Article 1 - What’s a Vegan?: VEGETABLE SOUP FOR THE SOUL (A Vegan Way of Life)


Billie Touchstone Signer

"Until we have the courage to recognize cruelty for what it is – whether its victim is human or animal – we cannot expect things to be much better in this world…We cannot have peace among men whose hearts delight in killing any living creature. By every act that glorifies or even tolerates such moronic delight in killing we set back the progress of humanity."
~Rachel Carson


This is the first in a series of articles on working toward a non-violent world--a “Peaceable Kingdom” which sprouts from seeds of little acts of kindness to each other, to God’s sentient creatures and to our environment. And last, but not least, acts of kindness to oneself beginning with our own well being.

As I begin this series, I pray for wisdom, which I believe to be a gift from God. The most learned person can be far from wise, for wisdom is not learned, but given.

“For wisdom, the fashioner of all things, taught me. For in her there is a spirit that is intelligent, holy, unique, manifold, subtle, mobile, clear, unpolluted, distinct, invulnerable, loving the good, keen, irresistible, beneficent, humane, steadfast, sure, free from anxiety, all powerful, overseeing all and penetrating through all spirits that are intelligent and pure and most subtle. Wisdom of Solomon 7:22-24.

There’ll be stories, excerpts, quotations, a sprinkling of recipes and many things to interest the reader. I’ll delve into what can be accomplished if everyone would begin by cutting back their consumption of flesh food, dairy and eggs. I’ll explain how this will help the suffering animals, help our environment, our precious water supplies and could all but end world hunger. I’ll also go into how we can be a healthy nation, and hate will not fill so many hearts on a vegan way of life. Truly, it would be Vegetable Soup for a troubled America’s Soul

The articles will be a form of enlightenment and will be far from dull or monotonous. A sort of jolting awake experience.

The idea came from Chicken Soup for the Soul, those very popular and wonderful books on love and forgiveness. But inasmuch as I do not wish to use Chicken to make my “soup“, I will call mine, Vegetable Soup for the Soul. It too will be a book on love and forgiveness, though along a somewhat different vein.

I’m vegan. What’s a vegan? Simply put, a vegan does not eat anything that has to die nor do they eat or use anything that exploits an animal, such as eggs, dairy products, leather, wool, and honey, among other things. In other words, vegans work to alleviate suffering to any of God’s creatures whether human or non-human.

II really don’t like the name vegan as much as I like prolife--ALL LIFE. This sends the true message I and millions of vegans profess: All life is sacred, from the innocent, helpless baby in the womb to the tiny spider with its heart racing as it scurries to safety. But vegan is the name chosen to set us apart from vegetarians, who do eat dairy products, eggs, etc. So, guess we’re stuck with the name vegan.

A vegan believes that God gave man the proper food in the Book of Genesis. (1:29) A vegan works to change injustices to innocent creatures who cannot help themselves and who have no recourse.

I’ll attempt to “uninstall” from the mind’s computer some cemented and “traditionalized-to-death” customs and ideas which I believe have helped bring us where we are today--A world heavily sodden with killing, hate and revenge--AND a consumerism mentality. No wonder America is hated by so many. But what those who hate us do NOT know is that there are more good people here than bad; and that very few people are intrinsically evil. And yes, I believe there is even hope for them, too.

MMany years ago, there was a term known as brainwashing. It was used in military tactics whereby one could be made to believe anything by this method, which I understand was something like autosuggestion. The person was told some untruth over and over and it was flowered over with positive things until the person actually believed it to be the truth.

When soldiers were imprisoned, they were “brainwashed“ and made to believe they should give up military secrets. Many succumbed to this and once released had to be “deprogrammed“ back to believing the truth of matters. It was a time consuming process and not always successful. The victim at times never regained his former mental capacity.

Over the years we have been brainwashed into believing many societal untruths and evils: “Sure, it’s all right to kill babies in the mothers’ womb; their body, their choice.” Other erroneous things like justifying the breeding, raising and cruelly slaughtering animals for food when there is no need. Animals are cruelly used for testing medicines and cosmetics in the name of progress. But I contend it’s in the name of greed and apathy. -Others are raised strictly for their furs so vain people can wear animal skins. Others are exploited in circuses, rodeos and bullrings, to mention only a few.

The advertising moguls are so very good at BBB (Brainwashing for Big Bucks), that they pull out all the stops and after awhile, good people believe bad things and think them good, or at least not so bad maybe. Remember when doctors smoked cigarettes and recommended them to their “anxious” patients?

These articles are meant to instruct, suggest and urge the reader to listen to his conscience. If he is uncomfortable after reading these articles, that is good. I hope and pray the articles will strip away the callousness and sleeping conscience which clings like Velcro to so many. Not because they are not good people, but people who are misinformed and “brainwashed.”

Once, scientists in a lab tested to see just how hot water had to be before it killed a little frog. They took the frog from his pond home and put him in a container filled with the pond water. Each day, they turned up the heat ever so slightly that the poor frog didn’t know it was hotter. Finally, the water almost reached boiling point, and the poor frog died. He had been dying for days but they couldn’t tell just at what point he actually died.

The world is similar. We have been exposed to so much violence, murder and horrors on TV. that we barely acknowledge other than to say something like, “how sad.” We think it common as water for those who do wrong to get their “just deserts” Our compassion is hiding behind our sleeping conscience.

II believe with every ounce of my being that when God said, “Thou shall not kill.” He wasn’t kidding. He didn’t include the word, unless, or only in certain circumstances. He meant Thou shall not kill! Period. And when he said that vengeance belonged only to Him, he sure wasn’t kidding, and yet, wars of vengeance continue right on. When Jesus said, Blessed are the merciful, He wasn’t kidding.

So many folks, (myself at one time) have a hang-up on the word, dominion. The word means: control or the exercise of control, rule, sovereignty. In royalty terms, the king or queen was the sovereign ruler and had dominion over his/her subjects. But does it make sense it gave them the right to persecute, breed them for slaughter and food. No, I think not. Just as I, and millions of others worldwide, think God in his gift of dominion to man in the Garden, did not mean for man to persecute or harm needlessly his sentient creatures. But rather to be a good steward over all.

To end this first article, let me confess that I for most of my adult life did not feel much compassion and went along with the crowd that God gave us animals to eat (more on this in another article). Then one day many years ago, my conscience awakened after much prayerfulness on my spiritual journey. I heard the Cry of the Poor, as the song goes. The “poor” were God’s sentient creatures suffering for the sake of a forkful of flesh in the mouth. What had I done? It actually was like a jolt out of the blue (not quite like St. Paul’s conversion). I began to read, to delve into the whole nasty process of what I was doing to the animals, the planet, and my health. A rude awakening, but such enlightenment.

Now, I hunger for truth, and I hunger to pass it on.

“But for the sake of some little mouthful of flesh, we deprive a soul of the sun and light and of that proportion of life and time it had been born into the world to enjoy.” ---Plutarch 46-120

Copyrighted as a collection by Billie Touchstone Signer

To respond to the series: [email protected] or P. O. Box 365, Jasper, AR 72641-0365

Go on to: Article 2 - Connectedness
Return to: Vegetable Soup for the Soul