Three years ago, I gave up eating meat. I became a 'Pescatarian', as it's so nicely called, when fish is your sole food intake from the animal kingdom. The more yoga I did, the more difficult it became to digest meat. Much more importantly, however, was the fact that I was becoming increasingly aware that I was breaking the first rule of yoga, Ahimsa, or non-violence, by eating animals. This coincided with many new scientific discoveries of the intelligence of animals, and how much they could experience fear, pain, and stress. I wrote a previous post about the incredible intelligence of whales (see my previous post of Whales R Us). But only eating fish turned into a different dilemma. The lack of fish in the ocean, and how over-fishing is changing the whole biosphere , the level of pollution in the fish, and then as the last straw, the pollution caused by the fish farming industry itself. So this fall I tried on a strictly Vegan diet, on which I felt fine with, I even thrived, until I realized that I was deficient in protein, of which I'm still suffering some consequences. And now, in a new article in the Science Section of the New York Times, the author outlines new scientific evidence that the plant kingdom is a lot more aware than what we've previously even could imagine. Maybe you could argue that the plant kingdom still has the lowest level of awareness, but it will nevertheless try to defend itself if it gets attacked, and it will fight for its life, any way that it can.
They only way I see I can navigate these morally tricky waters, and yet keep myself nourished, is by adopting the Native American way of eating, which is to use grace, and thank each animal that provided its life, and life-force to me so I could live, and see myself part of larger eco-system where everything is recycled eventually. I still maintain a strong plant-based diet, consisting of greens, nuts and fruits, since my body responds very positively to that type of food, and then eat limited amounts of animal protein, still primarily fish. The new insights won't solve my moral dilemma, but it provides me for yet another reason to view everything as sacred, and give thanks to everything I eat, even if it's 'only' a plant that gave its life to feed me.