Go Vegan?

fruit and veg pictureI’ve been a Vegetarian for 10 months now. As a Pantheist, I believe all life is interconnected, all life is kin and all life deserves respect. Pantheism means to be reverent toward and hold nature sacred. Some may argue that we should eat meat because the animal kingdom includes meat eating – but it does so because some animals do not know any different and have no other options for meeting their dietary needs. For humans this is not the case – we can make a choice! It is possible to live a full and healthy life on either a vegetarian or vegan diet. In fact, its much healthier than eating a meat based diet. Having been a Vegetarian for almost a year, I am considering going Vegan now as I research and learn more about the cruelty inflicted upon animals in the egg and dairy industries. I want to ensure that my life fits in with my values and I do all I can to show respect and reverence to Mother Nature.

Below is a video about Veganism. Have a watch and then consider whether how your life choices are guided by your values.

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15 thoughts on “Go Vegan?

  1. I personally embrace being an omnivore, yet I agree with you on animal cruelty. In response I eat vegetarian meals most of the week, eating meat only a few times in a week (my digestion system requires more the dense proteins to function normally, lest I get physically ill. Most people can be vegetarian, but there is a lot of people who can’t even if they wanted to). That meat being locally raised and free range, if not hunted by my significant other (would join, but there is currently one bow between us). With either option (vegetarian/vegan, or not) everything we eat was once alive and that should be something we all take time to consider and respect. Hope you the best in your vegan journey!

  2. From my knowledge of Pantheism, I would assume that all of nature is considered divine (or part of the deity – pretty much the same thing). My argument is this:

    1. Nature is divine.
    2. Humanity has a place in nature – historically, its ‘wild’ state.
    3. Humanity is part of nature, therefore divine like everything else.
    4. Humanity’s place in nature involved the hunting, killing, and eating of other animals.
    5. Therefore, eating meat is divine.

    Indeed this argument can be extended, because nature has examples of many non-obligate carnivores who kill and eat meat (wild pigs, bears, etc.) who are under no compunction by evolution to consume meat, yet do so. They have a choice, and choose to eat meat. They are opportunistic carnivores – as humans, historically were.

    If Nature is indeed divine, then killing to eat must be so. Cruelty, in fact, does not come into it. Wolves eat moose while they are still alive. Bears hunt and kill fawns of numerous deer species, killing them in front of their parents. There is no respect there – only hunger, need and survival. If nature can be said to have laws, then the only law is hunger.

    It is a fallacy to say that humans ‘know better’ than wild animals, or have more free will or ability to make choice. This is an invention of civilization – to say that we are ‘above’ the animals, rather than just another species. Our perception of cruelty to other animals is a reflection of our evolved empathy response – a response that resulted from the necessity of forming tight bonds within the family groups we live in. At some point we transferred this empathy to other animals. It is not because we ‘know better’ – unless some divine being (the universe?) created us inherently superior as stewards of the land (a popular belief, if not a very logical one).

  3. Bears, and wolves are carnivorous animals that do kill for need, and it is in their nature to do so. Humans are not carnivorous and never have been. We hunted and ate meat, but it was a very small part of our diet. Our diets consisted of fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. As with anything we have to grow and evolve and act accordingly. The fact is, we are currently destroying nature and this planet through our greed, not need. If we are going to preserve and protect then we need to look forward, not back at a time when there were not 7 billion people on the planet.
    We as humans have the advantage of knowing right from wrong, and yes we do know better. We also have the benefit of science and research. We know animals suffer, we know meat is not healthy for us, and we know we can live more healthfully on a plant based diet, which has the least amount of impact on nature and the planet. So why don’t we just do that, instead of comparing ourselves to what we were millions of years ago, or what we did then, before we had all this knowledge and insight. I want to love and preserve this planet, not make excuses to keep killing it.

    • Humans are omnivores, and therefore developed to eat meat. Time hasn’t changed that. It is excessive meat that is not healthy for us – not meat in itself. Animal protein is of great benefit to our health in small quantities and it is a struggle for many people to meet the body’s requirements without eating meat – especially in cold climates where growing food year round isn’t an option. As this would mean only storable crops are the plants you eat and wouldn’t pack the nutrients required for a healthy body on a plant based diet. Not to mention that sometimes a plant based diet with all the right nutrients doesn’t pass the test as some individuals’ body is unable to harvest the plant based nutrient as easily as the animal based nutrient and therefore get malnourished and sick.

      Just because a species is a herbivore doesn’t mean it can’t or won’t eat meat – white tailed deer have been documented eating mice in fields and dead fish on shorelines. Canines are carnivores, but they need some vegetation in their diet too to be healthy – it isn’t entirely one way or the other. I agree with you that there is far too much consumption of meat and our burgeoning population seriously adds to that problem, but you don’t have to cut out meat all together to cause enough of a shift to a more sustainable healthy planet. If everyone had 5 out of 7 meals in a week be vegan we would be in a much better place than have people only have the option of all in or out and more than half opting out of vegetarianism and remain eating meat with every meal.

