Q&A Wednesday

Q&A: Can yogis eat meat?

One question I get asked all the time is if yogis can eat meat, but more specifically, how can I call myself a yogi when I’m not vegan.

I get why this is a controversial topic and I don’t fault anyone for wondering about this aspect of my life.

If you’ve followed me for any amount of time, you know I eat a little of everything. Yes, I eat meat. Yes, I eat ice cream. Yes, I sometimes cook with butter. I know it probably won’t surprise you that I don’t believe you need to subscribe to veganism to do yoga, but I’m sharing a little more about why I believe that in today’s Q&A.

Remember: feel free to chime in below! All opinions are welcome, but any comments that are inflammatory, disrespectful, or just plain mean will be deleted. Keep it classy, Bad Yogi Family! 

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22 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Roos Grinwis

    April 26, 2017 at 6:58 am

    Hi Erin,

    Awesome that you share your opinions, you are right, everyone is entitled to his or her opinion regarding dietary choices. People should never judge someones diet.

    I also eat meat and am a yogi. When the choice was totally mine I would eat only healthy stuff, but sometimes something else is healthy at that moment. When I feel like eating veggies, I eat veggies. When I feel like my body needs meat, or fat cheese, I eat that. I feel like going with the flow, when you eat at someones place, eat what’s there. Am I traveling, eat local.

    I eat conscious, but matching to the needs of my body. I believe in the fact that your body lets you know what it needs and then just eat it.

    Keep doing what you do!
    Love,
    Rose

  2. Avatar

    Lea

    April 26, 2017 at 7:19 am

    Can yogis eat meat?
    First of all, YES. I think everybody should decide what to eat and in which amounts.
    Personally, I think it is very important to know where your food comes from. If you want to eat the industrial farming products with antibiotics, go ahead, do so. In my opinion organic (and local) products are much better. For us, the environment and animal welfare. Just know what it is you are consuming and be fine with it.
    So yes, I am fine with yogis eating meat. Though, I am a vegetarian and am pretty happy with my choice of food habits. Every person has the right to make this decision his or her own. It is also very interesting just thinking about society’s opinions and behavior. Many people keep asking me “So, why are you a vegetarian? Why don’t you eat meat?” I think, it would be awesome to change this to the other way round “Why are you eating meat?” Is it just out of habit? Did you ever think about it? Like Erin said, she wants to. And that is okay. People should just be informed of what happens all before there is meat on their plate.
    I love chocolate, pizza,…and other non-healthy food and still, yes, I would say I am a yogi. Maybe a bad one 😉 But that’s what it is all about, right?

  3. Avatar

    Sackies

    April 26, 2017 at 7:54 am

    Greetings from Ireland, I believe after a great deal of thinking and talking to friends a fellow Yogis that one who is practicing Ahimsha can call him/herself a Yogi
    Opposed to the Ines that dont who can state that they are just Practicing Yoga
    Namaste
    Sackies

  4. Avatar

    Pradeep

    April 26, 2017 at 7:57 am

    Yogi were always restricted from eating meat, and the reason is ” what you eat impacts your thoughts”.
    Suppose you have to kill and then cook for yourself, you must be aggressive and insensitive towards killing an animal.
    If you are eating meat and doing yog at the same time, it will not be as effective.

    Vegetarian are always more tolerant and sensitive beings.

    Though I eat meat however the reason is more medical.

  5. Avatar

    Holly

    April 26, 2017 at 8:04 am

    Being vegan isn’t just some fad diet. Animal agriculture is the number one contributing factor to global warming and what’s ruining our planet. So you like eating meat? And consuming dairy? That means you like how inhumanely animals are treated. That means you like that baby cows are ripped away from their mothers so that you can consume dairy. That means that you like the fact that there are starving children because their countries only grow grains for the cows that you are eating. That means you like the rapping of cows to get them pregnant so that you can consume their milk. The cognitive dissonance is great here. Again, it’s not just a fad diet. What you are consuming is affecting our planet and everyone on it. Try being a little more responsible and doing some research ? Smsh *facepalm*

    1. Avatar

      Christin

      April 26, 2017 at 11:22 am

      Okay…generally speaking in the industrial sense you are correct, and people should research…but there are definitely sustainable and responsible ways to consume dairy and meat which do not condone cow rape and inhumane treatment of animals. Although I admire your passion, I think it’s going a little far to say someone who eats dairy likes rape. good grief.

