THE PEACE OF A MEATLESS DIET

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“THE PEACE OF A MEATLESS DIET”

By the Ascension Times Team

By eating meat we are taking into our bodies the vibrations of violence, fear, pain, suffering and death, so how can we be peaceful if this is what our bodies are regularly absorbing?

Nobel prize-winning author Isaac Bashevis Singer was a late converter to vegetarianism, but became an avid promoter of the peace of a meatless diet. He said… ‘even if eating meat was shown to be good for you, I would certainly not eat it’. Singer has little patience with intellectual rationalisations for meat-eating: ‘various philosophers and religious leaders tried to convince their disciples and followers that animals are nothing more that machines without a soul, without feelings. However anyone who has ever lived with an animal – be it a dog, a bird or even a mouse – knows that this theory is a brazen lie, invented to justify cruelty’….. I must say I heartily agree with him!

Tolstoy advocated ‘vegetarian pacifism’ and was against killing even the smallest living thing such as ants! He felt, as do many others, that there is a natural progression of violence that leads inevitably to war in human society. Tolstoy wrote that eating flesh ‘is simply immoral, as it involves an act which is contrary to moral feeling – killing’.

Tolstoy believed that man suppressed, unnecessarily, the highest spiritual capacity, that of empathy, and became cruel by adopting a meat diet.

‘Thou shalt not kill.’ I fail to see why this should apply solely to taking human lives. One of the great Renaissance mystics, Leonardo da Vinci said, ‘I have from an early age, adjured the use of meat, and the time will come when men such as I, will look on the murder of animals as they now look on the murder of men’. While George Bernard Shaw said, ‘While we ourselves are the living graves of murdered beasts, how can we expect any ideal conditions on this earth?’.

         I wonder how many people would still eat flesh if they had visited an abattoir or a battery chicken farm or even a fish farm? I think most would cringe with disgust and horror at the cruelty that these animals have to endure. Some animals are taken away from their mothers at a very early age, and kept in feeding units so small they cannot lie down or move around, they are pumped full of growth hormones, antibiotics and tranquillisers and then led off to the slaughterhouse, some dying before they even reach there. The fear, anxiety and pain that these animals feel is an energy or memory that stays in their flesh and is stored in their cellular memory. We as humans then take it on when we eat them. Calves selected for veal production are taken away from their mothers way before they would naturally choose independence. The trauma and feeling of loss for both the calf and the mother is too awful to contemplate. They are then fed on a diet of liquid food until they die a miserable premature death. This diet keeps the flesh white, which fetches a better price on the market.

         Battery chickens live a life of misery, never getting to see the light of day. They are often kept on wire mesh instead of a solid floor to make it easier for farmers to keep the cages clean. As they are not by nature perching birds, their legs often become crippled as the wire cuts into their feet. Some resort to climbing onto the backs of their fellow creatures for relief from their pain and suffering. As animals instinctively strive to be in the open air, free to move and enjoy nature as we do, they often become restless and frustrated when cooped up in crowded cages. Chickens will often peck at each other, resulting in farmers cutting off the tips of their beaks to prevent them from tearing each other to pieces and many a bird has to bear the agony of a bleeding and tender beak for the rest of it ‘life’ on the chicken farm. Even if in some cases the scenario is not quite so bad, none are good enough to warrant our eating these fellow creatures for the sake of the palate or our so-called health. These cruel stories are endless as humans remain detached and on the whole unaware of the process involved in bringing them their neatly packed supermarket food, already killed, skinned and cleaned.

Health and the meatless diet

It seems so clear when we compare the physiology of humans to carnivorous animals, that we are not designed to eat meat. Dr Bernard Jensen, a leading authority and author on colon health, analysed some of the faecal matter that he removed from a patient’s colon and found that it was over 40 years old! Meat is fibreless and does not pass through our colon easily. It can get caught in the little pockets of our typically vegetarian colon, and there it stays rotting and causing havoc with our health. We don’t have a short smooth colon like the carnivorous animals. The meat industry has managed to creep insidiously into our belief systems, offering many clever reasons for flesh consumption. In so doing it has converted the masses and convinced us that we should be eating meat, and if we don’t we won’t be getting enough protein. This is simply not true. The protein from a vegetarian diet is not inferior.

