There are many ways to become a vegetarian. This section outlines the changes and steps one often takes. The reader is given guidance regarding how to move from the present diet to lactovegetarian to vegan to a live-food, vegetarian diet. Enjoy the walk, take your time, and be gentle with yourself. Vegetarianism is about peace, and the first place to start is to be peaceful with yourself during the transition. Once you have made the major change to vegetarian, the individual diet that suits your own lifestyle and health needs will gradually emerge. Those who move too fast do not always last.
It is important to condition your body, mind, and spirit. Perhaps part of you has even wanted to give up reading the rest of the book because you do not feel ready to become a conscious eater. That may just be your flesh-eating and culturally ingrained old habits fighting back as your intuition, intellect, and spirit are working to guide you to the highest level of conscious eating you can attain. Don’t let your resistances control you.
Before moving forward in this section, I suggest you focus on yourself for a few moments. See yourself as strong and healthy, free of pain or sickness, with a pure spirit and God-like mind. Now close your eyes and breathe in radiant health and exhale all negativity and sickness. Do this seven times. Now, see the new you as a – conscious eater. Take as long as you need to pray or meditate until such a vision of your Divine potential appears. Feel the experience of this vision in your body as you are filled with health, spiritual power, and sensitivity. Experience the emotions and thoughts associated with the new you as a conscious eater.
Reasons for Transitioning to a Vegan Diet
1. A vegan diet, developed in a conscious, gradual, and scientific way, is an overwhelmingly superior diet for health, vitality, endurance, and general well-being.
2. Vegan food tends to create a calmer, more centered, and clearer emotional and mental state.
3. A vegan diet is a distinct aid for enhancing spiritual life and awareness. Throughout history, almost all major spiritual paths have acknowledged this awareness, including Genesis 1:29, the first dietary commandment and the first direct teaching to be vegan in the Bible.
4. A vegan diet enhances the flow of the spiritualizing force in the body. A flesh-centered diet acts as a sludge to the purifying movement of this holy force in all the basic elements of the body, mind, and spirit.
5. A vegan diet brings one into ecological harmony with all of creation. In comparison with a flesh-centered diet, it is vastly superior in its ability to conserve land, water, and energy, and to enhance the quality of both human and animal life. It brings us into harmony with the biological cycles of the biosphere, such as the natural oxygen/carbon dioxide cycle of our breath and that of the plant kingdom.
6. A vegan diet connects one with the solar, lunar, and stellar forces of the universe. It allows one to extract energy from Mother Nature through the balancing principle of the rainbow diet.
7. A vegan diet minimizes the violence and exploitation of our animal friends on the planet. In this nonviolent space, it allows compassion for all life to blossom. A vegan diet would help bring planetary peace on every level.
8. A vegan diet minimizes the hoarding, wasting, and inefficient use of natural resources and energy for producing food. It minimizes the wasting of the food itself, particularly in the form of grain fed to livestock. Because of this, a vegan way of life would make it possible (if the social and political aspects of our society were ready) to curtail the million deaths per year due to starvation. It would also help end the disease and misery of millions more suffering from malnutrition. The abundance of food created by the worldwide adoption of a vegan diet would prove that starvation on the planet is caused more by a scarcity of justice than of food.
9. A vegan diet is considerably less expensive than a flesh-centered diet, and would be even more so if the meat industry in the US were not significantly subsidized by the government.
10. A shift to a vegan way of life is part of a major planetary shift in consciousness. It is the dietary blueprint for the Golden Age we are entering.
The process of becoming a vegan is one of self-discovery and self- transformation. Because food is more primary than sex, whatever changes we do make have a deep impact on an emotional, mental, and spiritual level. With each change of habit, a little more consciousness is liberated. Part of the self-discovery process is that as we change, old thought forms must be brought up, examined, and ultimately discarded.
A rapid shift to a vegan diet may precipitate a physical detoxification. For this and the reasons above, the number-one rule for making the transition to veganism is to move slowly and gently. If we are to be at peace with ourselves, each step in the process must be one that feels harmonious. Most people can deal with change if it is gradual. If the change comes too quickly, it then becomes a shock to the system. Usually, the complete transition takes several years. In the overall picture, how long the process takes doesn’t matter. What matters is that one has chosen to move along the evolutionary continuum toward health, harmony, and peace. At each step of the way one creates more peace and does less damage to others and oneself. By moving slowly, one avoids the pitfall of overreacting on a physical, emotional, and psychological level to the attitudinal changes that are made in the transition to veganism. In this way, one avoids becoming discouraged. In order to work with these changes in a beneficial way, it is important for one to develop some understanding of how they unfold.
Perspectives on Dietary Change
Changing one’s dietary pattern is not a search for a perfect diet because the only thing that is perfect is beyond the body-mind complex. The only thing that is perfect is the Truth of God, in all, as All. We are already imbedded in this perfection except that most of us are not aware of this reality. A healthy diet is an aid in clearing our consciousness and body so that we can be more receptive to the experience of this absolute level of truth. Diet is not the key to spiritual life, but it is a positive helping factor that assists in opening the door to communion with the Divine. Besides enhancing our communion with the Divine, an appropriate diet can help us reach stages of health in which we can fully enjoy life and live more youthfully, longer. This conscious eating approach is the reflection of, and contributor to, our state of internal balance and external harmony with ourselves, our society, and our planet. It is part of the unfolding process of being in tune with the primary natural laws of the universe. A healthy diet is most appropriately developed not as a mechanical process separate from our life, but in a full spiritual context of right livelihood, good company, loving our neighbors as our true selves, meditation and/or prayer, and starting each thought, word, and action with love. It is through this perspective that we are best able to develop an individualized diet that reflects the highest state of awareness and is completely appropriate to maximal function in the world.
Four Transition Stages
There are several major stages of dietary transition. Each stage may take as little as one season in a yearly cycle. The concept of “transitioning” allows one to be receptive to the continued progress of one’s evolutionary growth, no matter what the time frame.
Stage one is a transition from all bioacidic foods to natural, whole, organic foods. This means letting go of all processed, irradiated, chemicalized, pesticide-ridden and fungicide-containing, adulterated, fast, and junk foods and other sorts of “Hostess Twinkie”-type foods. In this stage we also begin to give up red meats.
The second stage is letting go of all flesh foods, such as poultry and fish. It also includes not eating eggs.
Stage three is a vegetarian diet with the inclusion of dairy at the beginning and then moving to an 80% live-food intake by the end.
Stage four is vegan without dairy and may be as much as 95‒100% live foods by the end. Not eating flesh or any dairy products is not technically defined as a vegan because to be a true vegan means the absolute avoidance of any animal products in the total lifestyle. This includes the avoidance of leather clothing, honey, and gelatin capsules.
For many people converting to a major lifestyle change. Without an understanding of the subtleties of the process it is easy to become confused and discouraged. This chapter speaks to those physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual issues. I also put vegetarianism in perspective spiritually by making the point that although a vegetarian diet helps the spiritual process, one cannot eat one’s way to God. As you read this chapter, try to see where you experience your own resistances. Are you ready to let go of these resistances? Are you ready to adopt a diet that will most likely make you more sensitive to the presence of God in your life?
For more useful information about the change to vegetarianism, please read Conscious Eating by Dr. Gabriel Cousens.