Around 2500 years ago Gautam Buddha advocated compassion and non-violence to all life including animals. This led to a large number of persons adopting a vegetarian life style in South Asia. In recent times the concept has spread further, across the globe.
A traditional vegetarian diet consists of not consuming any meat or fish. However milk and its products are consumed freely. In a traditional vegetarian diet eggs are not consumed since these too are regarded as a flesh food. Vegans on the other hand go further and consume no animal product at all including milk.
Some years ago, this author proposed the concept of Loveganism that included eliminating or at least minimizing violence to all life, not just animal life but also plant life. Lovegan foods are foods that conform to this principle. Since the introduction of the concept online a few years ago, it seems that some have taken up loveganism in different parts of the world. A fresh note summarizing the older ones would therefore be useful.
At first glance, it may seem that loveganism would lead to a highly restricted diet but it is in fact not so. All it requires is love for both animal as well as the green side of life. A Lovegan diet is easier and healthier than both vegetarian and vegan since milk and eggs are part of lovegan food provided they can be produced compassionately. In traditional farming homes a small number of cows or hens are kept as free range pets and consuming some of their milk or eggs does not involve cruelty to the animal. Some modern farmers have also devised compassionate forms of larger milk dairies and poultry farms that permit the cows or hens to roam over fenced enclosures.
As regards the plant kingdom, it may be noted that food grains such as wheat are collected when wheat grass has completed its life cycle and hence bread is a lovegan food as are lentils, fruits, nuts and a whole range of vegetables that do not involve killing the entire plant. Potatoes and peanuts may be collected after the plant dries out or begins to do so. Vegetables such as lettuce, cabbage and cauliflower involve cutting the plant and are therefore not a part of lovegan diet. Leafy vegetables are lovegan food provided the entire plant is not plucked out but leaves are taken selectively and periodically as new growth comes up. Plants produce leaves far more abundantly than humans produce hair.
Therefore, a lovegan food eater has a wide range of foods to select from and can attain a life style that is healthier than both vegetarians and vegans. Production of meat utilizes more of the planet's resources and is therefore more expensive. By skipping that one not only saves money on food, one may also save money on medical care if one develops conditions that result from much meat consumption. For the same reason when we consume a diet without meat, we indirectly contribute to reducing burden on Mother Earth and environment.
It may be mentioned that all violence can not be avoided in life. For example, violence is at times needed to stop a violent attack on self. Similarly violence on plants needs to be perpetuated at times for clearing an agricultural field of weeds. However what Loveganism suggests is, except for unavoidable necessities it is best to avoid violence leave alone cultivate it for food. Better to cultivate love and compassion for all life instead
When one consumes lovegan food in a spirit of gratitude to Mother Earth and Father Universe that provide this food, then it is yoga, the yoga of food for then one unites one’s consciousness in love and gratitude with all life and the consciousness of the universe
A Wise Precaution
For those contemplating a vegetarian or lovegan life style, it may be mentioned that the human body takes time to adapt and one may suffer in health by suddenly giving up on meat. The sensible way appears to be to cut down the number of times in a week meat is consumed bringing it down to once a week over several months as the first step. This would give the body time to adjust as also an opportunity to learn about alternatives. Only when one has become comfortable with that should one consider giving up on meat altogether. It may be noted that taking up any system of thought in a fanatic way does not appear to be wise in most thing, especially not food. Even after one has become a vegetarian, if occasions arise when one is visiting, eating out or emergencies, one should accept whatever is available or appealing in a spirit of gratefulness. In the eventual analysis any food does good to one’s soul if we use our life and energy in contributing good to the world.
An interested reader may find a lot more discussion on the subject at the following link:http://someitemshave.blogspot.in/search?q=lovegan
For more on nutrition and diary products see