Dr. Brianne Donaldson, scholar of Jainism, recently wrote an article about the cultural blindness of our response to slaughterhouse workers. In the Covid19 pandemic, the mental health of farmers was deemed worthy to support. However, “essential” slaughterhouse workers are traumatized every day.
As she says, ” If killing animals is this traumatic, why have anyone do it? Far from “essential” business, slaughterhouse work destroys animals and corrodes the well-being of people. Since nearly all humans living in the industrialized world can live well and healthy without animal flesh, the time has come to transition away from a practice widely acknowledged to be a source of personal trauma and social harm.”
She also gave an engaging 40 minute interview the role of animal agriculture in the Covid19 pandemic.
As Dr. Donaldson describes, it is often immigrants and refugees that work in slaughterhouses. Back when I worked on refugee health, I, too found that the resettlement agencies in NC had placed the refugees from Asia into slaughterhouse jobs.
Dr. Nandita Shah from Sharan gives a great introduction to veganism in this video
and this NYT article discusses the increased risk of heart disease in South Asian, linked both to those that eat a very traditional diet with lots of refined grains and saturated fat, and also a too Western diet with high fat meat and dairy. The type of whole foods, plant based diet that I, and Dr. Nandita and other vegan nutritionists and doctors recommend fit the recommendations to incorporate whole grains, vegetables and legumes into a mixed diet.
Working collaboratively with the help of the Jain Society of Toronto (JSOT), the non-profit group Towards Ahimsa Inc. (based out of Toronto, Canada) co-hosted a special event last month to celebrate the health and wellbeing of a plant based diet.Through a series of interactive activities and thought-provoking discussions a group of 70 senior community members learnt first hand the philosophical definition of ahimsa in Jainism in its relationship to diet.
Presenters included medical doctors & professional educators who started by defining the nature of a Plant Based or Vegan diet. They presented medical evidence regarding benefits to vascular disease, cancers, diabetes, blood pressure, weight control, and overall benefits to quality-of-life and mortality. They also discussed ways to optimize the vegan diet and how to easily obtain nutrients like vitamin B12, calcium and iron, and protein.
The talk was extremely well received with great questions and enthusiasm on the part of the seniors. One attendee even claimed she would become vegan from this point forward!
JAINA Education Leader Pravin Shah was recorded this week while in London, where he was invited to give talks for Paryushan. Here we have two talks in English and one in Gujarati on his personal decision to become vegan after visiting a dairy farm and discusses the decrease in his cholesterol that resulted. He also sicusses the philosophical basis for veganism in Jain philosophy and practice. One is “parapagraho jivanam“, all life is interdependent, and the other enjoins the practitioner to consume only those items known to him or her to be ahimsak. Thanks to Minal, Mahersh, Nishma, and Sagar from the JAIN vegans UK for producing these recordings!
Based on the combined work of 15 Jain Center of Greater Boston volunteers and his own personal stories, Sanjay provides a compelling case for Jains to become vegan as the true expression of vegetarianism based on ahimsa.
Here are some recent videos in which I discuss how i became vegan and address concerns with Calcium, Protein and B12. My story is similar to other doctors raised in Jain families who have come to learn and now incorporate into our practices how healthy a vegan diet is. It is especially beneficial for those of us who are vegetarian Indians that have a high risk of heart disease, diabetes, hypertension and strokes due to our genetics to take the next step of eliminating dairy foods.
I asked Rabbi and physician (M.D., N.D. and diplomate in Ayurveda) Dr. Gabriel Cousens about Jainism and Veganism. He describes the violence to self in terms of adverse health effects from consuming animal products including dairy and connects veganism to our 5 anuvrats, also familar to yogis as the yamas.
We’ve been making almond milk from scratch for a few years, soaking the almonds (1 cup), draining, blending with 3 cups water, straining out the pulp, sometimes sweetening with dates or adding vanilla or cardamom. It is always delicious but sometimes felt time consuming.The store bought almond milk seems to have a lot of filler and is not as good. So SURPRISE!
In the book Forks over Knives, companion to the movie that is such a great resource, we found the following: Add 1-2 teaspoons of raw almond butter to each 1 cup of water and blend until smooth. We happen to have roasted almond butter on hand and it tasted good but will try raw next, because it will surely be even better. What a find! No worries about wasting or saving the pulp and we can make a small amount at a time.
Interestingly the website detoxinista.com has detailed instructions on making your own almond butter using a food processor. Lately we have been using the food processor to make our own almond butter. Living in California we can go to the local farmer’s market and buy organic almonds straight from the farmer. So from almonds to almond butter to almond milk, no added filler!