What is a good karma diet?
Victoria Moran: A Good Karma Diet is, simply, including the wellbeing of others in your food choices. Because we’re talking vegan – or seriously moving in that direction – this means no killing or exploitation of animals. And choosing foods from the plant kingdom substantially lightens the load on the planet. (A Carnegie Mellon University study found, for example, that eating vegan on one day a week prevents more greenhouse gases from entering the atmosphere than eating locally grown food for a full year.)
What are some of your favorite inspiring “Good Karma Stories” included in the book?
VM: There are seventeen such stories from people who believe that “good karma” entered their lives as a result of changing their diet. When I put out a call from stories, I expected to hear from people who’d lost weight, or overcome a health challenge, and there are some like that, but others really surprised me. On contributor believes this lifestyle switch led to her falling in love; another, a novelist, credits it with lifting writer’s block. A story that warms my heart every time I read it is from Big Bald Mike, a onetime drug addict, weighing in at 572 pounds. He changed his diet for ethical reason – when he learned that male chicks in egg hatcheries are shredded or suffocated shortly after hatching, there was no turning back. He lost weight and became a professional arm wrestler with an autobiography in the works. The imposing, mega-tattooed, amply bearded Texan calls himself “the world’s unlikeliest vegan.”
What do you say to people who say they want to stop eating animal products, and maybe have even tried in the past, but it just got too hard? In other words, what are your tips for keeping a Good Karma Diet going, even when the going gets tough?
VM: When I speak with ex-vegans, they usually start with something vague like, “I felt tired,” or “I craved eggs,” but after talking at greater length, it almost invariably turns out that the reason for retreating wasn’t physical at all: it was social. Very often it’s a new love interest, or the energy required to deal day after day with ribbing from an unsupportive family that gets to be too much. Or being the lone vegan in one’s community and having to defend and explain it over and over simply gets old.
We’re a tribal species. We need to belong. If you go vegan, you need vegans. If there’s a veg Meetup group in your area, you learn that you’re not the “only one.” And online you can get to know people around the world who share this interest, including very inspiring vegan athletes, activists, bloggers, business people, and others making a calculable difference in the world. Vegans with supportive friends, actual and virtual, and supportive professionals – a physician who understands and admires what they’re doing, for instance – fare the best. Be one of those.