    2. Avatar

      WildinWanderland

      April 26, 2017 at 3:22 pm

      Wow, just wow.
      Perhaps somebody needs to get a grip and take some time out for a little self reflection. If acting like that ??and talking to fellow human beings in such a manner and with such wretched accusation is being a strict traditional yogi, than you can count me out. Funny thing though… I’m pretty sure berating other humans with a self-righteous ego of “better than” is not a traditional yogic principal. So really you are no better than the meat eater yogi. You are in fact equally imperfect at being a strict traditional Yogi like everyone else… and if given the choice, I choose to be a tolerant, loving human, who eats meat on occasion, over that.
      What a boring world this would be if we all liked the same things, enjoyed the same interests, believed the same beliefs, etc… we might as well be programmed robots. You see, the most beautiful thing about this world is that there’s not just one path. Everybody is not on the same journey and everybody is not experiencing the same things. Soaking up the differences in people, cultures, belief systems, etc… and how we learn from those differences in others is what makes life on Earth awesome and grows us as tolerable, loving human beings. …And if you’re not taking the time to absorb all that beauty and to learn and grow from others differences I think you’re really missing out on what life truly is.
      I think most people want the same things in this world: they want to be happy, healthy, accepted, and loved. …and when you are on the opposite end of those forces you are only hurting our universe and mankind not helping it grow in love.
      Self acceptance and self love are big steps for not feeling threatened by the differences of others.

  6. Avatar

    Sally

    April 26, 2017 at 8:39 am

    No judgement with your food intake choices however, I personally try and follow the eight limbs of yoga. Ahimsa- non violence….why would I eat an animal that was killed?!
    Also, saucha- cleanliness…I want to be clean inside and not have stagnant meat laying around for days on end.
    It’s a process, took years… I dream (nightmares) about eating chicken wings in buffalo sauce and I wake myself up hysterical with guilt.
    Again, no right or wrong. Even when you stop eating meat and poultry etc. you still beat yourself up. Somehow I do…we are all evolving and do the best we can 🙂
    For the love of animals….eat plant based as much as possible. It takes a bit of planning for starters and then it’s habitual.
    XO

  7. Avatar

    Christin

    April 26, 2017 at 11:15 am

    Interesting discussion here! I think there is a difference between practicing yoga and being a strict Yogi, when at the end of the day you consider all of the philosophies that go into it. I am a devout Christian who likes to practice yoga. Many Christians would say these conflict because of the religious aspects of yoga. I say they don’t, because I recognize the difference between practicing yoga, and being a strict Yogi. How does this have anything to do with eating meat or not? Well if part of being a strict Yogi means following specific beliefs, including not eating meat, then you either are a strict Yogi, or are practicing yoga (maybe as a non-strict Yogi…i’m not trying to label anyone here).
    I realize saying this can open me up to many possible hurtful comments about Christian philosophies, and whether those are right or wrong, but at the end of the day, I think the point here, (And also why I LOVE this BAD YOGI community and Erin) is that we can come from all different backgrounds, philosophies, and belief systems, but we all love to at least practice yoga, and that is a common ground that can be built upon. What Erin is doing here makes an important positive impact, and I appreciate her willingness to open up on this subject, which runs far deeper than just eating meat or not eating meat. Cheers!

  8. Avatar

    Yana

    April 26, 2017 at 3:34 pm

    From the ethical point of view, I think the answer to the question is very personal and really depends on the interpretation of the rules. So I’ll just comment from the environmental point of view. I absolutely agree that commercial animal husbandry is more often than not harmful. But then again, so is commercial agriculture. Nothing is as depleting to the soil as mindless over-farming and use of chemicals, not to mention the amount of energy required to power the machinery. There is scientific evidence, though, for the optimal solution to the problems caused by both animal and plant mass production. A solution based on a harmonious coexistence of those two branches that is also the most sustainable to our planet. Check out Savory Institute initiatives for more information.

