At this time of year, many turn their thoughts to the various faith-based communities. Here are just a few new developments of veg-interest that have caught our notice. This adds to the already rich veg-offerings of many faith communities, both East and West, which are already well established.
Israeli PM Joins Meatless Mondays
Vegetarian food choices were already becoming popular in Israel, but they have recently received a big boost from Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara, who have decided to join the Meatless Monday initiative. As far as we know, he is the first head of state to endorse and follow the program. “With my responsibility as prime minister to protect the lives of people here, I feel committed to increase awareness to fight cruelty toward animals,” Netanyahu said.
Netanyahu and his wife met with Micki Haimovich, who launched the Meatless Monday campaign in Israel. He told the prime minister about the health and environmental aspects of consuming meat, in addition to the compassion aspects. The couple said they eat very little meat and added that their son Yair has become a vegetarian in the past few years.
At a recent discussion that took place during a cabinet meeting concerning animal rights, Netanyahu said he “understood that animals are more conscious than we thought,” adding that the new information was bothering him, making him think twice on the subject. Netanyahu’s comment surprised Justice Minister and leader of the opposition party Tzipi Livni, a vegetarian since her teens, who said, “Prime Minister, hearing you say this is like finding an oasis in the desert.”
Interestingly, Mrs. Sara Netanyahu “came from a family that was very much aware of the issue.” The prime minister’s wife, whose father, Shmuel Ben Artzi, was a vegetarian, said she was eager to help “raise awareness and sensitivity to the suffering caused to animals” during meat production.
Vegetarians have included many famous Jewish people throughout history including two chief Rabbis and Albert Einstein just to name a few. Those who would like to learn more about news and events in the Jewish veg-world should check out www.jewishveg.com – Jewish Vegetarians of North America – Jewish values in action, for health and for compassion.
In addition to the Christian programs such as those offered by the Seventh-day Adventists, here are two new programs that have recently gotten some notice and attention. Both these programs are inspired by the book of Daniel and the diet it describes.
TheDaniel-Fast.org is a relatively new and very rapidly growing Christian-oriented online community. Their blog alone has already had almost 10 million visitors! In this case, the word “fast” means giving up all animal products. Their diet is based on Daniel in the Bible, who gave up all animal products as well as the junk food of the time. This diet, composed of unprocessed plant foods including vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and fruit, is as healthy as you can get. They offer a 21-day structured program, books, workbooks and lots of free downloadable materials.
A similar program, called the Daniel Plan, was originated by the well-known pastor Rick Warren, best-selling author of The Purpose Driven Life and pastor to Saddleback Church. Warren, who at one point said he’d gained a good 90 pounds over a 30 year period of ministerial work, decided the Daniel diet was a good idea. In 2011, he and many of his congregants went on the diet, albeit not quite as strict as the Biblical one, and collectively lost a reported 250,000 pounds, 65 pounds of which were the pastor’s. This program is now also available online, with a book, cookbook and online help provided by several doctors. See www.danielplan.com for more information.
For more information about the Christian veg-community please visit www.all-creatures.org – Christian Vegetarian Association, dedicated to cruelty-free living through a vegetarian – vegan lifestyle according to Judeo-Christian ethics.