Share Your Opinion: Vegetarianism

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As I began to follow the yogic path it just seemed to be a natural way of living by respecting all beings. To follow the way of ahimsa how could you consume another living being.

—Ed

I am a vegetarian who feels better and healthier when I eat non-meat products. I do eat eggs once in a while. Getting enough protein is a real trial for me.

—Rebecca

I was a vegetarian in my teens, but went back to meat while pregnant with my first child 23 years ago. Almost 2 months ago, I made the decision to go Vegan, and I'm loving every minute of it. Today's choices make being Vegan almost easy, challenging, but easy.<br
—Shannon

Plants are alive also.

—Anonymous

I went vegetarian approximately 2 years ago and have been a practising vegan/raw foodist for 1 year. I find my digestion has improved as well as my total body and mental outlook. People have no idea of the benefits, particularly a raw food diet.

—Rita

I have cut red meat out of my diet. Sadly though, I have not cut out chicken and fish.

—Amy

I eat vegetarian in my daily life although I continue to eat seefood and fish and for more special occasions I also eat meat. I didn't arrive so far to resign meat toatally. From a nutrion point of view, I think it's even good as humans are omnivore.

—Horiana

I have been a vegetarian for over 20 years and it was not by choice. It was because I have TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint) problems and lost the ability to chew anything that requires much chewing. In the long run I really have NOT missed meat and when I cook for the rest of the family sometimes the meat smell bothers me.

—Elizabeth

My husband and I have been gradually changing our diet to fresh healthful foods including organic veggies and fruits and humanely raised animal products (cheese, milk, eggs, and meat). What is strange is that nono of this was a plan. As our practice has evolved so have we. We stopped eating beef completely and switched to free-range buffalo. That is now gone from our diet and we occasionally eat ground turkey. We have sort of phased out red meat and are working on poultry currently without ever really meaning to do it. We are sort of running out of food! We are learning to do more with tofu and fish. I love the recipes you provide, but we have two kids and finding things they will eat is pretty difficult. Any ideas are welcome!! Thanks for reading:) Namaste.

—Beth

I have been vegetarian in the past, but I have found through years of trial and error that I am better able to maintain a healthy weight with a diet that includes modest amounts of meat.

—Melissa

I became a vegetarian in 1972 and vegan not long after. In 1982, I commenced practicing yoga.

Since then I've watched all of my non-vegetarian friends age cosiderably more than me, pack on the pounds and suffer with diet related health issues (some die from them). I've seen huge parts of my country, Australia, and elsewhere in the world - Indonesia, Africa and South America particularly - excessively cleared to grow grains to feed to animals for humans to eat. This has destroyed valuable wildlife habitats worldwide - and quite needlessly. Billions of animals have been raised in cruel conditions and viciously slaughtered and our oceans stripped of life since I adopted a veggie diet 34 years ago.

Surely one of the best things we humans can do for this planet is to rid our race of the unnatural practice of meat eating. Surely the best thing we can do for our spiritual journey is to cease killing others for our sustenance.

It is impossible to see the life force (soul) in others or even in yourself when you eat meat. Surely the purpose of yoga is to feel and sense your way to this vision.

Best wishes,

—Ricki

While I am horrified and saddened when I read about the mistreatment of farm animals, I think more actions should be taken to create a more humane way of raising these animals for commercially produced food. Many people cannot maintain a healthy diet without animal or meat products so I think the focus should be making the conditions better for animals rather than encouraging vegetarianism. That being said, I myself eat a predominantly vegetarian diet and feel healthy because of it. I just don't think it's realistic or healthy for many people to go full vegetarian. It's great to see this topic being discussed. I think you do a great job of raising important subjects and bringing awareness to these issues. Thank you.

—Mimi

I am not a vegetarian, and do not aspire to because I eat for my blood type. I am a type O. I do not fair well on a vegetarian only diet. I try to be a responsible consumer by rarely buying meat that is not range fed.

—R.

I have been vegetarian for periods of time..in my soul it is what is right for me...I love animals, and am a pet owner, and I cringe every time i think of the reality of meat..I have two obstacles...i have a family who wants to eat meat (I don't have the option of preparing two meals at each meal..or do I?), also, I am hypoglycemic and can't seem to keep that under control without animal protein. If you have suggestions to help me overcome these obstacles, I would love to hear them! One change I have made and maintained: only organic free range animal products. But if you can help me make the transition, I would love it!

