What is the change you would like to see in the world? I think we all want an end to war, violence and suffering. We all want to raise peaceful, compassionate children who strive to make a difference in the world. If these are the things that you want as well then you need to start with yourself because peace begins with you.
Peace begins with what you put in your body and how you feed your children. One of the lessons that I teach my mindfulness students is called mindful eating. Mindful eating is the practice of following our food from the source of where it originated before it got to our table. This helps us appreciate our food on a deeper level.
Mindful eating can be a fun practice for families to share at the dinner table. It connects us to our food, the Earth and to the humans and animals that made it so that we are not hungry. Let’s take avocados for example. We need to go all the way back before the avocado becomes an avocado to appreciate its journey to our table.
The Earth was tilled by humans and machines so that an avocado orchard could be planted. The fertilizer used in the soil might have been made from emulsified fish. We can be grateful for the fish for making the soil rich in nutrients. Worms work their way through the soil and their castings add extra nutrients to the soil. Thank you, worms.
As the seedlings are planted, people are an integral component of the cultivation of the tender crops as they grow into strong, healthy trees. The trees had to be maintained and irrigated to continue to grow and bear fruit. Thank you, water. Bees and other insects help to pollinate the trees. Thank you, insects. Eventually, the trees grow avocados and once they are ripe, they are harvested.
Avocados are then loaded into boxes by hardworking humans in the heat of the day. They are loaded into trucks that are driven by humans to our grocery store. They travel many miles using fossil fuel. Someone unloads them and then someone else places them in the produce section for us to buy, take home and eat.
Another person works hard to earn the money to buy these avocados. Some avocados go straight to restaurants where they are prepared and placed into meals by people who work hard to make sure we are happy and satisfied with our meal. We can practice mindful eating by following the trail with all of the food we eat.
Mindful eating helps to cultivate compassion, gratitude and peace. When we have meat on our dinner plate and begin to practice mindful eating, it is undeniable that there is no compassion, gratitude or peace when it comes to eating animals. Most of the meat in the United States originates from factory farms.
We can never be at peace if we eat animal products because we are consuming everything that is the opposite of peace. We are consuming misery, torture, fear, sadness, pain and captivity. We are consuming mothers who are heart broken and babies who never had a chance at life.
Eating a plant-based diet is not a new concept. As a matter of fact, it is ancient. Did you know that the most intelligent ancient Greeks were vegetarian and/or vegan? Socrates, Aristotle, Plato, Pythagorus among others were all vegetarian and often wrote about the philosophical and moral implications of eating meat.
“As long as man continues to be the ruthless destroyer of lower living beings he will never know health or peace. For as long as men massacre animals, they will kill each other. Indeed, he who sows the seed of murder and pain cannot reap joy and love,” (Pythagoras)
If this was true in ancient times, it is even more true today.
Peace is plant based. If you haven’t already switched you and your children to a plant-based diet, it isn’t too late! Not only will you be teaching your children compassion and cultivating a more peaceful future, you will save the lives of thousands of animals and help put an end to needless suffering.