Why Be A Vegetarian?

A Frequent Question…

I decided to become a vegetarian in 2004. During my first yoga teacher training I was presented with such valuable information about being a vegetarian to help me realize this was a good solution, not only for my health, but for the well-being of all.

One of the most important things I learned as a yogi is to practice Ahimsa, non-harming/non-violence in thought, word and deed. This is the first and most important Yama, a part of the 8 Limbs of Yoga.

I remember giving up eating red meat years before this decision due to how it made my body feel which was heavy and extremely lethargic. This awareness of health and well-being was evolving slowly but in perfect timing. Very quickly after giving up eating all meat I felt more alive not only physically but mentally.

So, when people ask “Why Did You Become a Vegetarian?” I respond with it began as a way to improve my health then evolved into being aware of it consciously. I also remind people animals serve a great purpose, just as all humans do. I truly believe that purpose is not our nutrition at the cost of their life.

Things I Noticed…

Physically – Soon after becoming a vegetarian (estimated 30-60 days) the body was able to move more comfortably. Digestion improved tremendously. Joints felt more lubricated and supple. The transition of moving away from eating meat was not hard at all as most think it is.

Did you know… Animal flesh can remain in your colon for up to 7 years! In that time frame it becomes a huge part of your physical make-up which may also contribute to an unhealthy body.

Mentally – My mind began to slow down. My mood changed drastically by removing anger. Also, all the aspects of yoga helped me do the work to remove unsteady emotions.

Did you know… When an animal’s life is taken they are usually in extreme fear. That fear is transferred to the food that you receive energetically. Everything has energy, even the food you eat. Enjoying more sattvic (calm) food supports a calm steady mind.

Friendly Advice…

Food/diet is a very intimate and personal choice. You must do what’s best for you. I’m offering this information only to those who desire this choice. What I recommend if you’re interested is try it for 1 week, 30 days, 6 months, etc., whatever timeframe you need to notice what happens to both the body and mind. Pay attention to what you notice happening both physically and mentally. Hey, if you stop eating meat for 1 day that will save a few animals! 🙂


I am now primarily a vegan meaning I stay away from all dairy also (except for a little ghee every once in a while). My choice for this diet was a learning experience and happened when the mind and body was ready. The knowledge I received from numerous teachers was a tremendous gift and I’m forever grateful. This knowledge transformed me tremendously.

I’m 57 years old and feel fantastic. My health is wonderful. The path of yoga and being a vegan has allowed me to continue helping others and being of service to humanity.

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” ~Mahatma Gandhi

My deepest love to all. May all beings be free from suffering.

Om Shanti Shanti Shantih

Then & Now… Spiritual Growth

These 2 photos were taken around 20 years apart. When I look at them what I notice is profound showing me spiritual growth.

by Leslie Blackwell

Then… 20 years ago, I distinctly remember taking the left photo so excited about finding yoga. I needed to have perfect hair and make-up, tanned skin and exterior beauty. Eyes wide open to show off my new world.

Over the 20 years, I’ve discovered so much inner beauty and strength not only in myself but in others. I’ve learned how to see people as souls all wearing a different drag from our human birth and worldly experiences. But, seeing each soul as the same. Working on my conscious level is what has truly evolved. To go beyond the physical, and be within.

Now… the photo on the right is most recent. At first glance you will notice no make-up, no tan, no perfect hair. I see myself just going within, embracing that moment, practicing Santosha by being content in stillness.

Noticing my detachment from who I thought the world wanted me to be back then. I’m not saying you need to give up make-up, nice hair or other things that make you feel pretty. I’ve learned to not be attached, that if it falls away naturally all is still perfect. This prevents tremendous suffering.

I do notice how yoga has sustained me physically with good health. That shines in these photos and the ability I’m given each day to serve others. The proof is in the pudding. When you do the work, you reap the benefits. But I truly believe finding spiritual growth with great faith is first and foremost to carry you into supreme physical health.

My reverence for God, respect for all beings, and unconditional love for all remains the same. Strengthened with each lesson from life. Through yoga I’ve learned how to find the true self (still working on it daily) which helps me realize what is real.

When you run across old photos, don’t criticize what has physically changed. Aging is a given. Experience it with grace and love. Evolve spiritually, learn from your mistakes, practice forgiveness for others and especially yourself, be in the moment, and love everyone.

I’ve figured out over the years that service work helping others is much more important than servicing an ego. We are all born to serve a purpose. Through yoga I’ve discovered my purpose. I am forever grateful. Whatever your path is, discover your purpose, be a shining light of love, be free from worry fear and doubt, and love God with all your heart.

My deepest love to all. May all beings be free from suffering.

Om Shanti Shanti Shantih