- Terelle Jerricks
By Christine Rodriguez
Veganism is the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products. While ethical vegans reject the commodity status of animals and the use of animal products for any purpose, dietary vegans eliminate them only from their diet.
In my personal experience, those that modify to a vegan diet for health concerns usually end up becoming ethical vegans. This is due in part to mindfulness of preparing and eating whole foods and consuming a plant based diet, which purges out toxins, promotes clearer thoughts and a sharper mind while instilling an inner calmness.
In ayurvedic philosophy, meat is a “tamasic food.” When eaten, the mind easily fills with dark emotions such as anger, and greed. Meats and other rich foods including dairy products become obstructed, and if overeaten, support stagnant ego positions and attachments. Furthermore in ayurveda, the belief is, when we eat an animal all the various forms of it’s consciousness, as well as its physical substance, are assimilated into our own.
So, for myself, it became a matter of ethics. I won’t support, in any way, the exploitation of animals. Family and friends often look at me in amazement and ask, “So what do you eat?” With a chuckle at the opportunity to talk about veganism, I tell them, “anything that grows from the earth.”
I just gave my questioner and most often skeptic, something to ponder. Imagine that, our precious Earth, which always provides us with sun, soil and water, a perfect balance to create and sustain crops of food, our life force, would give us what our bodies, mind and spirit needs! Vegans also consume fewer resources and cause less environmental damage (smallest amount of land per capita for crops), according to the United Nations Food & Agriculture Organization.
Unfortunately, the Standard American Diet (SAD) is just that. The excess in dietary fat and cholesterol in our daily consumption of “meat and sweets” (an actual syndrome) have been targeted as primary causes of heart disease, diabetes and breast cancer, to mention only the major degenerative diseases as reported by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
So the question most often asked about my abstinence of animal products is, “How do you start the transition into a vegan lifestyle?” It is quite simple. Stop viewing food as objects and become more mindful of the foods that are whole, just the way mother nature intended us to eat. When food is seen as an object separate from other aspects of our personality, we create imbalance. These philosophies as I have also learned, must be verified by personal experience, or they remain ideas with no roots and inevitably can cause confusion.
Today there are 1,000,000 vegans in America and that number is steadily growing. The Bloomberg Business Week reported that a growing number of American CEO’s such as Steve Wynn, Mortimer Zuckerman and Russell Simmons were vegans.
And many entertainers, Jenny McCarthy, Alanis Morissette, Brad Pitt and Ellen DeGeneres just to name a few have also claims to being a vegan. The most exciting group of vegans yet, are some of America’s world class athletes, like Venus and Serena Williams, “Iron” Mike Tyson, Timothy Bradley, Salim Stoudamire, and John Fitch are on the rise.
So here are some tips for my eager and adventurous readers to embark on a new vegan journey. First, replace meats with a root vegetable such as sweet potato, beets or turnips (they are filling). Next, fill your refrigerator with a variety of fresh fruits and veggies (the one’s you like), already pre cut and packaged in baggies (for on the go). Finally, have fun! Try new vegetable combinations in your salad or steamed on your brown rice.
Christine Rodriguez is a Health & Fitness expert specializing in Ayurvedic & Vegan Nutrition, Boxing Instruction and Massage Therapy. She is also the owner of Xtreme Clean Day – An Ayurvedic Vegan Daily Meal Plan and Consultation Services. For more information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or MsCRod@twitter.