What do you do once you know the truth?

Growing up, we were told many lies. Some were pretty harmless like, Santa Claus brings us presents, the Easter Bunny brings us chocolate and the tooth fairy gives us money for each tooth that we put under our pillow. As we grew up we learned the truth (sometimes it was a bit of a shock), but we survived and moved on. But, some lies we still believe and continue to pass on to others as the law of life and those lies are very harmful.

The main lie is that we “need” to eat animals to get protein in order to for us to survive. I hate to hurt anybody’s feelings with the truth, but the reality is, we don’t “need” to eat animals or their by-products in order for us to survive and thrive. In fact, just the opposite is true. By not eating animals and their by-products (eggs, milk, cheese, etc.), we will not only survive and thrive but, we are likely to live a long life and most likely not suffer from debilitating food-related diseases, like heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity and many cancers. I’m not making this stuff up. There is real science to back this statement plus, as a living experiment, I know first hand what not eating animals and their by-products can do to reverse the above listed health issues.

Before someone jumps up and down about how the Bible says it’s OK to eat animals, let me give you a little background so that this Bible angle can be addressed. No matter what version of the Bible you care to read, it clearly states in Genesis 1:30 (NIV) “I give you every green plant for food.” I have read God’s covenant with Noah in Genesis 9:3 (NIV) “Everything that lives and moves will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything.”

Now, just because God says it’s OK to eat everything that moves doesn’t mean you have to eat it. It isn’t a commandment. It is an offer. Are you up for some deep fried bull’s testicles? How about some chocolate covered spiders? Stuffed rat, anyone? Care to recipe swap? I’ve got a great recipe for snake soup and la tête du veau? Come on, it’s OK; God said so. (Actually, I don’t have a recipe for snake soup or baby calf’s head, but I do have an awesome spinach edamame hummus recipe.)

Remember the Commandments? “Thou shall not kill.” Animals were considered valuable. Back then animals were killed as offerings to show reverence to God. They were not mass-produced, had their beaks cut off, and stripped of their feathers rolled in flour, dumped in oil and thrown into a bucket served with a side of cole slaw, mashed potatoes and a biscuit.

Just because something is allowed doesn’t mean you have to partake of it. Did your mother ever say something to you like, “If your friends were going to jump off a bridge would you do it, too?” You don’t have to do something just because it’s what the other kids are doing. It is OK to do the right thing, even if it is considered unpopular. “Everything is permissible – but not everything is beneficial. Everything is permissible – but not everything is constructive. Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others.” That wise quote comes from 1st Corinthians 10:23-24 (NIV).

Take for example Daniel from which we get the Biblically-famous Daniel diet. Daniel along with Adam and Eve, Noah and his family (before the flood) were vegans. Daniel got a little grief over what he ate but it is a teachable moment for the rest of us.

Biblical history time: We learn that in Daniel 1 (NIV) Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. He ordered that the best Israelites from the royal family and nobility including young men without any physical defect, handsome, and showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well informed, quick to understand, and qualified to serve in the king’s palace to be brought to him. These best and brightest were to be taught the language and literature of the Babylonians. The king assigned them a daily amount of food and wine from the king’s table. The training was to last for three years and afterwards, they would enter the king’s service.

Daniel told the chief official that he would not eat the food from the king’s table, which back then such a refusal could have gotten him and the official killed. Daniel asked the guard that was assigned over him to test him and three other men for ten days. He asked that they be given nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink and that he compare their appearance with that of the young men who ate the royal food. The guard did so and ten days later Daniel and those that had eaten the vegan diet looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who had consumed the royal food. The men on the vegan/Daniel diet were presented to king Nebuchadnezzar and the king found their mental clarity and aptitude was ten times better than the wisest men in the land.

And for those that don’t believe in the Bible or the story of Daniel, that’s fine. There is science to back the connection between cognitive response and a vegan diet.

Modern times have us forgetting the value of life, human life, animal life and the life of the planet. As people attend Earth day celebrations every year looking for ways to “go green” I wonder why don’t they start with their plate. Going vegan not only helps the planet (by saving us on the emissions from cows [seriously, cow farts are killing us] and the land that is used to produce animals could be used to produce actual produce), helps save animal lives (because we won’t be killing them for food, AND no, they will not overrun the planet. Remember they are artificially inseminated to keep up with consumer demand for animals as food), and also by going vegan we benefit because we will be eating the diet that our bodies were designed to enjoy. High cholesterol comes from animals and their by-products, so if you are not consuming them, then you are less likely to need cholesterol-lowering medications, same thing for high blood pressure and weigh issues. Let’s be honest, it is really hard to maintain a lifestyle of obesity if you are eating a healthy diet filled with dark leafy green vegetables, beans, grains and fruit.

You make decisions every day of your life: what to wear, where to go, what to buy, and what to eat. When you decide on your next meal, why not consider a truthful meal by eating something that will benefit you, the animals and the planet.

Now, that you know the truth, what are you going to do?

To help you in creating a vegan meal, I highly recommend these cookbooks that have great recipes.

Chef Del’s Better Than Vegan – 101 Favorite Low-Fat, Plant-Based Recipes, That Helped Me Lose Over 200 Pounds” by Del Sroufe. The Smoky Black Bean Bisque on page 166 is one of my favorites and it is super easy to make.

Foods That Cause You To Lose Weight – The Negative Calorie Effect” by Dr. Neal Barnard. For a hearty filling dish, try the Barley Pilaf on page 141.

That great spinach edamame hummus recipe that I referred to in this article, can be found on page 55 of “But I Could Never Go Vegan!” by Kristy Turner. I have adapted it to suit my health goals by omitting the oil. You don’t need the oil and you won’t miss it.

Biblical references are from the Thompson Chain-Reference Bible New International Version published by Zondervan.

The views expressed in this blog post are mine and mine alone. They do not represent the views of anyone else at The Vegan Voice.