Various religions around the world have specific dietary rules to demonstrate their faith. Some religions avoid pork products or alcohol and others set aside certain days for fasting. The spiritual side of food has a long history that vegans can adopt to create a deeper connection with other people and animals.

Here are just a few of the many religions that have adopted vegan or vegetarian lifestyles:

  • Buddhism: Buddhists believe that every person should try to mini- mize the harm that they inflict on all This belief has led several Buddhist sects to live vegan lifestyles. Cultivating a “pure heart” by making the extra effort to be as compassionate as possible easily trans- lates into avoiding eating meat and other animal products.
  • Jainism: Jainism is an ancient religion from India that has conscious nonviolence at the center of its dinner Even though most of the Jain are vegetarians and do eat dairy or eggs, growing numbers are becoming vegan. Spiritual followers of this dharma religion believe that to be truly nonviolent, they must avoid enslaving or mistreating animals in order to take their milk or eggs.
  • Seventh-day Adventism: Seventh-day Adventists are Christian vegetar- ians who have been well-studied for their dietary choices and These religious vegetarians and vegans believe that “demonstrating reason and restraint in daily life” by avoiding meat, tobacco, alcohol, and illicit drugs brings them closer to God. These Bible passages often are quoted to justify their food choices:
  • “I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seeds; to you it shall be for ” (Genesis 1:29)
  • “And you will eat the plants of the ” (Genesis 3:18)
  • “But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall yenot eat.” (Genesis 9:4)

Following these Biblical guidelines, most Seventh-day Adventists are vegetarian, but many are becoming vegan as they further develop their spiritual beliefs.

For the rest of  vegans who don’t belong to a specific religious group, the spiritual side of a plant-based diet encompasses many traditions. Every meal or bite brings with it an awareness of the pain and suffering that we’re preventing for other creatures. Vegans know they’re making a difference every day in the lives of others, and they take much pleasure and happiness in that. By constantly cultivating compassion, vegans protect the lives of other humans, animals, and the wide world around us.

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