Separation is an illusion. We are all connected whether we like it or not. Persistent thoughts of isolation feed dis-ease. We need to learn to ground ourselves and connect again to prevent disease. We can do this through prayer, meditation, exercise and whole food plant-based nutrition.
Nutrition should be as non-violent as possible and in balance with our natural environment. The Standard American Diet (SAD) is violent; towards our own health, towards the planet and of course towards animals. It is nutrient poor, calorie rich and feeds disease. It prevents reconnection to our true selves, to each other and the earth. Animal agriculture more than anything is destroying the natural world.
Take a huge step in the right direction and remove animal flesh and milk from your diet. We are no longer in balance with our ecosystem and the days of the hunter-gather justification need to pass if we are to have any chance to get back into balance with ourselves, our community and our home, planet earth. The earth can simply not handle over 7 billion omnivores. Ask any scientist who understands ecology. And think about what statement is made by choosing animal flesh simply for taste and habit while every day more of the lungs of our planet are destroyed to raise livestock, our rivers polluted with run off from CAFOs, our oceans over fished to death, sentient, loving beings separated from their mothers, and slaughtered in infancy for taste, convenience and habit. We should ask ourselves if we are truly OK living in a way where we have others do our dirty work and slaughter animals for our taste and habit.
There is nothing more personal than a person’s freedom of choice. No one wants to be told who to believe in or worship, who to love or not to love. And yes I know, no one wants to hear yet another vegan telling them what they are eating is wrong. Just another judgmental, righteous vegan, right? This not judgement, we are neighbors sharing this space and we want to end needless suffering. I am sorry but we just need to accept the facts and wake up or we will destroy this planet. We have already lost so much, 1000s of species are extinct because of our collective behavior. It is predicted that by 2040 there will no edible fish left in the sea.
We share this planet and we are all connected. Some of us can not help but feel the pain of others who suffer. Children in the world starving only due to the greed of another or more vile, a corporation. Most our grain feeds cattle, where it could feed so many humans that are starving. Making the choice to stop eating animals is freedom, it brings hope, trust me. And as a physician, who has a bit of knowledge about health, please know that avoiding animals, eating whole foods and exercising can decrease your risk of all chronic diseases including our biggest killers 1) Heart disease 2) Cancer 3) Iatrogenic (medically caused) by 80%. We know that a whole food, low fat, oil free diet reverses heart disease. I am sure every one of us as been affected in some way by heart disease and cancer which have been called the animal’s revenge. You can see it as such metaphysically or purely based on an ecological system attempting to return to balance. If we all thrived on high animal protein and saturated fat certainly our population numbers would be even higher than they are now. And no, it is not just about living longer (but vegans do) but more importantly it is about truly living and feeling good while we live. Having the vitality to enjoy life in all of our years. To laugh, travel and serve others.
In modern times we are living longer due to advances in hygiene, medical care and medications which keep us afloat yet cause a multitude of side effects (see 3rd most common cause of death above), but we need to find a way to live here in a sustainable way that begets a higher quality of life. Shifting to a plant-based diet is essential to this effort.
Use food as your best medicine so we an avoid treating prolonged imbalances that eventually create disease with mere medications. We always want to treat the cause. Always ask your doctor what is the cause of the problem and how can I FIX it not just manage it with a medication.
Focus on the core pillars of health. Here is a check list:
Are you eating mostly whole plant-based foods?
Are you moving your body on a regular basis?
Are you breathing deeply? Some can not exercise but we can all breathe so when in doubt, start with the breath.
Are you managing your stress in a way that helps you heal rather than hurting you?
Are you sleeping soundly, amply and feeling rested?
Are you connected? Spiritually, with another, with the earth and our animal friends?
Are you NOT smoking!!!!
Take a step today towards peace and wellness. Relax into your body using your breath and body awareness. Prioritize exercise and move your body even if it is just a few minutes a day. Find simple pleasures. Turn off the television. Give someone a hug. Smile and give thanks. Be peace. ‘Be the change you want to see in the world.’
Eat plants, not animals. Eat whole foods. Minimize processed foods (which include oils). Avoid genetically modified foods. Know where your food comes from. Get to know your farmers, buy local and grow your own if you can. If you take any medications, let your doctor know if you plan on making big changes as adjustments may need to be made (decreasing or stopping, depending on how strict you are with the change) especially if you have high blood pressure or diabetes. For some, it starts with small steps, one more veggie meal at a time. For others, a radical shift works and is critical. Let me know if you have any questions.
May all beings be happy and free.
Kyle Homertgen, DO