I Am Going to Eat Meat. Deal with It. ~ Alexandra Grace

Via on May 4, 2012

I don’t actually mean to be that harsh. But I would like to see the proselytizing vegans tone it down a little.

What I mean is, I am tired of hearing these peace-loving-yogi-vegans ripping into meat eaters as if we had single-handedly driven a herd of cows off a cliff. Here’s the thing: if any of you are in a relationship, you know exactly what berating people gets you. Ignored. Or a headache. Or both. So let’s try a different approach, shall we?

At this point, I anticipate that any vegans who are reading this (1) have already moved onto another article, (2) have already begun to formulate more anti-omnivore commentary, or (3) are actually still reading this! For the third of you who are still reading this, thank you! And please consider a few things the next time you encounter a chicken-eater (and by that, I mean an omnivore).

First, let’s consider how difficult it is to make dietary changes.

And to make this easy, I’ll use myself as an example. I have been struggling with losing weight for several years now. I have recently been making some progress, but let me tell you: it is very difficult to make an overnight change to something you have been doing for any great period of time.

Having been a cupcake and cheeseburger eater for the past 28 years, it’s not going to stop immediately because I saw a picture of a live, wingless chicken or video of a pig being slaughtered. (I cannot give you a comparable comment for cupcakes. I know sugar is bad, but cupcakes are delicious.)

I need time.

Anyone who has decided to make a change like this needs time. I have decided to make the change, eventually, towards being a vegan. As my first step, I have decided to stop eating pigs. I’ll get where I’m going eventually. But it won’t be today. I’m still eating cheeseburgers today.

Second, let’s consider the [passive-aggressive] nag-factor.

There are people who have not decided to be vegan or vegetarian yet, and they’re not going to because some of you are too annoying. So let’s consider changing your approach. For example, some people have already decided that this is the circle of life and cows are here because we are supposed to eat them. How do you think you’ll reach those people?

Showing them a video of how the cow is killed would be like showing them a video of how their car is made.

Who cares, just get it done and then I’ll drive the car (or eat the burger). So maybe for those people, the approach should be sharing information about healthier choices that might include vegan options. Or maybe show them how delicious vegan food is and that there are many options that taste similar to their animal of choice, but with less saturated fat [and death]. My point is, there are many reasons why different people have chosen to ignore you. And that brings me to my final point.

The yoga factor.

Remember that love and peace and respect thing? Let’s try, just for a day to start, meeting people where they are. I don’t think my darling fiancé has any intention of being vegan, and I honestly don’t have any intention of converting him. But maybe he’ll take a bite of my vegetarian corn dog and not spit it out. That’s a start! I’ll take it!

What I mean is, you should be the vegan. You. Live by example. If someone asks, share the reasons why you’ve made that choice. Share your meal, share a recipe, share some information. You don’t have to watch a cow being slaughtered in front of you, you should write to your congressperson, you should protest, you should blog, and tweet, and do whatever else makes you feel satisfied with advancing the cause.

I respect your right to do that, I respect the cause, and I hope to be a part of it one day. But I’m not there today, and I’m ok with that. You should be too.

Alex is figuring it out. By day, she is an employment lawyer; by night, she is a yoga teacher trainee. And all the time, she brings a child-like curiosity (but an adult-like commentary) to everything she encounters. Having fallen in love with yoga over the past three years, Alex hopes that her sense of humor, honesty, and open-heart will encourage new students to find the joy she has found in yoga.

 

~

Editor: Tanya L. Markul

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71 Responses to “I Am Going to Eat Meat. Deal with It. ~ Alexandra Grace”

  1. robertwolf681 says:

    Aw man. I'm disappointed. I read the title and I thought you were gonna let fly with both barrels.

    • Alexandra Grace says:

      LOL, well I'm sorry to disappoint, but I do appreciate you reading it! Short of taking a picture of myself laying in a vat of hamburger meat (which would have grossed me out), I'm not sure what else I could have done :)

      • robertwolf681 says:

        I think veganism is massively oversold, and I don't agree that it's healthier, more ecologically sound, or more spiritual. I hoped you were going to take that on. If someone doesn't do it soon, I might have to do it myself!

        • Alexandra Grace says:

          I'm not yet a vegan or a nutritionist, so I'm not yet in a position to say whether veganism is healthier for me, but I appreciate that you feel that way; I think a lot of people tend to agree with you. You should definitely write a piece and share how you feel!

  2. Lisa says:

    Haha this is great and I am honored to be part of your one third who is able to "meet people where they are" and keep reading. As a Holistic Nutrition Counselor I have dedicated my practice to working with people who want to make this transition but as you say "need time". Its not easy and I respect your honesty. It took me ten years to adopt a vegan diet that is sustainable and I really feel the best I've ever felt in my life! So stick with it and get support if you are for real, its worth it! And please don't let vegans who are militant or abrasive in their beliefs deter you from embracing this lifestyle, do it your own way, and remember that those vegans are working on their own "stuff" too. Blessings to you.

