Via Waylon Lewis
on Feb 19, 2010
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Funny, I was just arguing with Slow Food chef (and Buddhist) Peggy Markel about her delicious free range chicken sandwich at The Kitchen over lunch, today. I said free range is huge, and important, and if everyone was mindful like The Kitchen about where our meat came from, the world would be a far better place.

Still, I said, as we argued back and forth, the only thing that distinguishes us from animals (according to Buddhists, and others) is our capacity for self-awareness, and therefore mercy. If we choose not to exercise it, we’re no different than animals, many of whom kill and fight for their lives, day to day.

Still, I’m vegetarian, not vegan…so I’m far from blameless myself (if you ask a knowledgeable vegan).

This photo-worth-a-thousand-words tip comes via Gary Smith, who previously wrote about why wool is cruel:

vegan chicken

Gary Smith:

“[This photo] is [poignant] since most chickens are sent to slaughter after 40 some odd days of life.”


About Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat." Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword's Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by "Greatist", Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: "the mindful life" beyond the choir & to all those who didn't know they gave a care. | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, is now available.


13 Responses to “Vegan.”

  1. Gary Smith says:

    Thanks for the props Waylon. Your compassion and mercy shine through! We should have discussion on the cruelty of dairy and eggs sometime. There are a lot of misconceptions out in the world.

  2. Sandra says:

    Vegans are not holier-than-thou – and also not necessarily heatthier-than-thou either. While reducing cruelty in our interactions with other living beings is to be commended and encouraged it is impossible to be completely non-exploitative. It is possible to be more symbiotic with other living beings – treat animals with compassion, feed them their natural foods, let them live their natural lives, protect them from predators, and then enjoy their eggs, honey, milk, etc. without guilt; practice the same compassion towards human beings – treating meat eaters with respect rather than vitriolic self-righteous scorn. Not everyone can be healthy on a vegetarian diet, and even fewer can be vegan and stay healthy. There are those who become quite ill on such a strict diet. I was ordered by my acupuncturist to eat beef as I was so weak and out of balance that I was at risk of complete collapse (I eventually had surgery, have largely recovered, now study ayurveda and no longer need to eat meat frequently but still consume raw milk, pastured eggs, blah blah blah). We have to remember that we are not only trying to avoid harm to others but to ourselves as well, and if following a strict diet causes ourselves harm then we need to do some more thinking….

  3. Tyler says:

    that sandwich looks delicious…

  4. Nic says:

    Calling a diet 'strict' is relative. If being vegan is a strict diet it is only because processed meat by products and cheese-in-a-can is so widely available and promoted.

    In order to have optimal health on a vegan diet, you only need to eat organic (where available) seasonal whole foods. Everything the human body needs is in fruit & vegetables and each nutrient, vitamin and mineral is more easily digested and bioavailable to the body from plant based foods.

    If anyone is genuinely interested in learning more, this video is a good place to start:

    No, it does not contain graphic or violent images of animals, just evidence based science.

  5. On a neglected note, another form of dietary violence is eating more than we need of any type of food — vegan or otherwise. How many of us measure the quantity of our food according to the yogic recommendation 1/2 solids, 1/4 liquids & the remaining 1/4 left empty for air, for proper digestion? Over eating is violent to both self & planet.

  6. Andy says:

    I recently watched Food, Inc and watching chickens being killed on the good organic humane farm isn't really much of a relief from the other farms. They stuff them in this cone thingy head first and snap their head off. (Think that Sarah Palin interview on the turkey farm) Sure their life may have been less stressfull, but they still get round up and killed without a care.

  7. Brian Adler says:

    My wife has been a vegan, and we just finally figured out that she had developed pernicious anemia. B12 deficiency is a horrible thing to experience. I absolutely sympathise with the view that we exploit animals only because we ignore the reality of their suffering. But for some reason we absolutely need B12 which is pretty darn hard to get from a vegan diet.

  8. mamabear234 says:

    I know a lot of very sick, tired, overweight vegans. Their bodies crave proteins and all they eat are mostly carbs. They fill up with vegetable options for protein like beans and tofu which still have lots of carbs. Their bodies are still starving for proteins and so they are always hungry and eat more carbs which triggers an insulin response to go eat more carbs. 20 pounds later they wonder what is wrong with themselves why they have gained weight while eating a high carb "virtuous" diet. They continue to be hungry and eat large portions of carbs. This is compounded if they get pregnant and lactate since their body is starving even more. They wonder why they are overweight and tired. On and on until they get tired of feeling that way and go eat some eggs and fish already!

  9. laurie says:

    I am vegan and definitely do not consider my diet strict! I think I eat 7 to 10 different types of raw vegetables daily. Then there are the delicious fruits and grains! I am lucky to belong to a local CSA and get the most fabulous organic fruits and vegetables every week. I add things like nutritional yeast, hemp milk, almond milk, and seaweed to round out my nutrition. I bake cookies and cakes and pies. I eat comfort foods such as mac 'n "cheez" made with the above ingredients and homemade whole wheat pasta… why would I EVER add cruelty to this wonderful diet?

  10. Robert Allen says:

    I was a vegan for a decade; then I tried meat and cheese and ice cream again.

    I eat it all now, and remember why an animal or plant died for me. Because it's so goooooood. And so baaaaaad at the same time.

    Meat breeds ambivalence. Yum. Yuck.

  11. mamabear234 says:

    I am a health professional and whenever I suggest that the ill vegans in my practice change up their diet a bit and add some animal protein they initially look at me like "Oh, you are part of the evil conspiracy!" I have to tread very delicately on this one or they are out the door. They are often so attached to their position even though it is harming them. A comprehensive nutritional panel will often do the trick when they see how deficient they are in amino acids and that they are eating up their muscle tissue to support this lifestyle. But it is such a phenomenon of attachment. Hmmm.

  12. candicegarrett says:

    Isn't it interesting that the vegan/veg/food articles on elephant always get so heated? People take their food very seriously. In Santa Cruz, where I live, I always say: "here we have two religions. Natural Birth and Food." We have local movements, organic movements, free range movements, vegan, veg, atkins, raw, fruitarian, you name it!

  13. […] too…but interesting to know that I’m far from alone among we powerful humans in choosing not to kill for pleasure. That said, I’m still only veggie, not vegan, and even vegans consume products (like palm […]