Veganism and Vegetarianism: The Case for More Compassion

Veganism and Vegetarianism: The Case for More Compassion

Veganism and vegetarianism are two lifestyles that often cause people to ask questions and debate the merits of both. Those who embrace veganism and vegetarianism are typically united by a shared desire to avoid animal exploitation and to limit their impact on the environment. Eating plant-based foods has been found to have numerous health benefits, as well as reducing our reliance on animal agriculture. However, veganism and vegetarianism extend beyond nutrition, into morality, social justice, and environmental protection.

Whats the difference?

The primary distinction between veganism and vegetarianism is that vegans avoid all animal-based products, including dairy, eggs and, sometimes, honey. Vegetarians do not consume meat or fish, but may still consume animal-sourced products, such as milk and eggs.

Regardless of which lifestyle you choose, veganism and vegetarianism are both rooted in the same fundamental principle of compassion. By refraining from exploiting and harming animals, these practices demonstrate a commitment to showing more empathy and kindness in our everyday lives.

Judgement and Food Guilt

In the age of veganism and vegetarianism, I’ve noticed a lot of talk these days about diet shaming.  First, let it be known that I am not a true vegan or vegetarian at this moment.  However, my diet these days is 95% vegan, 5% seafood.  Also, I do eat some eggs and milk products which have reduced dramatically from 3 years ago.  For me, I’ve been able to keep clean of most meats for the last 3 years, unless I’ve been in situations where there was no vegetarian options.  In other words, I am flexible.  However, my main goal is to be CONSCIOUS in my choices and do what’s best for my health and wellbeing.

Part of the reason I’m writing this blog is because I’ve had to do my own self check on whether I’m judging others on their food choices.  The truth is that I want what is best for our bodies, animals and the earth.

It’s self-evident if you’ve seen any PETA videos on what happens in factory farms.  It’s probably one of mankind’s greatest disasters that we have become so disconnected from the sources of our food.

It was a few years back that I watched videos of Jamie Oliver, a famous British chef, showing pictures of vegetables to elementary school children in America and getting a lot of blank stares. Yet, most kids will recognize fast food.

Not everyone is ready to go plant-based.  However, I do believe that the majority of the world can still have a great diet and have great improvement in their health if we could REDUCE our meat, seafood and dairy eating.  The most important aspect of this is changing your overall footprint on the planet.  It’s the effort and the awareness of the issue that counts.

Vegetarian Influencers

I feel that it’s good to share some of the influencers who are actively promoting vegan or vegetarian lifestyles.  They do have lots of good information that may be worth checking out for yourself.

What I like about Dear Alyne’s vlog on vegetarianism is that she is really open and honest about it.  We need to have open discussions about diet and the spiritual side of what we eat.

I am sharing this video below as an example of truth telling about our meat sources.  Sometimes we need to know what the problem is first before we can fix it.

Recognizing our own inner dialogue with diet and consumption is a good thing.  Phillip Wollen, Australian philanthropist, is very passionate in his storytelling.  He makes some very poignant and memorable remarks which need to be heard regardless of whether you’re interested in diet change. Despite the many negative issues, he brings it around to a positive outcome.

Recognizing our own inner dialogue with diet and consumption is a good thing.  Phillip Wollen, Australian philanthropist, is very passionate in his storytelling.  He makes some very poignant and memorable remarks which need to be heard regardless of whether you’re interested in diet change. Despite the many negative issues, he brings it around to a positive outcome.

“When we suffer. We suffer as equals.”

Transitioning to a vegetarian lifestyle

For me, it was 3 years ago that I began my journey as “mostly” vegetarian.  It was surprisingly not as difficult as I thought it would be.

By choosing a vegetarian lifestyle, I thought for sure I would miss bacon.  However, I am completely surprised that I rarely even think about it.  I have tried it once or twice since I’ve been on a mostly vegetarian diet and was actually shocked at how bad it tasted!

I thought, how could something I used to think was so good, taste so bad now?  I believe the reason is the vibration of it.  It’s like all I can taste is a bad taste, a bad feeling.  When you realize that, you know you are ready to shift.  And, I also found a recipe for making vegan bacon that is absolutely amazing and even resembles the texture of bacon.

