By Shakta Khalsa
I’m sticking my neck out here a bit for the love of my fellow creatures. It is the least I can do for all the joy they’ve given me over the years. Animals are marvelous beings, most of us agree on that. I would be a very rich person if I had a dollar for every time a non-vegetarian said they “absolutely love animals.” And since we can exist with or without eating animals, I say, why not become vegetarian? If you can’t go cold turkey…or cold tofu… start with making a commitment to abstaining from factory-farmed animals, which includes any meat, dairy, and eggs that are not organic or at least “grass-fed.” If the label says nothing, you can be assured that the animals suffered in cages so cramped they could not move more than a couple of inches, and were fed a diet high in hormones and antibiotics (to try to keep them alive long enough to fatten them up for slaughter). And guess what happens to those hormones and antibiotics when you eat these animals? They have to go somewhere and your body has to deal with them somehow….
Sorry to gross you out with all this unpleasant talk, but you are free to' leave'; however, the animals, suffering through no fault of their own, have no exit button. And speaking of suffering, did you know about the “chemicals of suffering,” like uric acid, secreted when animals feel intense fear, and which can contribute to arthritis and other debilitating diseases? Some studies even show that the chemicals secreted during slaughter can affect our state of mind, causing aggressive behavior over time.
Uric acid is deposited in the muscle fibers of meat. A pound of beefsteak contains about 14 grams of uric acid. Thisl intake of uric acid is too much for the kidneys and liver to eliminate in addition t othe body’s own daily production. As a result, the excess uric acid is deposited throughout the body, causing painful conditions of gout, rheumatism, headache, epilepsy, hardening of the arteries, nervousness and more.
We need a diet revolution. Our bodies crave it, and our planet needs it to survive. So let’s start with an inner revolution. I’ll join you because I know what it feels like to crave comfort food, or food that your palate enjoys. Even though I have been vegetarian my whole life, I have had a habit of using cheese and butter as comfort food. I was vegan for a number of years, and then went back to some dairy–mostly goat cheese. But, for example, I still eat dairy in a restaurant sometimes, knowing that the dairy animal was factory farmed. So we are all somewhere along the progression of healthy conscious living.
May I suggest that the next time you decide you MUST have meat, really try to be honest with yourself. Don’t get fooled by all the excuses your mind can make. A good rule of thumb is to deeply listen to your body’s needs. Make it a meditation. Your body will crave the nutrition it needs in the most pure and simple form…and that form is plant-based.
Contrary to what the meat and dairy board tout, we vegetarians live long and healthy lives. Check out the Hunzas of Northern India. I have often wished someone had done a three-generational diet study of 3HO/Kundalini Yogis. Since 1969 when my teacher, Yogi Bhajan, came to the US, those of us in Kundalini Yoga have been eating a healthy vegetarian diet and passing it on to our children, and now, our children’s children. If you want to see radiant health, look into the faces of these children.
So when people are worried that they will not be healthy as vegetarians, all I can say is that that is the media talking. If someone loves their meat, they will find proof to show that being vegetarian is dangerous, or unhealthy. But I and many others are living proof that it is not. I am an O positive blood type (which are supposed natural meat-eaters) who has been vegetarian my whole life and happily so.
Feel inspired? Here are some good resources:
The Food Revolution (a personal friend and world leader on this topic, John Robbins, and his son, Ocean, who is taking this work to the next generation)
Shakta Khalsa has been teaching yoga and children for over 3 decades. She is the author of several yoga books, the mother of a teenager, and is happily married to Kartar for over 30 years. Shakta is the founder of the Radiant Child Yoga program, a teacher training program for keeping kids joyful, aware, strong, and beautiful. It works for us adult children too...