Being a Vegetarian

I became a non-meat eater in 1999, while I was teaching English at a middle school in North East China. I made a conscious decision for the betterment of my health to stop eating animal flesh. And now 22 years later, I’m a vegetarian not only for health reasons, but all reasons, be it health, environment, animal cruelty, climate change, over consuming, non-violence.

Eating with Non – Violence

Mindfulness helps us be aware of what is going on. The meat industry has devastated our planet. Forests are being destroyed to create grazing land for cattle or to grow crops to feed them. The world’s cattle alone consume a quantity of food equivalent to the caloric needs of 8.7 billion people. It takes a hundred times more water to produce a single pound of meat than it does to produce a pound of grain.

Not eating meat is a powerful way to help our planet survive. Simply by eating vegetarian, you can preserve water, reduce pollution, prevent deforestation, and protect wildlife from extinction. If we stop consuming, they will stop producing.

from Zen and the Art of Saving the Planet by Thich Nhat Hanh , 2021

I am glad in this lifetime to have stopped eating animal flesh, and primarily follow a plant-based diet as a vegetarian, and to be part of the solution to help reduce the suffering in the world.

Here is a simple recipe “Chili con Veggies” that I enjoy making and eating:

Chili con Veggies

A tasty dish that can assist in making the changes in diet (and lifestyle) gradually, as is usually best in the long term. Serves 4 to 6.

1 cup kidney beans, soaked
4 tablespoons oil
1 ½ teaspoons chili powder
½ ground cumin
½ teaspoon turmeric
1 large green bell pepper, cored, seeded,
and chopped
3 sticks of celery, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
2 large tomatoes, chopped
4 tablespoons tomato paste
2 to 3 tablespoons lemon juice (optional)
Salt to taste

Drain the kidney beans, place them in a pan, and cover with fresh water. Bring to a boil and boil vigorously for 10 minutes. Half cover and simmer gently for 1 to 1 ½ hours longer, until the beans are tender, drain and set aside.

2 Heat the oil in a heavy skillet and sauté the spices for a few minutes. Add the green bell pepper, celery, and carrot and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, until the vegetables are slightly soft. Stir in the tomatoes and tomato paste and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the cooked beans and simmer for 15 minutes longer. Season with lemon juice and salt and serve at once.

From the Sivananda Yoga Cookbook, 1999

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