Who cares if you’re a vegetarian, if you’re a judgmental prick?

Published on December 14, 2011 by      Print
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 By Sachié Alessio Heath

The subject of vegetarianism is a heated topic in the yoga community. Many people believe it’s a requirement to being a “real” yogi, stating ahimsa (one of the yamas) as proof.

The yamas also talk about celibacy, but I digress… Frankly, I’ve had it with people pontificating on their virtual soapboxes while hiding behind the anonymity of the internet. Does it not strike you as completely hypocritical to caustically berate someone about animal cruelty? A strong tongue lashing is just as harmful, if not more so, than a physical blow. There have been quite a few incidents of suicide linked to verbal violence, but hey, as long as you’re looking after animals, I guess it’s all good.

Ahimsa has to start with ourselves.

The thing is, violence happens in the smallest ways — from harmful thoughts toward ourselves and each other, to injuring ourselves trying to get into a yoga pose, to refraining from eating meat when that’s not what our body needs. Yes, it’s true. Vegetarianism isn’t for everyone, and those of us who happen to have highly acidic constitutions need meat to function properly. Avoiding meat in our diets can lead to debilitated immune systems, fatigue, weight gain, and make us susceptible to injury and other things. I happen to know from experience.

Taking care of our bodies is a way of honoring ourselves. We cannot expect to function at our fullest potential when our physical self falls short of that. ‘Tis why, in an emergency on a plane, we’re supposed to put on our own oxygen masks before helping anyone else.

Last year, after years of battling severe fatigue, I went to Dr. Clara Charny, a naturopath a dear friend recommended to me.  One of the first things she asked me to do was keep a food diary. I thought I ate healthfully, but there’s something about putting things on paper that makes me second guess myself sometimes. I was right to worry, as on my next visit, she made a few adjustments: no corn, no soy, no gluten, no dairy, switch to decaf, and buy organic. Woah. And, my “food pairing” was all off.  I thought I was doing well, eating a ton of vegetables, but apparently that’s no good if you’re not combining it with a protein. I already ate eggs, some chicken, and fish (pasture-raised and wild, respectively), so I started introducing a version of these proteins into every meal.  Dr. Charny also recommended eating red meat, something I constantly craved, but very rarely ate.  She stressed the importance of grass-fed, pasture-raised animals, but I felt weird about eating large and gentle animals, so I stuck to avoiding them.

And, though my diet was not the main cause of my fatigue, the changes did in fact greatly improve my energy levels — so much so that I was able to start running after a few short months. But when I got up to three miles, I hit a major wall.  I was exhausted and cranky all over again.  I took a week off from running, but my energy levels didn’t improve.  I was frustrated, to say the least.  My naturopath encouraged me, again, to eat red meat — specifically lamb.  She reminded me that we all have different constitutions, and some of us need the high levels of iron only red meat provide. She also explained why vegetarians tend to be such sugar fiends — carbs break down as sugar in the body, and when you’re not pairing them with a protein, your body’s sugar levels spike and then dip, causing you to crave more sugar.

Still, I was reluctant.

I decided to get a second opinion from an acupuncturist friend. To my surprise, she confirmed that I should be eating red meat, and recommended that I read about the Blood Type Diet. (I’m an O.) I have to admit, I have a natural aversion to any fad diets, so I wasn’t exactly thrilled to read it, but I was at my wit’s end.

I felt fine about being a pescetarian, but eating land animals made me uneasy, especially after watching Food Inc.  I am absolutely against the horrific way animals are treated in slaughterhouses.  I did not want to support that.  However, when Dr. Charny informed me about a local butcher shop, owned by two former vegetarians, that buy only locally pasture-raised animals, and are all about treating them with the utmost respect, I relented.  I was getting tired of being tired.