    • Alexandra Grace says:

      I really appreciate that, Lisa! I definitely went through the phase where I threw out everything in my house that used to breathe, or came from something that used to breathe, and I think I was vegan for about a day and a half before I went to Zinburger. This really is a change I can see myself making, but I'd rather do it gradually so I don't make myself miserable in the process.

      By the way, I loved this from your website: "I discovered practices that fed my soul: yoga, meditation, organic gardening, supportive community. Finally! Peace and resolution. These practices are different for everyone." :)

    • john says:

      i guess if you are a HOLISTIC nutritionist then there would be people who are better off with meat in their diet and those who benefit more without

      • Lisa says:

        Hmm, holistic meaning I work with a focus on nutrition but also taking into account career, relationship, exercise, spirituality, etc. I will not deny anyone who feels called to work with me, and I would never impose a diet that feels oppressive to any client; but I am committed to working with this particular group of people b/c I am passionate about environmental sustainability, and to me, a whole foods, plant based diet is the most effective way for an individual to achieve this.

  3. namastehon says:

    as an Ayurvedic practitioner (lifestyle and diet counseling) I have found (by experience and by reading in the Ayurvedic texts that certain body types should favor certain foods and avoid others. I've found that the most successful at being vegetarian or vegan are the Kapha body types who tend to gain weight easily and lose it slowly (if at all). The least successful are the Vata types who gain weight slowly (if at all) – Vatas would and do find a vegan diet destructive and depleting. Pitta types can shift their diet easily (and seasonally) as they can eat anything when in balance.

    A vegan diet is good for losing weight but may be severely deficient in certain nutrients which are best absorbed from their animal food forms. While there are veggie options, the body must usually convert them to the more usable form, and not everyone is capable of this. Look up the shocking story of a young vegan couple in France who were arrested in the death of their baby, which they were trying to breastfeed (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/mar/29/vegans-trial-death-baby-breast-milk). That baby was found to have died from malnutrition, specifically B-12 and A.

    Another case is from the US – http://articles.nydailynews.com/2011-09-12/news/3… – and involves a couple who are apparently completely ignorant about what constitutes a proper diet for babies. They weren't even breastfeeding it but giving it soy milk and apple juice despite warnings on the soy milk label that it was not a substitute for baby formula!

    Anyone who is interested in shifting their diet should first focus on adding more fresh produce into their diets. Next shift would be to eat organic as much as possible, or purchase from local small farmers (farmers markets, CSAs, etc). Begin eliminating highly processed and refined foods, switching from white sugar to raw sugar, from table salt to mineralized salt (like Real Salt or Celtic Sea Salt).

    Then, once you've become healthier, you can begin eating less meat but still consume fresh, raw dairy if available and eggs from pastured hens. If and when it feels appropriate, then would be the time to go vegan (best during summer when fresh produce is available, or in warmer regions where such fresh produce is available year-round). Don't go vegan unless you are severely overweight, diabetic, or heart disease and need to lose weight quickly.

    • Alexandra Grace says:

      I had to do another quiz to check, but I am mostly Pitta. So it sounds like I won't have a terrible time being vegan when I decide to do it–that's promising!

    • __MikeG__ says:

      These babies you mentioned did not die because of veganism, they died because their parents are low life whack jobs. When a baby dies of malnutrition in the hands of omnivorous parents no one claims that meat/dairy/eggs caused the deaths. Because the real problem is that the parents are low life whack jobs.

      Many vegans came to veganism as healthy, strong and fit individuals and they continue in their health, fitness and strength long after the switch to a vegan diet is made. The admonishment to not adopt a vegan diet unless one is 'overweight, diabetic etc' is ridiculous. Many vegans flourish on the diet in direct opposition to the statements made above about Ayurvedic body types and the body types supposed relation to veganism. Makes one wonder about the benefit of Ayurveda when the principles espoused so often fail in real world scenarios.

    • john says:

      agreed no one size fits all……many factors heritage, geography, current health condition, season, activity level, etc.

  4. namastehon says:

    as an Ayurvedic practitioner (lifestyle and diet counseling) I have found (by experience and by reading in the Ayurvedic texts that certain body types should favor certain foods and avoid others. I've found that the most successful at being vegetarian or vegan are the Kapha body types who tend to gain weight easily and lose it slowly (if at all). The least successful are the Vata types who gain weight slowly (if at all) – Vatas would and do find a vegan diet destructive and depleting. Pitta types can shift their diet easily (and seasonally) as they can eat anything when in balance.

