Archive for July, 2009

Autism and Veganism

July 3, 2009

Toxic Soup:

Vaccines, Factory-farmed Animals, and the Politics of Autism

In mid-September of 2008, on national news reports, we heard the story of a severely autistic 13-year-old boy adrift in an ocean overnight being able to stay alive, in part due to his optimistic spirit and light-hearted repetition of lines from his favorite Disney movies. The cheeriness of many children like him with severe autism ought to be an inspiration to us all, especially during a time of much controversy in the debate on the best methods of explaining, preventing, and treating autism. On Sept. 3, the week before, CNN, and CBS had reported that a new study had shown that the Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccine—long declared by some parents of autistic children to be responsible for their children’s autism–does NOT cause autism, that it is safe.
Although encouraging the American public to continue to have confidence in the vaccination process, which could be considered noble, the CNN MMR report did nothing to further public understanding of the complicated science and politics behind autism research. It also failed to mention that some vaccines, like the flu vaccine, still contain large doses of Thimerosal, a preservative which contains a high amount of mercury and which if ingested in large amounts (such as from multiple doses of vaccines at one time) could be toxic to the brain and central nervous system, and cause developmental problems for a growing fetus or young child. We also heard that the MMR vaccine, either by itself or in combination with other thimerosal-containing vaccines, is currently being accused, in Federal courts, of being the cause of autism by families of autistic children, with 8 test cases out of 9 to be heard starting this year, and 4900 similar lawsuits waiting in the wings.
This year will also see major studies about alternative theories of causation of autism coming out, as it is becoming clear that the number of cases of autism is still rising, despite the removal of the mercury-containing preservative thimerosal from almost all vaccines five to seven years ago.
Many of us have questions about autism: What causes autism? Is it true what anti-vaccine groups are saying—that vaccines or the mercury-containing thimerosal within them causes autism? What does consumption of dairy have to do with autism?? What can anyone do to help these unfortunate children and their families?
If one looks into the story of autism, one makes some disturbing discoveries. One finds that the gene theory of causation is extremely popular and such research is generously funded, whereas other theories such as that vaccines or some of the excesses of Western culture (such as pollution) might be part of the etiology of autism have been generally under-funded and slandered. Theories which blame environmental factors–such as dairy, various pollutants, or (in the case of autism) the vaccines–are thought too simplistic, even by many autistics’ family members. These theories, which include evidence that factory-farmed food is routinely contaminated with high amounts of toxic metals, are also thought too unlikely. After all, as one educated person put it, “Doesn’t the FDA test food for those things?”
To complicate things further, the diagnosis of autism itself can mean many things: cases range from “mild” to “severe” autism (with much physical disability) to Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder on the “autism spectrum disorder” scale (with little or no physical disability). No treatment is known to cure severe autism, partly because no one seems to be able to speak authoritatively about what causes it. One of the most disturbing discoveries one finds about autism—among many others–is that children with autism, both “mild” and “severe” cases, are routinely being given high dosages of psychiatric medication—medication which is known to have negative effects on brain and nervous system development!!!
Other distressing information comes to light. One discovers that the Food and Drug Administration, the regulator of pharmaceuticals, as well as upper management at Merke and Eli Lilly manufactures had for years ignored evidence that vaccines were related to autism, even though major players in the pharmaceutical industry knew it by 1991. However, it wasn’t until 1999 that a little-publicized deal was struck between the pharmaceutical companies, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC): the pharmaceutical companies would quietly begin taking thimerosal out of vaccinations and pediatricians would postpone some of the birth vaccines until the baby was two to six months old.
Further, possible factory-farmed food sources of dangerously-high amounts of toxic metals, such as arsenic and mercury have been discovered up by the FDA and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The USDA, which is in charge of inspecting meat and feed for contaminants, and the FDA decided to announce to agribusiness in 1999 that arsenic should be removed from their animal feed; no requirement was made, however, and these toxics are still found in meat and dairy.
Even more shockingly, one discovers that Eli Lilly executives, working with Bush Jr.’s White House, had been able to secretly put an “immunity” clause into the Patriot Act of 2002, absolving them of any future liability in lawsuits filed by parents who felt their children were damaged by vaccines (later repealed due to public outcry). (Psychologist Bruce Levine terms Eli Lilly scandals such as these “Lillygates”.)(1)
We all heard the results of the Hannah Poling case, decided last fall before even going to trial, the first of the 9 test cases (among 4900) regarding vaccinations and autism to be settled in Federal “Vaccine Court” (before trial), and the first case in which the government admitted that their vaccinations had “triggered” a case of autism. However, they claimed that this was a rare case, that Hannah Poling had an underlying mitochondrial disorder, an unusual “predisposition”, which had contributed to her development of autism.
In light of all this, parents considering vaccinations and safe diets now still have many questions, but answers are difficult to come by. How safe are vaccinations now, truly, as only 60% of thimerosal has been removed (and some is still used in “processing”), but only as a supposed “precautionary measure”? Are children still being struck down by autism? And why are autistics’ parents’ group still protesting about thimerosal? Are they really just “looking for someone to blame” as one parent of an autistic girl claims? Should pregnant women avoid meat and dairy products altogether? The politics of autism has made true scientific inquiry into the subject difficult. Emotions run high among the victims of autism as well as the vaccine-makers—and vaccine-promoting FDA, NIH and WHO officials. The “money trail” often leads back to the pharmaceutical-industrial complex—the pharmaceutical companies, the government regulators and the doctors who too often work together for less than lofty reasons.
As an indication of the inefficiency of the politics of autism, we remember that although thimerosal’s safety began being questioned in the seventies by autistics advocacy groups, the truly scientific study of thimerosal was NOT done by the FDA as one might expect, but was begun in the late nineties by university researchers, led by Neal Halsey, M.D.. Yet, after it became obvious to responsible, ethical researchers that thimerosal could cause at least a substantial number of cases of autism, the removal of thimerosal from the vaccines is said to have actually been completed in U.S. pharmaceuticals by only 2003!
So, given that the thimerosal was eventually removed from vaccinations here in the U.S. and in Europe, we would expect that the incidence of autism would be going down since approximately 2000. Yet, government figures indicate that the numbers of children being diagnosed with classic/severe autism in the U.S. are smaller, but only by approximately 50% between 1999 and 2007.
Interestingly, Third World vaccinations still contain Thimerosal, due to international health officials concern that vaccines transported to the Third World would become too expensive if required to be shipped without the preservative. The consequences of this decision deserve more analysis.
What, then, is the relationship between thimerosal, toxic metals and autism? What else might be causing autism? Some scientists, such as those at the John Hopkins School of Public Health, are beginning to suspect that other sources of toxic metals in a young child’s or fetus’ development may, as thimerosal has been thought to, be providing the “trigger” dose of mercury and/or other toxic metals which leads to autism. Currently, for example, John Hopkins is investigating the effects auto exhaust fumes, pesticides and other pollutants can have on the development of babies and small children’s brains and central nervous systems as they relate to autism. Underlying sensitivities to toxic metals may also be playing a role.
Environmental sources of mercury and other toxic metals are many, but one of the prime suspects today is the fish we eat—such as swordfish, sea bass, halibut, and tuna among others. They can too often contain toxic levels of mercury and it is often recommended to pregnant women that they eat it only two times per month at most. Habitual eating of mercury-containing fish or other long-term toxic metal exposure could lead one to have an underlying sensitivity to toxic metal poisoning.
According to John Robbins’ , shockingly, fishmeal is also the main component of the feed of our factory-farmed animals! Doctors began surmising in 1999 that the high dose of mercury in thimerosal combined with another high dose of a different form of mercury in fish could lead to autism. Combine that with the facts that the factory-farm feed contains arsenic to kill pathogens and to promote animal growth (17) and that factory-farmed animals are themselves given massive amounts of antibiotics (some of which did and may very well still contain mercury), and you have a potential food and health disaster. Perhaps the mercury and other toxic metals found in our food supply, combined with other factors, like the mercury-containing vaccines, might help explain autism today? We shall see if our society can rise above politics and focus on much needed research and transparency in this area.
A NEW VARIABLE: The Meat/Poultry, Fish and Dairy Connection
So reputable scientists reporting in such journals as the International Journal of Molecular Medicine, Toxicology and the Journal of Integrative Medicine generally concur now that thimerasol (and possibly merthiolate, another mercury-containing vaccine preservative) can be the “straw that broke the camel’s back”, for children who also had either other sources of mercury and/or toxic metal in their diet/ environment (such as high levels in their factory-farmed food) and/or low inherited or genetic tolerance to mercury/toxic metals. (2)
More like the “bale of straw that broke the camel’s back” for some, as it was finally discovered by FDA scientists and Neal Halsey, M.D. of the John Hopkins School of Public Health, a famous international epidemiologist, in 1999. These scientists finally “did the math” on thimerosal and found that in vaccinating a child on the usual “schedule” of vaccinations, a child might receive 85-87 times the FDA standard for mercury before age 6 months! (3) This depended on how many of their vaccinations were drawn from the “large vial” containers! It may be possible, again, that this kind of dose of mercury can also be found in other environmental sources.
Halsey investigated the theory that the ethyl-mercury/vaccine + methyl-mercury/fish = autism connection. American fish of the past hundred years have contained higher and higher levels of mercury and other toxic metals because the water they live in is routinely contaminated with them. This pollution’s sources are everything from smelter smoke deposits and pollution from various industries to water run-off from factory farms. At the same time as the level of mercury in our environment and diet was increasing, vaccination schedules, with multiple vaccinations in one shot and/or one visit to the doctor’s office, had begun to include more and more thimerosal—particularly in the 1990’s, when the nation also experienced a large percentage increase in the numbers of young children with severe autism.
However, things are not so simple. Apparently, an environmental source of mercury or other toxic metal can be inserted into either of the variables in the above equation, and under a standard set of conditions (including possibly sensitivity to toxic metals, which is possibly genetic or inherited), autism results.
One of the scientists responsible for the discovery that different toxic metals can work together synergistically and devastatingly was Dr. Boyd Haley, Chair of the Chemistry Department at the University of Kentucky (he was investigating the toxic metal aluminum in relation to Alzheimers). In a 2002 interview with Arthur Allen, he called ethyl mercury and methyl mercury, “oink and oink-oink”. (4)
Where do we find toxic metals and how does mercury pollution happen in the food chain? First, mercury and other toxic metals get dumped into the water from water runoff from metal mines, smelters (where metals such as gold and silver are purified), chemical and weapons factories, glass manufacturers and nuclear- and coal-fueled power plants, and other factory waste (including that from factory farms). Fish consume water in huge amounts. As many of us know, mercury doesn’t just pass through an animal’s body easily; all of the mercury in a small fish that a bigger fish eats is passed on to that fish, along with the mercury that THAT fish has eaten, and then an even larger fish eats the smaller fish and picks up all ITS mercury PLUS its own, and so on. When a mammal (including human) eats fish, or otherwise absorbs mercury, they too cannot digest the mercury well, and end up storing it in their bodies, primarily in their fat, or in the case of females, in their fat and mammary glands.
Apparently, if there exists a preexisting genetic predisposition, “mitochondrial disorder” or if the dose of mercury or toxic metal is too high for the immune or secretion systems of the body to handle, the mercury can also ”float around” the body and wreak havoc on the brain and central nervous system, the endocrine system and the digestive system. Theoretically the human eating the “wrong bite” at the top of the food chain could be ingesting a huge dose of mercury, which could be devastating for a child.
Most of us know that virtually all fish in America now are contaminated with mercury and other toxic metals; pregnant and nursing women are warned to limit fish intake, particularily big fish like tuna. However, many may not be aware that mercury-contaminated fishmeal became, as meat production became more industrialized and geared towards profits in the latter part of the 20th century (when autism first began growing in the U.S.), a primary source of food for food animals, such as cows, pigs, turkeys and chickens. In fact, mercury-containing fishmeal is the main component of ninety-percent (90%) of the food fed to chickens on factory farms, and half of all of the feed fed to factory-farmed animals in general! Such mercury contamination in the food supply has been shown to have effects on developing children’s brains! (5) It appears that autism could be one of the possible devastating outcomes of such damage to a child’s brain and central nervous system. Also, as mentioned earlier, many farm animals eat feed containing arsenic, as in small amounts it is thought to control disease in farm animals; up to 70% of factory-farmed animals, especially chickens, eat arsenic in their feed (18).