      • I will do a blog post regarding this subject. You are correct to say that excessive meat is not healthy for us, that in some climates meat is necessary because there isn’t the plant food (e.g. eskimos – although they have much much higher rates of heart disease than other populations), You are also correct that now and again a few people have issues with intake of nutrients and therefore they need to eat meat too. Also you are right that sometimes herbivores will sometimes eat meat.

        However, there are a lot of reasons why we should choose to be vegan rather than meat eating, I will explain more in my blog post on the subject.

  4. Great response NaturalPantheist. I agree that everyone would benefit from choosing to eat a more vegan based diet.

    @Shay, what would such a statement be based on? Beware of getting into some common fallacies when presenting such contrary point: anecdotal evidence, confirmation bias, perfectionist fallacy, biased or hasty or sweeping generalization, jumping to conclusions, Ad Hoc Rescue, spotlight, misleading vividness, suppressed evidence, or burden of proof. Being the most probable in this subject. If such a statement were true I doubt that this would say what it says – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human#Diet

    I will say that the human diet requires more herbaceous than carnivorous nourishment, but humans are still omnivores.

    • I believe the Blogger has already replied with information, including a very well known chart. But I will also provide a couple of links, which if you choose will take you onto more information. What I think is dangerous @Rua is when people keep generating the falacies that we are meat eaters. This is what causes disease, sickness and death, not fruit!

      http://www.ecologos.org/omni.htm

      There are many charts showing the distinctions between a carnivore, omnivore, herbivore and frugivore and where a human comes on that chart.

      • When I said “beware” I meant it’s root meaning, “be aware” nothing to do with danger. I only said as much because a lot of arguments I’ve come across regarding vegetarianism and veganism before had those fallacies. There is a lot of purity aspects that get totted around that fall into the perfectionist fallacy where it is an absolute sin to consume meat. Yet just because it is a plant doesn’t make it perfect. Fruit does cause disease, sickness, and death too – such as in fermented fruit causing cancers, food poisoning, and death. Not to mention a slew of fruit that is toxic to us or have severe irritants (such as Capsaicin in chili peppers). I find the approach that humans are Frugavores compelling and may have some merit, but meat is still a necessary aspect where the right fruit is scarce. Cycling back to being omnivores, because otherwise those in cold climates prior to industry would have died off from not having plant based nutrient. We are not “meat eaters”, we are omnivores – omnivores have a varied diet on a wide spectrum from consuming practically only plants to consuming practically only meat. So it makes humans more toward the plant side of the spectrum. Where if the plant based nutrient is not available, meat substitutes it. But if unable to obtain a plant based diet, can sustain its self on a meat based diet. Even though eating mostly meat may not be the most healthy thing for you to do, you remain highly functional – can care for self, court, reproduce, care for young etc. A herbivore would become severely ill and die if it had to survive on an animal based diet. Same for a carnivore surviving off a plant based diet.

        The fact remains that eliminating all animal products increases the risk of nutritional deficiencies. Particularly vitamins B12 and D, calcium and omega-3 fatty acids. If not in an environment that can grow all these plant based nutrients, you require your food to be fortified with these nutrients, or take supplements, or have those plants shipped to you if you are to be vegan. Iron and zinc may also be problematic because of limited bioavailability. Global scaled veganism is only possible because industry can fortify foods and ship the plants that have those nutrients great distances to where they cannot grow. If you are in a cold climate you are dependent on industry to be a vegan. Without that industrial process you simply can’t be – lest you get nutrient deficiencies. And a new moral quandary is presented – If you live in a cold climate, do you be vegan and utilize an unsustainable system to achieve that, or do you just only eat animal based nutrients some of the time, being 80% vegan, and opt out of unsustainable industrially dependent practices? There is also the challenge of ensuring that human rights and sustainable practices are maintained from source, to process, to transport, to shop, to you. I personally advocate for an as local based diet as possible to get the most out of living a sustainable and healthy lifestyle.

  5. Pingback: Are Humans Omnivores? | Naturalistic Pantheist Musings

  6. I was raised as a Pagan with the idea that we should try to live in harmony with Nature by doing whatever caused the LEAST amount of harm and to me that included then and now Veganism BUT I am the head chef in a community where meals are prepared for a group and no one is Vegan.

    I struggle every day with this because either I cook and eat what they want or I find myself a new home and a new job and to be honest, I LOVE both. I also love my boyfriend who refuses to leave-at least for the moment, he sometimes says he will.

    As an all or nothing person, I feel like a hypocrite these days.

    Do I leave Paganism until I can be true to what I really believe deep inside? Do I stay and be a hypocrite? Is there a middle ground for me? I have seriously become depressed lately because of this and one other issue that I am dealing with.

    SIGH

    • Ultimately its not about being perfect, living in harmony is about minimising suffering and damage, so perhaps look at trying to eat local instead of vegan for a while, or eat vegetarian instead of vegan, or eat vegan sometimes. I don’t think its hypocritical. If you are a head chef then that is your job and you cant impose your ideas on others…educate yes, impose no. Paganism is about place – living in harmony with the local environment is the most important thing, rather than moving house just to be a vegan. I think it’s fine to be 30% vegan or 50% vegan or whatever….For me personally I became a vegetarian because of the ethical issues, but i became a vegan primarily because i wanted to improve my health.

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