    Sally Fallon of the Weston A. Price Foundation (an organization promoting the healing effects of traditional diets) warns against a vegan book for children http://bit.ly/JwZxcs "The child will not develop to its optimal potential. It's extremely dangerous and unfair to do this to a child." She said meat-free diets can cause deficiencies in many vitamins such as A, B12, D, zinc, and iron…

    Expert blasts vegan book for kids http://www.stcatharinesstandard.ca

    • __MikeG__ says:

      It is a huge mistake to to take what any one person or any one study says as the end all and be all of authority on any subject. Many vegan parents have and are raising vegan children with none of the deficiencies Ms. Fallon claims are caused by a vegan diet. Also, there are many children raised as omnivores who have deficiencies in A, B12, D, zinc and iron.

      And with all due respect to the Price Foundation they are promoting only a certain type of diet and do not take well to voices who disagree with the diet they promote. For every anti-vegan so-called expert one can find a pro-vegan so-called expert. Instead of this tit-for-tat exchange it is better to put trust in organizations who cull data from multiple peer reviewed studies, such as the American Dietary Association or the AMA. Otherwise one is in danger of strengthening one's own confirmation bias.

      • oz_ says:

        I'm not a vegan, but I agree with Mike here – the WAP Foundation has no credibility. Colin Campbell destroyed their legitimacy in this piece, as far as I am concerned:
        http://www.vegsource.com/articles2/campbell_china

        Snippet: "WAPF Founder Sally Fallon who has Bachelors and Masters degrees in English sums up her organization's views as follows, "Animal fats and cholesterol are not villains but vital factors in the diet, necessary for normal growth, proper function of the brain and nervous system, protection from disease and optimum energy levels." It is time to seriously question the scientific objectivity and professional qualifications of WAPF staffers and their writers. It also is time to question their excessive exaggeration of Weston A. Price's observations."

        In essence, the WAPsters are cult-like in their deification of Weston A Price, who may have been a decent dentist, but was not much of a scientist.

  5. Love this, Alex! Even though I'm a vegan, I don't think it's for everyone. In fact, I'm glad that there are so many omnivores who are mindful and pushing for more ethical sources of animal products. There will always be people who eat meat, so it's great to see a movement towards more mindful eating—no matter what that looks like for the individual!

    • Alexandra Grace says:

      Thanks, Kate! I think that's about where I am with this. I know that I'm not personally killing the animals, but I'm starting to wonder if that's as bad as receiving stolen goods and saying that you weren't the one who robbed the bank. Maybe? I'm just exploring, for now. And I'm glad that there are so many amazing writers on Elephant Journal sharing their stories and recipes. That makes the journey a lot more fun.

  6. __MikeG__ says:

    Fair disclosure, I'm vegan. But I have nothing to say about it unless someone else brings up the subject. Or spreads lies and disinformation. I do not think I am better that omnivores because I spent the vast majority of my life as an omnivore.

    And maybe I am a bad vegan because I do not think that the death of the animal is the issue. I think that the problem lies in that most people consume meat that comes from the horrors of factory farms. Not only is it a nightmare for the animals but the meat produced is full of antibiotics,hormones and chemicals. And often the factory raised animals are b12 deficient because they are fed only diets of corn or soybeans that do not contain b12 producing bacteria.

    • Alexandra Grace says:

      I can really appreciate your perspective, Mike. I have noticed that people arrive at the vegan/omnivore conclusion for lots of different reasons, and the factory farming one is the most compelling to me. Maybe that means that I'll always eat meat, but only from local farms that only breed a few animals. I have no idea.

      But you're right; I think we would all be better off if we sought information from a variety of sources and scrutinized that information appropriately. Thanks so much for reading, and posting!

    • oz_ says:

      I'm curious Mike – if factory farming is the issue, why not simply switch to non-factory raised, cruelty free meat, like much of the grass-fed and -finished bison produced in America these days? It's easy to find bison (well, here in Colorado anyway) that are not subjected to hormones or antibiotics and it's getting easier to find local pastured, cruelty-free and chemical-free chickens, too.

      • Mila says:

        THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS CRUELTY-FREE MURDER

        • @Suri_k8 says:

          Ok but murder means the killing of a human being by a human being.

        • oz_ says:

          Making up one's own definitions to words in order to advance one's argument is a sure sign of dogmatism and black and white thinking, a psychological condition that often manifests in religious fanatics and ideologues. In this case:

          mur·der   [mur-der]
          noun
          1. Law . the killing of another human being under conditions specifically covered in law.
          2. Slang . something extremely difficult or perilous: That final exam was murder!
          3. a group or flock of crows.

          Using CAPS to virtually SCREAM at people only demonstrates further the reactive (i.e. emotional and non-deliberative) nature of the response.

          This is exactly what the author is talking about. Mila, do you think you have advanced your cause by your response here? Obviously not, so it's not about the cause. So why did you respond in a way that is only going to do harm to the cause you wish to advance?