Food inspectors from the Department of Agriculture are notorious for “looking the other way” when it comes to inspecting animal products for toxins, according to food-crusader John Robbins on-going study. And Caryn Hartglass of Earthsave International notes: “Food safety inspection is less reliable today than ever before.” However, the fact that the FDA recommended that arsenic be taken out of the factory-farmed production of food in 1999, and that Tyson (the largest U.S. manufacturer of chicken) did so only in 2005, may indicate not only that the government had wind of the problems associated with allowing so much toxic metal into the food supply, but also that food industry compliance has been less than stellar. Seventy percent of chickens in the U.S. are still being fed arsenic.(18)
Additionally, shockingly, according to Food and Water Watch (, 2008)(6), the fishmeal which is used to feed farm animals (and other fish) routinely has been found by independent researchers to have an average of 51ppb (ranging from 7 to 91 ppb) of mercury—when FDA regulators are supposed to declare it unsafe at 20 ppb. Most fishmeal and animal products are tested at a rate of 1 out of every 1,000 or 10,000 products. Who knows how high arsenic levels may be.
It is well-known that any lactating mammal that has ingested a toxin will excrete it through her breast milk. Hence, toxic metals ingested by cows and goats may be found in high amounts in dairy foods. (7) One fact which may confirm that animal products are providing some of the toxins involved with autism is that dairy is known to exacerbate, and sometimes even seems to cause, the symptoms of autism. Many claim that it is only the milk-protein (casein) which is the culprit; this is thought to be because some autistics have trouble breaking it down and so it creates an “opiate-like” substance. However, many parents of autistics do not give their children any dairy, even without casein, because they find their children simply seem better without it.(8)
Seemingly, this could be explained by the presence of toxic metals, even in low amounts, in dairy—it may be possible that the fact that dairy seems to consistently cause (increased) autistic symptoms is because toxic metals are uniformly dispersed throughout the liquid (just as they would be, presumably, in water or any other liquid), whereas in meat or other animal products the toxic metals “group-up” in random spots in the fat or substance. In other words testing large numbers of sample of meat and dairy for toxic metals for toxic metals is called for, as is surveying the diets of the victims of autism for the presence of toxics.
Also, it would be informative to test whether or not toxic metals in the environment might also cause symptoms (such as the John Hopkins study is doing, see below). In other words, perhaps autism is exacerbated by the presence–in the diet or in the environment–of toxic metals (due to prior development of autism; i.e., toxic metal poisoning), or if the autistic child is genetically sensitive or has allergy-like reactions to mercury (or other toxic metals). Again, distressingly these studies may have already been done, but the results concealed by the industrial-government complex.
If the politics surrounding the thimerosal connection to autism has been obscure, one can bet the politics attaching the meat and dairy industry to it will be even more so, based on their past history. In fact, the FDA official I spoke with regarding this issue begged me not to use his name!
As an easy starting point, we can see that John Hopkins’s Bloomberg School of Public Health is beginning to do research about whether the incidence of autism is correlated to various sources of toxic metals.(9) Other toxic metals which could be involved in the etiology (development) of autism include lead, antimony, arsenic, and copper. A cursory look at the maps that David Kirby shows us in his ground-breaking, recent book and website Evidence of Harm indicates that there is a relationship between proximity of coal-processing plants and development of autism; his research also indicates a correlation between deposition of mercury vapor in a particular area and development of autism, for example. (10)
Further, some studies indicate that children born near large farms where many substances contain toxic metals which may leak into the water supply, such as animal waste, pesticides and fertilizers (both routinely contain toxic metals) , showed a relatively high incidence of autism. (11) That radioactive nuclear waste metals stored in drums at the bottom of the ocean have begun to leak and could be contaminating our fish supply with radioactive toxic metals also should be another area of research. Obviously, more research is needed on the incidence of autism as it relates to the pollution of our food and water supply, and other potential sources of high levels of toxic metals. Whether or not politics will allow this important research concerning the health development of our children is the critical question, which we should not have to even ask.

