefore, to hurt another being is to hurt oneself.’

Everyone has their reason for going vegan. For some, it’s a concern for health: a whole food, plant-based diet is THE way to go to achieve optimal balance. There’s nothing good in animal products, and many, many medical studies have concluded that animal products are linked directly to certain cancers, diabetes, liver disease, dementia, osteoporosis, and heart disease.

Contemporary Ahimsa veganism comes from the view that our industrialized food system is a matter of brutal horror. From birth to the slaughterhouse, animals know nothing but misery and suffering their entire lives. I was wondering the other day what it must be like to never, ever have known love, compassion, or comfort, and then in the end, to be put to death. It must be a nightmarish, otherworldly existence.

Ahimsa is ‘harm none’. Even if somehow, we could raise and slaughter animals without this all-encompassing system of suffering, they would surely anguish at their deaths just by the act of being killed. Everything that lives, wants to live. Should you threaten the life of a human animal or a non-human animal, the response is always the same: I’m afraid - I don’t want to die.

So eating animal flesh and their milk and eggs impugns Ahimsa. And when you realize that millions of people have and do live well without consuming any animal products at all, you know that this ongoing nightmare is all completely unnecessary. And when you know that, the decision has been made for you.

I’ve been full-on vegan lifestyle for over three months now. No, I haven’t lost weight or become noticeably more fit. But it was, hands-down, the best choice I’ve made, above all others, in my life.

My spirit is brighter, lighter. I have more energy, and it’s positive, productive energy. My mind has a new clarity. My relationships are more joyful than ever. My connection with our dogs is deeper, purer. My clothes closet is evolving into a simpler, more beautiful cross section of no-sweatshop, no leather, no fur/wool/silk clothing, shoes, and accessories. Food tastes better. Sleep is more sound. Everyone and everything, as Rumi wrote, has become the beloved.

I can’t find words for the experience. As a vegetarian, I maintained a deeper relationship with all living things by not participating in the blood sport of animal slaughter for meat. But going vegan has elevated that to not just a refusal of all animal products, but an all-encompassing practice that’s changed every little bit of my life.

I dislike proselytizing. But I do understand now why many vegans make a lot of noise about veganism. It’s like any other amazing thing you discover – you want to shout it out to everyone within earshot. Get ahold of some of this, friend: it’s wonderful.

Tomorrow, a package is coming. I finally bought a top-of-the-line tofu press. I’ve been doing the tofu block between two dinner plates weighed down with a pile of books thing all my life. As a vegan, tofu, tempeh, and seitan are playing a much bigger role in my diet. It was time to streamline the process of pressing tofu.

I decided to go ahead and make the investment. This contraption is not cheap, but it’s brilliant in its design. I’m really looking forward to chewy, firm, coconut tofu curry!

Rain today, but temperatures in the 80s. Love. We have a couple of more weeks left of summer, and I plan to embrace every blessed moment of it.

Live in peace.

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