‘Never mind our physiology, it tastes nice and that’s a good enough reason’, is often the distressing answer I get! We have been lead to believe that vegetables and fruit are not a complete protein and therefore inferior. I wonder how the other numerous herbivorous animals such as elephants, giraffes, horses and cattle manage to grow to be such magnificent animals if they are eating inferior protein? The idea that meat has a monopoly on protein and that large amounts of protein are required for energy and strength are both myths. While it is being digested most protein breaks down into its constituent amino acids, which are reconverted and used by the body for growth and tissue replacement. Only 8 of the 22 amino acids cannot be synthesised by the body itself, and these 8 “essential amino acids” are found in abundance in non-flesh foods. Furthermore our body stores amino acids, so if we don’t get a complete set of amino acids in one sitting we will have stored all we need anyway! A bowl of brown rice and mung beans gives us all the amino acids we need!

Apparently if you are an ‘O’ blood group, for instance, you were once a hunter and should therefore be eating meat! This is not a belief I agree with. If we study the ancient tribes, meat eating was very rare, and then only when there was nothing else available. The aboriginal people in Australia for instance, were vegetarian until they were forced into the desert and needed to adapt their diet to survive.

During the process of converting grain to meat, 99% of the carbohydrates, 90% of the protein and 100% of the dietary fibre are lost!

Since eating begins with our hands and mouths, what do our bodies tell us?

            Nature is perfect and never lies!

Physiological comparisons

Meat eater Herbivore Human
Has claws No claws No claws
No skin pores, perspires through tongue Perspires through skin pores Perspires through skin pores
Sharp front teeth and enlarged canines for tearing flesh No sharp front teeth, has flat rear molars to grind vegetable matter No sharp front teeth, has flat rear molars to grind vegetable matter
Intestinal tract three times body length so rapidly that decaying meat can pass through quickly. It is smooth for easy passage Intestinal track 10 – 12 times body length. It is pocketed to extract maximum nutrients from the fibrous vegetables and fruit Intestinal track 12 times body length. It is pocketed to extract maximum nutrients from the fibrous vegetables and fruit
Strong hydrochloric acid in the stomach to digest meat Stomach acid 20 times weaker than that of meat-eaters Stomach acid 20 times weaker than that of meat-eaters

 

As early as 1961 the Journal of the American Medical Association stated that 90 – 97% of heart disease, a half of the cause of deaths in the USA, could be prevented by a vegetarian diet. (“Diet and Stress in Vascular Disease”Journal of the American Medical Association. June 3, 1961 p.806) In 1990 the British medical journal Lancet reported similar findings. (Ornish Dr Dean “Ornish’s Program for Reversing Heart Disease” Random House NY 1990)   There have been numerous links to cancer and the consumption of meat. In 1990 Dr Walter Willet, who conducted the largest study of diet and colon cancer in history said ‘If you step back and look at the data, the optimum amount of meat you eat should be zero!’. (Kolata, G “Animal Fat is Tied to colon Cancer” NY Times December 13, 1990 p. A-1)

Another area of grave concern is the nitrosamines formed when secondary amines, prevalent in beer, wine, tea and tobacco to mention a few of the many sources, react with chemical preservatives in flesh products. Nitrosamines are labelled ‘one of the most formidable and versatile groups of carcinogens (cancer-causing agents) yet discovered’. A shocking animal study carried out by Dr William Lijinsky of Oak Ridge National Laboratory in which nitrosamines were fed to animals, found that after 6 months every single animal (100%) had cancer! (Statement of Dr William Lijinsky, US House of Representatives’ hearing “Regulation of Food Additives and Medicated Animal Foods,” March 1971 p.132)

Numerous other potentially hazardous chemicals are present in flesh products. According to Gary and Steven Null in their book entitled Poisons in Your Body, besides tranquillisers, hormones and antibiotics, some   2700 hazardous chemicals have been identified in animal products. The process starts way before birth and continues long after death! These drugs will all be present in the products when you eat them. Sodium nitrate and sodium nitrite are the chemicals used as preservatives to slow down the putrefaction in cured meat and meat products. They are also used to give meat its bright red colour by reacting with pigments in the blood and muscle. Without them the meat would turn the natural grey-brown colour of dead meat very quickly.

