Dietary Choices for Physical, Spiritual and Planetary Transformation
Explored by: Chrysalis Yashpal Jayne, ND
In the last issue of BSG, I discussed the topic of cleansing and fasting. After Spring and Summer cleansing of our bodies (and minds), the time comes for the bounty of the Autumn harvest. With the large variety of food choices available, one may ask oneself – what would be the optimal, healthy diet for me to consume? As we are becoming universal humans, paying attention to all of creation, the question broadens to - what would be optimal, healthy LIVE-IT (vs. die-it) for me to participate in planetary transformation? Along with this come inherent spiritual benefits.
I want to be clear with readers that I work with clients on the full spectrum of dietary intake and I work individually with each client’s goals. Currently, even I am not fully following the optimal live-it I have prescribed for myself. There are many factors to consider and work through; this article is an exploration, not a mandate.
One’s dietary choices are a huge influence – on your health, the environment and the economy. I am making the assumption that the majority of readers know the value of eating natural whole foods and not industrial, chemical-rich processed foods, so we will start there. The next step would be to eat locally and in season as much as possible to save resources of transportation and food quality from storage. Though possible, for many this is not as practical and easy as it sounds. However, any effort to do so is worthwhile.
Next comes the issue of eating organic. Though the initial cost is greater, the cost to the earth’s resources and ultimately your long-term health is greatly reduced. Pesticides and fertilizers incorporate themselves into the high water content produce, though the thicker the skin, when removed, affords protection. Our soils have been de-mineralized by commercial farming practices, organic agriculture preserves and increases the mineral content of foods. There is no question that organic food makes sense – it tastes better and is better for you and the topsoil.
Now, the inevitable topic and controversy of eating flesh foods. This will be explored more below for the spiritual and planetary consequences. However for the health of it, commercially raised meat are further up the food chain and therefore concentrate the chemicals contained in their feed. The animals are subjected to atrocious conditions. I believe their emotional state transfers with its consumption. Cows in meat processing plants have depression; chickens in crowded cages are nervous, anxious and frankly a bit crazy. The precise contents of commercial hotdogs and sausages are virtually unknown. So, when eating commercial animal products, it is beneficial to choose organically fed, free-ranged animals & poultry. I recommend lean meats and wild game whenever practical for those consuming meat. The biggest physical problems with flesh consumption are due to the “bad”, cooked animal fats and simply eating too much animal protein.
Other than farm-raised fish and shellfish, seafood is caught in the wild. Bottom dwellers and surface dwellers have the most potential for toxins from the ocean and streams, however even the mid, current dwellers such as tuna and salmon are now poisoned to some extent with mercury. In general, though fish can be healthy for the physical body and I understand its consumption in coastal and waterway towns. It is best to honor and give a blessing for any animal life taken for human nutrition.
Vegetarians have chosen to not have another life (including fish) be taken for their sustenance. In general, there are superior benefits in all areas we are discussing for vegetarians. I have found that the health problems result from diet come in this order: too many cooked starches, “bad fats” – both animal and cooked, then too much animal protein, etc. Raw vegans have the greatest potential for all three transformations: physical, spiritual and planetary.
There are many reasons that an individual chooses to follow a vegan diet – or live-it, as I like to express the distinction; and many go another large step forward to adopt a vegan lifestyle. Usually the journey entails a series of transitions, while for others, an epiphany!
So… why would you become …a “vegan”, or even a “raw vegan”? The benefits are physical, spiritual and environmental; eventually they merge into a conviction – into a “lifestyle”!
The physical benefits are apparent throughout the transition from a S.A.D. (Standard American Diet), to whole food omnivore, to ovo-lacto-pesco vegetarian (is fish really a vegetable?), to ovo-lacto vegetarian, to vegan or raw vegan, to a vegan lifestyle! All the way through this journey, the trick is to moderate your carbohydrates – not “where do you get your protein?” The majority of chronic dis-ease - heart disease, colon and lung cancer, osteoporosis, diabetes, kidney disease, hypertension, obesity and many others – has been clearly linked to the consumption of animal fats and proteins. Vegan foods are naturally low in fat, contain no cholesterol, and are rich in fiber, minerals and other nutrients. Across the spectrum, vegans (and vegetarians) enjoy greater health, well-being, energy, mental clarity, joy and intuition than their omnivore counterparts. As with any live-it that is not supported by mainstream societal living, optimal nutrition for vegans takes some innerstanding of one’s dietary individuality and planning.
The spiritual benefits are clear. Simply put, far less karma is sustained when no living thing has to suffer or die for one’s sustenance. A vegan lifestyle broadens one’s commitment to not participate in the suffering of another animal – cruelty free. This means that clothing and shoes (fur, leather, wool, down, silk) and chemicals and cosmetics that are tested on animals are not purchased or consumed, so as to not be a participant in animals’ suffering.
The environmental benefits of veganism are extensive. Animal agriculture is devastating to our land, topsoil, water, plant and monetary resources. The animal suffering is immense and affects all of us. Reclaiming merely a percentage of these resources for vegan agriculture and economies could eliminate worldwide hunger and significantly reduce environmental destruction. The most encompassing environmental/political action you could take is to “become a vegan” – and that is the best “why”!
In the end though, dietary preference is an individual choice and there is no real place for judgment in a peaceful world.