          I'm not trying to be offensive – I am trying to point out that if you act in a way that damages your cause, then there is something deeper going on that could do with some examination. And I think this is the unspoken truth about the vegan movement, much as it is the unspoken truth about the Religious Right, or any other fanatical movement.

      • __MikeG__ says:

        It's the main moral issue that concerns me but not the only issue. I am vegan because my body wants me to be vegan. And I think that the human body is not evolutionarily designed for meat. We do not have the claws, speed, teeth,strength and digestive system to catch and eat animals. That is why we require ballistic weapons, knives and fire to make up for what nature did not provide us with. Put an unarmed person in a field with bison and the bison will laugh their asses off if that person tries to make them a meal. Hugs.

        • @Suri_k8 says:

          Hi Mike , i think there might be some evidence to the contrary , these are just a couple of examples , i will post it in 2 parts …I know you like science so here:
          Meat Eating Behind Evolutionary Success of Humankind, Global Population Spread, Study Suggests
          ScienceDaily (Apr. 20, 2012) — Carnivory is behind the evolutionary success of humankind. When early humans started to eat meat and eventually hunt, their new, higher-quality diet meant that women could wean their children earlier. Women could then give birth to more children during their reproductive life, which is a possible contribution to the population gradually spreading over the world. The connection between eating meat and a faster weaning process is shown by a research group from Lund University in Sweden, which compared close to 70 mammalian species and found clear patterns.
          Learning to hunt was a decisive step in human evolution. Hunting necessitated communication, planning and the use of tools, all of which demanded a larger brain. At the same time, adding meat to the diet made it possible to develop this larger brain….. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/1204

          • @Suri_k8 says:

            This is part of the conclusion of the study and the link to the study
            "The critical link between time to weaning and dietary profile adds to the general notion that the evolution of the hominids – and that of Homo in particular – was associated with a change towards higher-quality diet. Specifically, it has been proposed that with a given metabolic rate a large brain could have evolved only if another metabolically expensive tissue, such as the gut, would be reduced in size. But to maintain an energy intake sustaining that metabolic rate despite a reduced gut size, food quality must have been improved [41], for example by increased meat consumption. Our model suggests that the contribution of carnivory in this evolutionary context was to shorten the duration of lactation and suckling despite the overall prolongation of development associated with increased adult brain mass [14]. The resulting decreased interbirth intervals and increased rates of reproduction must have affected population dynamics profoundly. Our findings highlight therefore the emergence of carnivory as a process fundamentally determining human life history and evolution."
            Impact of Carnivory on Human Development and Evolution Revealed by a New Unifying Model of Weaning in Mammals http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.13

            This is from Pinker's The Better Angels Of Our Nature.
            "Our ancestors have been hunting , butchering , and probably cooking meat for at least two million years, and our mouths ,teeth and digestive tracts are specialized for a diet that includes meat.(1) The fatty acids and complete protein in meat enabled the evolution of our metabolically expensive brains, and the availability of meat contributed to the evolution of human sociality.(2)"
            (1) Human carnivory : Boyd & Silk , 2006; Harris 1985, Herzog 2010; Wrangham 2009a
            (2) Carnivory and human evolution : Boyd & Silk 2006; Cosmides & Tooby, 1992 ; Tooby & DeVore 1987

          • __MikeG__ says:

            I'll check these studies out. One major problem I see is that Pinker is using the complete protein myth. Complete protein was first proposed in a book called Diet for a Small Planet which was written by a sociologist. The complete proteing myth was later debunked through experiments and was retracted by the author herself.

            I don't see how our undersized, weak and dull canines could be considered "specialized for eating meat". We have canines because most mammals have canines. Without knives humans cannot tear into hide and flesh. The digestive tracts of carnivores are shorter than ours. That is because carnivores evolved to eliminate digested meat before the fats are absorbed in the blood stream. Our long digestive tracts are a major reason why humans have so much heart disease from meat. True carnivores have stomach bacteria which kills all the harmful organisims found in dead and decaying flesh. Humans require fire and cooking meat because we lack the proper stomach/intestinal bacteria.

            I'm not convinced by these studies, there are too many assumptions and holes in the conclusions. But I have been full of shit too many times in my life to dismiss all the findings out of hand. I think I'll need to improve my knowledge of nutrition and challenge myself to see if confirmation bias is screwing up my perceptions.

            Love and hugs.

          • @Suri_k8 says:

            Lol , I love your honesty , and you might be right about the "Pinker" studies , the plosone study that I linked to mentions some other studies that are not useful for the same reason , I´m guessing they are talking about the same studies .

