If one is a true Yogi and practicing Yogi values,then disparaging the diets or anything else of anyone else is the antithisis of this. He or she,by being a vegan may be practicing one of the many facets of a Yogi existence,but obviously not all of them.
Animal products labeled as 'free range' or 'oragnic' sadly suffer just as much as factory-farmed animals when it comes time for slaughter. 'Free-range' chickens may still be confined to the floor of a dark building for their lives without seeing the sun, and they still have their beaks seared off as young chicks. 'Oganic' cows still go to the same USDA-mandated slaughterhouses where they are beaten, stunned and sometimes even skinned alive.
As a yogi, I feel like I cannot justify killing these magnificent and innocent creatures merely for the preference of my taste buds or out of habit -- because I was brought up to believe that eating the dead carcasses of animals as 'normal.'
As a yogi and as a human, I feel that it is my duty to treat kindly and protect innocent creatures who cannot protect themselves -- not to exploit them and kill them.
One hundred and fifty years ago, Southern slave owners believed that they were justified in keeping slaves and exploiting them. I think it may take us another 100 years, but humankind will come to see that treating animals in the same manner is not so different.
Yoga is comprised of the choices we make on and off the mat, and I would hope and pray that yogis who are conscious of the exploitation and violence toward animals in the 'food' industry choose non-violence.
In choosing to not eat cows, pigs, chickens and other living beings who experience love and pain, yogis also help their fellow humans. As yogis, do we want our choices and dollars to make necessary a job of bloody killing all day? What must happen to those workers who are exposed to such an environment day in and day out?
Every day we are given the opportunity to choose compassion three times -- at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. There are plenty of food choices that do not involve exploitation, violence, pain, and death.
Thank you for publishing "Eat Like a Yogi." I found it to be an excellent article, very balanced, giving equal time and consideration to all perspectives ranging from the omnivore to the vegan.
The reality is that, just as asanas are very easy for some are impossible for others, following a vegetarian or vegan diet is extremely difficult for some and impossible for others. Reading about Ana Forrest's diet gives me hope that, yes, I can be a yogi and an omnivore. I've made many attempts to follow the vegetarian diet, but every time after about a week I am exhausted, cannot concentrate, and depressed.
According to ayurveda, vegetarianism is more difficult for those of us who are vata dominant. And, according to "Eat Right for your Type" it's more difficult for type O's, who have the blood of our hunter-gatherer ancestors, while veganism works well for A's. I'm vata and O, so it's very helpful to read that Scott Blossom considers small amounts of meat as medicine. This is something I can use in my practice, and stop castigating myself for my failure at vegetarianism.
I've seen the issue of diet used as a club to bully people. Although I admire vegans for acting on their principles, some (by no means all) vegans and vegetarians regard omnivores as akin to cannibals. And the insistance that "you can't eat meat and practice yoga" not only encourages self-condemnation, it also keeps people away from yoga.
Ironically enough, by insisting that ahimsa mandates strict veganism, these yogis are violating ahimsa in driving people away from yoga. Also, they have to kill plants to eat, and plants are alive and have a consciousness, too.
I thank the animals I eat, pray for them, and make sure that any animals and animal products I consume are free range and organic. If I could live my life under humane conditions and die to help another being live, I would be fine with that.
I am tired of vegans considering omnivores to be practically subhuman. Nobody's perfect.