July 5, 2017

4 Compelling Reasons to Finally go Vegan.

*Editor’s note: This website is not designed to, and should not be construed to, provide medical or dietary advice, professional diagnosis, opinion, or treatment to you or any other individual, and is not intended as a substitute for medical or professional care and treatment. Always consult a health professional about  before trying out new home therapies or changing your diet.


Years ago, I shut a window on the tail of a gecko.

It fell to the ground and continued to wiggle around while I stood in shock with tears streaming down my face. I felt horrible for being the cause of its suffering. In high school, I hit a cat with my car and years later, a deer. I cried for hours after each unintentional incident.

I don’t want to be the reason any sentient being feels pain. So why would I choose to consume a dead animal?

I used to love a juicy filet. It was my meal of choice. I was socially conditioned from a young age to believe that meat was dinner. Like many, I was initially resistant to veganism or vegetarianism and judged them harshly. “Why should I give up what makes me happy?”

But, as I educated myself with the vast amount of knowledge available on diet and its personal and global consequences, I craved meat less and less. I fought the facts for a while—however, as I evolved, I realized each decision has an impact on myself and the world around me.

Being a yogini, I do my best to follow the yamas and niyamas (moral and ethical guidelines from the eight limbs of yoga for a spiritually friendly lifestyle). The first yama is ahimsa, meaning non-harmfulness. It involves much more than not hurting others, but also animals, the planet, and ourselves; causing no injury through deed, word, or even thought.

Eating animals is not a necessity but a choice, stemming from concepts we have been fed most our lives. Social psychologist, Dr. Melanie Joy, coined the term “carnism: the invisible belief system that conditions us to eat certain animals.” For example, dogs and cats may be our cherished pets but cows and pigs are fine to abuse, kill, and consume because that’s what we’re used to.

“People are addicted to their beliefs. When you try to change someone’s belief, they act like an addict.” ~ Dr. Siegel, Yale surgeon

I don’t expect to change anyone’s mind. But I do intend to raise awareness. Here are four practical reasons why eating meat (particularly store-bought) is no longer a sensible option.

1. Physical health.

The meat industry has done a brilliant job at convincing easily-persuaded consumers that our bodies need more protein than they actually do and that protein must come in the form of dead animal.

Making the connection between diet and wellness is a personal responsibility. The verdict is out: Plant based meals equal better health. Carnivores have much shorter intestines than people and can digest flesh more quickly. Eating meat can cause heart disease and other serious ailments.

Vegan diets are rich in natural protein, and increase mental clarity, confidence, vitality, and guilt-free happiness. There are a plethora of delectable recipes online!

“It is my view that the vegetarian manner of living, by its purely physical effect on the human temperament, would most beneficially influence the lot of mankind.” ~ Albert Einstein

“The beef industry has contributed to more American deaths than all the wars of this century, all natural disasters, and all automobile accidents combined. If beef is your idea of ‘real food for real people’ you’d better live real close to a real good hospital.” ~ Neal D. Barnard

2. Spiritual compassion.

Each time someone purchases animal products from the majority of stores and restaurants, they are voting against animal rights and choosing to continue their abuse. Supporting the meat industry endorses violence and extensive harm but it’s easy for people to deny the invisible truth because the tortured victims are out of sight. The conscious animals are held captive and given no purpose in their life.

And we are what we eat. When compassion outweighs personal addiction to likes and habits, the world will find peace. Getting upset when other cultures eat dogs—while still eating pigs and cows in our society—is absurd. You either eat meat or you don’t. Being responsible for violence wraps us in a whirlwind of negative karma.

“Were the walls of our meat industry to become transparent, literally or even figuratively, we would not long continue to raise, kill, and eat animals the way we do.” ~ Michael Pollan

“Think occasionally of the suffering of which you spare yourself the sight.” ~ Albert Schweitzer

“But for the sake of some little mouthful of flesh we deprive a soul of the sun and light, and of that proportion of life and time it had been born into the world to enjoy.” ~ Plutarch

“A man can live and be healthy without killing animals for food; therefore, if he eats meat, he participates in taking animal life merely for the sake of his appetite. And to act so is immoral.” ~ Leo Tolstoy

3.Sexual vitality.

Vegetarians make much better lovers because they aren’t energetically weighed down by dead animal flesh wasting in their guts. Sexual energy is able to move throughout the body more fluidly when the system is cleared of the heavy vibes from stagnating, rotting meat. Arousing sensations are more full-bodied and can last much longer.

Going vegan changes the chemistry in the body, even making bodily secretions smell better. The heaviness of a meat diet restricts blood flow, especially to that special area below the belt. It increases toxins in the blood and can result in impotence and erectile dysfunction. Meat is not macho. That mentality must die. A vegan diet increases libido, sexual stamina, virility, and longevity.

“As long as man continues to be the ruthless destroyer of lower living beings, he will never know health or peace. For as long as men massacre animals, they will kill each other. Indeed, he who sows the seed of murder and pain cannot reap joy and love.” ~ Pythagoras

4. Environmental concerns.

It’s no secret anymore that the livestock industry is destroying our precious planet. Millions of acres are cleared for cattle and the grains to feed them for human consumption. Deforestation is a major international threat. Up to 90 percent of the Amazon rain forests are being demolished. Air pollution and climate change are increasing on a massive scale. To simply look the other way because it’s more convenient is not only irresponsible, it’s selfish.