Treating Autistics as Toxic Metal Poisoning Victims–or as Psychotics?
Dr. James Adams et al, found that chelating therapy to remove toxic metals—especially lead, mercury and antimony–can sometimes significantly improve the lives of autistic children.(12)
The Mayo Clinic website lists only a handful of available treatments for autism. One is psychological/educational therapies such as speech and occupational therapy and Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA). Another is chelation therapy, which is portrayed on their site as an experimental and possibly dangerous therapy, even though several studies conducted within this past year indicate its safety and effectiveness. (13)
A third treatment listed as acceptable is anti-psychotic medication! Surprisingly, powerful anti-psychotic drugs like Thorazine, Haldol, Prolixin, and Mellaril, among other major tranquilizers and mood stabilizers are being used to attempt to control some of the symptoms of severe autism.
Psychiatrists such as Dr. Riccio, head of the International Center for the Study of Psychiatry and Psychology (ICSPP) are angry that these drugs are given to any children at all—let alone autistic children: “Anti-psychotic drugs are known to cause severe nerve and central nervous system damage (‘tardive dyskinesia”) if used over a long period of time—they should not be being given to autistic children who already have nerve and CNS damage. Dangers associated with these drugs actually include not only tardive dyskinesia but also the fatal “Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome.”
The ICSSP’s official position on the major tranquilizers, as well as other psychiatric medication commonly given to children (such as Ritalin), is that they are associated with many dangers and are not appropriate for children in general, and certainly not for developing children. (See for more information.)(14) Parent surveys completed by thousands of families of autistics generally listed psychiatric drugs as ineffective in controlling symptoms (except for those which control seizures) on the Autism Research Institute’s website. (15)

One of the reasons that thimerosal was not taken out of vaccines earlier than this past decade is that this mercury-containing preservative keeps vaccines “fresh” and effective longer. In 1999, when pharmaceutical companies were pressured into beginning to remove thimerosal from vaccinations in this country, international public health officials were concerned that the mercury-free individual dose vaccine vials were too expensive to distribute to the Third World, where massive vaccinations are undertaken as a service of the World Health Organization and international health organizations. Hence, Third-world vaccinations still contain mercury. (In mid-September of this year one and a half million people were vaccinated In Afghanistan—one wonders if they were vaccinated with the poisonous mercury-containing vaccines or the truly beneficial ones.)
After reading concluding dialogue in some of the first U.S. federal court cases regarding autism and vaccines, one might be struck by how the lawyers defending the FDA (and pharmaceutical) companies are so vicious in their approach towards the unfortunate victims of autism and their families; unabashedly accusing them of quoting faulty studies, which are actually generally quite reputable. Neither the pharmaceutical companies nor the FDA have ever admitted to the public that vaccines were responsible for the development of autism in any direct way, despite the noble work of responsible scientists, autism activists and Senator Dan Burton (whose grandchild became autistic after receiving a vaccination) to create an open dialogue about the issue .
One exceptional student educator sums it up: “In truth, the government, and all of us, should be taking much more care to be open and honest about vaccines relationship to autism, and to do meaningful research without political blinders on. We should be also being looking into cleaning up our nation’s water and food supplies to prevent autism. Above all, we should be helping to alleviate the suffering of all of the victims of autism. Our dealings with the autistic and their family should be full of caring concern.”
C. A. Marquis is a teacher and a writer. With a psychology degree (B.A.) from U.C. Berkeley, she started a non-profit group for alternatives to medical-model psychiatry in 1992, wrote a book on veganism entitled The Vegan Way in the nineties and is currently writing a book entitled The Three Blunders of Modern Medicine.

