Be Happier: Eat More Compassionately

Does living green mean eating only greens?

Gene Baur is a writer and activist, and the co-founder of Farm Sanctuary, which rescues farm animals to give them a happier, verdant home. He will be speaking at Wanderlust Tremblant at 10am on Saturday, August 22

Our food choices have profound consequences not only for our own health, but on farm animals and our planet as well. Eating plants, instead of animals, can provide everything we need to thrive, without the unnecessary violence inherent in exploiting and slaughtering animals for food. Eating plants also allows us to live with a much lighter ecological footprint. Animal agriculture requires vastly more resources—including land, water, and energy—than plant based agriculture. It squanders scarce precious resources and is among the greatest threats to the wellbeing of our planet, contributing more to climate change than the entire transportation industry, according to the United Nations.

Sadly, there is enormous heartbreak and turmoil in the world. Much of it seems beyond our ability to influence, but every day, each of us makes choices about the food we eat that have enormous impacts, both personally and globally. I am very encouraged by the growing awareness about and opposition to the insanity of factory farming, and I am inspired by a burgeoning movement to create a healthier, more sensible food system. Vegan options are more readily available today than they have ever been before.

In my new book, Living the Farm Sanctuary Life, I outline the importance of making mindful food choices that align with our values and interests. This is healthy, both physically and emotionally, and it is fundamentally empowering. It doesn’t make sense to eat food that makes us sick, but that’s exactly what most people do in developed countries like the U.S. and Canada. It also makes no sense to support an agricultural system that is despoiling our planet. And, when we slaughter animals and eat cruelly, we contribute to the misery of the world, and lose a very important part of our humanity – our empathy.

I’ve been a vegan since 1985, and like many other vegans, I feel good and am thriving on plant-based foods. In recent years, I’ve completed several marathons and triathlons, including an Ironman. To me, being vegan is an aspiration to live as kindly as possible, and I am very happy to see our numbers growing. People are increasingly curious about exploring vegan lifestyles, whether it be to improve their own health, to support a more ecologically responsible and sustainable farming system, or to prevent the suffering of other animals.

Living the Farm Sanctuary Life offers simple, practical steps for people who are interested in living more mindfully, and it includes more than 100 amazing recipes from top chefs and vegan cookbook authors. This is a lifelong journey, made up of many steps that add up over time. The great news is that each of us has the power to make simple choices every day that can make a world of difference. For longtime vegans and the newly curious, there has never been a better time to get on this path.

Photo courtesy of Farm Sanctuary

Gene BauerDeemed the “conscience of the food movement” by Time, Baur is a renowned food and animal rights activist and co-founder of Farm Sanctuary. He is the author of Farm Sanctuary: Changing Hearts and Minds About Animals and Food, and co-authored Living the Farm Sanctuary Life: The Ultimate Guide to Eating Mindfully, Living Longer, and Feeling Better Every Day, with Gene Stone. Baur’s investigative exposes have drawn international media attention.