Saturday, July 3, 2010

Lovegan food is better than Vegetarian or Vegan Food


Vegetarianism is the practice of not eating meat or poultry. Many forms of vegetarianism exclude the eating of fish as well. The most extreme form of vegetarianism known as veganism excludes all foods of animal origin including eggs and diary products.

The basis of vegetarianism is the prevention of cruelty involved in killing animals. Land, energy and water required for producing meat and poultry are several times that for producing an equivalent amount of plant food. Thus production of meat results in greater damage to environment than the production of an equivalent amount of plant food. If farming is done organically damage to the environment is further reduced. The resulting food is healthier as well.

Vegans exclude eggs and diary products from their diets because commercial production methods of milk and eggs result in cruelty to animals. However, although vegetarians and vegans help prevent cruelty to animals, they disregard the cruelty perpetuated on plant life. Farming of carrots involves killing the plant and the farming of lettuce and cabbage involves in the very least, chopping the head off. Plants are a complementary carbon dioxide breathing life form that predates oxygen-breathing animals on our planet. They have genes and chromosomes just like we do. Without them there would neither be any food nor any oxygen for us to breathe. In the opinion of this author foods that prevent or minimize violence to all life forms and the environment are better than vegetarian or vegan foods. Such foods have been termed as lovegan foods here since non-violence is an expression of love. Lovegan is a new term not widely known yet. However, do not worry that lovegan food would imply that there will be hardly anything left to eat if we do away with violence. On the contrary mother earth has filled our planet with lots and lots of delicious lovegan food with a vast variety, just read on.

All essential nutrients required for a healthy life are available as components of lovegan food. Lovegan food is indeed far more abundant, delicious and nutritious on our planet than any other kind of food. The first thing a lovegan – a person who consumes lovegan food - can begin to include in his or her diet is milk and milk products such as yogurt and cheese, provided the milk producing cow has been reared and milked sensitively.

Cows are delighted to give a portion of their milk in return for the care and protection a farmer can provide to the cow and its calf, and to produce that milk, a cow neither kills an animal nor plants. it merely gives much needed haircuts to grasslands

Eggs too must be included in a lovegan diet provided the hens are allowed to roam over a restricted range. Leaving the birds completely free is not wise since it exposes them to dangers from dogs and other animals. Hens can quickly destroy any new seedlings on a farm if left completely free. Production of eggs need not involve any violence. Eggs are full of delicious low cost nutrition. They cannot be adulterated easily and take only minutes to cook. One of the most delicious salad dressing mayonnaise sauce is made from eggs and eggs are a critical component of another delicacy – cakes. A large two-egg cheese stuffed omelet accompanied by hash brown potatoes, freshly baked bread and a salad of baby spinach leaves in a sour cream and mayonnaise dressing followed by ice cream or cake makes a delightful dinner.  In the view of this author one should not be a fanatic as regards food but just avoid violence when it can be done so conveniently.

Check out how farmer Joe produces lovegan milk and eggs here:
http://someitemshave.blogspot.in/2014/09/the-farm-that-joe-lived-on.html

Spinach too may be included with ease provided the leaves are plucked selectively from a plant permitting the spinach plant to continue and go to seed and complete its life cycle. Cutting leaves off a plant can cause pain to the plant, however such pain may be no greater than that caused in a hair cut, provided that one does not try to pull the hair out simultaneously.  Potatoes and peanuts are fine too since they are usually harvested after the plant has completed its life cycle. Fruits and nuts too may be enjoyed freely by Lovegans. Similar logic will reveal that a great number of vegetarian foods can be included without concern in a lovegan diet. We need others to join this movement and offer their suggestions for other lovegans. Lentil beans too can be included in the diet because these are harvested when the seeds have dried out. Lentil beans are inexpensive and have a long shelf life. They are wonderful to store in any kitchen especially for a rainy day. With proper cooking and spicing they can be turned into a delicious soup that does not lead to flatulence. Such cooking methods include presoaking the beans, removing the frothy starch while cooking and adding spices such as ginger, turmeric and cumin.

