Vegetarian lifestyle has boomed in the last decade, meat free culture is now becoming more widespread than ever. It is no longer considered an abomination or eccentric behaviour if you turn down your thanksgiving turkey as more and more celebrities adopt a meatless diet and look amazing in their late 60s and 70s. The following lines cast more light on the price that we pay for eating meat and the compromises that we make when we stay away from it out of health or moral reasons.

Meat the truth.

Most people still keep on gobbling down whatever tastes good, even though what you eat is by far one of the most self-defining activities. Others follow indiscriminately the latest dieting fad in their desperate hope to see the promised results. However, few are those, who read between the lines on the list of ingredients and really think about the whole background of the food on their plate – how and where it was planted, raised, fed and transported to the table. The truth is that consumer grown cattle and poultry are not what we bargained for. Conveyr belt meat is a ghastly cocktail of hazardous chemicals that wreak havoc on our physical and mental health.

Lets examine closely the life cycle of a chicken in the average chicken farm – it is hatched, raised and dispatched in less than month and a half when it normally needs at least year and a half of happy existence to become ready for consumption. Is that magic? It is the alchemy of the modern food industry – the antibiotics animals are given to keep them from getting infections, the hormones they are doped with to grow fast and big, the pesticide and GMO infested fodder that they are fed. All that gets into our system and is there to stay for quite some time. Last but not least, animals in corporate farm undergo constant terror of such proportions that they are regularly given antidepressants and tranquillizers, otherwise they would put and end to their lives out of despair. The shock and horror that the animal feels, especially towards the end of its life, remains sealed in it in the form of adrenaline and eating the adrenaline soaked meat makes us more nervous and aggressive.

Vegetarian – animal’s best friend.

There is something gratifying and spiritually uplifting to the whole affair of vegetarianism – it brings joy in life to not think about your food as a dead being and not feel blood going down your gut with every meal. It is empowering to know that by living without causing suffering to other creatures, you are becoming less of a consumer and more of a creator. We are not given the right to create new animal live so we undoubtedly do not have the right to take it away either, at least not with the ease that we kill for our pleasure and for the animal’s pain. Plant food feels good too – People converting to a vegetarian menu often report feeling more creative, sensitive and considerate of others around them, they start to feel connected with the great One that we are all part of. Others feel that they have more brain power, feel lighter and more invigorated. There are generally two kinds of people – those that are predominantly givers and those that are takers. Not taking another being’s life for food moves you a little bit more to the giver’s side and you always receive more when you give something from yourself. It is always worth experimenting with your diet – try being vegetarian for some time and mark the difference, you never know until you have a go!

Is there really need for meat?

Vegetarians are overall a cheerful and outgoing lot but some of us are quick to condemn even moderate consumption as heartless and destructive. There are also those who feel the need to change something in their lives for the better and often go to extremes with their food, always on the hunt for the latest vegan craze. The “perfect diet” is a comfortable cure-for-all illusion that will fix all that is broken in our lives and make us live 100 years, right? The fact of the matter is that some people are better off with raw or plant based diet while others are better equipped for handling a little bit of meat in their diet and feel better with it. Our mission is optimal nutrition for the individual person with his unique body constitution and character and for his individual lifestyle and environment. There are no universal solutions for any problem and each human being has its own intricate pattern of flaws and balance issues. We will now toss aside all medical systems and gurus that either salute or refute meat completely and we instead will search for clues in schools of thought that look at food in a more holistic approach and scrutinize it from all aspects.

Chinese medicine, for example, divides food by the energy that it provides, foods are considered either more cold (Yin) or more hot (Yang) with various degrees of cool and warm in between. Cold foods, like summer vegetables (cucumbers, courgettes, avocado) and sweet fruit like oranges and bananas cool us down physically and mentally when we are hot or too agitated, they also promote nurturing of the inner organs and cleansing through the detox pathways. Hot foods, on the other hand, like beef, turkey, lamb, egg yolk, ginger, cooked root vegetables, warm us up when we are cold to the extremes because it promotes better circulation and it also gets us in the right gear for heavy activities like heavy workouts or the average 12 hour CEO workday. It is also worth mentioning that cooking food, even for a short time, makes it considerably more yang – minerals are more readily absorbed from the food that way and that improves our circulation, brain function and overall health. Do not cook you steak dead though – that will sap all the important vitamins and nutrients.

Ayurveda, the life wisdom developed in ancient India, preaches that there are three types of food – Sattva (life supportive, nurturing and wise food that gives intelligence), Rajas (agitating food that gives passion and energy but also potentially harmful desires) and Tamas (foul and heavy foods that make us passive, lazy and ignorant). Sattva foods are usually fruits and vegetables, nuts and beans and Rajas foods are usually fresh meats (except for pork, which is tamas), eggs and spicy foods. Tamas foods are stale foods like meat, canned fish and some mushrooms that are heavy to digest, and they are best avoided altogether, It stands to reason that we would use some Rajas foods to feel more invigorated when our hectic schedule demands it.

It is all about balance.

To operate at optimal level, we should strive too keep our balance within the climate and lifestyle that we experience, using our food to leverage that balance. If human life existed somewhere in perfect and constant equilibrium, it would most certainly not need dead carcasses to sustain itself. However, real human life on this planet is always susceptible to external influences. A perfect illustration for this is a set of scales that sits perfectly still when its scales are equally loaded but teeters to one side when you blow at it or shake the table. Nature, a perfect example of balance, is the ultimate dietitian – all that we really need to eat to stay healthy is seasonal and locally grown food. We would have had the opportunity to grow fresh mangoes and papayas in the winter in Alaska or Stockholm if we needed to eat just fruit and nuts in such extreme temperatures.

It is sometimes wise therefore to consume very modest amounts of meat when hectic lifestyle or freezing climate requires it and abstain from it completely when we want to bring ourselves to balance in the middle of a sweltering summer or cool off after and nurture yourself after a stressful period. Very moderate amounts of ONLY organic meat with clean BIOgraphy from the store or better – locally raised and grass-fed cattle that was treated well can be life supporting in cases like severe pernicious anemia (vitamin B12 deficiency) and where the harsh climate does not promote growing fresh fruit and vegetables. Fancy eating a box of bananas and dates a day in the northern countries like some of our fructarian friends do – that would not be possible without the current globalized free market and economic system. A few months’ casual consumption of meat is also necessary in some cases of depression and chronic fatigue – our bodies are after all inextricably linked to our psyche. Electromagnetic smog also allegedly tilts the scales of our Yin-Yang balance to the Yin side and that should somehow be compensated for. Some compromises with our principles are worth if that will make us more productive for the common good and feel more at peace with ourselves and people around us. Life is not about all the mistakes we make and all the flaws that we carry, it is about being a better person overall!

Final few words…

As George Orwell’s Animal Farm explains – “All are equal, but some are more equal than others”. In our fast-paced mad world we have forgotten that we are all in one huge animal farm with all beings on this planet and we all depend on balance and harmonious cooperation to exist. Recent estimates show that if America (the biggest meat consumer in the world) was to lower its meat consumption by just 10% and convert the crop lands from raising cattle to growing crops, there would be enough left over to feed all the starving people in the Third World countries. And especially for the most voracious meat eaters, go out in the woods and hunt for food or kill a chicken once at the local farm. That will give you a taste of the true consequences of your choices and will hopefully help you be a more conscious consumer. Rethink your priorities next time you need steak three times a day to hit the gym and make some big time muscles. Meat, if at all, should be eaten not out of greed but out of need and after careful consideration!