—Rebecca

Perhaps a year or two ago, I remember a poll in Yoga Journal that asked, "Do you have to be vegetarian to be a yogi?" The majority of your respndents at that time said no. I am happy now that the majority of resondents to this survey are veggie or on their way to being veggie. If one studies yoga scripture, one finds "abstention from meat-eating is an essential component of ahimsa" (Bhismadeva, Mahabharat, Shanti Parva). Ahimsa is the first principle of Patanjali's system, the original Asthanga Yoga. The Mahabharata furhter states that all other priciples of dharma rest upon ahimsa and satya. So one must be a vegetarian in order to be a yogi, unless some rare cricumstance prevents one from being a vegetarian. It seems, by God's grace and our own efforts, that we are somewhat improving.
We are grateful. Shanti.

—Kion

I originally chose to (mostly)eliminate meat/dairy products from my diet because of heath concerns. However, the more I read up on the subject, I realize that plant based diets are not only good for humans but also for all creatures and for the environment.

—Kimberly

I have chosen a plant-based whole foods diet for my whole family. I had been a vegetarian for many years before I changed the diet of my three young sons. I changed theirs when an 8 year old neighbor child became very ill with a rare and new form of testicular cancer. (He is in remission.) After that I began researching what processed foods do to your body and soul. I am convinced that this life of non-harm is the one for us.

—Jen

I have been a vegetarian for about eight years. I was raised on a farm many years ago (I'm 61). We treated our animals humanely and fed them the foods that they are supposed to eat, not antibiotics and ground-up animal parts. If I could get meat like that, I might still be eating it, but probably not. I feel great on my near-vegan eating plan.

—Jane

Although my diet is about 90% vegetarian, I can't claim to be a vegetarian because I have not committed myself to sticking to a flesh-free diet. I do "take what is offered" and I often order seafood at restaurants.

—Anne

I started practising ashtanga and it moved me in this direction completely naturally. When you eat meat you are often more dull and lazy or slow, compared to eating vegatarian food and spreading the meals to 4-5 small meals during the waking hours. So to me this just comes naturally.
I am a little scared about how to get all the nutrients my body needs though, and I plan to study a little bit on vegetarian diets and how to get what you need and stay away from malnutritiense or vitamin depletion for example. But right now I am feeling fine and I am not fanatic about it. And I still eats meat, when I am with friends. Yoga has also taught me not to be fanatic, but embrace changes in their own rythm!

—Lasse

Anyone who considers themselves a yogi and is eating meat without consideration as to where it came from and the conditions underwhich the animal lived her life, is a hypocrite. I do not preach strict vegetarianism, just social responsibility and the need for yogis to see the impact of their food choices on our world as a whole.

—Karen

Unfortunately, the people I know who are eating vegetarian diets tend to have lots of fat and salt in what they eat, especially from the cheese. I don't eat beef, but I do have some chicken and fish rather than eating high-fat cheese.

—Chris

I have been vegetarian since I was 16, that's 34 years. My husband turned vegetarian just before we got married and we have raised 4 healthy active children, none of whom have eaten meat nor seem to want to. ( they are 15-21years) The big problem for them is eating (or not eating) dairy products, while they like the taste, dairy literally makes them sick. I wish I would have know enough to raise them meat and dairy free.

—Melissa

Vegetarianism is not for everyone. There are ways to eat healthy and humanely while still eating meat.

—Natalie

Don't fool yourself with a vegetarian diet. A vegan diet which excludes all animal products from your life, no meat, no eggs, cheese or milk and check out what you're wearing(leather, wool, etc). We are not cows , so why would we drink a cow's milk that a cow produces for its offspring and shouldn't be tortured into mass production for human use. Plus these dairy farms torture animals while destoying the earth with the mass grazing, and waste that is produced, untreated and run into rivers and streams. People need to stop being so fat and happy and think about future generations that will face environmental problems that can't be fixed and global food shortages if changes are not made on a worldwide level. Thank you.

