MY BOOK: VEGAN PARADISE

By C. Shakti Marquis

About 25 years ago, when I became vegan in California and began writing and teaching about veganism, noone I knew was vegan. I was thought mad to be considering cutting animal products out of my diet, and I certainly could not even begin to convince anyone that Mother Nature meant people to be vegan. Now veganism has exploded around the world, much has been written about it, and no end appears in sight.  Also, over twenty years later, in my late 40’s, I still have the figure of my youth, am completely healthy, and have raised two healthy vegan sons.

I want to help others to understand the many reasons for becoming vegan, to have tools for veganizing their lives, and to have the ecospiritual wisdom about veganism that I have been blessed with, which are the main reasons I wrote this book. For over twenty years, I have been educating families, friends, and local organizations about veganism, casually and formally, through friendly discussions, lectures and deep ecology workshops. Writing a book about it was a natural outgrowth of my teaching.

 If you do not know already, veganism is the philosophy that the killing of other living creatures–be they animals or people–is not natural, and that we must do what we can to avoid participating in it. More and more people in cosmopolitan places are choosing veganism and/or switching from a meat-based diet to a plant-based diet, and trying to eat more raw, unprocessed (“whole”), and organic vegan foods. In my book, The Vegan Paradise: How Veganism Can Save Our Health, Our Planet, and Our Souls, copyright 2010, I explore not only the latest health research about animal products (meat/fish, eggs and dairy), but also look at the latest ethical, environmental, psychological and spiritual reasons people are choosing veganism. I relate the philosophical shift in our dietary choices to the larger paradigm shift necessarily underway in our society to deal with the current techno-capitalist crises in economics, natural resource depletion, the wastefulness of big agribusiness, as well as the erosion of our health and psychospiritual selves.

The Vegan Paradise proposes that we may have been designed through our genetic and psychological make-up, to emotionally desire to live in harmony with nature (an archetypal phenomena known as biophilia), and in particular to deeply want to live in harmony with, and care for, animals. I term this caring for animals “faunophilia” (as it would be a subcategory, along with love of plants and other parts of nature, of biophilia).

This is possibly one reason that the technological, meat-eating Western world has more severe mental health problems than the Eastern world. In my book, I use the model of the recent “elegant design” theory, to show how our minds, our bodies and our natural food system were logically and beautifully designed by an intelligent, ethereal source–which could be termed the “divine” or “universal consciousness”—to create a system in which plants, animals, and people live harmoniously.  I use scientific, health and ecological statistics, as well as an anthropological summary of various world religious/spiritual beliefs to support this idea . My chapter on the religious and spiritual implications of this theory covers Eastern, Western and indigenous people’s ancient beliefs and practices surrounding animals. This theory—which, if true, could contribute to the huge paradigm shift happening in science, spirituality, and natural history–also holds that, at one time, the world was a literal paradise, in which we lived in peace with nature, animals, and our own souls, as indicated by my survey of indigenous North and South American, Buddhist, Hindu, Judeo-Christian, African, and ancient Greek cultures.

When I began thinking about saving animals’ and people’s lives  by educating people about vegansim, I started realizing how much of a divine gift sentient life is, for both humans and animals It follows logically how important the lives and feelings of other living creatures ought to be to all of us. We could say, our lives as well as animals’ lives are here for divine purposes (even if we are not certain what those might be), so we have no right to take their lives.

I disuss the literature which shows how, in being raised to be our food–especially today, on factory-farms–animals suffer tremendously, unnecessarily, and more than most of us could ever possibly know. Unfortunately, the Western belief system includes a disrespect for life itself, and a repression of our bio- and faunophilia (as our increasing wars and brutality towards animals prove), despite the teachings of many ancient spiritual, moral and psychological leaders. Most importantly, when we eat plant food, we show respect for the lives of animals, and help animals avoid unnecessary suffering.

In Part One of The Vegan Paradise, I outline the Paradise Paradigm  and how a needed paradigm (believe system) shift towards living a more natural and compassionate life is already beginning to happen . I discuss the reasons this shift ought to include veganism and the recreation of a vegan paradise on earth. I discuss possible solutions for the worldwide food crisis related to our consumption of animal products and the model of big agribusiness. I discuss how veganism relates to the permaculture, alternative mental health, and raw food movements. I also devote a section of my book to how the deeper principles of psychology–a la deep ecology–can help us to begin relating to farm animals in a more natural and compassionate way. I show how choosing veganism is above all about being compassionate.

The Vegan Paradise is intended, in part, to be a companion guide, workbook or “how-to” manual for those attempting to be or to become vegan in a place which may or may not be vegan-friendly. Toward this end, Part Two of this book offers psychological and social tips on making your conversion to veganism easier.  I discuss how to help convert oneself, as well as one’s family and/or friends, to the vegan diet, including how to change your own favorite recipes into vegan ones. Here, I also share ideas for designing your own vegan social group and/or educational workshops, discuss the latest nutritional information, and provide a vegan “shopping list” and over 100 tried and true vegan recipes.  I hope you will read and benefit from The Vegan Paradise, and that you have many years of health, guilt-free eating, and psychospiritual peace ahead of you.

To order the book, send me an email and pay me $15.00 through my Paypal account, ann.epiphany7@gmail.com,  (I will have a way to order it directly through my wordpress site soon), or go to www.Lulu.com or Amazon.com and search for “Vegan Paradise” in their product box. You can also order this book as a download (for $3.99) through Lulu or me.

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