  9. Avatar

    John

    April 26, 2017 at 7:34 pm

    I don’t know if there’s a reason for a yogi to not to eat meat. Does this come from yoga’s origins in a vegetarian region of India? If so then perhaps one could say they were ‘authentic’ if they didn’t eat meat. I gave up meat on principle 3 years ago but I’d been doing your youtube yoga before that and it never crossed my mind that I needed to be vegan or veggie to do yoga. I know now that I feel better and more energetic for my diet. My body’s feelings after yoga remain largely unchanged and when I hear people talk about yoga they all go through the same thing. So, ultimately no is the answer to your question. I wish people didn’t but I can’t change the world

  10. Avatar

    Brooklyn

    April 26, 2017 at 9:03 pm

    Thank you for sharing, Erin! More than anything, I appreciate your emphasis on tolerance and open discussion. If we are cruel to each other in the attempt to get rid of animal cruelty, I don’t think we’ve achieved very much. Let’s do it through love and kindness instead 🙂

  11. Avatar

    Toon

    April 27, 2017 at 5:11 am

    I practice yoga for years, I don’t eat meat for more than 27 years. I know a vegetarian diet is beter for the environment, that’s my small contribution to a beter world. It’s up to everyone to choose their own path in life anD whatever path it is it doesn’t make you a better person than anyone else. I am not a good person and eating no meat or doing yoga isn’t gonna change that.

  12. Avatar

    Vikram Shah

    April 27, 2017 at 9:50 am

    Think first and foremost you need to differentiate between yoga and yogi. If you just do yoga poses then why does it even matter if you’re eating meat or if you’re a vegan. If you’re a yogi then that’s a completely different thing

  13. Avatar

    Trude

    April 27, 2017 at 6:35 pm

    Some of theese comments are cringeworthy… I have followed Erin for four years since I found the original bad yogi 30 day challenge. And I love her open, loving towards all attitude. I feel like I know a lot of what she stands for. She is a rolemodel to me. A warm woman with an exellent dry humor. Reflected and with a mindset close to mine. If people eat animal products it’s not because they love seeing animals suffer. That conclusion is scientifically and logically flawed. Like, I can easily say for a fact plants communicate. Does that mean vegans love eating sentient beings? Maybe you should switch to consuming sunlight and water? Come on! Make me laugh harder about your self richeous, vegan nonsense 😀 😀 😀 Not saying all vegans are self richeous, but the ones telling me what to eat can go hug a tree or something, instead of telling me how I feel about animals.

    1. Avatar

      Sandy

      July 19, 2019 at 3:04 pm

      Plants aren’t sentient. They are intelligent, but not sentient.
      Ahimsa and eating meat just do not go together, sorry.

  14. Avatar

    Also Erin

    April 28, 2017 at 8:09 am

    Regardless of the opinions of others, do not apologize for your personal lifestyle choices, dietary or otherwise. What I eat, what you eat, and what we call ourselves is nobody’s business. If you are happy with yourself and how you feel, you’re perfect.

  15. Avatar

    Deep Web

    April 28, 2017 at 2:23 pm

    I love work outs, especially butt workouts!

  16. Avatar

    Lukas

    March 5, 2019 at 7:03 pm

    I know it’s over a year later but wanted to jump in and agree that while ahimsa is key, not one person who eats vegan and drinks imported coffee, quinoa, tea, etc. is practicing it either (Think strip mining for precious crystals or child labor). My partner and I do “urban foraging” (look up Rob Greenfield) and we find boxes and boxes and BOXES of fresh meat being thrown away one day after the non-FDA regulated “expiration date”. I eat that meat to honor the animal, that its life was not lived in vain. We also feed others this way. There is much exploitation in the world but it is not on the 99% to fix it, the best we can do is be cognizant of our impact, educate, and reduce whatever impact we can – and forgoing the judgement game.

    1. Avatar

      Erin Motz

      March 7, 2019 at 9:15 pm

      Totally agree! I think that it’s just about being conscious and aware.

  17. Avatar

    Don

    July 19, 2020 at 12:19 am

    Hi, no matter what you eat, some life form of energy is being taken…its your justification to say one is better than the other…but in the end everyday their is death in some form of what you eat.

  18. Avatar

    Don

    July 19, 2020 at 12:25 am

    Research has shown that plants feel pain…I guess what I am saying is who are we to say one form of energy vs another is better for you believe that cows should not be killed vs a tomato because you believe the tomato has no feelings…but it might in a different energy form and so no matter what a form of energy is killed…we just justify its ok because its not sentient.

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