What Did Einstein, Gandhi & Benjamin Franklin All Have in Common?

Via Shawna Turner
on Feb 21, 2012
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What did Albert Einstein, Mahatma Gandhi and Benjamin Franklin all have in common?

A belief in the vegetarian diet.

“Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet”.  ~Albert Einstein

“The greatness of a nation…can be judged by the way its animals are treated”.  ~Mahatma Gandhi

“My refusing to eat flesh occasioned an inconveniency, and I was frequently chided for my singularity, but, with this lighter repast, I made the greater progress, for greater clearness of head and quicker comprehension”.  ~Benjamin Franklin

From my journal last night:

“I’m reading The Kind Diet (by Alicia Silverstone) and now I can’t sleep. Maybe it’s because my homeboy starts his new job tomorrow which will be keeping him away from me for hours and hours a day. Maybe it’s because I turn thirty tomorrow. Or maybe it’s because I’ve been reading about the meat industry for the last 40 minutes and the sleepy sheep that usually count my zzz’s are popping up hormone-laced lamb chops.”

I don’t even want to be a vegetarian. I had never had any interest in giving up meat and always thought that it was so extreme. That is, until my yoga teacher training last year in Bali. Three weeks of a meat-free diet and countless hours of yoga left me feeling freer and lighter in my body than ever before. So I began “flirting” with a vegetarian diet. And over the last ten months I’d say we’ve stepped up our commitment. I go weeks without seeing beef. I can’t even remember the last time I saw a piece of pork on my table, and to be frank, I find animals that fly to be rather boring to the taste buds.  These land-dwellers have not been so hard to cut loose.

However, if it spent its days in the sea, somehow it will find a way to swim onto my plate every couple of days. Salmon Wellington is one of my favs, and I have a serious weakness for tongue and dumplings. That’s right, T-O-N-G-U-E, of the cow variety, stewed all day long in a sour cream sauce, served over white refined flour dumplings. I realize some of you may have just gagged or shot kombucha through your nose, but I can’t help it, I love it — I was brought up on this shit. For years it’s been the sure-fire way to get me and my brothers all over to my parents for dinner.

And I’m okay with that. I’m okay with the fact that I eat some meat. I don’t apologize for eating meat. So what the hell was keeping me up?

Fear. Fear of changing.

“attachment to bloodties and beliefs and desires and comforting habits…they seem to protect, but they imprison…they are your worst enemies, they make you afraid…patience expands your capacity to love and feel peace…be patient with the body’s desires”. ~ Rumi.

Does my body desire a meat free environment? Yes, I think it might.

Am I ready to make a serious shift in the way I eat? Yes, I think I am.

Am I ready to give it all up? I don’t really know.

Do I have any idea how to go about this? No, definitely not.

Will I need lots of help and guidance? Yes, absolutely.

Shawna, you’re thirty, can you believe it?  Ya, I think I can!

“To become vegetarian is to step into the stream which leads to nirvana”.  ~Buddha


Editor: Brianna Bemel

Relephant bonus:

The World’s Greatest Geniuses are Vegetarians!


About Shawna Turner

Shawna Turner. Aimless wanderer. Happiest with a book in one hand, glass of wine in the other, dreaming of down dogs, knitting, and really good cheese. Blog: a side of yoga..


12 Responses to “What Did Einstein, Gandhi & Benjamin Franklin All Have in Common?”

  1. Tanya Lee Markul says:

    Posting to Elephant Yoga on Facebook and Twitter.

    Tanya Lee Markul, Yoga Editor
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  2. Jackson says:

    I have been vegan for over two years. It's great! It wasn't hard at all to make the switch. Ask to join the Facebook group 'NL vegans' if you would like to learn more.

  3. Jackson says:

    It's a support network for vegans living in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. We're on a relatively isolated island that was built on fishery, so being vegan means being creative!

  4. Shawna says:

    Jackson, thanks for sharing. I will definitely look into your facebook group. Although I'm not ready to shed it all and go vegan, I'm sure there will be lots of help for me on that page anyhow. Mainly I just need to understand food better. What different foods do in the body. And how to eat a whole food, balance diet. Peace 🙂

  5. Shawna says:

    Thanks for spreading the love Tanya!

  6. ibika says:

    the only evil on the planet is …..human unconsciousness….

  7. Robert says:

    Dude, if you want to be vegetarian, knock yourself out. I’m not here to try to convince you.

    To address a few of your points ~ autism is simply an unusual, and perhaps not especially highly-functioning, state. Autistic people are often highly-functioning in one area of their lives, while finding ‘normal’ human interaction difficult. Casts doubt, for me, on Einstein’s status as an all-around genius.

    Tool-making, discovery of fire, and ballistic weaponry sound like evolution to me. Also, chimps catch, kill and eat monkeys and other creatures without the use of any of those advantages.

    We’ve been eating as much saturated fat as we could get our hands on for millennia. What we haven’t been eating for millennia are factory-farmed animals, hydrogenated fats and oils, and vast quantities of refined sugar and flour.

    Like I say, you’re free to trust who you trust and believe what you believe. If you reckon that being vegetarian works for you, more power to ya.

    Doesn’t work for me, though.


  8. Spencer Michael Bondhus says:

    Hey! Like Jackson I've somewhat recently gone vegan. For most vegans it's an ethical thing, but for me it was about experiment, challenge, and nutrition. I was definitely not vegan in 2011, and I am all vegan for all of 2012. So far it's been great! I would highly recommend the move to a more plant-based diet. If you're curious to see how the switch has been going for me, I've been blogging about it since Day 0 at http://sorrylogic.wordpress.com/

    I'm becoming a huge advocate for people to at least give veganism or vegetarianism a significant try. I think it's important to note that the switch is not necessarily easy, but it is very simple. In any case, I've found it to be worth every ounce of effort. Enjoy your journey!

  9. […] “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” ~ Albert Einstein. […]

  10. spira says:

    Ghandi ate meat! Look at his autobiography! "We are a weak people because we do not eat meat. The English are able to rule over us, because they are meat-eaters. You know how hardy I am, and how great a runner too. It is because I am a meat-eater. Meat-eaters do not have boils or tumours, and even if they sometimes happen to have any, these heal quickly. Our teachers and other distinguished people who eat meat are no fools. They know its virtues. You should do likewise. There is nothing like trying. Try, and see what strength it gives."

  11. sfire says:

    that is false per the link you yourself gave. the words you quoted were said by his friend who was persuading him to eat meat – gandhi ate it once and regretted it forever. this man ultimately survived on one cup of rice and curd a day and managed to lead india to freedom on that. which meateater did that ?

  12. Brittany says:

    You should look at the book "The World Peace Diet", gives so many more reasons to go veg from a spiritual perspective.