This Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a day that often centers around the eating of a stuffed turkey. For those of us who are vegan, it’s often a challenging day to feel included in the family “gathering” and also it’s a sad day for us, thinking of all those precious turkeys who’ve lost their lives.
In honor of my turkey friends, today I want to speak about honoring animals with our diet choices.
When people talk about eating healthy, they often are referring to physical wellness. Plant-based foods have a myriad of positive benefits for our bodies. However, eating a plant-based diet can also greatly support our mental, emotional and spiritual wellness. Bringing our diets into alignment with our Animal Reiki ideals of peace, compassion and gratitude will also benefit the planet.
Recognizing Food as Energy: “be grateful”
We directly experience through meditating with animals, that we are energy. Whether we humans realize this or not, energy is being shared with others all the time. Animals understand this and that is why they are so sensitive to our inner state of mind and heart and why we should be mindful when we are with them.
Food is also energy – not only are the calories we consume physically digested and absorbed to energize our body’s systems, but the food itself bears an energetic resonance and imprint that is shared with us when we consume it. imagine the energy vibration of a plate filled with meat taken from an animal who suffered greatly during his life and then died in fear. Next to the meat is cheese made from milk from a mother who is constantly kept pregnant, yet never gets to raise her babies; they are taken from her so that her milk can become a product for humans. Her life is one of misery. Imagine consuming that energy of suffering and misery and how that affects your own vibration.
In addition, the way food is produced has energy. Many farming systems are also inhumane to the workers who bring the food from the farm to your grocery store. Slaughterhouses have some of the most inhumane conditions of any job. This can also create unhealthy energy in the foods we eat.
To bring this energy of suffering into your body – whether of animals it is made from or the humans who helped bring it to you – is not good for our spiritual health. We should strive to eat food that is plant-based, from local, reputable farms and that is organic when possible.
Of course, it’s not always possible, but even just being mindful of where our food comes from and having this aspiration can help us elevate our diet. Food should be thought of as medicine, or something that is healing for us, rather than something we mindlessly consume. In this way we can bring the true spirit of our Animal Reiki practice of peace, gratitude and compassion into every bite we eat.
Being a Good Steward of our Planet, Earth: “do not anger, do not worry—being peaceful”
We now know that overfishing is destroying our oceans, that are the lungs of our planet. Without healthy oceans, we cannot survive. See: Seaspiracy.
Eating meat is also polluting our air:
Industrial livestock agriculture creates as much greenhouse emissions as all cars, trucks and other modes of transportation combined.
Eating meat is also destroying the rainforest:
Over 80% of the Amazon cleared since 1970 has been used for meat production.
How can what we choose to eat make a difference?
With most of our food systems created in an animal-based, non-sustainable and violent paradigm, it can seem overwhelming to try to do anything about it. Sometimes we might feel overwhelmed or that we must “be perfect” or not bother trying. However, even small changes can add up when many of us do them together. The economic power of consumers to decide what is produced is very great: our preferences can and will make a huge difference in what is sold in grocery stores and grown on farms. Exercising our buying power in more compassionate ways each and every day can change the world! By choosing to eat plant-based, we can channel our anger or worry about the current state of affairs into positive lifestyle choices that are good for the planet.
For example, the “Meatless Monday” campaign lists many benefits, including:
- Saving 133 gallons of water with each meatless meal!
- Reduce your carbon footprint by 8 pounds each Meatless Monday you participate in
- If you commit to participating in Meatless Monday every Monday, that is equivalent to skipping one serving of beef for a year would save the same amount of emissions as driving 348 miles in a car.
Recognizing Animals as Precious, Sentient Beings: “be kind to others”
The word Reiki means “spiritual energy” and it is a concept we as practitioners contemplate each time we practice our meditations. What does it mean to be energy? It means we are a part of the universe and that at our essence we are One. The deeper we go into this concept through our practice, the more we realize how connected we all are: when we harm others, we harm ourselves. Awakening to our interconnectedness helps us live with more compassion. Eating animals or animal products ultimately ignores the preciousness of their lives, and their inherent right to live lives free from cruelty and suffering.
Eating more plant-based foods can help you to manifest the values of gratitude, peace and kindness. It can bring healing to the physical, mental and spiritual layers of your being. It can also bring a deeper understanding and compassion to your relationship with the animals in your life.
Changing our diets can sometimes be inconvenient and might cause others to question us, however that is such a small price to pay for honoring animals and our planet in every way that we can, especially three times a day when we eat.
Want some amazing plant-based recipes? Here are a few of my favorite blogs:
Wishing you all a happy thanksgiving, filled with peace, gratitude and compassion!