A Vegan Yogi Talks About Thanksgiving Pie
I always love when an instructor ends class by telling us to take a moment and thank ourselves for coming to our mats and allowing ourselves time for yoga. It is a great reminder to be kind to ourselves. An idea that sometimes gets lost in the shuffle of life. Thanksgiving is also a time that people become more aware of what they are grateful for. I am grateful for so many things in my life. I am thankful every day for the amazing people in my life. I try not to take all that I have for granted but I know that at times I do. This year I find myself particularly thankful that I don’t eat animals. Thanksgiving is also a holiday that is largely centered on food (and maybe Football if you are into that thing) A time when there are pictures of turkey everywhere. Yesterday I saw a picture of an uncooked turkey wearing a pilgrim hat and “holding” a beer. This stuff is all par for the course. I am used to it and yet I find myself becoming so much more aware of it lately. I had been a lacto-ovo- vegetarian for over half my life. Meat has not touched my lips since I was fifteen. This is a choice I made as a teenager when I came to the realization that I didn’t need to eat meat to survive. Why eat an animal if you don’t have to? And for the record you don’t have to. As a child I will say that you may have to eat animals as you have no control over the food that you are given. It is what your parents or caregivers give you and that is what you eat. You also may not have the understanding of where meat comes from at that age. But once you are of an age that you are able to cook for yourself or gather information you are making a decision to eat animals. You either know where your meat comes from or are okay with that or are not willing to find out. Maybe you like the taste too much and decide that you are cool with eating animals. That is a choice you are making. As I said, I was a Lacto-ovo-Vegetarian for years. I ate dairy and consumed cheese from cow or goat milk. I LOVED cheese! I lived on that stuff. I didn’t stop eating all animal products until a few years ago. I was willfully ignorant. I didn’t want to know because I assumed it would be impossible for me to give up dairy or go out to eat anywhere without that in my life. Butter is everywhere!! As a vegan you figure that out very quickly. Especially when you go to a holiday dinner and every single lovely carrot and green bean is often drenched in it unless you brought the dish yourself. I was just not willing to look at the facts. By eating dairy I was contributing to the suffering of animals. I didn’t want to stop and look at that. I told myself that cows had to make milk anyway. Eggs had to be laid anyway. This isn’t true and the info is out there if you want to look. Veganism is the next logical step. I stumble sometimes (Honey has not been totally eliminated from my life and I can’t vouch for every single tube of lipstick in my make-up bag) Also, when you go to a non-vegan restaurant you honestly can’t be totally completely certain what is happening in the kitchen. But I try my hardest to stick to the lifestyle I have chosen.
I truly believe that my yoga practice has helped me to see this. One of the Eight Limbs of Yoga Is Yama (laws of life) of which according to Patanjali there are five. Non- violence is one of them. Do no harm. I am thankful that instead of eating a turkey this Thanksgiving I instead sponsored one that was rescued and lives at Farm Sanctuary. I am thankful that the coffee shop I am sitting in to write this has a sign on their door that says vegan option inside. I am thankful that along with the pies you can order here for Thanksgiving meal there is a vegan pie on the list! (Yes I am talking about Seven Stones in Media and the Vegan pie is made by Buddha Bunny Bakery!) This is awesome and it makes me happy. More and more options are available to people who choose not to eat meat. I think there should be more options available. I am sure we will see this in the next few years. But maybe this holiday season you can start with just having one option for Thanksgiving dinner where there was no harm done to an animal. Just one. Don’t worry; I will bring the Green Bean Casserole and the Sweet Potatoes with cashew nut cheese!