July 2016, I wrote: I have not been vegan since 2013. I started by adding in raw cow's milk in February 2013 when I noticed I was having joint pain. Lytenian (my husband) and I bought a raw cow's milk share – a share of a herd of cow's near Buffalo, NY.
It wasn't very high quality raw milk to be honest. I've had raw milk in various places around the country, and this was by far my least favorite. It made me tired whenever I consumed it, but I stopped having the joint pains and sudden faintness that I'd been having for a few months before having the sudden inspiration to look into raw milk. I stayed 100% raw for a year, as a raw vegetarian who ate raw cow's milk and raw fruits, vegetables, seeds and nuts. Then I discovered raw goat's milk while traveling. I loved it. No more tiredness after consuming milk! I could digest it easily, and from healthy goats it actually tastes great – while it’s fresh and raw.
Now, in Ithaca, we go regularly to Side Hill Acres, a goat farm, and I get eight gallons of raw milk in my half-gallon glass mason jars. At home I carefully pour off just enough from each jar so that I can freeze them. Each jar will have six cups raw goat's milk in it. We consume that much most days. And, in 2016, I've also taken to consuming raw cheese on occasion. And even some non-raw cheese. (Oh!gosh!) I know some of you may feel that this means I've "fallen off" the wagon. In some ways, it does mean that. However, I eat a lot more local now – local sheep's yogurt from Black Pearl Creamery, and I buy the raw goat milk at the farm directly. That's a lot less food miles than cashews.
And the cashews aren't actually raw. (They’re steamed out of the shell.) And they're more expensive. And I don't prefer the flavor as much. And they're actually less nutritious and have horrible pH and phosphorous to calcium ratios. And cashews, frankly, upset my stomach. I have to consume enzyme tablets to even eat nuts without getting gas, bloating and extreme fatigue. (Which is why my first recipe book in 2010 was Nut Free Raw Recipes.)
I've come to value intuition and listening to one's body over constructs about "right" and "wrong." Although, to be honest, I never felt it was inherently wrong to kill an animal, since I don't feel it is inherently wrong to kill anything – human, plant, animal, whatever. All value judgments, in my subjective opinion, are subjective.
Okay friends. Now eat me alive.
The Vegetarian Ethical Dilemma
Is consuming dairy just as bad as consuming meat?
Someone pointed out to me that the calves are killed to allow the mother to keep being milked. So my consuming raw goat milk from a local farm is still resulting in animals being killed. This is very true. I've reflected on this many times, and it does make me sad. It doesn't have to be that way, of course. In an ideal world, what might we do differently? And in today's world, what do I do when it comes down to my health or the deaths of baby goats?
I do think there is a more evolved – more enlightened – way of being where we no longer need any animal products. Eventually we spiritually evolve. We stop needing to eat. Even taking the life of a plant is still taking a life, and at some point, when we stop needing to fill the emotional void within us – we no longer need food.
I also believe there comes a time when we experience bliss from kissing and touching and no longer need sex for release or orgasm. We move from orgasms from sex to orgasms from touch, to orgasms from thought. Eventually we reach a state where there is so much bliss in every sensation that orgasm itself is not needed.
Sex becomes something we do only to procreate. But I don't condemn myself or others for using sex for release and pleasure now. For most of us, we're at a place in our spiritual journey where sex is a part of our divine connection to source energy.
I believe there comes a time where we evolve past music. Where the silence is more profound and beautiful than any instrument (as shown in the movie The Green Beautiful, which was actually banned in France, where the movie was created). Yet, on the way, music is a profound and spiritual experience.
And so, for some people, they're at a place where hunting an animal and eating it is a profound and spiritual experience. For others, it feels wrong. I have a hard time arguing that factory farming is ever spiritual for anyone, but honestly, where is the line we draw in the sand between things we feel lead to our spiritual growth, and things that do not? All "bad" things are part of the lesson that leads us to "good" things.
There comes a time when we choose to avoid all man-made radiation, including cell phones, microwaves, and so on. There comes a time when we choose to live without plastic or other materials with harsh, energy-pulling vibrations. There comes a time when we no longer have excess clutter in our homes and choose to live more simply.
But most of us will not reach all of these vibrational realities in this current lifetime we're living.
There is no benefit to guilt-tripping myself about what feels good or bad to me. (Unless, of course, you count that guilt-tripping myself eventually leads to learning that it is not helping me.)
Guilt-trips mess up my intuitive guidance system. By telling myself that something that feels good is wrong, and something that feels bad is right, I confound my own ability to feel for myself.
That is where people stop being able to use their own moral judgement and have to turn to leaders to direct them. Then people become pliable, easy to manipulate, quick to believe propaganda.
As children our parents said, "I know what is best for you!" and taught us not to trust our own internal guidance systems – our feelings. Because of this, we have a society where people are living lives that don't feel good to them. This, I believe, is the underlying problem.
If everyone lived in accordance with what felt really, truly good to them, then we could all progress much more smoothly down the path of our own individual enlightenment. Or not. Perhaps we need all this pain, drama, death, and suffering in order to wake up.
And yet, intuition leads me back to veganism . . .
January 2017 I wrote: Since October 2016 I’ve felt inclined to be vegan. No more goat milk, cheese, yogurt or butter. It was a spiritual prerogative and part of my intuitive eating program. These things fluctuate, as they’re meant to. When you’re listening to your body and your emotions – more than you’re listening to your programming – you change and grow a lot. I believe this is a good thing.
For a much more in-depth look at the ethics around veganism, read my dissertation covering:
- What is a vegan?
- Should vegans worry about hurting plants?
- Is factory farming the main reason to avoid meat?
- Ignorance Is Not Bliss
- The Importance of the Veggie Community
- Choosing Healthful Ecological Fabric
- The Cycle of Fear
- The Big Picture
- Reducing Waste & Healing the Planet
- Advertising — Your ticket to debt and depression
- Waste Not, Want Not — The Crucial Key Is Efficiency
- What else is inefficient?
- Monocrops: A terribly inefficient farming technique
- Cob: A highly efficient architectural alternative
- Beyond Veganism