I started eating beef.  I felt better INSTANTLY.  I couldn’t believe it – was that really all I was missing?? If so, how do some people seem to thrive on vegetarianism?  Dr. Peter D’Adamo (inventer of the Blood Type Diet) believes A blood types are the ones who really thrive on vegetarianism.  My naturopath tells me it’s a bit more complicated, and that every body needs different things for different reasons.  Regardless, it’s interesting to me that many modalities recommend I eat lamb.  I learned that lamb has more iron than beef or buffalo. Perhaps that is why it was so highly regarded in the Bible?  I guess it all depends on your belief system.  I personally do believe that animals are God’s gift of nutrition. They do nourish other animals in the wild, so maybe they’re meant for human consumption as well.

I asked my acupuncturist, Sharon Skok, to tell me more, from her perspective. She said:

“It has been seen in research studies that a diet primarily consisting of whole grains, legumes, fruits, vegetables, nuts/seeds (qualifying as a primarily vegan diet) shows a great reduction in cancer rates and prevention of many other health issues. Yet, when we look at food as medicine with energetic properties, there are many instances when meat consumption may be beneficial to one’s health (when eaten in small or moderate amounts) to balance a system.  Animal products are a building (or strengthening) food – we would say that they are high in Qi and Blood to nourish the system. For an individual who has a lot of weakness and deficiency of Qi and Blood (one example: anemia), meat can be beneficial to build up their system to improve health.

Within the system of TCM, a practitioner would look at the different energetic properties of each type of meat when suggesting certain meats for an individual.  For example, lamb is considered a warm natured food and therefore would be recommended for certain conditions of weakness that have symptoms that are cold in nature.  However, the warming nature of lamb wouldn’t be recommended for someone experiencing night sweats or hot flashes.  Pork, a cooler energetic food, would be a better recommendation. In terms of how much meat is enough – a small amount can energetically go a long way – 3 ounces (the size of a deck of cards) is the recommended amount in a meal.  In health (and life) we are seeking balance – you just need enough to build and balance; too much and its benefits can be outweighed.”

Hmm. Interesting stuff. I also asked Ayurvedic practitioner James Bailey for his opinion on vegetarianism. He told me about his personal experience:

“After 11 years as a vegan yogi (1986-1997) my body started falling apart. I lost too much weight. I was tired all the time. I couldn’t nap enough, and I was beginning to injure easily in my asana practice. I changed that in 1997 when I started eating eggs. I immediately started feeling better. As a Pitta Vata type, it made sense to change. I am now a light meat-eating organic omnivore following the principles of Ayurveda, and find it balancing. I buy the majority of my food straight from the farmer and feel better than ever.

I have a thriving Ayurveda practice in Pacific Palisades, CA and would like to say that Ayurveda has NO traditional opinion about vegetarianism. Each person is dramatically unique and needs to eat according to their constitutional nature (prakriti). Vata types do better with warm cooked high protein and carb diets, while Kapha types do better with less of these and more light foods. There’s nothing wrong with being veg if it works for you. It’s an individual thing. There are no bad foods in Ayurveda, only appropriate and inappropriate foods for our constitutional nature. Nature is the ultimate and final reality, nothing else.

The system of life here on earth is not of our design or choosing. Life feeds on life. We have two choices in the matter: deny this fact, thus denying the sacrifice of other living beings (whether a living broccoli or halibut) for us to live; or, we honor it, thus honoring the sacrifices of the plants and animals that we feed upon. Our ancestors ate what they could to survive. They were meant to. Thank God they did, or we would not be here to have the luxury of a debate on meat eating.”

I’ll leave you with a few words from the Dalai Lama, certainly an authority on compassion if there ever was one:

“Love, kindness, compassion and tolerance are qualities common to all the great religions, and whether or not we follow any particular religious tradition, the benefits of love and kindness are obvious to anyone.”

The more I get to know my body, the more compassion I have toward myself when making food choices. And, the less judgment I have toward others.