Dry seeds are the beginning of a new life but nature has been extremely generous in this direction so that the seeds of new life (just like human sperm) are often many thousands of times in excess of that required to initiate new life. The same is true of food grains such as wheat, corn and rice. If all of these food grains produced by these latter grasses were allowed to sprout and flourish it would be the end of biodiversity on our planet. These food grains must remain an essential part of a lovegan diet.

In conclusion, the essential elements of a recommended lovegan diet are the avoidance of meat, poultry, fish and other types of flesh foods. Milk and eggs from free-range small farmers are welcome. Fruits, nuts, food grains and lentil beans are great. Vegetables that do not involve destroying the entire plant are better than others that involve harvesting most or all of the plant.

A lovegan diet is delicious, healthy, inexpensive, and full of love for the wonderful creation of which we all are a part. Not only is it abundant on the planet, it adds even more abundance to the planet by eliminating killing

However because of current food habits and food markets, a strict lovegan diet is feasible only on small farms where the hens are allowed to roam over a fenced enclosure and cows are allowed to graze freely over a pasture. Not everyone can own a farm Others can try and approach a lovegan diet whenever convenient if they wish and like the idea. It may be pointed out though that just as it important to avoid any fanaticism in ideology it is even more important to do so in food.

It would be too much to expect a farmer, who makes a living out of selling his produce, that he nip the leaves off his spinach and celery plants selectively like tea leaves. If he did then spinach and celery just might become as expensive as tea.

In the ultimate analysis it must be realized that all food comes from life and that it is impossible to avoid all violence in the procurement and consumption of food. Just as it is a good idea to show compassion in the type of food we eat it is also good idea not to become too fanatic about what we eat. It is the duty of a human being to fully and adequately nourish his or her body in whatever way it is possible with reasonable effort. The Buddha, who was perhaps the greatest proponent of non-violence on our planet, ate non-vegetarian food from time to time during his travels when he was invited as a guest and that was the only kind of food being served. In spite of what I have written in this article, I myself consume all of the things that I have recommended against although given the choice I choose a lovegan food.

We are compelled by historical practices to consume foods that we may now realize as not the best. This article is primarily for persons who rigidly follow a vegetarian or vegan diet. They may wish to rethink their position. In case a person wishes to follow a system of diet rigidly then lovegan diet does seem to be better than a vegetarian or vegan one and offers the best possible option.. For those of us who do not follow any strict discipline in diet, yet exercise reasonable care in our food choices whenever possible, we must draw consolation from the fact that all food comes from life and that if we devote some of the energy gained from food towards service to our fellow human beings and the world around us, that too is an expression of love that is sure to be appreciated by the Universal Intelligence.

NOTE: Some Himalayan mystics including  a famous one, not named here go further. They do not  even eat food grains because it is a dormant life form with potential to sprout. However, in the view of this blogger that is an extreme view. It is enough to stop killing life, not worry about dormant life too, especially when most seeds must perish just as most human sperm does.

UPDATE: MAY 28, 2014:  Since this article was written much more deliberation has taken place on the subject and a fresh new perspective is posted in  http://someitemshave.blogspot.in/2014/05/food-without-violence-lovegan-food.html

16 comments:

Vincent said...

What a beautiful vision of harmonious living! I don't agree with it fully, particularly your scruples about farming carrots, cabbage and the like. Farmers and horticulturists have a contract with their herds and plants, to nurture them and live off the proceeds by ending their lives before the natural term. This is deep in the history of our species. Hunting by carnivores is the same amongst humans as it is amongst lions and tigers and hyenas. Cruelty is our aesthetic reaction to what goes on and it's important that you and I act on our feelings of compassion. But we cannot and should not wish to compel the world to be like us if they don't have the same feelings.

ashok said...

I agree with you Vincent and that is what the last paragraph of the post implies. Individual situations vary what for some is a matter of choice for some. For others it is a compulsion. The purpose of this post is for us to think more about the implications of what we eat and as a result of it make better choices incase we are in a position to do so. However, we need not use history as an excuse. Human beings have been evolving and will continue to do so. Making more compassionate choices with evolution of society has been a part of human history too.

ashok said...