(1) Levine, Bruce, Ph.D,. “Eli Lilly, Zyprexa, and the Bush Family” Z Magazine Online May, 2004. Vol. 17, No. 5
(2) Kirby, David. 2005 Evidence of Harm St. Martins Press, New York
(3) Allen, Arthur. 2007 Vaccine W.W. Norton & Co., New York.
(4) I bid
(5) Robbins, John. 1987. Diet for a New America H J Kramer and New World Library, California.
(6) Food and Water Watch, 2008.
(7) Kradijian, Robert, M.D. 2007. The Milk Letter.
(8) 2008. The Autism Research Institute.
(9) 2008, Sept.The John Hopkins School of Public Health website.
(10) I bid, as per note (3).
(11) Arthur, C. et al. 2008, May. “Study Links Autism Risk to Distance from Mercury-Releasing Sources” Health and Place
(12) Adams, John, Ph.D. et al. Oct., 2007. “Results of a DSMA Chelation Treatment Study” as presented on .
(13) 2008, May. The Mayo Clinic website.
(14) 2008. Defeat Autism Now (DAN!)
(15) 2008. International Center for the Study of Psychiatry and Psychology.
(16) I bid. As per (8).
(17) From “National Center for Environmental Assessment”, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency website, Jacobson-Kram, D., P. Mushak, M. Piscator, D. Sivullo, and M. Chu. Health Assessment Document for Inorganic Arsenic. Final Report, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, D.C., EPA/600/8-83/012F
(18) Freston, Kathy. April 24th, 2007. Huffington Post –Health and Wellness as per Freston’s quote from Chemical and Engineering Magazine.


“Thou Shalt Not Kill”, excerpts from Ch. 2 and 4

July 3, 2009

Chapter Two.

The Place of Veganism in Human History:

Some Cultural and Anthropological Evidence


“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated. –M.K. Gandhi


Deep ecology and radical ecopsychology (and deep psychology) show us that we have an innate desire to live in harmony with nature, our “biophilia” .  This desire for paradise on earth is driving us continuously to become more in tune with our own human nature and emotions, closer to Mother Nature and more vegan. As we turn away from (or repress/suppress) these feelings, we experience not only difficult mental and physical consequences (which we will examine in Chapter 4), but we help cause world hunger, destruction of the environment and extreme suffering  for animals (all of which ethical reasons we will examine in Chapter 3). Aside from the perhaps more popular ethical and health reasons for becoming vegan, one can see arguments for becoming vegan through studying philosophy, anthropology, and world religion. We also can learn about ancient man’s expression of their biophilia through studying ancient history as handed down by ancient religious texts. (We will briefly look at biological anthropological evidence in Chapter 4.)



Our Judeo-Christian religions teach that we are all on a spiritual journey to learn more about God (in the most personal sense), and that life is all about happiness‑‑not just having it, but giving it to others.  And although we may not believe in God, we will still find such morals by learning the golden rule as children (Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.) and/or by studying ethics.


This relatively new Western ideology is equivalent to what is known as utilitarian philosophy‑‑i.e., the arguments for a natural inclination to create the most happiness around one as possible for  as many humans as possible. Perhaps J. F. Kennedy put it best: “When one among us suffers, we all suffer.” In other words, we learn ways to maximize the happiness that God meant us all to have, whether we believe in a higher reality or not. 


Many philosophers, scientists and thinkers of the past half century, such as Peter Singer (Professor of Bioethics at Princeton University and author of Animal Liberation), Dr. Richard Ryder (senior clinical psychologist at Warneford Hospital in Oxford) , world-famous anthropologist Jane Goodall, and Jeffrey Masson (author of When Elephants Weep) have shown us that animals have social lives, thoughts, and feelings much like our own. Moreover, according to Ryder, the typical humans belief that animals are a “lower form of life” is a form of bigotry which he calls “speciesism”. Hence, we can see that our lives are actually no more important than animals’ lives–so should we not apply our utilitarianism to animals as well? That is, couldn’t it be true that when one animal among us suffers and dies unnecessarily, we all suffer and die (perhaps spiritually and/or unconsciously)?


Dozens of other modern animals’ rights thinkers, philosophers and leaders see a respect for animals’ lives and well‑being as being the ethically correct path for modern peoples to take towards the animal kingdom. They cite animals’ rights, environmental-, utilitarian-, and health-related ethics (these ethical arguments are discussed in more detail in the next two chapters).


Other movements, such as the Deep Ecology and the humanist Unitarian Universalist movements believe in a perhaps more holistic, spiritual or mystical kind of connection to the animal kingdom—that we are all part of the “web of life” and so hurting any part of it, hurts us all. Quantum physicists such as Dr. David Bohm (in his book The Implicate Order)  and physicist Barbara Brennan (in The Hands of Light) wrote about that fact that physics has led quantum physicists to conclude that everything is inter-connected, rather than wholly being able to be broken up and analyzed as separate parts. As Brennan states: “We are not separated parts of a whole, but rather we are the whole.” The connections among living beings go deep.


Whether or not one uses such Western ethics, mysticism/spirituality or religion as a model for understanding one’s connection to others, one can see a strong basis for veganism in these models as well as a strong argument for the existence of a “higher plan” that intended a happy world. We can also use religious stories and myths to obtain evidence for the Paradise Principle.


That is, if people were truly meant to be vegan, then the first humans theoretically should have been vegan. From a study of age-old religious teachings on the beginnings of human history we can get an idea of ancient culture with regard to animals and meat-eating. (Anthropologists often look to such stories to study ancient culture; many of these stories were passed down orally from generation to generation from ancient times–before the beginning of written language.) 