“By eating meat we share the responsibility of climate change, the destruction of our forests, and the poisoning of our air and water. The simple act of becoming a vegetarian will make a difference in the health of our planet.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

“To seriously fight climate change, more plant-based diets will be needed. Our analysis shows if the world went vegetarian that cut in food-related emissions would rise to 63%. And if everyone turned vegan, 70%.” ~ Cowspiracy, National Academy of Sciences

Bringing more light to this wretched system helps to free ourselves from it. “It blocks empathy and other qualities vital to us. It is irrational and inhuman. We have been wrongly programmed to believe the myths that eating meat is normal, natural, necessary. The system is built on deception and relies on us to not care. Awareness is the greatest threat.” ~ Melanie Joy

There exists some heavy animosity between vegans and vegetarians and people who still decide to eat meat. Meat-eaters’ arguments just aren’t valid anymore.

Isn’t a fairly simple choice preventing the destruction of our planet, our bodies, and our karma well worth the initial challenge of a gradual diet change? Eliminating dead animals from my cuisine continues to benefit and enlighten me in indescribable ways. I feel less heavy physically, as well as emotionally, and much more wholly nourished.

“I have no doubt that it is a part of the destiny of the human race, in its gradual improvement, to leave off eating animals, as surely as savage tribes have left off eating each other when they came in contact with the more civilized.” ~ Henry David Thoreau





Author: Tirzah Shiya (Adya)
Image: libertine101/Flickr 
Editor: Catherine Monkman
Copy Editor: Nicole Cameron
Social Editor: Yoli Ramazzina

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Juliana Barefoot Aug 7, 2017 5:24pm

Tirzah Shiya p.s. not sure what you mean by "deforestation, animal cruelty and supporting pharmaceutics and corrupt corporations"? I certainly don't support those things! Not sure if it came through in my comments, but I advocate against eating 99% of the animal products out there.

Juliana Barefoot Aug 7, 2017 5:21pm

Tirzah Shiya sure! I assure you we have common goals here. I am definitely angry -- my wellbeing is inextricably tied to that of mama earth. When I see topsoil disappearing, ecosystems shrinking, species going extinct, and humans suffering as well, I get angry about it. I don't always comment this thoroughly on internet articles. I don't have the energy for that. This one just struck me in particular because it's clear we're on the same side, but with different ideas of how to help the world and ourselves. Don't worry, I'm at peace, but just because I'm at peace doesn't mean I'll stop fighting. <3

Tirzah Shiya Aug 7, 2017 4:49pm

Juliana Barefoot I think maybe we should meet and hug it out!

Tirzah Shiya Aug 7, 2017 2:39am

Juliana Barefoot You seem very angry and I don't believe it has anything to do with my article. When something upsets you so much, perhaps it's a mirror of what you need to work on? It's delusional to state "the future of our planet depends on it." Depends on deforestation, animal cruelty and supporting pharmaceutics and corrupt corporations?? I hope you find peace.

Juliana Barefoot Jul 15, 2017 4:07am

Hi Tirzah. Please do not use the term "triggered" so lightly - that is reserved for those who have actually gone through trauma. I am simply trying to educate, and yes, I do get upset when people spread misinformation! Like I said, if we disagree on what a "fact" is, you and I shouldn't bother continuing this conversation. I'm stating facts, not my opinions. For example, it is a fact that you can only get non-heme iron from spinach, and it is a fact that you can only get short or medium chain omega-3s from coconuts and only omega-6s from avocados. Humans need heme iron and long chain omega-3s, which are only found in animal products. Perhaps think about why death and the eating of things that were once alive is such an unnatural thing to you, when we- and every other living creature on earth- have been doing it for millions of years. And this IS a big deal. The future of our planet depends on it.

Tirzah Shiya Jul 10, 2017 12:42am

Hello again Juliana Barefoot! Do you wonder why this specific post has triggered you so much? If you don't like it, why spend your precious time and energy attacking it? Your views are your own and I respect them. Let's agree to disagree! Being an ex vegan does not make you an expert either. Isn't it a bit stubborn to claim your opinions are true and mine are not? I welcome any solid proof you have discrediting my feelings. Spinach is full of iron. Coconuts and avocados, full of good fats. Do your research. My intention is to raise awareness (specifically on the mass production of livestock), not get into a debate on who's lifestyle is right/wrong. Waste of time.Thank you for sharing your opinion that we're designed to eat meat. From experience, I disagree. I enjoy being inspired by different views, including yours, but I don't let it ruin my day. It just deepens my yearning for knowledge. To each his own. Yes I have done research and have had over a decade of spiritual education, including anatomy and physiology of humans. As for the slugs, I understand the sentiment but are you saying it's better not to save any creatures if I can't save them all?? Sounds like a shallow argument. I'm doing the best I can with what I know. Even baby steps make progress. And humane meat, to me, is like saying it's ok to murder a person as long as they lived a good life. Silly. Wouldn't you agree a large majority of what we're exposed to is full of misinformation (media, internet, even history books..) Even science is continuously changing. Your opinions are no more true than mine. No big deal. I think we have more in common than you know. We're both looking to find our own truths and with all the mass downloads of crap, that can be hard. I encourage you to follow your own heart. As for my words. Just take them with a grain of salt. No need to get upset when it shouldn't affect your life one bit. Peace to you dear sister.

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Tirzah Shiya (Adya)

Tirzah Shiya (Adya) is a cheerful yoga instructor, tantra/sacred sex coach, massage therapist, and love enthusiast. She’s resonated deeply with the tantric path for many years, as it has captivated her with its extraordinary teachings. She considers herself a citizen of the world and has received the richest education through travel (external and internal). She genuinely adores culture shock, bare feet, dreaming, coconuts, oddities, buzzing meditations, celebrations, and making love (in every sense of the word). Tirzah is optimistic about living fully and focuses her time and energy on experiences rather than material things. She is working on heart and mind expansion, eliminating self-doubt, finding amusement in all situations, and cultivating knowledge through nature. She feels most alive while illuminating herself and others in the vast ocean of boundless love! Catch up with Tirzah on her website and Instagram.