Vincent, I have edited parts of the article in order to address your concerns. It is not my intention that farmers and consumers who depend on foods like carrots and cabbages become overly concerned. In the main the intention of this article is for persons who are already rigid over a vegetarian or vegan diet (my daughters are) and are thereby possibly compromising their health have an opportunity to rethink their positions.

Hayden said...

ashok, I really LOVE this approach! I've been very irritated by the thoughtlessness of self-righteous vegans in assuming that plants don't matter, don't feel pain or need proper care.

My own bias and recent education focus on the health & life in the soil - which is much enhanced by careful grazing. From there, and from a position much like Vincent's, I accept eating meat as long as the animal has been raised and treated appropriately.

I am not opposed to a diet chosen for ethical reasons, but self-righteousness really annoys me, particularly when it's careless about it's terms. In CA I also saw much the same virtue-in-self-denial attitude that is common in eating disorders such as anorexia.

I can't say that I adhere to this diet, but I believe it's ethically sound!

ashok said...

Hayden I too eat meat on occassions because I do not believe in being too rigid about diet. As I mentioned towards the end of the post all food comes from life even if it is plant life. I try to convince vegans and vegetarians( that includes my daughters) that at the very least they might try and include eggs and milk in their diet, and if they wish not to cause any killing for their food, it is fine too avoid meat but then they must take care of plants too and avoid vegetables that cause the entire plant to die. We grow our own spinach, cilantro and celery in the kitchen garden and find that selective picking of leaves makes the plant go on for months while providing us several good meals. Farmers here on the other hand pull the entire plant out by the roots. Perhaps that is more economical for them, especially when they can renourish their fields repeatedly with chemical fertilisers. Excess of chemicals like nitrates have now seeped into ground water and is causing a health problem.

Hayden said...

Ashok, farmers here do the same. It's a matter of efficiency. Even those who avoid chemicals entirely - no nitrates - still uproot the plants. Harvesting an entire plant just takes a moment, plucking the leaves is slow. Makes sense, though, for people who garden and grown their own, since going to the garden takes more time than harvesting the small quantity! Ultimately more efficient /more economical for small quantities I should think, because one lengthens the planting cycles.

ashok said...

Absolutely Hayden, and garden plants are like pets. While taking the leaves one gets a chance to commune/talk to the plants as well and examine their welfare. It is definitely less effort and more economical to take the leaves on a small scale.

I love lettuce especially in a burger or sandwich (the crisp kind) but unfortunately it come as a whole head and the tasiest parts are the inside of iceberg and cos lettuce.

I think the leaves of several trees are edible as well but so far the practice is not widespread in most human cultures. We have a few curry leaf trees for spicing but they dont make a whole meal. I have a large drumstick tree and the leaves, flowers and beans are all edible and good for health. Perhaps in future humans will go more for tree food so far though there appears to be no big movement towards tree food. It would be good for the environment as well to have more trees in cities and farmlands.

As genetic engineering progresses humans may come up with tomatoes peas and spinach that grow on trees as well. I know that genetic engineering is risky, humans will perhaps never be as good at creation as the spirits, but it is something humans will not stop from and with more experience the risks may be eliminated.

My own impression about global warming is that it is less to do with an increase in carbon dioxide and more to do with deforestation and the reducing green cover on the planet ( although i realise that is not the mainstream view so far. However more and more scientists are turning towards this view)

On_Peace_Mission said...

Hello Ashok,

Thanks for sharing your point of view, which I feel would represent a step in the right direction for the industrialized Western world. We are very wasteful of our food, and this is another reason that much of the suffering caused by our food industry is needless.

Thank you for raising an excellent point: the farming of meat, poultry, and dairy can be extremely damaging to the environment.