Although for the most part, I do not seek “meat” type products, it is nice for those of us transitioning and wanting the feel good flavor without the guilt or negative vibes.

Consider another reason why you may want to ditch meat for Veganism & Vegetarianism

Although there are organic farms of  that do take care of their animals, the majority of “mass-produced” meat is truly not palatable.  If you were to look at meat in its raw state before it arrived in the meat department of your favorite grocery store, you may be shocked to see what you find.  More than that, the suffering that these animals endure for their entire lives is beyond what most people could watch.   Thus, it is not surprising that a lot of them have diseases and tumors.  I’m only mentioning this to create awareness.

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Times are changing

In November 2018, I was travelling in a very beautiful place known for it’s quality meat, Barcelona, Spain.  I consider it one of the best places to travel, especially if you love food!  Even in a European city like this, it was definitely noticeable that people are shifting to a more plant-based diet.  I took this photo and you’ll see that this place was packed!   I was really encouraged to see it, not only because I wanted to have vegetarian/vegan options, but also because it gives me hope to believe that we are becoming more socially aware and conscious.

vegan fast food Barcelona

Being the change that you want to see

When it comes to eating or lifestyle, the best way to be is yourself!  If you’re not vegetarian right now and not sure if you ever want to be one, that’s ok.

My main goal is to educate and share information about the benefits of a plant-based diet. You know whats best for you.  There’s no “one size fits all” diet plan.

For instance, people who live in high elevations without much vegetation cannot be on a vegetarian or vegan diet as it is not available to them.  They have to eat what is physically available.

Even the bushman in South Africa is not a Veganism & Vegetarianism and they live beautiful and highly sustainable lives.

This is why getting to a place of understanding and having an open mind to learning is more important that judging or shaming another.

Do we really need meat?

We do know that on the whole, mankind does not physically NEED meat.  Like the gorilla, we are similar genetically and they do just fine on a plant-based diet.  The main difference is that they eat a lot of BUGS!  Thus, they are getting very high quality protein from their Veganism & Vegetarianism diet.

You can check out this interesting blog on crickets vs beef and you can see that bugs can have much higher quality protein.

Not receiving enough soluble protein may be why some former vegan influencers have had to revert back to being an omnivore.  Even though they once shamed meat-eaters themselves, they are having to reverse their shaming.

Am I interested in eating crickets?  No, but I am glad that if I do need them, they are there for me.  I would prefer to continue as a Veganism & Vegetarianism.

Another interesting photo I took in Barcelona, was an image of a protester of bull-fighting.  He had a large display of posters and education about the atrocities of bull-fighting.  Although it is not necessarily related to our diet, it is interesting to note that the lifestyle choices in Spain are changing.  People want to take better care of animals.

Movies that inspire veganism/vegetarianism

I find the beginning of 2001; A Space Odyssey one of the most interesting scenes of how perhaps, we as humans got off the path.  I see it as a symbolic Veganism & Vegetarianism reference of why I choose plant-based over meat.

And just because I really love Gorilla’s, I also think I should share something beautiful and positive from the herbivore named Koko.  She passed away June 2018.  When we care more about nature and the environment, we make better choices.

Food shaming is not the way

Having travelled quite a bit around the world, it is clear that there are more and more choices for vegans and vegetarians.  Probably the most impressive for me was my visit to Manaus, Brazil where I got to stay and hang out with vegans.  Veganism is very rare in South America, but it is also growing as well.  Meat has always been king and you can smell barbecue almost everywhere. Thus, having the experience of meeting vegans Veganism & Vegetarianism who also served vegan food to the public was truly the best.  You can watch my video on youtube about my trip to Manaus.

Even though their practice was to serve vegan food, I never heard them judge or shame anyone for their choices.  It was a great influence to be around them.  The funny thing about it, is that the more we let go, the more likely we are to send a great example.  In other words, be who you are right now. Do your best.  Let judgement pass through you.


Suzanne Daley

Suzanne Daley is the owner of TaoWander LLC, wellness retreat promotion and marketing around the world since 2016.

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