Ancient man is known by anthropologists to have had a nature‑ and animal- worshipping religion which was passed on from generation to generation through shamanic/religious rituals. The European pagan Celtic religion of early history, early cave drawings and the Sphinx‑worshipping Egyptian religion are also examples of remnants of animal‑worshipping, and therefore perhaps partially or wholly vegan, ancient cultures. We can all certainly agree that they were in tune with their biophilia.


Also, studies of the religions and traditions of indigenous peoples of today‑‑e.g., the American Indians, and West African tribes‑‑which generally hold nature, including animals, in relatively high regard, could be indicative of earlier vegan cultures. American Indian religion teaches us to respect animals, and to only kill them after asking Mother Earth for mercy on the soul of the Hunter; bears, eagles, and wolves are carved into their totem poles, which indicates a conscious knowledge of the value of animals’ lives. An ancient Indian legend speaks of a time when animals were hung up until they could be given a burial when they died—certainly not eaten!! These facts could be indicative of the fact that some American Indians in the Southwest were vegans at one time.


Furthermore, we can still see this tradition in the rituals of the Pagans of today, worshipping plants and animals. Also, like many indigenous religions, eastern European ancient man celebrated people (people who connected the community to the Higher Power) who experienced altered state of consciousness experiences and hence were expected to be the tribe’s shamans. They “kept the light alive”—and connected humans with the divine, with nature, and with animals. Like many Eastern (and some Christian) religions of today, they probably also encouraged the individuals within their small bands to meditate on animals and their purpose in relationship to humans.




We know that the book of Genesis (the first book of the Bible, the foundation of the Judeo‑Christian religions) was passed on orally from one generation to another until it was finally written down. If that writing can be respected as an historical source as anthropology tells us (or even simply taken literally), then humans during the most ancient times (or at least up until their “Fall”), did not kill animals for food or clothing (and certainly did not use them for such animal products as soap, leather, or cosmetics); their spiritual and religious beliefs would not allow them to. (They lived in what we would call “paradise”; hence, I term my theory the “Paradise Principle” or “Paradise Paradigm shift”)


The Ten Commandments, given to Moses (who could be called an early Jewish shaman) on the Mount, were the foundation for these beliefs. The commandment “Thou shalt not kill,” is one we strive to live by today.  Most Christians are taught that this word “kill” refers to the killing of people only—we call it “murder”. However, if one refers to Hebrew scholars about this word, they will tell you that the Hebrews at the time of the writing of the Old Testament had two words for killing—one that meant the killing of people (like our word “murder”), and one that meant the killing of either animals or people.  Moses did not use the first word in recording the commandments—he used the Hebrew word for “kill”.


 In short, we have strong evidence here that ancient man did not believe in the killing of animals and that the first humans were vegan.  We can easily see that the story of ancient man told in Genesis (a story shared by Jewish, Christian and Islamic peoples alike) reflects the existence of an ancient world vegan culture–as does that of  several other world religions.




Again, we can look to other ancient religious traditions and writings as well as ancient philosophy for further proof of cultural facts about ancient man and for proof of our “Paradise Principle”.  Ancient Greek mythology shows that ancient Greeks  believed in a prior vegetarian society they called the “Golden Age”  (see  Dombrowski’s The Philosophy of Vegetarianism).


In the Golden Age, according to such philosophers as Pythagorus, a peace‑loving, vegan race existed who were thought to be the very children of Cronus, the father of all gods. (This is, of course, similar to the Judeo-Christian story in which Adam and Eve had a close relationship to God.)  These vegan children of Cronus were said, in the Greek story, to have been wise, strong, and beautiful, and to have lived long, happy lives.


Furthermore, Greek philosophers such as Empedodes,  Pythagorus, Plutarch and Plotinus all defended the belief that it is wrong to eat animals.



Eastern religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism, and Taoism‑‑perhaps more clearly than any other religions‑‑clearly indicate an ancient religious respect for animals’ lives. Hindu teachings continue to advise people to be vegetarian to this day, as does ancient/classical Aryuvedic medicine. Even today, Buddhism teaches us that we may reincarnate as an animal; and furthermore, that a karmic law exists whereby we are to have respect for animals’ needs–or face a similar fate as that of animals! Surprisingly perhaps, Taoism includes the study of ancient documents which detail a story of early man very similar to that told by Genesis and by the myth of…

Chapter Four. Vegan “Karma”: Your Mental Well-being and Your Health


“When we kill animals to eat them, they end up killing us because their flesh, which contains cholesterol and saturated fat, was never intended for human beings, who are natural herbivores.”

–Dr. William C. Roberts, M.D.


No matter how one views ethical considerations–one cannot ignore the effects of consuming animal products on one’s mental/spiritual and physical health—and, second perhaps to ethics, this is the primary reason many people are choosing a vegan diet today. Mental and physical health statistics may be the best proof that the Paradise Principle is true, that we were created to be vegan.


The China Study is a well-known, comprehensive long-term health study conducted in Asia by T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D., a professor emeritus of biochemistry at Cornell, which shows the many physical health benefits of veganism; it shows how many common Western diseases, such as cancer, diabetes, obesity and heart disease, are statistically much lower in vegetarians and vegans than in meat-eaters. Undoubtedly, many studies have been done in the past forty years showing conclusively that becoming a vegan will be helpful in avoiding heart disease, cancer, and death from diabetes, among other health problems. Some research is also beginning to show the linkage between mental dysfunction–such as aggression, depression and even schizophrenia and autism—and animal product consumption; perhaps our brief study of this subject here will shed light on this complicated subject.




Increasing amounts of people are becoming aware that all of the U.S. recommended daily allowances (U.S.R.D.A.) for healthful vitamins and minerals can be found in food items other than animal‑product‑containing ones. Along these lines, it should be noted that the Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine recommended in the eighties that the United States government change the U.S.R.D.A. to exclude all animal products (i.e. to recommend strict vegetarianism). The American Dietetic Association has also endorsed the vegan diet for health. However, the government–being possibly concerned about political/economic considerations, rather than health facts—has merely changed its U.S.R.D.A. to include far less animal products, but not cut them out completely. Moreover also due to political/economic considerations, or simply ignorance, diet was not, until relatively recently, considered a primary factor in health.


Despite this, aware people in recent years have taken the PCRM’s recommendation to heart and taken up veganism for their health. They have also become aware of the political reasons that their doctors may not know much about or promote veganism. For example, although the numbers may be growing, only about half of American medical schools require courses in nutrition, and hence most doctors may not feel competent to recommend dietary changes.