You were partially correct about why vegans exclude animal products and by-products from their diets and lifestyles. There are many reasons to do this, but most can be narrowed down into one of three categories: environment, health, or compassion. I am tempted to be pleased that you assume that all vegans are compassionate, but we are just people like anybody else. Some of us seem friendly, some of us do not. This is the reality of any people. I chose veganism for both compassion and environment; the health are a happy benefit.

Cruelty to plants is an interesting debate. Many years ago people would argue with vegetarians that carrots screamed when they were sliced, that ginger writhes in agony when fried, and that cashews secretly abhor pongal. The inference was that vegetarians were crazy to avoid meat in an attempt to minimize cruelty, because plants suffer cruelty when you eat them too. As we now know though, to experience cruelty requires a brain.

Experiences detected by our five senses cause chemical reactions locally, which in turn trigger an electrical signal that travels along our nervous system to our brain. That signal is interpreted by the brain upon arrival, and all our constant signals, when interpreted together, may cause what the brain experiences as an emotion or state. This could be pleasure or pain; they both work the same way.

Botanists can point out plants with something akin to a nervous system, but no plants to our knowledge have a brain - at least not a brain as we know it. This means that while plants are indeed capable of showing responses to stimuli, they are not capable of experiencing either emotion or pain as we do. While plants may appear sick or injured for example, they do not suffer. There is no mental capacity for happiness, anguish, or for conscious awareness of any kind.

I do support the increased awareness you propose of the suffering in others, but cannot support the use of meat or animal by-products in the human diet. In my humble opinion there is no ethical way exploit an animal for our own wants, nor any ethical way to bring death to an animal for our own wants. I do not say needs, because I have lived as a vegan for many years; with the exception of human breast milk there is no proven medical need for animal products in the human diet. There is medical evidence supporting the elimination of animal products from the human diet, and scientific evidence indicating that the elimination of farmed animals would be a huge benefit to the environment.

In Buddhism there are Five Precepts. The first one is to avoid taking the life of all beings. You mentioned that Buddha himself carried a food bowl and gratefully accepted whatever food was provided to him. Note however that this was consistent with begging. Remember that begging for food does not allow one many dietary choices. Our cases are quite different. Because I am both a Buddhist and a vegan, I live by the first precept and avoid taking the lives of all beings. My lifestyle is a choice of love, compassion, peace, environment, and health that benefits not only me but all those around me. I consume plants that experience no emotion, no pain, no suffering. For me this seems the logical and ethical choice.

On_Peace_Mission said...

Hello Ashok,
Sorry for all the deleted comment posts; Google was giving me an error while posting.
Best.

ashok said...

Hello On-peace-mission. Thanks a lot for sharing your very well meaning views. They are appreciated. However I do not agree fully with just one of them - that plants require a brain to feel pain. More imortant than the brain to feel pain is consciousness and my belief is that all life forms possess it. Just a brain as (my computer has) is not enough to feel pain. There have been experiments by a scientist Sir Jagdish Chandra Bose who even recorded this pain with instruments he constructed for the purpose.

I agree with you that eating meat is unnecessary and harmful, yet my only point is that if it became necessary to mantain health (as for example for a remote eskimo or one trapped in wilderness) one must not avoid that because to mantain life too is a duty, unless one was on a mission unto death for a point of view.

Nevertheless, this debate is good and will help us all to revise/improve our viewpoints and beliefs with further experience and deliberation.

ashok said...

Just to add to the last comment On-peace-mission I would agree with you to the extent that even if plants feel pain it will be several orders of magnitudes smaller than the pain felt by a land roaming animal. I suspect that the pain felt by fish is also an order of magnitude lesser and in that sense alone there is a greater justification for consuming plants compared to fish, and further fish compared to meat

keiko amano said...

Hello all,

This blog and discussion makes me feel to go outside and start working on my garden. Thank you. By the way, I'm not a vegetarian, but I probably eat more vegetables than meats.