About Sachie Alessio Heath

Sachie Alessio Heath is a yoga teacher, actress, foodie, and action hero.  She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Josh, and their two adorable pit bulls, Sasha and Bruiser.   She loves learning and sharing knowledge, and also happens to have a preternatural talent for impersonations.  Follow her on Twitter and check out her website.

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  1. Jenifer says:

    Great article!

    I will also point out something that really brought it home for me —

    Iyengar states in his Light on Yoga that one might practice vegetarianism as a matter of ahimsa, but that being vegetarian does not make one ‘non-violent.’ We cannot assume that being vegetarian does this for us, even though — for an individual — it may be an extension of ashimsic practice.

    If we continue in other “violence” practices — such as the one you write about — then we are not practicing ahimsa, no matter how vegetarian we become.

    He goes on to say that, traditionally speaking, vegetarianism is a saucha practice — one of the cleansing practices of yoga. In this aspect, it is traditionally contained as well — taken on for a specific duration of time, or during a certain time of study, or what have you.

    I also point out when people ask that ayurveda is designed specifically, and so has no moral import regarding vegetarianism. It is simply not right for some people — perhaps even many people.

    I was vegan for 6 years, but non-dogmatic. I was vegetarian for another 5-6 years after (i forget how long! LOL), and non-dogmatic again. I started eating meat during pregnancy (5-6 times), and then when we moved here to NZ. My body just wasn’t working right. Now it is.

    And like you, I source well. This is how I practice ahimsa toward animals in light of practicing ahimsa toward myself — honoring my health and well being too.

    and, I still practice sauchic vegetarianism on occasion. It’s good for the body, I think — a fast now and again.

  2. Stephanie says:

    BRAVISSIMA! so well written. very proud of you!

  3. Tiffany Hardesty says:

    What you have just described is the key to health and wellness. “Bio-individuality” (if we must assign a name to something we know intuitively) is using our bodies as a laboratory to find out what makes us feel and look our best. I have been vegetarian since July of this year but am not opposed to others eating meat–especially if it is an animal who has had a pleasant life and humane slaughter. The problem is affordability, of course, and in these troubled times, I would never criticize someone for making ends meet the best way they can. Great post and thanks for your honesty and experience.

  4. Tessa says:

    I have heard some very smart people say “I didn’t get to the top of the food chain to eat salad”!

  5. Stephanie says:

    Beautifully said, Sachie! I hope this enables others to find their individual needs sooner than later.

  6. Jones says:

    We get it. This is a tired subject. If you don’t want to hear from veggie people, move on. Get over yourself. So eat a cow; no one cares!

  7. Mark Edgar Stephens says:

    Thanks Sachie! You step bravely and I admire it!


  8. Pam says:

    Well, in hopefully a more eloquent version than what Jones said, I think it’s still pretty ridiculous that there are these anti-veg yoga posts … it /is/ true that most long-time (key – not the 6 monthers) veggies don’t give a sod what each individual person does. That would be extremely time consuming.

    Sure, I think people would be surprised at the (positive) impact of a veg lifestyle on their mental/physical health, but whatever, it’s each person’s deal. If it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work. But I still think it’s a great way to live, and I love sharing that love with people. But I don’t think less of them if they aren’t “converts.” And when others outside the culture paint veg*ns as judgmental terrible people, that’s just sad, and doesn’t respect that many of them have made a serious commitment to a lifestyle that embraces compassion so explicitly.

    • Joslyn Hamilton says:

      I want to clarify — none of the posts at Recovering Yogi are anti-vegan or anti-vegetarian. They are anti-dogma. Pretty much every one of them has said the same thing — please don’t tell me what to eat. If that equates to anti-vegan in your mind, then you’re just proving our point. I also find it incredibly condescending to say that you think people would be surprised by how a vegetarian lifestyle would impact their health. Did you even read Sachie’s article? She did try a vegetarian lifestyle for many years. It impacted her health very badly. As it did mine. And so many others. Our point is that no one diet is for everyone. We should all be able to choose what to eat and how to live our lives without judgment.