We have discussed in the second chapter how the field of ecopsychology has shown that we all have a desire to live in harmony with nature and with animals (biophilia), and that this desire is the reason we feel badly when we hear of the tragic way farm animals are treated.  However, studies on the psychological benefits of vegetarianism or veganism have rarely been done, although a few may exist. I have informally interviewed dozens of vegan over the past 20 years , and Dr. Nandita Shah is also conducting  interviews. However, it seems logical that if we are doing things which have a positive effect on our environment and on animals that we will  have better mental health.


And, in fact, many new vegans over the past 20 years have reported in various publications and in my interviews with them that they feel more at peace than they had before becoming vegan, and it has been noticed by many that vegans seem less uncontrollably aggressive than others. (I have noticed that I have felt happier in general, and more guilt-free about eating in general, since becoming vegan.)


Also, that being around animals calms many people with psychiatric diagnosis (pet therapy is common in integrative psychiatric care settings) is evidence that being vegan may help resolve mental crises. One might theorize that becoming a strict vegetarian could even help one avoid much mental distress (or even mental “disorder”, which some prefer to call “disturbance” or “crisis”) by allowing one to experience the positive emotions (conscious or unconscious) and chemistry associated with not participating in the killing, and eating of, animals (more on this later).


Unfortunately for our mental health, this desire to live in harmony with animals (biophilia or the animal-caretaker archetype discussed in chapter one) can easily become repressed in the modern world we live in—where many economic and cultural factors are oppressive. Yet this desire lays deep in people’s collective unconscious, and the conflicts surrounding it and what oppresses it may cause depressive/aggressive or even neurotic behavior in ways we cannot easily imagine. Eckhart Tolle discusses common people as having become insane en masse due to the repression of their true natures—i.e. people are suffering from mass neuroses due to our destruction of nature, which we could assume would include the factory-farming of animals.





The unconscious biophilia archetype is so strong and the suppression of it so intense by traditional Western lifestyles that even much serious mental disorder and violence in the West could be explained by the numbers of animals people kill therein. We have mentioned how eating animals may affect the common person’s general mental health on a day-to-day basis, but could it be that serious mental crises also are related to the biophilia and animal-caretaker archetypes?


As radical psychiatrists and psychologists such as psychiatrists Carl Jung, Eric Fromm, J.W. Perry, Peter Breggin, Thomas Szasz, Dr. and Dr. Stanislov Grof,  and William Glasser and psychologists Bhargavi Davar and Andy Fisher, among many others (see the International Center for the study of Psychiatry and Psychology website, ) have stated, we may need to drop the medical conceptualization of mental crises and look at psychospiritual, social and environmental reasons instead. Moreover, radical psychology/psychiatry (see for example, Andy Fisher’s book) has proposed specifically that we need to move in the direction of recognizing that our modern disconnection with nature—including environmental destruction around us and societal disconnection with our own physical, psychospiritual and social needs and desires—is a cause for much mental crisis. This would certainly include the disconnection we have with animals through the process of killing and eating them for food.


Serious mental crises such as schizophrenia and other psychoses have been a mystery for eons, but the light has begun to shine on them over the past 50 years. The biochemical conceptualization of psychoses has not been supported by the evidence (with the possible exception of a familial genetic factor). Radical psychiatrists and psychologists, like Jung, Perry, the Grofs, and Davar, among others, recognize that a psychosis is a combination of a psychospiritual crises (relatedly to dramatic spiritual/altered state experiences) and our disconnection with nature (the two factors intertwine).  As we discussed in chapter one,  many psychologists and psychiatrists—from the first American psychologist William James to Carl Jung, to such recent psychologists as Jauregui and Miller et al—recognize that people can actually “get in touch with” the higher reality which connects us all (God, Brahma, the Great Spirit etc). As Carl Jung noted, you may not have ever had a religious-mystical experience, but you cannot deny that others may have had one.


It is well-known that the existence of epiphanies, or religious-mystical experiences (also known, among other terms, as altered state of consciousness experiences etc.) among common people, can lead to identity crises. In fact, the new Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association, the diagnostic tool of psychiatry, will list religious and spiritual problems as a new category of abnormal behavior.


For the psychotic, in simple terms, the experience causes an identity crisis which cannot be resolved, or can only be resolved after a period of time of confused behavior (what society sees as madness). Basically, when one suddenly is propelled into a connection with one’s soul and unconscious, as in a dramatic spiritual experience, one is flooded with emotions, unusual perceptions (hallucinations) and knowledge which causes one to be aware (on an emotional level only, at first, but on an on-going basis) that something is “rotten in Denmark”. That is, one looks at the modern world around one—the “explosion” of cars, technology, concrete, pollution, death and destruction all around us and in the media—and feels at once overwhelmed, helping lead to much confused (what we term insane) behavior, while at the same time a deep connection to life and the natural world. As Larson et al put it, the person whose personality has fallen apart after one of these experiences needs time to understand the experience and learn how to act given a completely new perspective on, and perception of , life.


Hence, in more technical terms, we see that the most difficult-to-understand of mental crises (disorders), schizophrenia and other psychoses, are related to what we could term spiritual crises, where one experiences a sudden flooding of communication from the subconscious or soul (that becomes on-going). This communication from the unconscious would, in our conceptualization of archetypes and unconscious patterns of thought and behavior (which we discussed earlier), include as primary the biophilia and the animal-caretaker archetypes. Some people, perhaps with the proper background education (either religious or moral or spiritual education), can handle these experiences; others cannot or have much trouble learning how to cope with them…


The Paradise Paradigm (excerpts from book, “Thou Shalt Not Kill”: The Paradise Paradigm and Veganism)

July 2, 2009

Introduction by Dr. Nandita Shah

I am honored to be asked to write the introduction to this book as much as I am proud to be an ethical vegan striving to spread this vital information – for our health, the planet and last but not least for the 56 billion innocent animals slaughtered every year for food that we don’t really need.  Ann’s passion to spread this message is very much like my own.

Like Ann, I was not brought up as a vegan, but I was lucky to grow up in a vegetarian culture in India. I grew up believing that cow’s milk was a health drink and continued to do so despite the fact that being a doctor and homeopath, I should have known better. Homeopathy is based on nature’s laws, and I think the most basic of nature’s laws is that mammals produce milk only for their young. Its notable that even calves don’t drink their mother’s milk when they are weaned. Why then do we? However it took me too long to make the connection.

