EXCERPT from FOOD YOGA – Nourishing Body, Mind & Soul™
by Paul Rodney Turner
Whether the holiday is Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, Hanukah, Janmastami, or Diwali, you can be sure that there is plenty of feasting and lots of joy in the air. Indeed, none of these public holidays or religious festivals would be complete without the sharing of sumptuous food. Unfortunately, these festive holidays are often celebrated at the expense of innocent animals’ lives.
For example, Thanksgiving in the US takes the lives of some 50 million turkeys in one day! It does not have to be that way, but due to ignorance, misinformation or just plain lust, people choose to eat dead carcasses on these joyous occasions.
I remember the first time I attended a Christmas party with friends in Sydney, Australia, after turning vegetarian and how shocked I was to see a pig’s leg on the table. I asked my friend, “Do you know there is a corpse on your table?” He looked at me incredulously and said, “Oh come on, it’s just a leg of ham!” Exactly. What gives us the right to eat another living being’s leg when there are so many other options?
Look at any supermarket aisle; there are literally thousands of non-violent foods to choose from. In fact, food technology has advanced so much over the last two decades that mock meats and mock dairy products fill entire sections of the supermarket, from “fish fillets,” to “steaks,” “hot dogs,” and melting “cheeses” all made with non-animal ingredients, but so authentic that they can fool even a hard-core carnivore. However, a recent investigation in Los Angeles revealed that many mock meats coming out of Taiwan actually contained animal extracts.2 If you want to eat an entirely plant-based diet, therefore, with no chance of contamination by animal-derived ingredients, the only solution is to grow your own food and prepare it at home, seed to plate.
The food choices you make say much about the kind of love and respect you have for the world. Despite your good intentions, if the expression of your love comes at the expense of an innocent animal’s life, your offering is impure. Food, like water, carries a vibration, and a slaughtered animal’s corpse is filled with fear, anger, pain, and sadness. That same energy is absorbed into every cell of your body when you consume such rotting flesh. How, then, can we truly celebrate these festive holidays, glorified as days of light, love and hope, by passing around scorched or baked rotting flesh? To do so is hypocritical and unjustifiable.
Unfortunately, we’ve become lazy slaves to convenience. It is just too easy to follow these bogus traditions and not rock the boat. Isn’t far nobler to act on the principle of love and light and set an example for our children and friends? It takes a brave person to raise his head above the crowd and take a stand for the innocent.
In this world, there is no greater medium than food to unite people of conflicting natures. Whether the difference is philosophical, political or even dietary, just about everyone will put aside differences to come together and eat. Such is the power of the tongue! It is on this understanding that the Vedic culture of hospitality is based. Food in its most pure form is the best conduit to express respect and love to every living being.
1. Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin (1755–1826, Paris) was a French lawyer and politician who gained fame as an epicure and gastronome.
2. Operation Pancake: an undercover investigation of LA vegan restaurants was conducted by Quarry Girl and reported on her blog in June, 2009.
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