      Personally, I’ve known a lot of very judgmental, closed-minded, proselytizing, non-compassionate vegan assholes in my life, but I’ve also known some really fantastic people who just happened to be vegan and never really talk about it. As the comedian Chelsey Peretti says, “I think my least favorite thing about the vegan diet is the part where they talk about it.”

      • Pam says:

        “people would be surprised” = “people who haven’t tried it”. Thought that was obvious. And saying that disagreeing with the article makes me one of the ‘terrible people’ is just a personal attack — ad hominem.

        Talking about your own beliefs doesn’t make you an asshole. It means you’re passionate and just trying to share something that’s worked for YOU.

        And to end your comment about not being anti-veg by saying “personally … ” most vegans suck? Perhaps you need to take things less personally, rather than attacking a minority of people trying to make things better for themselves.

    • T.A.H. says:

      Pam, I’m glad you are not a judgmental person. Brilliant and may there be more like you speaking up daily. But these anti-dogma articles and the responses to them are not coming out of a vacuum. Be fair — the majority of veg*n people that non-veg*ns hear from are deeply judgement and hard to be around. To suggest that this is all just a hobbyhorse we’re whipping is entirely unfair. To my mind, within the veg*n fold (and I am included there, having been vegan for 3 years and vegetarian now, w/ my Ayurvedic doctor recommending that I become vegan again, because it is the perfect diet for my constitution), it is simply time to mentally and emotionally clean house and stop denegrating others, be it in subtle or gross ways. There is a great deal of emotional, intellectual and spiritual violence in the way a great many vegan and vegetarian people engage with others. These attitudes needs highlighting; they need, in my humble opinion, be knocked onto a corrective course. Articles like this help move things in the right direction.

      • Pam says:

        I really like your response … it’s giving me some things to think on.

        But do you really think articles like these are helpful? They just seem hateful – by name-calling veg*ns as judgmental … doesn’t that just start a loop of non-vegans calling vegans judgmental and vegans needing to defend themselves from that — which naturally looks pretty bad? Being defensive never looks good, and often has the tang of judgement with it.

        I just wonder what the thing IS to help out the over-zealous… I’ve seen some very good posts on Happy Herbivore about e-vega-lizing (or not). She and her readers seem to really get it. They’re overwhelmingly super nice people (one of the reasons I read that blog — plus awesome recipes!).


      • Pam says:

        Looking over this again – great blog TAH! **adding to blog roll**

        I noticed your bio mentions vegetarianism .. might I ask, are you a vegetarian? (I suppose I mean full-time, if that makes sense).

        I’ve been vegan almost 10 years, but I’m still quite young, so not so wise. If you are veg, might I ask how YOU respond when veg*ism is attacked? Do you just not say anything? Is that the way to go about it? I usually DON’T say anything, but I think RY had posts back to back that were anti-veg, so I felt the need to say something … plus the sensational title of this post. What do you think? Would be interested to see the response on your blog.

        • T.A.H. says:

          Hi again Pam,

          Wow, thanks so much for the kudos on the blog. Very nice of you indeed…

          As to the humour on this site and the ‘name calling’ in posts like these, I do get that it can be biting and even offensive to some (many?) people. But I think irreverent humour has its place. And, hey, I’m from Britain, where ironic, sardonic, caustic, cynical, sly, wry and dry humour is norm! — for me, the type of humour here is meant to jolt readers out of complacency. But, sure, it would be naive of me to say it doesn’t sting those at whom it is directed, whether fairly or unfairly.

          What do I do when another veg*n is taunted or verball abused for being who they are? Well, I don’t let it pass, if I can help it. I’m not a confrontational person, but I’m known for blurting out gut reactions before thinking them through and when a vegetarian is being unfairly prodded just for being or for ordering their own meal, I’ll be the first to call for the nonsense to stop and just let be.

