Eating Meat And Spirituality
There is much confusion around whether one can be spiritual and eat meat. Some people say that you shouldn’t, if you are spiritual, eat meat. Others say it’s perfectly acceptable to eat meat and still be spiritual. So which is it? What are the spiritual effects of eating meat?
Well the reality is that it comes down to a personal choice with one of the most important aspects being one of thankfulness and love towards the organism which has provided you the sustenance you’ve needed – whether that be plant or animal. It’s also important if you’re wanting to eat meat to consider the circumstances under which your meals are prepared (ie grown and then killed). We’ll go into that a little further into the article.
Many people believe that whilst you can eat meat and be spiritual there comes a time in your spiritual growth where you decide that you no longer wish to continue doing so. But again, for these people, and yourself, it is a personal choice when, or if this occurs.
Then of course there are those that say eating fish is perfectly acceptable, since there’s no real evidence at this stage to suggest fish are particularly sentient. We address this concept later in the post too. And still others say that insects are OK.
Seek Medical Advice Before Making Dietary Changes
You shouldn’t consider changing your dietary habits without first consulting a dietician or suitably qualified person to make sure you’re still going to get the right nutrients in your body. It is most certainly possible, of course, to be vegetarian or vegan and healthy. But it does require eating the right things and someone qualified will be able to help with this.
The ultimate decision about whether you can eat meat and be spiritual is yours. And yours alone. If you feel better by being vegetarian or vegan and it meshes better with your feelings of spirituality then it is better for you to be so. If you feel better by eating meat, and you can rationalise that with your spirituality then continue eating meat. No-one should judge you either way. Those that do may not be as spiritual as they themselves think!
What Does The Bible Say About Eating Meat?
The Bible is an interesting conundrum when it comes to eating meat. Some parts say it is preferable not to, yet other parts specifically then seem to overrule earlier chapters and say that eating meat is absolutely fine.
Many of the meat eating rituals of the Bible revolve around some pretty sound scientific principles which were likely unknown when the Bible was written. The ‘unclean’ foods that should be avoided would have been so described as they tended to be higher carriers of disease. In the case of pork, it is of course now discovered that pigs and humans can share a rather disturbing array of diseases and parasites. Given that there would have been few ways of cleaning these diseases up after they were contracted, it would have been safer to avoid eating the animal altogether.
But ultimately, the Bible, in the New Testament, from the writings of the Apostle Paul, is quite clear that there is no longer any distinction between unclean animals and clean animals. Romans 14 vv.2-23 goes to great length to remind us that the key message is to walk in love with each other and not to criticise (or grieve) over what each other eats, but love each other and God.
It’s also important to note the potentially hidden subtext in this chapter, which is to not destroy the work of God in eating. I read this as to make sure that we don’t over-farm the planet, don’t over-consume for the sake of consuming and to be thankful for every meal we have and where it came from, regardless of whether it contained meat or vegetables.
Does Eating Meat Lower Our Spiritual Energy Vibration?
This could potentially be one of the most profound spiritual effects of eating meat. There are many who believe the statement ‘You Are What You Eat’. If this were literally true I would be a giant chocolate orange ice cream. Room temperature would make typing rather difficult were I indeed such. So clearly it’s not intended to be literal.
However, physics tells us that everything is energy. And energy can be converted to matter and matter to energy. And indeed, energy cannot be destroyed. So, let us consider what happens when we eat something. The energy we ingest into ourselves is initially physical matter, cells of the body of the plant or animal we ate. These are then broken down by our teeth and digestive juices into ever smaller molecules and atoms.
The molecules and atoms are then converted into larger molecules and stored inside our own cells. The energy from the original cells molecules and atoms comes across into us and vibrate within us.
If these cells previously belonged to an animal, lets say a cow, and that cow lived healthily and happily before it was killed for our meal, then the energy vibrations we get from that meal will be much higher than the vibrations we would get if the cow was housed in dark, dirty conditions and slaughtered with no humane method.
This is why we said earlier that one should be concerned with how the animal is raised and then killed if one is to eat meat whilst being spiritual. If the animal lived its life in fear and darkness then this fear and darkness may infect our own spiritual growth. It may make us fearful and paranoid. It almost certainly will reduce our spiritual vibrational energies and lead life to be considerably harder for us than it needs to be. We should also recognise and thank the animal for the sacrifice it has made for us. In this way we help to keep our vibrational energy up and have the energy needed to grow spiritually.
Are All Spiritually Awakened People Vegetarian or Vegan?