—Jason

For years, I was a strict vegetarian but I have fallen off the veg wagon and it is very difficult to get back on track. I will keep trying...

—Rachel

I am trying gradually make the transition, to a vegetarian diet. It is difficult, when your family members still eat meat, and you are used to eating meat yourself, after 34 years. I also work in a hamburger joint, which makes it hard.

—Chris

I was a vegan for more than 15 years and started eating meat in 2005.

—Tracey

I stopped eating meat, poultry, and fish more than 15 years ago largely due to cruelty issues and the sense that all beings have an inherent right to a life on their own terms. Since then my own health has become much better--I'm slimmer, happier, and more energetic. But most important I feel a sense of connection with all life, and I try to represent this nonviolently and nonaggressively to others.

—Wendy

Namaste. I have been vegan for close to 7 years, and feel happier and more content. Like yoga, choosing a diet that is cruelty-free requires focus, diligence, and personal commitment to just keep trying our best. Anybody can do it!!

—Virginia

I started a vegetarian diet in January 2006 and just love it! I found it very easy to do (I already didn't eat red meat). I made the decision to become a vegetarian with ahimsa in mind, and now I find that I also feel better physically. I feel that this will be a lifelong commitment.

—Robin

Not only am I vegetarian but I am vegan. I choose not to consume nor wear any animal by-products. I decided to follow this diet based on ethical concerns. Too many animals suffer, while the government and corporations ignore them, for our taste buds and fashion choices. I just couldn't live with myself, knowing there are humane alternatives out there. And "grass-fed", "free-range", "compassionate carnivore", "organic" labels don't count. You can't contrl to what extent these are followed through by the farms. As it is, no animal should have to be exploited.

—Melissa

I've been a veggie for over 10 years. By far one of the best choices I've made in my life.

—Susan

It has taken years for me to make the transition, but I am now vegan. After reading Vegan:The New Ethics of Eating, I knew there was no other choice for me but to walk the walk!

—Tara

Not only have I gone from 162 lbs. to 128 lbs (I have extremely thin bones) on an organic, vegy diet - I feel better, look better, am more alert, more content, and more creatively productive.

—Dona

While I commend those who do embrace vegetarianism, I could not live without some animal protein in my diet. My diet is HEAVILY plant-based, but small amounts of meat and fish absolutely keep me going.

—Julie

I was a vegetarian for a year in my late teens, and gained weight and was tired all the time. I'd like to revisit vegetarianism when my children are grown, and I don't have to cater to everyone's tastes, in addition to chaotic schedules. I currently eat non-beef meats as a "condiment", preferring the tastes of non-meats. I love fruits, yogurts, grains, pastas, beans, and lentils. 2 jobs and 2 teenagers keep me burning the candle at both ends at this point in my life, and I'm fortunate to be able to indulge in yoga 3 times a week for my sanity!

—Jeanna

I try to eat organic and sustainably farmed meat when possible, and hope to help encourage more people to choose those methods over factory farming.

—Ann

I was a vegetarian for 4 years durning high school and college. I don't eat a lot of meat. I am not sure if I have ever had steak. I now eat a lot of turkey, fish, and chicken and find I feel much healthier.

—Lynn

A vegetarian for 17 years, I am transitioning to veganism—all life is precious!

—Kathryn

It is not just about being vegetarian, it's about being vegan. The true path to ahimsa!! It is fabulous!!

—Jody

I live in a rural area and do my best to buy local chicken, fish, and lots of fresh vegetables.

—Dominica

I advocated vegetarianism for health, more and ethical reasons long before I became a yogini. I can hear (in my heart, of course) the suffering of farm animals and taste it in the meat of those of them that die in fear and pain. I will not participate. It's more difficult, living in the West, where a staple of everyday diet is animal flesh, but it's possible. And worth it, for my heart and soul's sake!

—Carol Ann

After fighting an eating disorder i have finally chosen a healthful diet that makes me happy and enhances my yoga practice. I love being a vegetarian!

—Catherine

My husband and I try to eat fish as often as we can. We sometimes eat chicken without the skin, and once a month we might eat a small amout of top loin steak. Other than that, I don't like to fix any other meat and substitute soy crumbles in my spaghetti sauce for ground beef.

—Lynda