Toxic Positivity And Eating Meat

Okay, so I really need to talk about this. And I might sound tougher than I usually do. Seeing people just starting to explore their spirituality getting shamed is really not cool. Honestly, I’ve had it with the spiritual community shaming people for eating meat.

Let’s be clear about two things first:

  1. Some religions and beliefs have a tenet of vegetarianism and veganism. This is wonderful and valid. If that’s your religion or belief system, you should keep doing it. 
  2. Other religions and beliefs have a tenet of eating meat or that no food is forbidden. This is wonderful and valid. If that’s your religion or belief system, you should keep doing it. 

My issue is not with either of these situations. I respect both.

Where I’ve had it is when folks have chosen to adopt vegetarianism or veganism and then choose to shame other people for it, under the guise of spirituality.

Those memes

I’m sure we’ve all seen those memes that go, “I just don’t know how you call yourself spiritual when you eat something that has a face” (which, by the way, is anthropomorphizing). 

You know how the spiritual community uses lots of Indigenous Traditional Knowledge (e.g. sage smoke, other plant medicine, stones and crystals)? Yeah, a lot of that is Indigenous Traditional Knowledge.

And many folks in the non-Indigenous spiritual community love to use all of those practices. Of course, there are other religions that use smoke and incense and other kinds of plants, herbs and stones. But the use of sage and reference to “plant medicine” and using the Stone People (crystals) is all Indigenous practice.

Did you know?

Traditional Knowledge also includes hunting and eating animals.

I once respectfully asked an Indigenous elder about this, because I knew of the Indigenous beliefs and practices of intimate relationship with the land, and the belief that everything that comes from the land has spirit, IS spirit.

So I asked the elder who explained that in this physical life, it’s unavoidable that we eat each other.

She explained that the plants all have spirits and life just like animals, and that insects and animals eat the plants and each other, and we eat plants and animals. That if we truly didn’t eat anything with a spirit, we couldn’t eat anything, because it ALL has spirit. And that it’s not about the fact THAT we do. Rather, it’s about HOW we approach eating.

  • Are we respectful and not greedy?
  • Do we truly appreciate and offer gratitude to the plants and animals who gave up their lives for us?
  • Are we respecting their lives by not wasting any part of them?

Aren’t these practices far more spiritual?

Where do you draw the line

And if, in your spiritual practice, you don’t believe that everything has spirit, where do you draw the line, and why? I do not ask this to be confrontational – simply to ask that you internally work through these considerations so that you understand your own choices.

  • Why don’t plants have spirits, if you don’t believe they do?
  • Is it because they don’t have a face?
  • What about all those sea creatures like sea anemones, sand dollars and clams? They don’t have faces. But they’re alive and they’re not plants.
  • Do insects have spirits? Do termites have spirits? What about fleas and ticks? 

Listen, if you genuinely take issue with eating meat for spiritual reasons, I respect that, and you don’t need to eat it. But don’t project the inner shame you’re holding about something else in your life onto others under the guise of being spiritual.

Because if you’re shaming others, there is nothing spiritual about that.

I’m not normally this tough, and I also feel protective of folks who are just starting to explore their spirituality and haven’t sorted out their beliefs yet. They have the right to explore, think and research without being shamed for the same practices that many spiritual cultures have practiced for millennia.

1 thought on “Toxic Positivity And Eating Meat”

  1. Hear, hear! I would like to second the motion raised by Madame Logan. Thank you kindly for bringing it forward. Bless you in all that you do.


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