Excessive amounts of these chemicals are fatal and mistakes have occurred where too much has been added in the factory and people have died of poisoning! Even small amounts can be hazardous and warnings have been given by the United Nations FAO/WHO Expert Committee of Food Additives that ‘Nitrates should not on any account be added to baby food’. The margin between safe and not safe is very small. Because of the filthy overcrowded conditions that the animals are forced to live in, disease is rampant. The Food and Drug Administration in America estimates that the use of antibiotics saves the meat farmers $1.9 billion a year, giving them sufficient reason to overlook the potential health hazards and the antibiotic-resistant bacteria that are passed on to meat eaters. Further poisons such as urea and uric acid are present in the meat from the trauma of being slaughtered. These join with the animal’s blood to contaminate the flesh further.

In 1972 the United States Department of Agriculture reported that inspected carcasses passed inspection after diseased parts had been removed. Examples were nearly 100 000 cows with eye cancer (it is not surprising they did not want to see) and 3,596,302 cases of abscessed liver. Chickens with airsacculitis, a pneumonia-like disease that causes pus-laden mucus to collect in the lungs, are allowed to be sold so long as the chickens’ chest cavities are sucked clean with air suction guns. During this process the air sacks often burst and pus seeps into the meat.

The mad cow disease phenomenon comes as no surprise! Man’s greed and total lack of reverence and compassion is the underlying cause – it is not surprising that nature has retaliated in such a way. Over 1 million people in the UK have now adopted a vegetarian diet as a result of this outbreak.   Our “instant, convenient and detached” lifestyles allow for little thought or understanding of the violent and cruel ways these gentle helpless creatures are being subjected to.

 

calf

A peaceful diet

Peace on earth can only be attained if we ourselves live peaceful lives, and how can we be peaceful if we are eating food that is fundamentally violent.

Every year in America alone, about 134 million mammals and 3 billion birds are slaughtered and very few people make any connection between this killing and the meat on their tables. Many great thinkers have adopted a vegetarian diet, such as Henry David Thoreau, who said, ‘I have no doubt that it is a part of the destiny of the human race, in its gradual improvement, to leave off eating animals’. Ethical considerations have attracted many of the world’s greatest personalities.

Pythagoras, famous for his contribution to geometry and mathematics, told of the many ‘innocent foods available to man’, and said:

“only beasts satisfy their hunger with flesh, and not even all of those, because horses, cattle and sheep and many wide animals live on grass’. He ate bread and honey in the morning and raw vegetables at night. He would pay fishermen to throw their catch back into the sea.”

Leonardo da Vinci, another vegetarian, wrote: ‘He who does not value life does not deserve it’. French philosopher Jean Rousseau was an advocate of natural order and he observed that meat-eating animals are generally more cruel and violent than herbivores.

The poet Shelley was a committed vegetarian, as was the famous Russian author Leo Tolstoy. Tolstoy advocated ‘vegetarian pacifism’ and was against killing even the smallest living thing such as ants! He felt, as do many others, that there is a natural progression of violence that leads inevitably to war in human society. Tolstoy wrote that eating flesh ‘is simply immoral, as it involves an act which is contrary to moral feeling – killing’. Tolstoy believed that man suppressed, unnecessarily, the highest spiritual capacity, that of sympathy, and became cruel by adopting a meat diet.

Mahatma Ghandi, a vegetarian and one of the greatest apostles of non-violence of the 20th century, stated that ‘spiritual progress does demand at some stage that we should cease to kill our fellow creatures for the satisfaction of our bodily wants’. Surely we have to question the wisdom of this habit, which is nothing less than an act of violence against the creatures sharing the Earth with us, creatures that do not have the ability to protect themselves or to communicate with us. Is it not time to think deeply with our hearts about our actions? If we choose a peaceful diet, we will be choosing harmony for our bodies, and our minds will become stiller and closer to God.