No, although many are. It would seem as if the biggest reason that most spiritually enlightened vegans are so is in order to reduce the amount of cruelty to animals. And that is a reasonable stance to take.
Eckhart Tolle, one of the modern high profile spiritual teachers, is allegedly a meat eater, although it seems difficult to find any actual corroborating evidence either for or against this.
The Dalai Lama, considered to be one of the most spiritual persons alive, was, as at July 6th 2010, also eating meat once or twice a week according to an NDTV interview he gave. He cites health reasons for his meat eating requirement.
So my own case, meat once or twice a week, otherwise vegetarian. So I tried to become a vegetarian but still difficult. I think it’s useful to know the whole background.Dalai Lama – July 2010
Pope Francis also eats meat – enjoying baked skinless chicken, salad and fruit, according to an article in USA Today.
Clearly though, despite what many ‘spiritual’ people will tell you, not everyone who is highly spiritual is vegan. Once again, it must be your own choice for your own reasons whether you wish to eat meat or not. But in all things you do eat, be thankful for the sacrifice the organism has given that you may have life, and choose the option that has the most peace within.
Can You Be Pescatarian And Spiritual?
The term Pescatarian refers to a person who is otherwise vegetarian but does eat fish as well. Many people argue that fish are not sentient creatures and therefore, being pescatarian is acceptable and different from eating meat. Recent studies however may suggest this might not be as true as first thought. There is some evidence that fish do in fact feel pain, although not in the same way as humans or other mammals Other studies seem to indicate that fish are sentient beings that have individual personalities and can form social groups.
It’s probably worth noting that all current studies suggest fish have very limited sentience and pain receptors are more of a reflex action to avoid harm rather than feeling pain in the same way we would. Nociceptors by themselves don’t lead to an emotional response as that requires additional brain function, that fish don’t appear to have.
All this though, is by way of saying that the argument you can eat fish and be spiritual because the animal (fish) doesn’t feel pain is a little bit of a stretch. But, you can see from above, we don’t believe that eating meat stops you from being spiritual, and as such neither does fish. The key to being Pescatarian and spiritual is to honour the food you eat, treat it well before and during death, and be grateful for its sacrifice so that you may continue to worry about whether you’re spiritual or not.
Everyone has their own reasons for deciding whether or not to eat meat, fish or only vegetables. There is nothing which suggests eating one form of diet but not the other leads to reduced ability to be a spiritual person, and some of the world’s most famous and, arguably, deepest spiritual people do in fact eat meat. It would seem that there are limited spiritual effects of eating meat and it’s the intention behind the dietary choice that might have more meaning.
The energy of your food is the important point and the attitude with which you eat such food is also incredibly important. If you ensure the food you eat is treated in the best possible way, with thanks given for the sacrifice the food has made for you, then you are exhibiting spiritual tendencies already.
Of course, this does not address the potential environmental or other ideological reasons for not eating meat. But that’s not the purpose of this article and it’s not for us to try to tell someone else what they should eat and when.
At the end of the day, if you feel better and more spiritual when you eat meat then continue doing so. If you feel better as a vegetarian, pescatarian or vegan – do that. It is for you, and you alone to decide.
We hope this has been helpful for you. If you feel you would like to let us know your thoughts please do leave us a comment below and feel free to share the article with your friends using the buttons below.
Thanks for reading!
1: Realiser (2020). Can You Eat Meat And Be Spiritual?. Realiser The Spiritual Blog. Fetched from Can You Eat Meat And Be Spiritual? Here’s the answer! – Realiser (evr.uk) on 22nd October 2021.
2: Michael Sinclair (2017). The Spiritual Reasons Why I Stopped Eating Meat. Michael Sinclair. Fetched from The Spiritual Reasons Why I Stopped Eating Meat — Micheal Sinclair on 22nd October 2021.
3: Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V. (FVB) (2013). Do fish feel pain? Not as humans do, study suggests. Science Daily, August 8th 2013. Fetched from Do fish feel pain? Not as humans do, study suggests — ScienceDaily on 23rd October 2021
4: Jabr F. (2018). It’s Official: Fish Feel Pain. Smithsonian Magazine, January 8th 2018. Fetched from It’s Official: Fish Feel Pain | Science | Smithsonian Magazine on 23rd October 2021.
5: Faustino A. I., Tacao-Monteiro A., Oliveira R. F. (2017). Mechanisms of social buffering of fear in zebrafish. Scientific Reports, 7, Article Number 44329 (2017). doi: https://doi.org/10.1038/srep44329