          And, yes, I will be discussing vegetarianism on my blog at some point (I’m in the midst of another project on the blog right now), so I’ll be sure to remember this exchange and try to address it more fully.

      • Braja Sorensen says:

        “There is a great deal of emotional, intellectual and spiritual violence in the way a great many vegan and vegetarian people engage with others.”

        Oh, touche. I couldn’t agree more. It’s just all insecurity and name-calling, and it’s tiring….I just wrote about this very subject on Elephant Journal http://www.elephantjournal.com/2011/12/puritanical-yoga-bull

        The thing about the yamas and niyamas, or restraints and observations, is that I’m quite sure restraining oneself from criticizing and name-calling and so on is in the very first stage of the yoga process, the yamas. Niyamas, the second stage, is observing the higher qualities:, nonviolence, etc. See how that works?!

  9. Don says:

    Great article Sachie! Honestly, as long as duck (as in chinese roasted) and pork are made from animals, I’m an omnivore.

  10. Jessica says:

    Excellent piece! I myself have been a vegan off and on for about 10 years. While I love vegan baking (see my website), the reasons for my diet are personal and I get pretty upset when I encounter combatant vegans… Particularly when they cite their reasons as “ahimsa”.

    I’m aware of how defensive this diet can make people (my two former roommates, both omnivores with a heavy emphasis on cheese and meat, would often vehemently defend their food choices just because of my mere presence in the kitchen. Honestly, their food looked and smelled damn good, but it just wasn’t for me). I’m a strong believer in following what’s best for ourselves, and I think articles like this one not only provide entertainment but also an interesting mirror for us to look at ourselves. Those of us who are vegans should be aware that food is incredibly personal and we can cause people to feel uncomfortable or defensive even when we don’t mean to. And if we are actively aware of this fact already, we can just sit back and giggle at the militant vegans who just don’t get it yet.

  11. Sara says:

    Great blog. I re-posted on my FB page and got a great link to a TED talk in response: http://www.ted.com/talks/dan_barber_s_surprising_foie_gras_parable.html. Definitely a video we all should watch. Thanks for this post.

    • sachie says:

      Sara, I LOVED this!! Thank you so much for sharing! I’ve always loved foie gras, and the farm is located where my mother is from! Thank you :)

  12. Loreni says:

    Great article Sachie! I completely agree with your viewpoint and what both your acupuncturist and ayurvedic friend said. I suffered from stomach problems for most of my life and tried all kinds of diets and fasts and it wasn’t until I went to a nutritionist and started keeping track of my food intake (with a food diary) that I was able to solve my problems. I too am an O blood type and I need my proteins (especially in meat form) to really find energy that will sustain me throughout the day. It’s just my reality. And it is possible to buy fresh, local and responsibly raised meat, so that’s what I try to do. No reason for judging or hating on people’s food choices, no one is right for everyone.

  13. Truth says:

    “Animal products are a building (or strengthening) food – we would say that they are high in Qi and Blood to nourish the system. ”

    Yeah right. That’s why some of the largest animals are vegans. Try to wrestle a gorilla next time you think you need animal products for strength.

    That said, if you’re weak from your vegan diet then its most likely a lack of calories or some nutrients, not a lack of meat.

    Meat is calorie dense. Vegetables aren’t. You have to eat a lot of vegetables to equal the calories in an 8 oz steak. You can’t eat 3 small meals as a vegan and feel energized. You must eat often and eat a lot.

    Also, this entire gluten thing is out of control. If you have issues with gluten then fine but for most people gluten isn’t an issue with regards to nutrition or digestion. In fact, because many ‘gluten free’ food items aren’t fortified you may be doing more harm than good by avoiding them.

    • Sachie says:

      Hey Truth,

      There’s a reason why gluten is an issue for many people. And I could say the same thing about large animals eating meat.
      If you look into both of these things, you’ll find that several ‘experts’ have numerous conflicting solutions.
      I found 3 different nutrition specialists that told me the same thing – eat meat and stay away from gluten. And now I feel fantastic.
      Thanks for your concern, but it does not apply to me.