            Knives are definitely needed to cut and skin hoofed animals but birds and fish get really tender after cooking them you only need a knife to take the guts out…shellfish and crustaceans can be eaten without the use of a knife … Also most non-animal sources of protein need to be cooked or fermented , specially pulses… not nuts though …. and the same applies to grains (cooked or baked in the form of flour) some tubers and roots also need to be cooked . Insects are eaten raw sometimes but usually are roasted or fried .

            Teeth are the hardest parts of our bodies , they are even harder than bones .
            This is from Neil Shubin's Your Inner Fish : A Journey Into The 3.5 Billion Year History Of The Human Body
            "Human mouths reveal that we are all purpose eaters, for we have several kinds of teeth. Our front teeth, the incisors , are flat blades specialized for cutting. The rearmost teeth , the molars, are flatter with a distinctive pattern that can macerate plant or animal tissue. The premolars , inbetween , are intermediate in function between incisors and molars."…..fascinating book by the way.

            Anyway it is impossible to be 100% bias free , both of us should do some more reasearch on this subject in order to get a clearer idea of how diet influenced our evolution…or not ..8D

            Take care buddy!

  7. Lilly says:

    What we eat is up to us. What others think of us is none of our business.
    This endless debate and discussion is a waste of energy. Who cares?

    • GreenThumb says:

      As long as humans enslave, torture and exploit non-humans and cause unnecessary, prolonged suffering – WHO you eat will always be other's business. If you don't want anyone to care, eat some Kale ; )
      http://www.earthlings.com/

  8. Monica says:

    Great Article! I actually just took the vegan label off of me because I started eating ghee from Ancient Organics and stopped being so extreme. For example, if there are a bowl of chips at a party I'm not going to bombard someone for the ingredients. I don't think this is really contributing much to the animal industry. I think that proselytizing in general is not a very yogic act. Eating meat or proselytizing isn't the practice of ahimsa. I think it's great that you are taking the first steps towards vegan and of course no one changes overnight. My intention is just to compassionately educate the public about the animal and farming industry and how amazing vegan food can be in the hopes that they begin to eat local and cut back on meat. If everyone began by just cutting back on meat, that would be amazing! Namaste :)

  9. Phillip R. Lewis says:

    For Lilly, the animals who dies cares. It really is simple. Animals who must eat meat only kill what they need and no more. We do not need to consume animal products and can be quite healthy without. Either you care about the suffering and death of other living animals(human and non human) or you don't. If you are too weak to make the change at least have the strength to admit it. If you don't care now . I hope you do soon for the sake of all of us.

    Phillip R. Lewis

    • oz_ says:

      Well, this is just not true Phillip. Chimpanzees, for example, eat as many termites as they can get their hands on, but they don't "need" them – they can subsist easily on fruits and vegetables. But given the opportunity, they gladly increase their protein intake via insects. Further, it is totally common for predators to kill far more than they 'need' and then leave the rest of the carcass. No offense, but it looks like you're making up 'facts' to bolster your argument as you go along. Not persuasive.

      Further, berating people for being 'weak' if they don't make the choice that you apparently did is *precisely* the kind of personal attack that the author is taking to task. Way not to get the point, dude.

    • @Suri_k8 says:

      Well, my cats kill mice and lizards all the time and they never eat them…they toss em around , crush them …sometimes disembowel them and then leave them to die slowly and very painfuly .

      • Dylan says:

        Maybe you should eat your cats after you "toss em around , crush them …sometimes disembowel them and then leave them to die slowly and very painfuly [sic]" because they are a scourge on the earth. That way you can still eat meat, don't have to support factory farms and let the lizards and mice live their lives.

    • Provoked says:

      Exactly Phillip – It's not an inconsequential choice because there are 3rd party victims at stake. They are the ones who suffer because of our "choices".

      I am not going to hold doors open for physically challenged folks… I'm not going to pick up trash blown on my lawn… I'm not going to care about impoverished folks… The list could go on and on about things that I could say "deal with it". But that's not the way to make a better world. Nonhumans count. They need the voice and hearts of ppl who do "deal with it" in a compassionate manner. The right choices are quite easy – And more compelling than ever…

  10. Deedre says:

    I was a vegetarian for 20 years and it was ruining my health. Different people need different diets and my body needs meat, however I might wish differently. The first day I ate sardines I was running up and down the road with energy that I hadn't had in years.
    I eat organic meat, I care how the animals are treated and I do not eat more than I need.
    Vegetarianism is not a choice for every body.

    • ashley says:

      u clearly did not balance your vegetarian diet properly. meat is not meant to be eaten, by anybody. it cant be properly digested in the human digestive tract (which is long and meant to carry roughage only, not putrefying diseased flesh) not to mention it causes heart disease and cancer. so sad that u couldnt find fruit and vegetables for carbs and protein. thats where the energy comes from. carbs! ur energy came back after eating a can of sardines? im guessing u were a junk food veggie. doritos is vegetarian, kitkat, smarties, birthday cake. thats not healthy food. thats cancer. so is sardines is a can. enjoy.