Once the connection was made though, I began to read articles everywhere about why cow’s milk was not a health drink. I could see the logic, and the evidence was clear. The countries with the highest incidence of osteoporosis were those with the highest consumption of milk. Why? Was it a coincidence that I had never seen a single case recover all these years with the help of  dairy and calcium supplements?  I could see the links between animal products and other diseases as well. However it was not until I was one hundred percent vegan that I could begin to urge my patients to try it. How could I tell anyone to do what I did not do? And how could I be sure that the health benefits were real? I believe this is just one of the many reasons more doctors are not urging their patients to switch to veganism to heal themselves.

In my practice I realized that only the very desperate people were willing to heed my advice and change their diets, but when they did, the results were beyond my wildest hopes. They were exactly as other vegan doctors had described. Patients that were thought to be incurable were getting back to health – some healthier than ever – and were able to get off all or most of their medications. Many of these patients had been told that these medications would be for life. I found though that my less desperate patients were not willing to make any changes. To address this challenge I started conducting the Peas vs Pills workshops that Ann mentions in this book.

India, where I have been practicing, is a developing country. Fifty years ago refrigerators were rare. Meat and dairy consumption is growing year by year. As recently as in the late 1970’s India was not producing enough milk to meet its requirements. Today India has the largest cattle population in the world, and produces enough dairy to foster the rising epidemic of heart disease, diabetes, obesity and cancer. And not surprisingly the incidence of mental diseases has increased manifold. The ecology has suffered a considerable set back. And despite the increased availability of animal products the deaths from starvation continue.

Ann has covered many of these aspects in this book, as well as the many other reasons why the world must see a paradigm shift if our species is to thrive. The most interesting though is the anthropological aspects about why man began eating meat in the first place and what it has done to our society, our world and our species. Can we turn the tables? I believe there is reason for hope.

“Thou Shalt Not Kill” Table of Contents

 Part One. The Vegan Explosion: How and Why

 Chapter One. The Paradise Principle and The Animal-Caretaker Within

 Chapter Two.  Ancient Paradise: Anthropological Findings

 Chapter Three.  Ethics: Animal Suffering, The Environment and World Hunger

 Chapter Four. Veganism, Your Mental Well-being and Your Health

 Chapter Five.  Making the Vegan Connection: Self-help tips for you to become vegan (Including box: Vegan Nutrients)

Part Two. Recipe and Vegan How-to Tips Section…

Part One. The Foundations of Veganism

 “Though Science dreams not as yet of her goal, her feet are on the road from which there is no turning back—the road which Vedanta on a different plane has already trod before it.”

—Sri Aurobindo 


 Chapter One. The Paradise Principle


Both metaphysics and quantum physics—as well as the new awareness about altered state of consciousness experiences (epiphanies) in psychology–has lead many of us with scientific worldviews to believe that a higher power of some kind exists (whether one calls that a universal underlying consciousness, God , the Great Spirit, Shiva, Source, Gaia, Earth Goddess, Mother, Buddha, etc), and that it is a divine or godly creative force that drives the universe. The “discovery” of this  new reality, which indicates a paradigm shift in science and has been discussed by the religious and/or spiritual since the dawn of history, is part of the reason many people are philosophizing about—and scientifically-investigating– the possibility that we were meant to be vegan.

This paradigm shift, which conveniently could be called the “Paradise Paradigm” shift, would revolutionize science and would indicate that there is an underlying consciousness akin to what some would call God—a higher power, Gaia, Brahma, etc.–and that the world was hence intelligently–and benignly–designed. Presumably, by living in the ways in which we were designed to live, we as humans could all achieve happiness and a harmonious union with the natural environment, including with its animals—a harmonious lifestyle which would be akin to paradise.

But how were we designed to live? If we were designed (or programmed, to use high-tech terms) to live in certain ways, then it makes sense that each of us has this knowledge imbedded inside us, in our unconscious or subconscious, if not in our conscious mind (just like a computer has a program inside of it telling it what to do when). Archetypes are innate patterns of behavior, knowledge, feelings and actions, which psychologists (such as Piaget) have found guide us through critical times of our lives. For example, a maternal archetype governs female behavior when a baby is born. Generally, archetypes guide our behavior—how to recognize and behave toward one’s mother, be a good lover, friend, hero and/or teacher–as long as they are not repressed.

The Paradise Principle/Theory and the Animal-Caretaker Archetype

Let us focus on how we may have been meant to behave towards animals. Because many of us traditionally have eaten animals and animal products (milk, dairy, and eggs), this meditation must also include thinking about how we were meant to eat, as well as to interact with the animal kingdom—on what we might feel and know inside (our archetypal knowledge) about that.

We all have an archetypal/innate desire/need to live in harmony with animals and the natural world. This innate, archetypal need has been termed “biophilia” by the famous 1950’s humanist psychologist Erich Fromm (author of The Humanist Credo). In the 1960’s Fromm wrote extensively on the subject of our separation from nature, as spoken of in the story of the Garden of Eden, and its effects on our social harmony and mental states.

In the 1980’s, Harvard professor Edward O. Wilson wrote a Pulitzer-Prize-winning book by the name of Biophilia, and Joanna Macy and John Seed wrote Thinking Like a Mountain, helping to spawn the modern 1990’s ecopsychology, and deep ecology movements.  John Robbins and Dr. Will Tuttle have also published prize-winning books in recent years beginning a public discussion of how our eating habits interact with social, spiritual and health factors.

These and dozens of other modern thinkers have shown how, often in our complicated modern world, we as individuals suppress our biophilia–which has led to many of our modern psychological, social, health, moral and environmental problems. Although most of these writers were mostly talking about the destruction of wild animal species’ habitats, their teachings can be applied to the destruction of farm animals as well (as Lengerich, Macy and others have shown clearly; we are finding that eating farm animals also involves the destruction of many wild creatures’ lives)—because our love for animals must logically not be confined to only those hunted or killed in the wild.

