If not vegan, how do we get these problems solved?
Today I had a practicing vegan ask me some questions on Facebook, about starting to eat animal products again. I thought the answers would be valuable for other people also. So I’m going to answer the questions here.
First, let’s recap. The reason I became vegan and endorsed veganism for other humans is that I sincerely believed that all humans could thrive on a vegan diet. If there is no sacrifice to humans, why would we not end the sacrifice of animals? It seemed like a clear win/win/win. The problem is that I was wrong. As I learned myself the hard way, many if not most humans DO NEED animal products for optimal health. I cannot and will not endorse a lifestyle that entails the sacrifice of human health for a half-baked ideal.
Now, of course, at the same time I am very aware of the arguments in favor of veganism. Factory farming epitomizes everything that is not working about our disconnected, commodity-focused society. There is a severe drought in California now (where I live), and anyone who is even mildly informed knows that most of the problem is animal agriculture and – ironically – one of vegans’ favorite crops: almonds. The more animals are raised in cramped quarters with pressure to product vast quantities of “cheap” meat, the more abuses and cruelty result. It’s not a pretty picture.
On the other hand, you’ve got seven billion humans now on this planet. With most people still idealizing human procreation as a “natural” and “desirable” way of life. And I would guess only a tiny few of the humans who are already here, and those yet to be born, can thrive without animal products. My guess is fewer than five percent. There has never been a human vegan civilization on this planet, as far as we know.
So the way many people think we “should” go around solving problems is imposing linear, “rational” solutions on people like veganism. The problem is that veganism is not holistic because it has failed to account for the financial and nutritional and other practical obstacles. Vegans, in general, love to preach and protest, yet do so from a one-sided perspective that seeks to impose intense SACRIFICE on the human race. They would trade one form of suffering for another, which has not really solved anything. And therefore as a movement, unless something changes radically, veganism will fail.
So now let’s get to this reader’s questions …
First, she asked me about adding some minimal animal products to her diet:
I’ve decided to follow vegan diet during the week (not crappy french fries and vegan hot dog type vegan) healthy food. On the weekend I’m having a small pizza with half the cheese (can’t live without pizza) one oily fish and two free range eggs. Do you think this is ok, Erika Awakening?
And this is what I said about adding animal products to the diet:
My view is that we can’t really help anyone else if we don’t feel good and keep ourselves healthy. So from my perspective, if that helps you feel better and stronger, then it’s a good thing. It doesn’t mean this is the final answer. It just means we have some big stuff to sort out here, and there is no sense in any human losing their health when we don’t have good answers to those questions. Ultimately, of course, it’s how you feel that matters.
She followed up with this commentary about the best approach to advocacy, and asking what I think about REDUCING animal products:
Militant behaviour doesn’t work. I know that from personal experience. I have been downright nasty and rude and even aggressive to many people because I felt so bad for the animals that suffer. But it doesn’t help. It only makes you seem like a nasty human being. Factory farming needs to go. The only way to do that is to limit consumption. And if you’re with a vegan person don’t make the tired old sarcastic comments. That makes them livid and they *will* become militant. Just be as respectful of their choices and beliefs as you expect them to be of yours.
The other thing is : nobody needs to eat animal products every day I don’t think. We kind of expect to have them at every meal otherwise it’s not a meal. I think once or twice a week is enough? What do you think? If we all ate a third of what we currently eat I think we’d still be healthy and factory farming wouldn’t be necessary.
This is what I would say about that:
Sylvia, I may be the wrong person to ask about reducing animal products at this time. Right now I am eating animal products every day, mostly cheese that is high in vitamin K2 like Brie and Gouda, eggs, and fatty fish. I am probably going to have a cheeseburger or some other red meat at least once a week. My body seems to have depleted its reserves of many vital nutrients during my time as a vegetarian and vegan. Right now, I am focused on rebuilding those reserves.
Although I also find the idea of widespread reduction of meat, fish, dairy, and egg consumption to be an appealing one, and it seems we are on the fast track to environmental catastrophe if we don’t do that … after my time as a vegan, I am feeling very, very wary of linear “solutions” like this.
For years, I have been teaching abundance in all its forms. I am well known for teaching financial abundance, but really the same abundance principles apply to all life areas.
Now that I’ve stepped back from veganism, I see that it harmed not only my health but also my financial abundance. How could that be? Well, because veganism is a scarcity mindset. Veganism “makes a problem real” and then attempts to impose an almost punitive “solution.” There is a deep undercurrent in the vegan movement of self-sacrifice and martyrdom, which runs counter to everything I teach. The premise of veganism is that somebody has to sacrifice for another to be free. And that can never work, because the solution God has for any problem entails NO SACRIFICE FOR ANYONE INVOLVED.
I’ve never believed in dieting for the same reason. When we deny the body, we actually create intense focus on the body. This is counterproductive.
I look at areas of my life where I was able to “reduce” successfully and without resentment or suffering. These happened spontaneously. Nobody had to hold up a protest sign or angrily impose a solution on me. I simply practiced my healing method of Holistic Belief Reprogramming … and the extra pounds dropped off my body without effort. Similarly, my automobile mileage dropped dramatically (by more than 80 percent). Yet this did not require me to make extravagant sacrifices in my life. It simply happened.
I believe the planet will be healed the same way. Not by imposing an agenda of “meat reduction” or veganism on people. Rather, by a grassroots movement of people getting themselves healed and thereby having organic changes in their lives. I believe we could use Holistic Belief Reprogramming without an agenda, simply throwing all of the competing concerns into the mix, and let our subconscious mind solve the problem.
However, this is not a small project. We are talking here about addressing millions of years of human evolution, conflicting advice from the Bible and other religious documents, thousands of cultural traditions, human genetic programming and nutritional requirements, as well as all the current-day economic and geographic pressures that are faced by humans and the animals. The belief in the “cycle of life and death” and all the emotional attachment people have to human procreation and ego identities like birth, death, being a grandmother and a mother, etc., would all have to be transformed. We are talking about reprogramming millions and millions of beliefs. It’s a big, big project.
And while I am willing to embark on that project, and I have the healing method to do it … I am absolutely unwilling even to begin it without the massive financial, emotional, and technical support I would need for that project to be successful. I also would need a lot of people who have skills I don’t have to make a real commitment to working together on this. Thus far, I have seen lots of vegans who are willing to shout loudly about their grievances … and very few vegans who are willing to learn actual healing skills and put their time and money where their mouth is to get the problem solved.
So for now, I am going to consume as many animal products as my body needs. And I have simply stepped back from these issues and veganism altogether. I am going to return my focus where it can be most helpful – helping individual people resolve their individual life problems. And when vegans get serious about having this problem solved, and are willing to put their time and money where their mouth is, then we can begin organizing the group Holistic Belief Reprogramming sessions that could transform this situation without sacrifice to anyone. Most likely, the real answer is something as yet undreamed.
I hope that helps. Thanks for the questions.
About the Author:
Erika Awakening is a Harvard Law School graduate and former practicing attorney. She left the rat race to become a location-independent entrepreneur, holistic life coach, blogger, speaker, healer, and Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT tapping) expert. Erika Awakening is one of the world's foremost experts on eradicating limiting beliefs and lifestyle design on your own terms. Learn more about Erika Awakening
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