  11. Little Orphan says:

    Couldn't have said it better. I need the meat, having a major vatta imbalance. Need to build my blood. And need to make my own choices. I don't yell at people who don't do yoga, or show them videos of deteriorating spinal discs. They would hate me and never go to a class. I did watch the beginning of Food, Inc, because I was on the treadmill and I needed something interesting… bog mistake. I might not ever eat chicken again. I don't even want to know about the cows. I need the red meat!

    • Alexandra Grace says:

      I just chuckled aloud at the “videos of deteriorating spinal discs.” :)

    • oz_ says:

      LO, you might look into bison aka buffalo. FAR more healthy than beef, tastes similar, but better, and generally no hormones/antibiotics, plus you can get grass-fed and finished. Red meat that's actually good for your heart (omega 6/3 ratio about 4:1 vs corn-fed beef 20:1). And, the best thing about it, you can find cruelty-free (i.e. non-feedlot-based) bison. Try eatwild.com. I have been a vegetarian for years but recently chose to add bison to my diet for various reasons. Ethically, it's a since. And BTW, you can find pastured, cruelty-free chicken through that site, too.

      The caveat is this: this kind of meat costs more than the toxic stuff in the supermarket. So the choice you will face is: are you willing to spend more money to uphold a higher ethical standard – the good news is that doing so will also improve your health.

  12. yogi tobye says:

    I'd starve in a matter of days if I had to stop eating things that were alive once.

    mindstuff.com

  13. Greg says:

    This omn

  14. e.scott says:

    for compassionate and yogic reasons, I was vegetarian for 4 years and then vegan for 2… now I eat anything and everything. I tend to get anemic and started to crave red meat so I listened to my body… i now eat cheese, steak and cheeseburgers…. (rarely eggs, other dairy or honey…) I know of other 'recovering vegetarians'… sometimes ahimsa means listening to what our body needs to be healthy is the answer. I wish it were easier and all we had to do was stare at the sun and ingest spirulina… but my body don't seem to work that way…maybe if everyone could hunt for survival and live off the land as close to nature as possible, cuz Factory farming sucks….however everything can become 'disordered eating'. As my guru says: eat what makes you happy…

    • alexandragrace4 says:

      I think you have send it perfectly: "Sometimes ahimsa means listening to what our body needs to be healthy." That, combined with eating only what we need and not gorging ourselves on meat just because we have the resources to do that, I think, is a fine way of living.

  15. Ily Marie says:

    Thank you Alexandra! You have express what I have in my head since I started to do Yoga and eating more vegetarian meals and less meat. But I got to tell you, I have encounter Vegan practicioners that are just full of hate for us meat eaters, that have no compassion or respect for people who eat meat, but on the other hand call themselves animal lovers. We humans are animals too and we deserve love no matter what we eat. They sound like religious fanatics when they talk about this,and I find this full hypocresy. I’m gonna stop now before I get angry. But again THANK YOU, I feel less alone about this now! ♥ Ily

  16. Laura says:

    Thanks for this! I admire people who are vegan – and have no intention of becoming one myself. However, I agree, the moment an overly zealous proponent of veganism (or any lifestyle) starts in with the lectures, self righteous preaching, I tune them out and dismiss as diet nazis. Seriously, this approach is just as bad as the religious proselytizing. I prefer my vegans respectful and courteous, thank you :)

  17. stasha says:

    i love your writing! wonderful article. thank you! i was a vegetarian for awhile and was a psychological/health mess because of it. my body loves and needs to eat meat. as locally raised as possible. long live cupcakes and bacon.

  18. Mick Davis says:

    I’ve been enjoying this discussion. First thought? Developed world problem. We’re discussing things that most people around the world do not even consider. Meat? Yes. Thank you. Veggies? Please. More. We have the luxury of being able to survive without meat. We can pick and choose our diet based on preferences. Most folks do not have that luxury. Ask a Tibetan to eat only veggies. Kind of tough. We, as Westerners, have choices available. I feel it’s a better argument to eat locally and see what produces the least impact and most benefit to those around us. Organic food? Sure. If its been shipped 1500 miles to get to you? How is that better than the person that goes out, shoots their own deer and lives off that meat for a year? Bottom line is least impact. If you’re aggressive towards others then you have larger issues at stake.