Moreover, our carnivorism may be the prime example of our disassociation with nature. Our separation from nature has included not only an ancient separation from (and dominance over) animals, but also a dramatic ancient switch from an animal-friendly to an animal-eating culture. And the consequences of such suppression of our biophilia, in particular our animal-caretaker archetype, have created much suffering. Suffering on the part of animals, of course, but also human suffering, in the form of much of our major disease killers, the increased destruction of our environment, and increased mental crises/neuroses and social disharmony…

…because it offers an alternative to the current non-theistic paradigm in science, as well as a direction away from our nature-exploiting current soci0-economic paradigm,  it could be called The Paradise Paradigm; that is: 

Humans were meant to live in a paradise on earth, a place where we live peacefully with nature, animals and with each other. We must return to that paradise. We know this innately (through biophilia and the animal-caretaker archetypes) even though that knowledge might be unconscious. Because this knowledge has been repressed and suppressed for millennia, our society and our world is in a state of crisis….

The Paradise Theory and the New and Emerging Thought in Science and Religion

More implications for hard sciences, psychology, medicine, education, and other disciplines are obvious—as are those for religion. First of all, one might ask, does this theory that there is a higher reality fit current scientific understanding? Renowned quantum physicists such as Alex Paterson (author of The Observer Effect), Barbara Brennan, Ross Rhoades, and David Bohm among many other physical scientists have stated that the natural world is a product (or final effect) of a higher consciousness/spiritual reality and that an underlying consciousness connects all things….

 …Dr. David Bohm speaks of the “new or emerging paradigm” in science as offering support to the (traditionally-religious) idea that human consciousness can potentially interface with a higher consciousness (God/prayer, Brahma/yoga, etc.). Modern spiritual leaders such as Alan Watts, Sri Aurobindo, and Osho—among many other spiritual-science philosophers, of course–also teach of a higher reality that we can all commune with in some way (or at some times). Psychologists (perhaps they could be called “deep psychologists”) and age-old religious teachings have confirmed the fact that humans can access this higher reality through religious-mystical altered state of consciousness experiences (which goes by different names as discussed earlier). Again, all of this science and thinking indicates that humans are connected spiritually with some kind of higher power, as well as all other life forms.

This is one reason we feel empathy for animals.  Also, we have an innate, God-given, archetypal (often unconscious) desire to care for animals; as explained by the animal-caretaker archetype theory (discussed earlier). For example, when a child has a pet dog he or she tends to want to pet it, feed it, play fetch, train it, and treat it as if it is a real human playmate—i.e.,  play house with it, play catch, etc.. This pattern of behavior (persona) unfortunately often disappears as the demands of school, work and society tend to send it into the unconscious or subconscious realm….

… The assumption underlying the Paradise Principle is simply of course (as stated elsewhere) that we were actually designed by this intelligent cosmic force, as was the world. Physicists have proposed that too much natural “elegance” and logical design appears in nature for it to all have evolved by accident, as a shift in the scientific paradigm such as the one proposed here would indicate.  As we have turned away from how we were designed—from living in harmony with nature–we have created more and more misery for ourselves and our planet. Taoism’s Tao te Ching–among other ancient Indian vedic scientific-spiritual, and many other world religious writings (some of which we shall study in subsequent chapters)–confirms this deep truthI believe the foundations of ethics, religion and science—both social and hard sciences–must be expanded to include the Paradise Paradigm (or a similar theory),  and its assumptions and implications. This is important, so that we may research (among other things) and begin to think rationally about how to live in harmony with nature, how to resolve the global warming crisis, how to prevent illnesses (including some kinds of mental disorders, as we shall see), and how to raise our children so that they can live independently and productively in a crisis-filled world.

The truth about the fundamental nature of reality could be said to be the ultimate goal of science, as well as religion (as long as their objectives remain unfettered by political and economic control). Experiments trying to prove that the concept of God is only biochemical …have failed… in fact, a higher power does appear to exist, just as religion has traditionally taught. To deny this at this point would be a dismissal of the much scientific and religious evidence to the contrary—and the psychosocial evidence that certain people have had experiences proving this to themselves (albeit subjectively; not only Jesus, the Buddha, and other famous spiritual leaders and shamans, but also–psychologists are finding–many more common people; those who have had such experiences often can inspire others to believe).

Similarly, disregarding evidence that we were meant to live in harmony with nature and other living creatures—for example, the evidence that we were not meant to eat animals (which we will examine in this book)—is also dismissing an essential truth about life.  Hence, we are in danger of missing the ultimate truth, while “scientifically” amassing piles of facts, “truths”, about our world.

Further, the Paradise Principle ought to be embraced by the scientific among us because current world society must not only recognize that we have a deep connection to all other living things, but that we have a natural (innate, archetypal, spiritual) sense of morality and our place in the universe (and hence psychosocial consequences for ignoring our innate knowledge and feelings). Psychologists and educators have already begun to recognize the existence of innate moral knowledge (for example, Kohlberg’s/Turiel’s stages of moral reasoning), but this area should be carefully examined and refined, particularly with regard to our innate sense of the wisdom of killing other living creatures and of treating our environment like a throwaway play toy (to put it crassly). Moreover, we are in danger of (and already have been) teaching our children to live a technological, resource-wasting, murderous life that abandons the need to care for our natural resources, animals, and certain human beings, as well as our own humanity.

Unfortunately, we must recognize that the drive for power and money has often perverted our true desires along with valid science and that these twin problems are not going away easily.  Unless we admit to the truths behind the Paradise Principle, create a societal scientific and religious paradigm shift, and take action to preserve scientific integrity, our modern science may have to be abandoned altogether as a purveyor of absolute truth, and as a method for creating the (energy, technological, social, economic, political, healthcare, etc) alternatives that the world needs now.*

The mental, spiritual, social, and physical suffering we and other living creatures are going through as the result of both the destruction of Paradise (the natural environment) and the animal-killing and abuse that occurs in the animal product industry is positive in the sense that it is meant to “slingshot”  us back toward a natural human life. That is, to deeply motivate us to move back to a live of paradise, of living in harmony with other living creatures and with ourselves. If we make the right choices now, we will reach untold levels of happiness for all.

Hence, in all of the darkness that we are experiencing—in increasing physical and mental illness in the world, in tragic childhood disorders such as autism (which we will discuss in chapter 4), and in the traumas of the consequences of environmental destruction and social discord —we can find a ray of hope. That is, we can choose to take these lessons to heart about how to treat our natural world–and how to deal with our own inner natures, animals, and each other—and help to change our world.

In this and the following chapters, we will study the animal-caretaker archetype. We will see, through the study of anthropology, how veganism is rooted in our ancient past and has gone in and out of cultural “style” throughout history. We will also examine the ethical reasons people are choosing veganism and the horrible physical and mental consequences of carnivorism, which separates us from both Mother Nature and our own human nature….