  14. Lisa says:

    I have wrestled with this same situation myself. I am an O blood type, was a meat eater most of my life. I became vegetarian in 2008 and suffered a debilitating anemic episode in 2010, probably around the time my iron stores got depleted. But, I stopped eating meat because of the animal issue. I eat fish from time to time now and I always ate eggs and dairy. I take a iron supplements that do the trick quite well. I know this contributor talked about “craving” meat a lot, do you think that craving-the body wanting something- created the situation for her to feel ok about adding it back into her diet? I wonder. I know for me the fear and pain a animal suffers in slaughter is a factor for not going back to it. I don’t want to take that into my own body. And many people mention “Ahimsa” without really understanding all the implications I agree. But what about a “Sattvic” diet or the concept of it being “Karma Free”? Meat tastes good-and it is easier in this society to be a meat eater-so can we create that need in our own bodies to facilitate our wants and desires. Or is it about using willpower to move past it?

    • Sachie says:

      “Wild game – i.e. pasture-raised, free range, organic – is sattvic, non-free range meats are rajasic, and those raised in pens with hormones and antibiotics are tamasic.”

  15. Sachie says:

    Hey Lisa,

    Cravings are often a sign of the body needing the nourishment. As was confirmed by all 3 nutrition ‘experts’ in my post. I completely agree with the slaughterhouse issue, but as I said, I have a great butcher that provides only pasture-raised happy animals. Iron supplements do not work for me, though I’m glad they work for you.
    James Bailey, the Ayurvedic practitioner in my article has a very insightful view on ‘sattvic’ eating. Again, it all starts with ourselves.

    • Lisa says:

      James Bailey is an acupuncturist and I have actually heard him speak. I would not call him an expert in Ayurveda. A certificate from a school in Kerala does not make one an Ayurveda Dr, although in LA it can if you make it sound good on your web site. And make it easy and palatable for the masses. I don’t think quoting his opinion on ancient Indian spiritual principals regarding meat eating make it ok. Just easier for people to feel ok about doing it.

      • Marie says:

        There are injunction in the vedas for people who want to eat meat. In some places food for human are described as deer and goats, never cow. also, it is explain that if one wants to eat meat he also accept that he is going to be slaughter birth after birth in terrible suffering as many time as there is hair on the body of this animal.

  16. Dennis Antrobus says:

    Is calling someone a judgmental prick being judgmental?
    I do understand her point:
    “Frankly, I’ve had it with people pontificating on their virtual soapboxes while hiding behind the anonymity of the internet. Does it not strike you as completely hypocritical to caustically berate someone about animal cruelty? A strong tongue lashing is just as harmful, if not more so, than a physical blow. ”
    This kind of behavior is irksome regardless of the topic. In the service of promoting ahimsa it is particularly galling. But food is an extremely touchy subject and often it is exceedingly difficult to discuss it without pushing someone’s hot buttons.
    She continues to write:  ”I did not want to support that.  However, when Dr. Charny informed me about a local butcher shop, owned by two former vegetarians, that buy only locally pasture-raised animals, and are all about treating them with the utmost respect, I relented.  I was getting tired of being tired.”
    I was raised as a catholic and one of the jokes of the religion was the ubiquity of relics of the true cross.
    “By the end of the Middle Ages so many churches claimed to possess a piece of the True Cross, that John Calvin is famously said to have remarked that there was enough wood in them to fill a ship” (wikipedia)
    What doe that have to do with the price of rice in China? Well these days there seems to be an awful lot of people who claim to be eating non-factory farm meat. Considering the fact that MORE than 99 percent of animal products are produced under factory farm conditions, where is all this “pasture-raised” meat coming from?
    It’s all well and good to espouse a philosophy of live and let live, the problem is the entire world is heading towards a calamity of biblical proportions.
    “… authoritative studies by the United Nations and the pew commission show conclusively that globally, farmed animals contribute more to climate change then transport. According to the UN the livestock sector is responsible for 18% of greenhouse gas emissions around 40% more than the entire transport sector – cars, trucks, planes, trains, and ships combined” (Jonathan Safran Foer “Eating Animals”)
    It is true that if everyone ate as the author of this article claims to we wouldn’t be in the mess we’re in today but the inconvenient truth is they don’t and we are.
    If it is being a judgmental prick to speak up against the current state of affairs and the problems inherent in CAFO (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation)
    Animal welfare not being the least of these, than so be it.
    “Maybe one day the world will change and we’ll be in the luxurious position of being able to debate whether or not it’s inherently wrong to eat animals but the question doesn’t matter right now” (Jonathan Safran Foer “Eating Animals”)