  19. Candice Garrett says:

    I'm a long time veg head in a family, raising a family, full of meat eaters. The way we eat is a choice, and making that choice is the most important part. Being judgemental, from either direction, is a waste of energy. Lead by example, don't preach, don't judge. That being said, I most respect the meat eaters who know what they're eating, rather than those that can't stomach the sight of a vein or grisle. If you can be honest and eat it, than that is the point. Still, I'd like to see factory farms go by the wayside, meat eater or not…

  20. @Suri_k8 says:

    Step 1 , accept that omnivorism is not going away anytime soon , Step 2 focus our energies in changing the way the meat/dairy industry works

  21. Maria says:

    Bravo! I have been doing yoga for more than 10 years and am vegetarian. I never discuss this with everyone – it's how I live, and if the subject comes up and the person is interested, he'll ask about it. I am constantly put off by the people who literally preach yoga, going vegan, etc. on every street corner. Even I find this annoying! I end up by feeling sorry for the poor guys!

  22. Vee says:

    I am vegan. Sometimes I see a vegan complain about how omnivorous people are jeering and aggressive about veganism. And sometimes I see an article like this that seems to generalise that anyone who is vegan is a nagging, harsh, judgmental person. The truth is there are harsh, judgmental omnivores. And harsh, judgmental vegans. And then there are vegans and omnivores who are not. I am a vegan but i dont want to be in "camp vegan".I want to be in camp "informed and respectful".

    My own feeling on the issue (because I believe in the rights of all living beings, both animals and humans) is that people should take the time to educate themselves on exactly how animal based food is produced and decide for themselves. I also meet vegans sometimes who live under the delusion that their lifestyle choice does not kill any animals. Not so. Agriculture results in death (less than meat consumption, but death never the less) because when we capture land from nature to grow grain and vegetables, the creatures that lived there die. We need to protect crops from insects and animals whose instinct is to eat it.

    I am not even sure there can be a strict definition of vegan. I don't eact animal based foods, and I avoid cosmetics tested or derived from animals. But, I practise pest control to keep my home free of rats and roaches. That has collateral damage. For something to live something has to die. Humans have been blessed with intellect. We need to use it to inform ourselves, and then make the choice we consider right for ourselves.

    • oz_ says:

      Well said, Vee.

    • alexandragrace4 says:

      This article does not assert that all vegans are that way; it only comments about the vegans that are. In fact, I know at least one vegan who has been very encouraging, and who has shared recipes and resources about how to start out, without being overbearing or pushy. They do exist.

      I think we agree that all of us should educate ourselves about the choices we make. I don't believe that because you've always done it means that you have to keep doing it without thinking about why. But I do recognize that if you've always done it, it will be challenging to make the change once you decide to do that. That was the focus of this piece.

  23. alexandraengland says:

    I see your point, totally, and I think you're completely right, but my own personal experience has been more that when people discover I'm vegan, I'm expected to justify it and listen to their reasons for not being vegan, as if I had expressed some opinion about their dietary choices. I listen, of course, and I make some kind of supportive comment to the effect that everybody should do what they feel to be right, but sometimes would be very grateful not to have to justify myself.

    • alexandragrace4 says:

      Thank you so much for sharing that. You don't have to justify yourself to anyone. And you're right: This article did not focus on every single aspect of the vegan-omnivore divide. I didn't talk about, because I have no experience with, how vegans feel when they are confronted by omnivores. We have another article by Lindsay Nixon that does an amazing job with that perspective: http://www.elephantjournal.com/2012/05/herbivore-

    • __MikeG__ says:

      Yep, me too. You probably have received, as I have, the "OMG your a vegan" stare across the dinner table. Respectful questions are OK but I there are way too many people who react with hostility.

  24. just me says:

    the dogma that being a vegan or vegetarian is a superior spiritual choice needs to be exploded and challenged on it's face. underneath the author's assertion that she will eat meat and "needs time" there is a tonality that comes through that eating meat is wrong. i totally respect anyone who makes this choice for themselves, but the way that it is expressed it to others should be considered. non violence is not just about not eating meat, it's about how we live and communicate and move through the world – so how ironic is it that some vegans/vegetarians choose violent forms of communication to get their message across?

    non-violence also includes not being violent to self. for some (like me) being a vegetarian/vegan is a violent choice. i spent the worst 2 years of my life as vegetarian (with all of the proper guidance from a specialized nutritionist). in the end, when i finally let the dogma go, i discovered that i was depleted physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. it only took a few months of adopting a paleo approach before my health came back in full. i have never looked back.

    not all diets work for all people. let us as community of "higher consciousness" move towards inclusion, inquiry and non-violence as we communicate what does and doesn't work so that each person can receive information freely and guide themselves holistically towards optimal health.

    • alexandragrace4 says:

      I appreciate your perspective, but I don't think that anything I said was violent. On the contrary, I said that I accept where I am now and that I am investigating other choices. I also commented on my fiance's right to choose his own path. I honestly do not feel that other people's diet choices are wrong (or right). My only goal here was to suggest, like you have, that when other people make those choices they do so without force-feeding them to others, so to speak.