 

Vegetarianism and religion

Traditionally avoidance of meat has been a part of religious practice in nearly all faiths. Although there are some prescriptions for eating meat in the Old Testament of the Bible, it is clear that a vegetarian diet is the ideal. In Genesis (1:29) we find God him/herself proclaiming: ‘Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of the Earth, and every tree, in that which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed: to you it shall be for meat’. And in Genesis (9:4) meat is directly forbidden: ‘But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat. And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it’.

Later in the Bible major prophets also condemn eating meat. According to Isaiah (66:3) the killing of cows is particularly abhorrent; ‘He that killeth an ox is as if has slew a man’. In the story of Daniel it is recorded that while imprisoned in Babylon he refused to the meat offered by his jailers!

Many Christians find references to Christ eating meat in the New Testament. However, close study of the original Greek manuscripts shows that the vast majority of words translated as ‘meat’ are trophe, brome, and other words that simply mean ‘food’ or ‘eating’ in the broadest sense. The original Greek word translated as ‘meat’ is phago, which means only ‘to eat’. The Greek word for meat is kreas (flesh), and it is never used in connection with Jesus. No passage in the New Testament refers directly to Jesus eating meat! Interestingly the famous prophet Isaiah said about Jesus, ‘Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil and choose the good’. It is interesting to note the direct relationship between eating the right foods and choosing a way of life that is not ‘evil’, but filled with peace and harmony.

The Ascended Masters Saint Germain says in the book ‘The Magic Presence’ page 149:

“The great harm of meat-eating is, that the flesh of the animal records the feeling of fear it experiences when killed. The animal has an emotional body, and the vibration of fear recorded previous to, and at the moment of death qualifies the flesh and that quality is absorbed by the emotional body of the human being who eats it.

It also causes a certain substance to condense into the brain which dulls the intellect, and prevents the finer impulses from flowing into it, from the ‘Mighty I AM Presence.’ “This substance even an Ascended Master will not interfere with, because the individual does these things of his own free will.

“Fear, in its many subtle phases, is the predominant feeling within mankind today; and it is the wide open door through which the sinister force holds its control in the personality, and does its destructive work. The teaching that it is necessary to eat meat in order to obtain strength is vicious and entirely untrue, for the elephant, one of the strongest creatures on earth is a non meat-eating animal.

“The idea that serums, made from animals can produce health and perfection or protection against disease, in a clean child’s body, or that of an adult, is another consciously directed activity of the sinister force in this world; in order to break down the health and resistance in the race that the destructive feelings may hold sway and destroy the ideals of mankind.

“The medical profession has been unknowingly made a cats-paw for this destruction, under the guise of science. It is only because of the persistent stubbornness in the sense appetites, which are feelings in the human body, that the race keeps using its marvelous mental capacity and the wonderful Pure Energy from the ‘Mighty I AM Presence’ to create more and more destruction.

“When human beings will spend the same amount of time and energy studying Perfection and the wonderful Miracles of Creation that face us everywhere as they now do in gratifying the physical appetites and whims of the personal self, they too will produce the same Miracles the Ascended Masters are able to do. However, before fifty years are past, mankind will look back upon the meat-eating habit of today as we now look upon cannibalism. “There are several things that leave a substance in the brain which must be cleared away if the Full Perfection from the ‘Mighty I AM Presence* is to be released through the personal consciousness. These are, in the order of their importance: narcotics, alcohol, meat, tobacco, excess sugar, salt, and strong coffee.

“Now we come to the remedy for these things, for I will never point your attention to any consideration of imperfection without showing you the Way to transcend it and replace it by Perfection brought about harmoniously. I want you to realize always that whatever needs to be changed in the physical experience—if you will call your ‘Mighty I AM Presence* into action through your mind and body, the result will always be produced without suffering or discord of any kind.

“The Way of Perfection, which is the Activity of the ‘I AM Presence,* never demands of the personal self anything but the letting go of its chains, its discords, its limitations and its sufferings; and this change is always brought about harmoniously and through Divine Love.

“The way to purify the brain and body structure, if the personality has been putting these substances into the physical body in the past, is to call to your ‘Mighty I AM Presence’ to pour through your mind and body Its Violet Consuming Flame, using the following Affirmation:

‘Mighty I AM Presence! Blaze through me Thy Consuming Flame of Divine Love. Take this desire out of me; annihilate its cause and effect, past, present and future, and replace it by the Fullness of Yourself, Your Perfect Satisfaction, and hold Your Full Dominion here forever!’

