By John Di Leonardo
We’re in a new year and that means you may be thinking about a New Year’s resolution. Perhaps you’re thinking about getting leaner or building more muscle. Maybe you’d like to be a little kinder or live a little greener. Perhaps you simply want to give more back to your community. By following just one simple ANUVRAT—or small vow—that of ahimsa, you can accomplish all these resolutions simultaneously.
Ahimsa—or nonviolence—is a primary tenet of Jainism. For Jain ascetics, this vow is a Mahavrata—or major vow—and may be observed by wearing a mask to avoid accidentally ingesting insects or gently sweeping their path with a broom so as not to accidentally step on any insects who may be hiding in their path. However, each of us can easily follow this path to a lesser extent by simply leaving animals off our plates and out of our closet. Traditionally, this requires vegetarianism and the avoidance of animal-based fabrics, however, I would contend that in the year 2022, we can (and should) easily take this a step further and avoid all animal products (including dairy and eggs) as well, strengthening our minds, bodies and souls all at the same time.
In my next article, I will go into detail as to how egg and dairy industries have become creative to hide their shortcomings. Their main goal is survival and misinforming consumers by brainwashing them with self-serving propagandas. Cruelty inflicted was beyond imaginations. Unfortunately, our government does not help by not considering birds as part of Animal Welfare acts.
Thankfully, in the year 2022, there are an infinite number of tasty and healthful replacements for animal flesh, eggs and dairy. One can buy soy or oat milk in nearly every grocery store and even many coffee shops. And Beyond Meat, which makes realistic plant-based meats out of vegetables like peas and beets has become widely available at food marts and even major restaurant chains like TGI Friday’s, with plans for it to soon be available in even fast-food restaurants like KFC, McDonald’s and Taco Bell.
Not only is eliminating animal-based products from your diet better for your karma but it is also better for your health and the environment. A staggering 51 percent or more of global greenhouse-gas emissions are caused by animal agriculture, according to a report published by Washington D.C. environmental think-tank the Worldwatch Institute. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, vegans are less likely to develop heart disease, cancer, diabetes and high blood pressure than meat-eaters are. In fact, NFL players like quarterback Cam Newton and world record strongmen like Patrik Baboumian are now going vegan to both help animals and improve performance.
“Ahimsa Parmo Dharma” is a Sanskrit phrase popularized by Mahatma Gandhi. In short, it means, “Nonviolence is the highest duty.” This year, I encourage each of us to take this ANUVRAT a little bit more seriously and better our health, the environment and the lives of animals by only consuming compassionate, animal-free
John Di Leonardo is the founding director of Long Island Orchestrating for Nature (LION). He was previously the Senior Manager of Grassroots Campaigns and Animals in Entertainment Campaigns for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). He has a Master’s degree in Anthrozoology from Canisius College. He also earned a graduate certificate in Jain Studies from the International School of Jain Studies (ISJS) in India. John can be reached at [email protected].
People Also Ask … ….
Can Jains have alcohol?
Alcohol consumption is not allowed in Jainism. Neither are there any exceptions like occasional (Welcoming New Year) or social drinking (marriage). The most important reason against alcohol consumption is the effect of alcohol on the mind and soul.