VegInspiration. Caring for Others

Will Tuttle : April 18, 2010

The most solid and enduring motivations for action are ultimately based on caring for others—in this case imprisoned animals, wildlife, starving people, slaughterhouse workers, and future generations, to name some of those damaged by our desire for animal foods. The health advantages of a plant-based diet are the perquisites of loving-kindness and awareness, and the diseases and discomfort caused by animal foods are some of the consequences that follow from breaking natural laws.

Photo: Sunfox

VegInspiration. In the Family

Will Tuttle : April 17, 2010

It’s actually quite obvious why heart disease and cancer “run in the family.” Everyone in the family has their legs under the same dinner table! As children we not only eat like our family but also soak up our inner attitudes from them. Unless we metaphorically leave home and question our culture’s food mentality and the enslaving propaganda of the meat-medical complex, we will find it difficult to discern our unique mission and grow spiritually. Spiritual health, like physical and mental health, urges us to take responsibility for our lives, and to dedicate ourselves to a cause that is higher than our self-preoccupations.

VegInspiration. Our Body

Will Tuttle : April 16, 2010

Our body is our most precious friend. It works ceaselessly to maintain health and harmony and is our vehicle for expression and experience in this world. What could be more valuable and worthy of care and protection? It never works against us, but always does its best with whatever it has to work with. It is a shame that so many of these immeasurably valuable gifts from the loving source of all life, beautiful expressions of spiritual creativity, are distracted and harmed unnecessarily, saddled with heavy burdens that were never intended or foreseen by nature, and tragically destroyed by ignorance, fear, and a lack of caring. Radiant physical health is such a treasure; yet how rare it is today, particularly among those of us who abuse animals for food.

VegInspiration. Fossil Fuel Calories

Will Tuttle : April 15, 2010

Animal foods require immense quantities of petroleum to produce. For example, while it takes only two calories of fossil fuel to produce one calorie of protein from soybeans, and three calories for wheat and corn, it takes fifty-four calories of petroleum to produce one calorie of protein from beef! Animal agriculture contributes disproportionately to our consumption of petroleum and thus to air and water pollution, global warming, and the wars driven by conflict over dwindling petroleum reserves.

VegInspiration. Eating Flesh

Will Tuttle : April 14, 2010

Eating the flesh and secretions of animals is so fundamentally repulsive to us as humans that these animal foods make especially powerful placebos. We find vultures repulsive because they eat carrion, but we eat exactly the same thing! Sometimes it’s euphemized as aged beef. And yet, because we’ve been taught to attribute strength and energy to eating animal foods, that expectation helps our quite miraculous and flexible psychophysiology to partially overcome the essentially disturbing and toxic nature of these foods so we can survive and function. As children, we had no other choice.

VegInspiration. The China Study

Will Tuttle : April 13, 2010

“Our study suggests that the closer one approaches a total plant food diet, the greater the health benefit…. It turns out that animal protein, when consumed, exhibits a variety of undesirable health effects. Whether it is the immune system, various enzyme systems, the uptake of carcinogens into the cells, or hormonal activities, animal protein generally only causes mischief.” – Dr. T.  Colin Campbell, Author, The China Study


Will Tuttle : April 12, 2010

The roots of our crises lie in our dinner plates. Our inherited food choices bind us to an obsolete mentality that inexorably undermines our happiness, intelligence, and freedom. Turning away is no longer an option. We are all related.

Photo: Acoustic Photography

A Pet Story by Shanti Urreta

Will Tuttle : April 8, 2010

The following text is a speech written by Shanti Urreta, a certified WPD facilitator, that she recently gave and won a prize for in her native New Jersey.

How many of you had a pet when you were young?  I‚Äôm going to tell you a story about a little girl named Sara who had a pet named Rosie.  And as all little girls, Sara loved her pet.  When she got out of school she would run home as fast as she could, put a leash on Rosie and parade her up and down, and up and down the streets.  Then she would invite her friends over and they would dress Rosie up in doll clothes and sit her down and have a tea party.  Rosie was very smart and she loved the attention she got from the little girls.  Rosie was truly loved. 

 One day Sara found out that Rosie was pregnant and she was so excited to have more babies to love and care for.  Two neighborhood boys also found out that Rosie was pregnant and they decided to steal Rosie and make some money by selling her babies.  So they put her in a cage in their basement.  No longer did Rosie go for walks, no more tea parties, and no little girls to dote after her.  Day after day Sara would fall to her knees and pray that one day she would have her beloved pet back, but it was to no avail. 

 The money making business was going really well for the boys and they decided to keep her and all the females pregnant.  The basement turned into a roomful of caged animals. 

 About a year later, Sara was walking pass this house and she heard a lot of noise coming from the back, so she walked quietly to the back of the house, bent down and looked through the basement window.  What she saw stunned her.  In this room were animals packed tightly in cages wall to wall.  Now, I really need you to see what Sara saw, really put this picture in your head.  In each and every cage are animals, crying, screaming, and some too sick to move.  They lay there in piles of feces and urine.  Do you see it? Do you really see it? And as she scans the room she notices the two boys coming in the side door wearing masks.  As they walk past some animals on the floor, they kick them as though they are garbage. The boys go to some cages and grab some babies from their mothers without a care in the world, as the cries and screams of the mothers and babies echo in Sara‚Äôs ears.    