This same Affirmation can be used for another with the same miraculous and permanent accomplishment. Then spend a few moments at least three times a day visualizing yourself standing within a pillar of Violet Flame—rushing from the feet to some distance above the head and extending for at least three feet on each side around the body. Hold this picture as long as you can comfortably do so, and feel the Flame, which is the Purifying Power of Divine Love, penetrating every cell of your body. This dissolves all impure and unnecessary substances in the cells of the body, thus clearing and illumining the consciousness. This is part of the Knowledge of the Sacred Fire which has only been taught in the Retreats of the Great White Brotherhood throughout the centuries. It is the way the Ascended Masters purify, heal, and harmonize mankind and the very Earth itself. It is the Power by which so-called miracles are performed. It can never have any other effect in either the brain, body or affairs but great ease, comfort, peace, and eternal good.

“In my reference to the animal creation of this world, I wish you to understand that the birds were originally created by the Ascended Masters as messengers for the use of humanity. What destructive qualities they sometimes express are due to the radiation of discord from human beings. As the New Age comes in, these qualities will disappear. Nature, and by that I mean the plant and mineral life of this Earth, is created and brought forth by the Great Cosmic Masters who design and direct the Creation of a planet at Cosmic Levels. “Nature within herself is forever pure, and if humanity did not impose its own discord and impurity upon the very atmosphere in which plant life grows, there could not be poisonous weeds or plants in existence. There was a time upon this Earth when everything in Nature affected the minds and bodies of human beings harmoniously.”

Leonard Orr, in his book ‘Breaking the Death Habit’ describes his experience of the fire ceremony: ‘It was a beautiful ceremony and it got me up early in the mornings as it was performed at 5 a.m. But I didn’t get the meaning or point of it. I couldn’t feel anything. The truth was that I was still too dead to feel it. I had been a meat-eater my whole life, and I could not feel spiritual energies very finely. If I could feel the energy of the Spirit, I would have already given up meat-eating – dead animals in the body deaden our spiritual sensitivities’. We are what we eat and there is no getting away from it. Leonard Orr goes on to say; ‘you can eat meat for 25 – 50 years before it kills you through heart attack or cancer – getting rid of the physical and energy body pollution faster than we take it in, is what I call the spiritual purification game. The more we win this game on a daily basis, the more often we can live in the Spirit, and the more control we have over our lives. When we loose the spiritual purification game, we move towards ageing and death’.

Meat and the environment

Killing animals for food is one of the most environmentally destructive practices taking place on earth today and if people adopted a vegetarian diet many environmental problems would be alleviated. The meat industry is linked to deforestation, desertification, water pollution, water shortages, air pollution and soil erosion. As Neal D Barnard, president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, says: ‘If you are a meat eater you are contributing to the destruction of the environment, whether you know it or not. Clearly the best thing you can do for the Earth is to not support animal agriculture’. As Jeremy Rifkin warns in his widely read book Beyond Beef: ‘Today, millions of Americans, Europeans and Japanese are consuming countless hamburgers, steaks and roasts, oblivious to the impact their dietary habits are having on the biosphere and the very survivability of life on earth. Every pound of grain-fed flesh is secured at the expense of a burned forest, an eroded rangeland, a barren field, a dried up river or steam and the release of millions of tons of carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide and methane into the skies’. (pease put this in bold steve – thx)

Forest destruction

According to the Vegetarian Times, clearing land for beef cattle ranches causes half of the annual destruction of tropical rainforests. Each pound of beef made from Central or South American cattle costs about 55 square feet of rain forest vegetation! In America alone about 260 million acres of forest have been cleared for a meat-centred diet. About 40% of the land in the western United States is used for grazing beef cattle. This has also had a detrimental effect on wildlife as it has forced deer and antelope out of their natural habitat. The same is applicable here in South Africa. I recently visited a farm near the Botswana border and was horrified at the destruction caused by cattle grazing. The farm was virtually a desert.