      That said, I do agree with you–I hope that this has opened up a dialogue where we can freely share information without any attachment to the idea that the people with whom we are sharing "convert" one way or the other.

      • just me says:

        oh no alexandra, i did not perceive your commentary to be violent. i was just pointing out that the underlying assumption that vegan/vegetarianism is something that is better or to be aspired to, and can therefore lead to violent communication.

        • alexandragrace4 says:

          That makes sense and I agree with you; I'm sorry I misunderstood! Thank you so much for reading the article, and for sharing your perspective.

  25. Macyglitters says:

    LOVVED the article! Especially the part about the amazing fiancé!! You are amazing for taking a stand on something and completely standing behind it!!
    Work it LG!!

    LOVVE YOU
    XOXO
    MARA

  26. Clare says:

    Your article reminds me that everyone is on a journey (sorry to be cheesy) and most vegans/vegetarians were not born that way, but came to it our of choice. As a vegan, i really do try to stay reasonable. I never offer my opinion to strangers, and will only drag out my soapbox when asked. However, once a person recognizes the amount of suffering, the scale of the atrocity before them (my words, my feelings on the subject) it is so hard to stay polite about it all. We have past the point of politeness regarding so many social injustices, and that is a good thing. So yes, as a witness to death, as a witness to pain, as a witness to the subjugation of the innocent, we tend to get upset. The fact is is that it is rarely helpful to anyone, and that is why I do my best to simmer down, yet can totally sypathize with those who will not witness such pain quietly.

  27. wendy greem says:

    been a veg/vegan for hmm, 40 years now..yoga practitioner just as long. healthy as an ox. i don't bash people that eat meat, but will teach them why it's important to eat a plant based diet. may i suggest, since you seem to be open minded about the subject (kudos!)…go on retreat where meat isn't on the menu and education is for dessert. give yourself the opportunity to try veg/veganism with quality support. we offer raw food yoga retreats in the rainforest. everyone is transformed…you may be as well…that would be very empowering. http://www.wendygreenyoga.com om

  28. Emily says:

    Great article! It IS tough hey?? I made the move to become veggo last year, and at this stage I still eat fish, eggs and dairy, but I'm getting there. With a history of disordered eating I may never go full vegan, but you know what – that's my own personal choice! I still buy ethically, and I don't think anyone else has the right to tell me what I can and can't eat.

    Thanks for this :)

  29. ashley says:

    i am a vegan. a raw food vegan. my diet is raw fruits & vegetables. some nuts and seeds, and cooked quinoa from time to time. my diet is perfectly balanced, i am never weak, never low energy. im a runner, strength trainer and a devoted yogi who practices daily, and completed full teacher training. i never ever get sick, no colds, flu, headaches, stomach aches…i havent even felt queezy in years. none of that. my skin is perfect, as is my digestion.
    my reasons for being a vegan are, most importantly for the sake of our animals and our earth. humans are equal beings. it is not our right to kill other beings. it is also not the cycle of life. if it was, humans would crave raw bloody flesh, bones, skin hair and fur, the way a lion devours a freshly killed zebra. THAT is life cycle. but we dont crave that at all. it repulses us. we humans were built to live on fruit and veggies that smell and look beautiful to our senses. food that replenishes itself when picked :) nature gives us fruit and veggies ready-2-eat :) just pick your apples ad go… not much processing required. to consume meat, you need to raise animals, deplete our rain forest and natural land to house them, transport them, slaughter them, process and package… then season, marinade and cook them. that is not natural. that is detrimental. not only to the animals we share our earth with, but to our earth and the human body. meat in the body wreaks havoc and causes harm. cancer, heart disease, ulcers. meat is loaded with antibiotics, hormones, growth hormones, disease, ammonia, dioxides and bacteria.
    the treatment of the animals during "processing" is horrific to say the least, and is goes on every single second of every day for billions of animals around the world. torture, abuse. they cry, they feel pain, the see and smell blood. they know when they are next in line to die. they hear each other scream. and for what? burgers and steak for humans who choose to enjoy ignorance to the pain and suffering they are causing? no way, not fair.

    its a shame that it will take "time" abandon such lifestyle. i advise anyone that eats meat, to please rent the movies Forks Over Knives, Food Inc, Fat Sick & Nearly Dead, and Earthlings.

    Earthlings can be watched for free at Earthlings.com – and it could change your life.

    please, for your own sake, re think this life style.

    so much love for all beings. animals, universe, humans, vegans, meat eaters… all.

    XO
    ashley

  30. You are not a vegan, Love, you are just trying to cover up your eating disorder (Max, waitress in 2 broke girls) You may laugh now, this is meant to be a joke :-))) Andrea

  31. Noelle says:

    You might enjoy some of the articles here: http://www.carpevegan.com/?page_id=352

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