And as she takes a deep breath, she notices the sickly stench coming from the closed window of urine and feces, of death and of dying. Then more to her horror she sees a pile of dead and dying animals heaped up on the side of room – bloody, wounded, and infected.  Some of the animals were still barely alive as they rocked their heads in their last attempt at life.  Did you see it?

How many of you are thinking that Rosie is a dog?  Well, Rosie was a pig.  And for billions of animals some call food ‚Äì this was not some made up story.  This is reality.  Billions of food animals are confined, never to the see the light of day, abused psychologically and physically.  We eat some animals, yet others we call pets.  Rosie was both. 

By their food choices, people unknowingly are supporting a system that allows unimaginable cruelty to animals. Paul McCartney said, ‚ÄúIf slaughterhouses had glass walls, we would all be vegetarian.‚Äù Each of us has a choice as to what we eat and what we support. You may think that you cannot make a difference, but I want you to consider this: Each snowflake in an avalanche pleads not guilty, but together they could have stopped it. 

The Food in Heaven

Will Tuttle : April 7, 2010

    We all have our story of awakening. When I was about seven years old, I remember asking my mother, “The kind of food we eat—is that what everybody eats?” She answered, “Yes.” Then she added, “Well, there are vegetarians…” in a way that made me think they must live on another planet.
      At thirteen, I went away to a Vermont summer camp affiliated with an organic dairy and participated in killing my own chicken, and never questioned it in the least. After thirteen years in our culture, I knew that chickens are put on Earth for us to eat, that they don’t have souls, they taste good, and if we didn’t eat them and certain other animals, we would all soon die of a protein deficiency. Later in the summer, when we all witnessed and participated in killing a 2,000-pound dairy cow because she wasn’t giving enough milk any more, I have to say that though I was shocked by the sheer terror, bloodiness and agonized death convulsions of the cow, I didn’t question the rightness of our actions for a moment. Everyone in my world—relatives, neighbors, doctors, ministers, teachers, leaders, media—assumed that animals used for food are mere commodities.
    As fate would have it, after graduating from Colby College in Maine in 1975, I went on a spiritual pilgrimage, heading west and then south, meditating, walking, and attempting to deepen my understanding of the world and myself. After several months of walking, I reached The Farm in Tennessee, a community of about a thousand hippies, mainly from California, who were living conscientiously on the land to be an example of peace and sustainability. They ate no animal foods, and their delicious meals, combined with my deepening understanding of how animals are routinely mistreated for food, made becoming a vegetarian a no-brainer. I’ve never eaten meat since.
    Several years later, after moving to California, I went to Korea to live as a Zen monk, and found myself in a monastery that had been practicing vegan living for 650 years. No animal foods, wool, leather, or silk had been used there for centuries. For me it was a bit like heaven on earth—a deeply satisfying opportunity for sustained, undistracted introspection, and I found my consciousness relaxing into a sense of abiding peace as I was able to gradually extricate it from the brambles of multiple layers of programming, memory, and cultural indoctrination. The joy and freedom this brought were profound.
       I have discovered that all of us raised in this culture have been ritually injected with an unrecognized mentality that renders our efforts for peace, freedom, justice, equality, and sustainability merely ironic. We want for ourselves what we refuse to give to others. Our massive and routine violence toward animals for food is our culture’s defining blind spot, and when we look deeply enough, we realize that this is the situation in a nutshell: We are all beings of light and awareness and love, bon into a culture of violence and exclusion. We take on its darkness and fear, and the core ritual used by our culture to effect this is our daily meals, where we are forced to participate in routine killing by eating and buying the flesh and secretions of imprisoned, terrified animals.
   Our path to freedom lies in freeing these animals. Veganism is the spiritual and practical key to happiness and peace. It is the stark and liberating solution to the omnivore’s dilemma, and to the unyielding conundrum bearing down on our culture as our relentless violence toward animals, people, and the Earth ripens before our eyes. As the lived expression of nonviolence, veganism is the path to heaven.

          This beautiful Earth is a celebration of joy. As we understand and act in harmony with the universal teachings of compassion and nonviolence, we will discover that our Earth can be transformed into heaven. Each of us can be an angel in our heaven, here to love and serve the magnificent creation. Food is the key: our most essential, intimate, and significant connection with the larger order. The food of heaven is available now, and together we can create a new dream every day on this Earth. I invite all of us to vividly imagine our culture’s vegan future in all its details, and to act to help create it. Sharing vegan recipes and spreading the word in our own unique ways, we are transforming our world. Imagining our culture as a vegan culture is imagining an utterly different culture, a beautiful world to which our future selves are ever beckoning us.

VegInspiration. Inherent Compassion

Will Tuttle : April 7, 2010

We are taught as children to practice certain ways of seeing the world and of relating to others, and we gradually become adept in these practices. In our culture, we are taught to practice disconnecting the reality of animal flesh and secretions in our meals from the actual reality of the animal cruelty required to get them onto our plates.

Going vegan is a commitment to practice something else, to practice in a completely different way than we were taught by our culture. Instead of practicing desensitizing, disconnecting, and reducing others, we practice reconnecting, resensitizing ourselves, and respecting others. This commitment comes from deep within us, from our inherent compassion and our inner urge to evolve spiritually and to live with awareness, kindness, freedom, and joy. Photo: Briana Franco

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