Agricultural inefficiency

Approximately HALF the world’s grain is fed to animals that are later slaughtered for meat. It takes 16 pounds of grain and soybeans to produce 1 pound of feedlot beef. If people would live off grains and other vegetarian foods it would put far less strain on earth’s agricultural lands. Twenty vegetarians can live off the same amount of land as one meat eater! Eighty per cent of corn and 95% of oats grown in America are fed to livestock. Fifty-six per cent of all agricultural land in the USA is used for beef production; 1.3 billion people could be fed with the grain and beans that are fed to the livestock annually.

Soil erosion and desertification

This is one of the devastating effects of animal farming. Overgrazing and intensive grain farming for food are causing deserts that need never have been. Over the last couple of centuries America has lost about two-thirds of its topsoil. According to Worldwatch Institute (1986) one pound of beef from cattle raised on feedlots represents 35 pounds of topsoil!

Water pollution and depletion

About 50% of the water pollution in the USA is linked to livestock, and it is no different in the rest of the world. Pesticides and fertilisers used to grow animals food run off into rivers and dams and eventually out to sea. They also pollute ground water. There is a huge amount of chemical runoff from pesticides used in the feedlots and holding yards, as well as excrement and urine that pollute the water making it unfit for us to drink and disturbing the delicate ecosystems in the rivers and waterways. According to a German documentary film by Wolfgang Kharuna, this waste is apparently anywhere between 10 and 100 times more damaging that domestic sewerage. Nitrates evaporating from open tanks of animal waste in the Netherlands have caused extremely high levels of forest-killing acid rain.

Worldwide the livestock industry uses huge amounts of fresh water – a diminishing resource and in many places in very short supply. In the USA 50% of the water consumed each year is used in the animal industry. Feeding the average meat eater takes 4 200 gallons of water per day, versus 1 200 gallons for a person following a lacto-vegetarian diet. It takes 25 gallons of water to produce a pound of wheat and 2 500 gallons for a pound of meat!

Air pollution

Use of fuel and burning of oil in the production of animals foods results in huge amounts of unnecessary carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere, one of the main causes of global warming. The burning of tropical forests for land clearing for grazing is another source of pollution that need not occur. In the USA the use of petroleum would drop by 60% if people adopted a vegetarian diet. That in itself is a HUGE factor in the global warming equation! The meat industry is also responsible for large amounts of methane gas, which is produced directly by the digestive process of cows. This gas traps 20 times more heat than carbon dioxide.

Conclusion

An excerpt from For the Common Good, a book written by World Bank economist and philosopher John B Cobb, says it all so clearly: ‘If a simple and healthful change in eating habits along with localisation of most food production and a major shift toward organic farming were to take place over the next generation, food production and distribution could be weaned from their current heavy dependence on fossil fuels. In the process, the enormous suffering now inflicted on livestock would be greatly reduced’. It may be an idealistic way of looking at things, but it’s so appealing and fundamentally true. If people worldwide adopted a vegetarian diet, there would be fewer sick people and our planet would be far healthier. There are 800 million hungry people in the world today, and every 2 seconds a child dies of malnutrition. Sixty million people die every year in developing countries from starvation. This need not be the case if people lived consciously and adopted a vegetarian diet.

We need to go beyond the culture of eating animals and transform our thinking to a level of consciousness that allows us realise that we are not separate from each other, from animals or the earth, and the action of one affects the whole.

 

References

  1. Cremo M, Goswami M. Divine Nature. Australia. The Bhaktivedante Book Trust, International 1995, 1998.
  2. Yoga Mind and Body. By the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre (no, there are no specific authors,) 1996 Dorling Kindersley Ltd., London.
  3. The Magic Presence by Godfre Ray King published by Saint Germain Press
  4. Orr L. Breaking the Death Habit. Printed in USA, Berkeley CA. Frog Ltd, 1998.
  5. Gaywood E. Vegetarian, Vegan and Raw Food Recipes   Durban:
  6. The Higher Taste. Based on the teachings of his Divine Grace A C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. The Bhaktivedante Book Trust. Australia, McPherson’s Printing Group.
  7. 6. Diet for a New America. John Robbins. Publisher H J Kramer

 

 

 

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