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Food and Spirituality
My religion of choice is Wicca, the American version, not the more formal European type. My kind of spirituality is nature-based.
Regardless of what kind of Wicca one practices, there is only one commandment, and every Wiccan knows what it is: Do what you will, but harm none.
Known as the Wiccan Rede, the commandment was first seen as the final line of a long poem by the same name, published in Green Egg Magazine in 1974. The piece was by Lady Gwen Thompson, who said it was given to her by her grandmother Adrianna Porter.
The final stanza reads:
Eight words the Wiccan Rede fulfill,
an’ it harm none, do what ye will.
There have been reams written on how one can live on earth and manage to harm none. My husband doesn’t think it’s possible. I think maybe that’s the point. If our only commandment is impossible, that we must spend our entire existence striving to get closer and closer to its lofty goal.
The Vegan Golden Rule
The Wiccan Rede is very similar to a phrase I’ve heard many vegans repeat in one version or another: I try to cause as little suffering to other sentient beings as possible.
Being a writer, I want to edit this line. It’s a bit redundant, because if you aren’t sentient, you can’t suffer. So I’d simplify it to: I try to cause as little suffering as possible.
But that’s still a little overstated. “cause as little suffering” is just a long-winded way of saying something far simpler: Try not to hurt anybody.
Or, even more succinctly: Harm none.
Same goal, different interpretation
I am both a whole foods vegan and a Wiccan, and I have to say, I think the vegans are more adept at defining what “harm” is than the Wiccans are—despite countless articles on the topic.
Eating meat and dairy does existential harm to the earth, Gaia, our mother.
Meat is Hurting Our Planet–Humane League
Eating meat and dairy does harm to our rivers and the oceans
Gulf of Mexico Dead Zone is the largest ever recorded–NOAA (National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration)
Eating meat and dairy does existential harm to our bodies, our homes, our temples.
Diets High in Meat, Eggs, Dairy as Harmful as Smoking—The Guardian
Eating meat and dairy inflicts cruel harm on the animals, our siblings on this earth.
Farm Animals Need Our Help—ASPCA
Eating meat and dairy inflicts unspeakable harm on our children and grandchildren, and theirs.
Will There Be a Livable Planet in Our Children and Grandchildren’s Future?–Ian Masters Podcast on SoundCloud
How can we claim to live by the edict “harm none” if we cause harm to with every bite, and repeat the harm every day, every month, every year of our lives?
On the other hand…
When we know better, we do better
I spent most of my life oblivious to the harm my diet was doing. When I finally learned the truth about food, I knew I had to do better. I can’t just learn something this compelling and not act on it.
Our leading causes of death among US adults are largely reversible. Type 2 Diabetes is 100% reversible with diet. Watch this very short, very thorough video by Dr. Neal Barnhard to understand what causes Type 2 diabetes.
That disease is about nothing else other than what you eat. Nothing else.
So is coronary artery disease. That plaque lining your arteries and causing all the problems is animal fat.
Watch Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn’s Ted Talk for the full scoop on that.
Making Heart Attacks History
Now you have yet another reason to get off animal proteins with all due haste!