Giving Thanks and Ahimsa

A few years ago there was a turkey in our neighborhood who would walk in front of your car, tail feathers fully extended, stop you from proceeding, and start pecking the tires. The neighborhood named him Vern L’Heights, set up a Facebook page, and started posting photos. He was a character!


Vern stopped returning, but the turkey population in the neighborhood grew. Each spring we have a daily turkey parade crossing our yard. There are usually two hens and over a dozen chicks. Each morning I count the chicks, a bit anxiously, making sure none fell prey to the coyotes. Throughout the spring we get to observe the baby chicks grow taller and stronger.  One morning they were all lined up on my deck right outside my kitchen window. I don’t know if they are the same hens or different ones each year, but they are certainly caring and thoughtful moms, taking good care of their large family, which seems to thrive each year.


Each November the president pardons a turkey. Perhaps that is something you will consider this year, as you consider Ahimsa, non-harming, the first ethical precept of yoga. These animals are individual souls, capable of caring for their families, and of inspiring a whole neighborhood to care about them. There has been much in the news about the terrible hate crimes in this country. As individuals we can only counteract the hate with love, awareness and kindness. 


Ahimsa is a far-reaching precept that touches all aspect of how we choose to live our lives. It includes non-harming of ourselves, other people and animals and the entire planet. An ahmisa diet is a plant-based diet. For personal health, it is an anti-inflammatory diet and inflammation is a factor of ALL disease. Decrease inflammation and decrease pain and disease. Diet is an important and necessary part of that equation. Did you know that animal agriculture is more polluting than the entire transportation industry? If you are an environmentalist (as we all should be), then changing your diet will have a larger effect on global warming than riding a bicycle or driving an electric or hybrid vehicle. Join us for a rescheduled showing of Forks Over Knives on November 11th to learn more. 


If you’re interested in creating an ahimsa holiday for just yourself or everyone at your table, follow this blog for the next month. I’m going to share some of my favorite holiday recipes.

And don’t be afraid to veganize your favorite recipes.  There are plenty of vegan substitutions you can use in any recipe. Such as:


Instead of this: Use this:
Butter Earth Balance
Cheese Daiya and Heart Balance are my favourite vegan cheeses
Milk Soy or Almond Milk
Eggs in recipes Bob’s Red Mill Egg Replacer or Ener-G Foods Egg Replacer
Sausage Field Roast Apple Sage Sausage
Turkey Tofurkey or Field Roast Celebration Roast
Mayonnaise Veganese
Honey Maple Syrup


There are many vegan recipes available online. Some of my favourite cookbooks include:

Vegan Planet

Oh She Glows

Vegan for Everybody

We also highly recommend Kelli’s Vegan Kitchen. Kelli also offers nutritional counseling and a transition program through TriYoga Boston. 

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