Ahimsa is a Sanskrit term meaning nonharming or noninjuring and can be interpreted as “dynamic harmlessness.” The practice of Ahimsa includes avoiding specific foods and products, being considerate of the lives of humans and animals, and actively participating in beneficial action.
I have been educated since I was very young about the horrors of animal abuse and was always taught to be compassionate even if it brought scrutiny from my peers. My mother has been active in animal advocacy and humane society work most of her life and she and my step-dad even co-founded a wildlife rehabilitation center in Colorado Springs. She’s been a vegetarian (lacto-ovo; no fish) for over thirty years and raised me with an emphasis on a meatless diet but she left the choice up to me. I haven’t eaten red meat or pork since junior high but it was hard to kick fish since my dad owns restaurants in Hawaii where the menu centers around fresh fish. I was always a picky eater so I kept chicken and turkey in my diet thinking I needed it for adequate protein not to mention I don’t think I was confident or assertive enough to commit to a vegetarian diet knowing I would undoubtedly be questioned about it and I wasn’t educated enough to answer all those questions. There is something about talking about a vegetarian or vegan diet that makes people feel cornered or judged. Telling people you are a vegetarian or vegan tends to invite criticism and people immediately like to point out hypocrisies in other areas of your life. People also make the assumption that vegetarians or vegans just don’t like the taste of meat and that’s their only motivation. Although, I’ve long since forgotten what a burger tastes like or pork I have always liked a grilled chicken breast. However, my decision to go completely meatless (and dairy-less) comes from a motivation beyond my palate. This year I’ve become very interested in where my food comes from. Not just meat, EVERYTHING. However, even though I’ve been aware and seen undercover videos (probably from PETA) of the conditions in factory farms, I wanted to do more extensive research. I did a lot of reading and educated myself on the treatment of all animals farmed for meat and the horrific and unimaginable conditions they are made to live in and the suffering they endure to end up on our plates. I truly believe that most people want to do the right thing and most people would choose for animals bred and raised to be food to be treated more humanely but the truth is a lot of people just don’t know where our meat comes from. They don’t know that pigs exhibit the same behaviors as dogs and cats and that chicken and turkey’s have distinct personalities. Cows and all of these animals are sentient beings who deserve more than being treated as production units.
I started this blog as a journal for myself to document my new discoveries being a vegan. By discoveries, I mean new recipes and foods I’m trying out and the research I’m doing on important nutritional information that’s helping me live a healthier lifestyle by knowing what nutrients my body needs to function as efficiently as possible. I also want to share some of the inspiration I’ve felt from amazing individuals, advocacy and activist groups, authors, researchers, and organizations all committed to a more compassionate lifestyle. Importantly, I want to discuss the horrific discoveries I’ve made about profit-driven factory farming practices and how detrimental they are to our bodies, our environment, our communities and the very animals that are forced to endure such cruelty.
I’d also like to expand to other areas of food production to include farming issues for corn, soybeans and the hardships modern farmers and their families and communities endure for large-scale corporate Agribusiness. I truly believe that knowledge is power and the more educated we are about what goes into our food and how it’s produced the healthier lives we can begin to live, because there is no doubt in my mind if most people knew the truth they would choose to spend their dollars on other options.
I want to write so much more right now but this is only an introduction and I’ll be updating this blog frequently. I have so much churning around in my brain and heart about these issues and it’s exciting and I need to get them written down; to document my own personal journey and if possible educate a couple others and inspire them to look at their own lives and become more aware of who they’re supporting (and who they’re condemning) when they buy their food.
I welcome all questions and comments! Thanks, y’all for reading.