    “No man is an island entire of itself; every man
    is a piece of the continent, a part of the main;
    i… any man’s death diminishes me,
    because I am involved in mankind.
    And therefore never send to know for whom
    the bell tolls; it tolls for thee. “

  17. Jennifer Horsman says:

    I read this bit and all the comments and instead of being filled with dismay, I thought I’d share with you folks the animal rights perspective, rather than the vegetarian/vegan perspective. Most of these comments are about YOU, living in an I centred universe. Here’s a hint: Surprise! It is not about you. When you consume meat, you have hurt and killed an animal. It is about THEM and what you did to them.

    It doesn’t matter that your body, for some microscopic reason ‘needs’ it (Take a f%$^ing vitamin pill, for heaven sakes). BTW:’ fatigue’ is the number one complaint from MEAT EATERS and yet somehow they never think, Oh, it must be all this meat I am eating. And for those mental geniuses who somehow cannot distinguish between broccoli and a living, breathing animal, folks who equates the eating of an apple with the slaughter of a lamb, well, you need more help than I can give.

    Cows, pigs, sheep, dogs, fish, us, we all cherish our lives. We all want to live. Celebrate all life. Go vegetarian.

  18. David says:

    I suspect a lot of people get sick when they try to be vegetarian because they don’t do a great job of it. I’m blood type O and have no problems being vegetarian. When I was eating too much soy, I got pretty messed up though. It’s also really important to get enough calcium, vitamin D and fat, which many vegetarians don’t manage well.

    It’s also very true that one of the main mistakes vegetarians make is eating too many carbs without a paired protein. But I don’t think that protein needs to be meat based.

    Ultimately, yes there are some hard-core militant vegans, and they are pretty obnoxious. At the other extreme, there’s a horrendous meat “industry.” Somewhere in the middle is clearly the appropriate place to be.

    In my experience, eating meat makes it much easier to get balanced nutrition, but it has other damaging side-effects that people don’t realize at first. Some of those side-effects are psychological, and others concern toxic by-products of the digestion process (which actually may well be the cause of the psychological side-effects).

    Our bodies have evolved so that we can eat just about anything. But if you’re aspiring to spiritual upliftment, which as yoga students we presumably are, I think it’s a cop-out to say “I tried being vegetarian, and it didn’t work.” It seems logical that the default yoga diet ought to be vegetarian and as simple and wholesome as possible. It also seems to me that “ahimsa starts with not harming myself” is a dangerous tactic, as it can be abused to justify a lot of harmful behavior.

    Interestingly, I encounter fewer proselytizing vegetarians than I do meat-eaters complaining about these supposedly ubiquitous vegevangelists. It also seems to me that when people accuse others of being judgmental pricks they (1) might inadvertently invite the same accusation to be leveled at his or herself; (2) might be feeling defensive because on a deep level they realize the prick has a point.

  19. chub says:

    Blood type diet? I’m not married to science, traditional philosophies and practices often carry great wisdom. But there is zero evidence to support the blood type diet. The science is clearly bunk to anyone that has actually studied blood type and lectins. I think we can honor bio-individuality without relying on generalizations from a fad diet.

