‚ÄúIt is no coincidence that the same diet that helps prevent or cure diabetes also causes effortless weight loss, lowers cholesterol and triglycerides, cleans out the arteries, and returns the body to excellent function. But no matter how much research appears saying the same thing over and over again, the tide is unlikely to change because of the economic incentives for the medical establishment of continued illness and profitable treatments.‚Äù - John McDougall, MD
Geniuses like Pythagoras, Leonardo da Vinci, and Mahatma Gandhi abstained from eating animals. Plutarch wrote, ‚ÄúWhen we clog and cloy our body with flesh, we also render our mind and intellect coarse. When the body‚Äôs clogged with unnatural food, the mind becomes confused and dull and loses its cheerfulness. Such minds engage in trivial pursuits, because they lack the clearness and vigor for higher thinking.‚Äù
Most of us resist being told we‚Äôve been indoctrinated. After all, we live in the land of the free, and we like to think we‚Äôve arrived freely at the belief that we need to eat animal products and that it‚Äôs natural and right to do so. In fact, we have inherited this belief. We‚Äôve been indoctrinated in the most deeply rooted and potent way possible, as vulnerable infants, yet because our culture denies the existence of indoctrination, the reality of the process is invisible, making it difficult for most of us to realize or admit the truth.
Instead of reducing our intelligence and compassion by denying and destroying the intelligence and purpose of animals, we could celebrate, honor, and appreciate the immense diversity of intelligences, beauties, abilities, and gifts that animals possess and contribute to our world. We could liberate ourselves by liberating them and allowing them to fulfill the purposes that their particular intelligences yearn for. We could respect their lives and treat them with kindness. Our awareness and compassion would flourish, bringing more love and wisdom into our relationships with each other. We could live in far greater harmony with the universal intelligence that is the source of our life. To do so, however, we would have to stop viewing animals as commodities, and this means we would have to stop viewing them as food.
In our churches, ministers often speak about the tragedy of loving things and using people, when we must instead love people and use things. After the services, people eat meals in which animals have become things to be used, not loved. This action, ritually repeated, propels us into using people just as we use animals‚Äîas things.
It‚Äôs funny how we want transformation without having to change! Yet the fundamental transformation called for today requires the most fundamental change‚Äîa change in our relationship to food and to animals, which will cause a change in our behavior.
The contemporary vegan movement is founded on loving-kindness and mindfulness of our effects on others. It is revolutionary because it transcends and renounces the violent core of the herding culture in which we live. It is founded on living the truth of interconnectedness and thereby consciously minimizing the suffering we impose on animals, humans, and biosystems; it frees us all from the slavery of becoming mere commodities. It signifies the birth of a new consciousness, the resurrection of intelligence and compassion, and the basic rejection of cruelty and domination. It is our only real hope for the future of our species because it addresses the cause rather than being concerned merely with effects.
‚ÄúAs long as men massacre animals, they will kill each other. Indeed, he who sows the seeds of murder and pain cannot reap joy and love.‚Äù
When we cultivate mindful awareness of the consequences of our food choices and conscientiously adopt a plant-based way of eating, refusing to participate in the domination of animals and the dulling of awareness this requires, we make a profound statement that both flows from and reinforces our ability to make connections. We become a force of sensitivity, healing, and compassion. We become a revolution of one, contributing to the foundation of a new world with every meal we eat. As we share our ideas with others, we promote what may be the most uplifting and healing revolution our culture has ever experienced.
Two types of agriculture emerged‚Äîplant and animal‚Äîand the distinction between them is significant. Growing plants and gardening is more feminine work; plants are tended and nurtured, and as we work with the cycles of nature, we are part of a process that enhances and amplifies life. It is life-affirming and humble (from humus, earth) work that supports our place in the web of life. On the other hand, large animal agriculture or husbandry was always men‚Äôs work and required violent force from the beginning, to contain powerful animals, control them, guard them, castrate them and, in the end, kill them.