If Plants Are Consciousness, What Happens When We Eat Them?

Not too long ago The New York Times ran an article, Sedate a Plant, and It Seems to Lose Consciousness. Is It Conscious? The new evidence that plants have a type of “conscious,” joins a host of other research indicating that plants are intelligent, understand where they are in space, respond to threats and obstacles, and communicate with each other. We’ve known for years that plants grow faster and lusher when you play the right music or speak nicely to them, but now there is evidence that plants form memories. Does that mean they remember that you were kind to them? And what does it mean now to eat them? What, if any, are the moral or ethical implications?

Just to be clear, I’m pretty sure that we have to eat something, so I’m not advocating for fasting or breatharianism (the belief that one can survive on sunlight and fresh air – and yes, this is real).  As an 80-90% vegetarian I’m already big on a plant based diet, and debating making the jump to full time veggie.  Furthermore, what started as a simple recognition that I feel better when I eat less meat and more plants, has begun to take on ideological overtones as more is uncovered about the horrendous abuses in the meat industry. It is no longer possible to ignore the glaring cost of what we put on our plates in terms of animal suffering, environmental damage, and waste of resources.  Continuing to support any part of this system with my food dollars has become untenable.

I think that in an ideal world there is a way to “ethically” eat an animal. Perhaps a Native American or indigenous rite of recognizing, honoring, asking permission and thanking the spirit of the animal before slaughter would come close. Eating nothing but what one has hunted oneself would likewise add a mindfulness to the process that is lacking now.  My question today is, do plants deserve the same “soul” recognition and mindfulness in their handling and consumption?

I suspect the answer is yes. And while I’ve never been a big one for saying grace before meals, I have for years thanked the plants that I am dicing, chopping, sauteing, etc., for their nutrients and sacrifice on my behalf. I feel bad for unused food in a way that I didn’t before – now it’s not just a question of wasted money, but a needless sacrifice of an energy that was prepared to nourish me, if I had remained mindful. Thinking this way also means that I am more mindful of portion size and not being greedy, which may also explain why I feel and look better when I eat this way. And for that, I give thanks, too.

 


Moringa: the new superfood

| by Cheryl Shainmark

Moringa (Moringa oleifera) is the latest, hottest craze in superfoods. It’s been touted on Dr. Oz, written about by Dr. Andrew Weil, and The Huffington Post, and featured in several health newsletters. The leaves, fruits and bark of this tree can be taken as a powder or a tea, and often offer the best nutritional supplement available in the Southeast Asian and African countries where it is grown.

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For the Common Good

| by Cheryl Shainmark

What is the common good? The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy say that the common good “refers to those facilities—whether material, cultural or institutional—that the members of a community provide to all members in order to fulfill a relational obligation they all have to care for certain interests that they have in common.” Put more simply, it is whatever is for the benefit or interests of all.

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Tell Me A Story: Stirring Up Cellular Memories with Meditation

| by Cheryl Shainmark

I have been meditating for over twenty years now and find it an essential part of my life. Many have written about the substantial physical and emotional benefits, and while I’ve certainly found that to be the case, too, I’ve also noticed that there is a component of releasing “cellular memories” that is rarely addressed. People shy away from phenomena that are not so easily explained, but whether you call it “cellular memories,” “past lives,” or releasing “old patterns,” I have found that there is something extraordinary happening that also brings welcome relief to the body and the spirit.

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The Booming Market for Meat Alternatives

| by Cheryl Shainmark

White Castle and Fat Burger now feature Impossible Burgers, Del Taco has Beyond Meat on the menu, and Burger King is about to roll out a Beyond Meat Whopper. Hard Rock Cafes in Europe carry a veggie burger now, (though you’d have to skip the cheese to make it a vegan meal), and they expect to offer it in their US locations next year. As Phil Shainmark, our columnist for The Unlikely Vegan noted recently, “It’s quite possibly the best time to be a Vegan. There are so many amazing choices and places to go.” Even if you’re not a vegan or a fast food fan, the variety of meat alternatives is great news as many grocery stores and regular restaurants have also added plant based options to meet growing customer demand. According to Market Insider, the $14 billion dollar meat alternative industry is expected to grow to $140 billion over the next decade.

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Qigong Meets Quantum Physics by Imke Bock-Mobius

| review by Cheryl Shainmark

Qigong Meets Quantum Physics – Experiencing Cosmic Oneness by Imke Bock-Mobius Review by Cheryl Shainmark Qigong meets Quantum Physics is a wonderful integration of the various principles of qigong, mysticism, and the natural sciences. In the best Daoist tradition, Bock-Mobius has surmounted the duality of any discussion of religion (or philosophy) and science, and outlined her compelling vision of how it all comes together.

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A Different Kind of Earth Day by Cheryl Shainmark

| by Cheryl Shainmark

Stay at home, shelter in place, practice social distancing. Earth Day this year is Wednesday, April 22, and for the first time in 50 years, there will be no parades, no gatherings to plant trees, no groups picking up litter on the beach

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Shades of Love in the Time of Cholera

| by Cheryl Shainmark

These are strange times we are living in. In the last few weeks since Covid 19 has escalated from dominating the news cycle to directly impacting our lives, I keep hearing that phrase over and over. And while the news has focused on number of deaths, the lack of a cohesive Federal response, school closings, and potential loss of income, nobody seems to be focusing on the effect the Corona virus has had on love and dating.

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The Health Benefits of Salt Caves

| by Cheryl Shainmark

Salt caves have been associated with healing for hundreds of years, and are a perennial favorite of European and Asian spa devotees… Himalayan pink salt is supposed to be the best and the purest for therapeutic purposes, but any salt minerals should work. Obviously, it can be pretty hard to trek to the Himalayas for the real deal, but not to worry. In the last few years “salt caves” have opened all over the country.

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Peace and Where to Find It

| review by Cheryl Shainmark

Peace and Where to Find It is a slim gem, packed with insight and wisdom. For fans of Eckhart Tolle, Peace takes up where Tolle’s The Power of Now leaves off, (and, in fact, Eckhart Tolle wrote the introduction for this book), but it’s not necessary to have read one to enjoy the other. The author, Christopher Papadopoulos, has clearly walked the walk, done the work, and come back to share his transformative experience with us.

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