April 27l, 2008 - SUNDAY WITH T.SELVA
There is a certain joy to becoming a vegetarian that can only be experienced and cannot be described.
EX-BEATLE Paul McCartney’s quote, “The biggest change anyone could make in their own lifestyle would be to become vegetarian”, inspired me to write this week’s column.
On Wednesday, the singer and guitarist urged the world to go vegetarian in a bid to fight global warming.
It has been two years since I started following a strict vegetarian diet and I must say I’m glad to have made the switch because I feel so liberated.
Weeks after I declared to be green conscious, a friend sent me an SMS which read: “Our body is meant to be a sacred space and not a graveyard”.
People go meatless for various reasons, the most common being for spiritual practice or health.
Timely: The awareness of the benefits of a vegetarian diet is increasing.
Researching, reading about, writing on, and visiting places of worship of different faiths made me go vegetarian out of respect for these powerful sites.
Vedic scriptures stress that for our body to enjoy the desired harmony with the five elements of ether, air, fire, water and earth, one should be meat-free.
Also, when one stop eating meat one’s sense organs – the ears, skin, eyes, tongue and nose – can connect completely with the five elements easily.
This has also been found to be one of profound ways to tune an individual’s body so that the person can joy the full benefits of the positive energies available in any peaceful space.
Giving up meat is viewed as a big sacrifice by many but when a person makes such a decision, he or she is also testing the individual’s will power, ego and discipline.
It short, it means total surrender and it requires mental orientation and wisdom to conform to such virtues.
I don’t deny that it can be challenging sometimes when you attend functions or eat out because you are bound to be exposed to more meat dishes than vegetables and also sometimes peer pressure tempting you to break your restricted diet.
There have been several instances where family and friends try and sabotage my decision because they don’t understand the values of becoming vegetarian.
A frequently asked question is what is it like to be a vegetarian?
I feel lighter, my aura has improved, I no longer crave any particular food, I do not feel hungry between lunch and dinner, I enjoy improved meditation powers and inner bliss, and generally feel a lot fitter.
Some people think that once you give up meat, you will tire easily and become weak and less energetic.
This is definitely not true in my case. A vegetarian diet can be a very healthy option but it is important to ensure it is well balanced.
What is a vegetarian diet?
A vegetarian diet is distinguished from an omnivorous diet by its content of dry beans and lentils. These take the place of meat and fish as the major source of protein.
And there are many different kinds of beans you can choose from – kidney, cranberry, navy, garbanzo, soy beans and black-eyed peas.
These can be served with rice, added to soups, stews, and salads or a variety of casseroles, and made into different dishes.
Tofu, or soy bean curd, can be used in dips and spreads, or served with pasta or stir-fried vegetables.
Now some of these flavoured proteins taste just like the real meat dishes.
For me, my meals include fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts and dairy products.
I find my diet is much lower in total fat, and I tend to eat proportionally more polyunsaturated fat than saturated fat compared with non-vegetarians.
The awareness of the benefits of a green diet is increasing and also how it can help to improve health and balance the body, mind and soul.
In the past, I used to have my meals at home before attending functions but now more and more people are aware of the need to prepare separate vegetable cuisine to cater for this special group.
Studies of human evolution have shown that our ancestors were vegetarian by nature and that the structure of the human body is not suited to eating meat all the time.
From the beginning of recorded history, vegetables have been the natural food of human beings; meat was a rare addition.
I strongly believe that no one should be forced to become a vegetarian because you have to make such a decision on your own.
When the time comes in each person’s life, he or she will realise the benefits and goodness of a vegetarian diet whether for spiritual or health reasons or simply to stop exploiting animals.
As for me, the unique joy of becoming a vegetarian can only be experienced and cannot be described.
T. Selva, The Star’s Sunday Metro Editor, feels that for all health reasons we should become a vegetarian.