Can a person live on a vegan diet?

A reader asks:

Can a person really live on only a vegan diet? Are there Theosophists who are true vegans?  If so, what supplements, if any, do they take? Are eggs acceptable from a Theosophic standpoint if they are unfertilized and not from chickens that have been tortured?  Are there any dairy products that can be obtained from sources where the cruelty normally inflicted upon the animals in commercial dairy situations is absent?

I do know people who live on a vegan diet. I’m not sure what supplements they take. There are foods these days that have added vitamin B12 for instance, so one doesn’t have to resort to pills.

Not all theosophists are vegans or even vegetarians. I am a vegetarian:
I do eat eggs and consume milk products. I occasionally take vitamin b and omega 3 pills. See my page on Vegetarian Health Tips for details of what’s healthy and what isn’t.

Personally I feel that there is something to be said for a diet that doesn’t lead to too much estrangement. In other words: I don’t think my social life could handle it if I were to become a vegan. My mom is put to enough difficulties cooking for vegetarians – forcing her to avoid eggs and dairy in what she cooks for us when we visit is really too much.

For me this isn’t about perfection. I don’t think we can avoid all the cruelties our society produces. Minimizing contributing to them is the highest I personally aspire to.

Your question about eggs is pertinent from an Indian standpoint: Brahmins traditionally don’t consume eggs, because of the chances of eggs being fertilized. With chickens being bred away from roosters, this is one issue one doesn’t have to worry about with most eggs. Paradoxically, it is relevant in case of free range chickens in some cases.

One way to get dairy products that are animal cruelty free is to get them straight from the organic farmer. Those do exist. Depending on where you live you might even be able to get them from the store. If you can’t, it won’t hurt to ask your local store manager if you could get those kinds of products. That might bring a change. It’s up to each of us to choose to be an activist on specific issues or not.

4 thoughts on “Can a person live on a vegan diet?”

  1. Hey Katinka,

    What is the main purpose of being a vegan? Does it have anything to do with spiritual growth and Self-realization or is it primarily a way to not be a part of cruelty to animals?

  2. Can you really work on spiritual growth without being the best person you can be?

    But yes – most theosophists feel that eating meat is bad for your vibrations. That is: eating blood brings you down. Makes you less spiritual. You will literally feel lighter on a vegetarian or vegan diet – as long as you keep it healthy that is.

  3. Hi Katinka,
    Interesting post.
    I would question still whether the organic farmer’s dairy products are creulty free! Beyond the question of whether the farmer behaves compassionately, 80% of meat products are actually a product of the dairy industry, so by supporting the dairy industry, there is an indirect support for the meat industry.
    My own expeiences with veganism has given me an increased sense of self realisation… only by testing yourself can you figure out the way your mind works. Only by taking something away can you examine the reasons why you desire that something.

  4. Vegetarianism is good but may only be the 3rd (ovo-lacto) and 4th (lacto) of about 7 steps, after veganism which are natural hygiene and if possible (maybe not for everyone,) rawist natural hygiene. Each step decreases ecological harm. Even the 2nd to last step should be quite rawist–the more one is the less packaging, heating, etc. is used, though much heating still may be used. I have tried it but know of few/no very active rawists (at least long-term,) maybe because of calories (unless I am misinformed) and the fact there are advantages & disadvantages for both rawism and some cooking.

    I may have been a bit estranged from my parents when trying to be more hygienic (though they raised me one,) especially rawist. I think the steps to veganism and semi-natural hygiene (similar to macrobiotism, i.e. with cooking) are much easier and similar since they allow cooking and there are substitutes for everything. It just takes a little learning of those… maybe not all vegan substitutes are the same, I would not know. Veganism requires ω-acids, particularly such as in ground flax/linseeds. Nutrition investigation is also necessary for methods of rawism even mixed with some cooking. Maybe I was not rawist long enough, but maybe there is an alternate step such as trying alchemy/ORMEs or sungazing if they can be safe.

    The legal definition ‘free range’ is actually a very small space… I am not sure but it may still include small containers. IIRC eggs have the most cholesterol of any food (plants have none,) and cows’ milk is one that is most different than humans’ (too different than others probably including plant-derived ones.) Veganism is a good step but not necessarily the last….

    I mostly agree with Jess about desire (but one should see how all consciousness levels work.) Rawism (at least partial) and beyond also gives me increased sense of good existences.

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