Monday, September 29, 2014

Was Jesus a Vegetarian and Other Ponderings

The other day I had an interesting interaction with a gentleman (that I do not know personally) on Facebook, concerning a recent bacon controversy.  A Muslim vegan woman complained about a restaurant sign promoting bacon served in a restaurant. As the neighborhood had a larger Muslim and Jewish population, the restaurant took the sign down. No problems. It seems though, that some folk are up in arms. These people do not think that one person's opinion should sway business decisions. A heated discussion ensued on Facebook and other social media outlets. The gentleman that I argued with went as far as to say that if that woman didn't like bacon, to go back to her own country. First off, she was probably an American, and going back to her own country would be impossible as she was already there. The restaurant took the sign down and the bigots came out of the woodwork. No, this country was not founded on the freedom to eat bacon. But after being called a hypocrite (I did run the Hogsback [named after the road it takes places on] half marathon recently for the cute pig t-shirt) I started pondering. Pondering might not be the right word. Self righteously railing perhaps. First, how dare someone call me a hypocrite when they, as a right wing Christian, eat a dead animal and follow the ten commandments: "Thou shalt not kill." How could any Christian eat meat and spout off bible verses? 

I began to search the internet and found an interesting blog post on the Huffington Post. Was Jesus a vegetarian? God said: See, I have given you every plant-yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food." (Genesis 1:29-30) Sounds like a vegetarian diet to me. After the fall however humans started to eat meat. If you do a search on the internet you will find articles for vegetarianism and against. Bible verses can be quoted to back up both sides of the argument. So where does that leave me? I am not a Christian, but am still confused when anyone who calls themselves pro-life, eats a cow. 

So I was left to stew, after all this man called me a hypocrite. But my staunch vegan stance is merely a reflection of his anger at me for abstaining from bacon. After all, meat and potatoes is American and America is  god fearing society. Within this entire exchange, I had the strong need to be right. This gentleman did as well. What comes from being right and from pushing someone to argue? The surge of adrenaline perhaps. In the end, he was a reflection of myself. If I were to look in the mirror and see someone who is the complete opposite of me, it would be this gentleman. Does it really matter if Jesus was a vegetarian? It doesn't matter to me, as I am not a Christian. So in the end, I need to let others have their opinions. I will continue on the path of non violence, imperfectly. I will do my part to peacefully promote the compassionate treatment of the animals in this world I adore, merely all of them (deerflies do not count!)

Pro Vegetarian Resource (this is a vegan blog, not a bipartisan effort)

Friday, September 19, 2014

Today I feel like eating. I am not hungry, I just ate breakfast, and a snack. But I want to eat. I doubt that it is my body telling me I need more calories, I have already consumed almonds and granola, followed by tofu and kale and coffee of course. Pretty good for a girl who used to survive on Butterfingers and McDisgusting. But I am sitting here, quietly writing, and my brain is telling me that I am not doing doing doing enough. I have to fill up my time, and what better way than eating? I can multitask, shove a handful of popcorn in my mouth, type a sentence, and continue. That is productivity? Our society is so fast, we work a zillion hours a week and need to fill every waking moment with projects, work or cleaning or exercise. We fill corners of our house with stuff, we carry phones so we can always do something, surf the internet, talk or text. When we take the time to exercise at the gym, we watch tv while we are walking the treadmill, or listen to music while we are lifting weights. What I believe we need, I need, is to slow down, to be quiet and to pay attention. This practice of mindfulness includes eating. How often do I eat while watching tv or driving? Do I even taste that yummy kale, or feel the texture of pan-seared tofu?

The practice of eating mindfully is a foreign concept to me. To sit, to chew slowly, to pay attention to the taste and texture and smell of food, is akin to meditation. As a vegan my food is real, sweet fruits, crunchy vegetables, and savory grains. To enjoy every bite is to experience the food, to squeeze every last drop of pleasure out of the experience. As an experiment, try this exercise for mindful eating, it will change the way you look at food.

In New Hampshire, there is a Center for Mindful Eating. There are numerous resources on the website and there is access to free teleconferences for a 40$ yearly membership. One of the principles of mindful eating: Mindfulness is being aware of what is present for you mentally, emotionally and physically in each moment. What is present for me emotionally today?