Most of us struggle to spend a day, even an hour, without some kind of sound coming out of our lips. Then, when some members of the Food Matters team were lucky enough to hear James Aspey talk about why he chose to take a one year Vote of silence, we had to share your story!
It is difficult not to form a preconceived idea of how someone will be. I was half expecting a serious and super reserved personality. (Why would not you need powers of superhuman discipline to survive a year without words ?!)
But the first impressions of James's team? To warm. Open. Charismatic It is a super practical and friendly "normal" guy.
James launched directly into talking about an experience that opened him to the heart of his soul. At only 18 years of age, James was diagnosed with lymphoma and leukemia. His life took a complete turn; One minute, it seemed he was at the height of his youth, fit and carefree. The next moment, he understood for the first time in his life what it was really like to suffer.
During his three years of chemotherapy, James gained 55 pounds, developed severe pneumonia, suffered from eczema and lost his hair, vitality and enthusiasm for life. After hitting bottom, James decided it was time to recover. He recruited the help of a personal trainer who put him on a path of health that it was soon impossible to go back.
James lost the weight, cleaned his diet and felt so good that he was inspired to help others as well. He obtained his PT credentials and began to train people both professionally and for simple joy, often offering his services for free.
This race took him all over the world, where he often worked as a PT on foreign cruises. And on a fateful cruise, James met the next person who would change his life forever.
This person was an "Indian sage," as James describes it. During two weeks of profound and meaningful conversion, he challenged James' beliefs about health and spirituality. He urged James to consider what kind of suffering he was causing by eating animals. And after reflecting on this question during a 10-day meditation retreat, James had a new resolution; I went to trial being a vegetarian.
What initially was a personal challenge of a week to refrain from eating, soon became much more than that. After three days of eating vegetarian food, James felt better than ever. He had more energy, better digestion and discovered that this lifestyle was quite easy. After a great deal of research, and much more scrutiny, James realized that he was not doing enough. It was time to become vegan.
Now, at Food Matters we embrace many different ways of eating, and we do not necessarily prescribe a particular diet philosophy. We always encourage you to do your own research and do what seems appropriate. However, James raised some points of reflection when he spoke about his reasons for becoming vegan.
We do not need animals to thrive and survive. We exploit them simply for taste, habit, tradition and convenience. ? The meat industry is one of the biggest causes of environmental devastation. ? 1.5 billion animals suffer each year in the food industry. ? There is as much animal cruelty in a piece of cheese as a piece of meat. ? We can choose to take the path of least possible harm to animals, and this ultimately aims to be vegan. "Animals are individuals with needs, desires, and rights, not" something, "but" someone. " Cattle claims of "human massacre" are deceptive … You can not humanely kill someone who wants to live …
The more I learned, the more passionate James became to make a real difference. Then, he had an epiphany.
What if he stayed silent longer? What if he did not say a single word … for one. All. Year.
So when the clock struck 12 on New Year's Eve at the end of that year, James' lips were sealed proverbially. He packed his truck and embarked on an adventure through Australia to spread awareness of animal rights and learn as much as he could, from direct experience, about how animals are really treated in Australia.
James volunteered on farms, raised a battered calf by hand and witnessed first-hand the brutality that occurs on innumerable industrial farms. Even though he is now well and truly has recovered, he still drowns when he recounts those experiences.
According to James, the rumors about industrial farms are not fanciful, the horrible stories are spread by the exaggeration of the media or the hippies with a pro-vegan agenda. James tells stories of abuse that sends chills down his spine and could make his eyes fill with tears.
However, as he talks about his history and his mission, his eyes shine, his face is illuminated and, literally, radiates joy when talking about living a life aligned with his values, passion and purpose. Offering tips as simple as "move your hand to make a different choice". With so many vegan alternatives available in the supermarket for milk, cheese and other protein sources, it has never been so easy to make a human and healthy change.
"Most people do not realize how wonderful they will feel, how tasty vegan food can be and how easy it is," says James.
After a year, 30,000 followers, 365 blog posts and the adventure of his life, James finally broke his silence on national television with a powerful message:
"The reason I made the vow of silence was to raise awareness about the voiceless victims of this planet. We all say that we love animals and we are all against animal cruelty, but we pay people to mutilate, torture and sacrifice animals and it is not for any reason. It is not because we need it for our health. It's just because we like its taste. So I lost my voice, because they do not have a voice.
But then, I thought, "they're not really without a voice." They cry in pain, scream in terror, and when they do, they use their voice to tell us that they are suffering. The problem is that we do not listen because they have wings instead of arms, they have fur, they have scales, they are a different species, so we do not take their suffering seriously. "- James Aspey
If you want more information about James, his trip or veganism, go to www.jamesaspey.com.au
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