Hello Ashok,

About vegetarianism

I didn’t know the difference between vegans and vegetarians. But my daughter became a vegetarian during high school, and I think she tried to be a vegan. At first, I cooked separate dishes for her, but later I started to worry about her health. When she studied in Japan for a year, she had difficulty in eating the foods her dorm cook served. All the dishes were prepared with some kind of meat. I was surprised at such diet in daily life as much as my daughter did. In our home in the U.S., I usually provided side dishes of tofu, yellow, red, and green vegetables. Anyway, I continued to worry and told her that she was ruining her health, and once ruined, it would show up in old age. Soon after, she went to Kyrgyzstan in autumn. I kept asking her if she found vegetables. She said yes in a small voice. Winter followed. I don’t know when and how, but my problem was solved eventually because she couldn’t find vegetables easily, I think.

keiko amano said...

Re: Leaves

About edible kinds, I can think of only sakura-mochi. It is a very popular Japanese sweet we eat in March. It is wrapped in a pickled leaf of cherry tree. For this sweet, I eat the whole thing including the leaf.
http://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E6%A1%9C%E9%A4%85

We also drink cherry blossom tea in special occasions.

Other leaves, but maybe not highly edible.
http://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E6%9F%8F%E9%A4%85
It said Querus Dentata, daimyo oak or a Japanese emperor’s oak.

And the leaves in the photo below are not really for eating, but they are edible. They are used for food presentation. I see rosemary, but I thought it a western plant.
http://www.city.kushima.miyazaki.jp/original/dekigoto/08-4/4_26muraokosi02.jpg

I hope you can see above Japanese photos. Sometimes,I know you see blank pages or garbage. In that case, excuse me.

ashok said...

Keiko, I had the same problem with my two daughters when they turned vegetarian. Fortunately though I have convinced both to have eggs and milk. As a result they are getting enough nutrition now.

Grape wine leaves, especially new ones can be used to wrap fish, vegetables and rice before steaming and are eaten. This dish is popular in Turkey and Greece

The younger one has just moved to USA in the Washington DC area to do residency in Medicine and I have been trying to tell her to include fish as well if she can at least on occassions because she spends long hours at the hospital and the hospital cafetarias serve good fish.

I too have fish or meat but on rare occassions only most of the time I can get enough of lovegan foods in abundant variety and that is what my usual meals are. However I do have cheese. yogurt and eggs on a regular basis and that provides a good healthy variety of protein on an easy basis

Thanks for the links to the pictures. I shall check them out after this comment is posted.

Hayden said...

ashok, I am in agreement with you that plants have consciousness and feel pain. I've seen western studies that confirm the same thing. Sometimes I believe that people do not wish to consider these possibilities, because it requires deep change. Either change in habits, change in the way one sees oneself, or in philosophy. Worst, one must consider all this and decide! It's a lot of work!

The easiest way to describe my world view is animist. While I am unable to "prove" anything, my direct experience is that EVERYTHING has consciousness. As a westerner, and still addicted to the rational explanations, I do wonder if the consciousness we connect with is bacterial. Surely our own bodies are proved symbionts with many different forms of bacteria operating all of our necessary body functions, and they're clearly an integral part of things we call living (animals, plants) and in things we don't (rocks, minerals.) They do seem to be a "universal life force" and are even present in the wind and rain.

I am quite certain that most Westerners would be deeply annoyed at the idea of God/Universal Life Force as bacterial life, however!

ashok said...

Hayden, you have raised an interesting issue that I have myself often pondered over. It is just my faith that a universal consciousness prevades the entire universe and the consciousness of life forms is a a part of this, in some mysterious way united to it as well seperate to have an individual identity.

The most prevalent life form in the universe are bacteria. Not only are they all over our atmosphere, scientists have found them to present in space as well. Pansmeria - i.e life everywhere - holds that they pervade the universe and are the source of life on planets as well. My blog aliendiary discusses how life might evolve from bacteria on any planet from a reasonabaly rational and scientific point of view. If you go to read it may I warn that it is a bit heavy to read.

Therefore, since bacteria too have consciousness ( they eat and reproduce) that is the most widespread consciousness of the universe - The living God Force as you put it.

Rational thinking can take us only so far and one has to rely on intution and experience for spiritual matters.

Are you back from your weeklong trip and how did that go?