  20. EveryOne says:

    How in the world can you treat animals “with the utmost respect” when you’re murdering them? That makes absolutely no sense.

    If you really believe you need to eat flesh to be healthy then there’s plenty of PLACENTA’s from all kinds of species that no one has to have an untimely, unwanted, unwelcomed, bloody death for. If one had real respect for another living being they would not KILL them -and with the placenta option, there’s NO MORE EXCUSES.

    EAT PLACENTA if you seriously think you need meat.
    Or animals that die naturally. And your own menstrual blood. People who claim they need meat who don’t eat their pets when they die or don’t scoop up fresh roadkills for dinner or don’t eat the mice and rats they catch or females who don’t consume their own menstrual blood for the iron, are complete and utter hypocrites.

    Yeah, maybe vegetarians are judgmental pricks because THEY BELIEVE KILLING IS WRONG. LOL! Hearing people complain about vegetarians being judgmental is like hearing a bunch of child molesters complain about the rest of society judging them for what they feel is “their choice” to do to another “lesser” being. Or slave owners getting defensive towards the abolitionists about their right to abuse and kill the inferior slaves.

    “Nothing more strongly arouses our disgust than cannibalism, yet we make the same impression on Buddhists and vegetarians, for we feed on babies, though not our own”. ~Robert Louis Stevenson

    I’m sick of people saying it’s “their” “personal” “choice” to eat animals – it’s not – you are violating, in the worst most fatal way, the choice of that creatures desire and will to live which is more than apparent. No one in their right mind can still pretend that animals have no feelings or will to live and that they don’t deserve kindness and compassion as we do.

    It’s one thing for my dear Grandma and people who just don’t know any better to eat others in oblivion of their sentience – but you people who have to MAKE EXCUSES – if you’re making excuses, then some part of you knows better.
    So seriously, eat placenta or just flippin admit that you’re too lazy and selfish to care or that you just truly believe that bloody vampire ritual animal sacrifice is really super awesome and stop with all the excuses for inflicting death sentences on others (when it’s COMPLETELY UNNECESSARY because there’s so much super nutritious PLACENTA everywhere in the world).

    Here’s some more wise words from the Dalai Lama: “In order to satisfy one human stomach so many lifes are taken away. We must promote vegetarianism. It is extremely important”. ~ Dalai Lama

    Who cares if you’re a vegetarian if you’re a judgmental prick? Who cares? I DO.

    Eat placenta, drink your period blood or take your “my body needs” excuses and eat those too.

    Another Vegetarian Prick Who’d Rather Be a Judgmental Prick Than An In Denial Soul Sucking Animal Killer. :)

  21. Marie says:


    Thank you for this well written thought provoking article. Some people believe that eating fetuses is really a way to get healthy and there are many researches supporting that point of view. Is anything that will make me feel good and healthy OK just because it is helping me?

  22. Loise says:

    Recently I watch a video or beard getting their bile pumped to make Chinese medicine and help people recover from deadly disease. In that video a mother bear killed her cub out of compassion for her child not wanting him to go to the same suffering she was going through. My sense about you is that you are probably against racism, or the exploitation of one race over an other. What about Specicism? Exploitation of one species over an other.

  23. Marie says:

    Interesting. Here is a read that may interest you Shachie and maybe see how it is not about judgment or activism or this eating over that and rather about how conscious are we of our actions and the consequences they have http://satvatove.com/Articles/Social_Work_and_Speciesism_with%20_letters_12-26-12.pdf

  24. Gita says:

    Dear friends, Brahmakumaris are vegetarian… and emphasize the importance of keeping thoughts pure… when preparing food… they either enhance or decrease the vibes of what we eat…thus affecting our health. There is Brahmakumaris meditation…that relaxes the mind…nurtures a healthy balance between inner and outer worlds…recharge… rejuvenate the inner-self…

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