How Meditation Led Russell Simmons to a Vegan Diet
Meditating will make you more open to a plant-based diet, says legendary music producer Russell Simmons, who calls eating meat "the biggest karmic disaster in the world."
Russell Simmons is an entrepreneur, author, activist and philanthropist who has used his boundless creativity and eye for talent to launch superstar careers and groundbreaking enterprises in arenas as varied as music, film, television, fashion, comedy, poetry, digital platforms, Broadway plays and finance. Simmons’ achievements have earned him a spot on a USA Today list of the world’s 25 most influential people of the past 25 years, as well as a fortune that places him among the wealthiest figures in hip-hop history. Underlying all his trend-setting endeavors are a passionate sense of social responsibility and an unshakable belief in justice for all people, regardless of race, class, religion or sexual orientation. After having produced or managed artists such as Kurtis Blow, Run DMC, Whodini, Jimmy Spicer amongst many others, Simmons and producer Rick Rubin joined forces founding Def Jam Recordings. During his tenure as Chairman of the record label beginning in 1984, he helped sign acts from the Beastie Boys, Public Enemy, LL Cool J all the way to Jay Z and Kanye West.
Simmons is widely known as a champion of social justice and equality for those who are discriminated against for any reason. A longtime advocate for LGBT rights, he was honored with the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) Media Award. Simmons also has worked to foster racial and religious reconciliation through the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding, which supports interfaith communications between religious and ethnic leaders in 40 countries. He remains a staunch supporter of the Occupy movement, which is dedicated to giving the people a stronger voice than corporations.
Also a devout vegan and strong advocate for animal rights and received the PETA Man of the Year Award in 2011. Simmons’ many charitable endeavors include the Diamond Empowerment Fund, a global organization that supports educational initiatives for disadvantaged people in diamond-producing African nations and Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation, which gives young people the opportunity to create and appreciate art. Simmons has written three New York Times best-selling author on happiness and well-being: Do You! 12 Laws to Access the Power in You to Achieve Happiness and Success, Super Rich: A Guide to Having It All, and Success Through Stillness: Meditation Made Simple. Simmons grew up in Queens and has two daughters, Ming Lee and Aoki Lee.
Russell Simmons: Yoga and meditation inform your diet because it’s mindfulness. And when you are awake and aware of what’s going on you obviously make better choices. And certainly you can feel if you’re sensitive. I mean your physical asana to the practice or the entire spiritual yoga practice informs how you relate to the world. I mean the first thing in yoga in the eight parts of yoga is the ahimsa, non-harming. And no one with good sense or no one who’s aware of their footprint would ever eat an animal under these circumstances. They would not contribute to the abuse of 100 billion animals, you know, per year – 100 billion. That’s the worst karmic disaster in the world. I mean absolute abuse. I mean born into a life, a short life of extreme suffering only to poison the individual and destroy the planet. No one who practiced their ahimsa which is the first of the yamas would ever participate in that if he was aware. And then meditation because mindfulness as well. Mindfulness comes from the physical asana or the yoga practice overall. But no one is aware and gave any thought to or just came from what’s etched inside of them this spiritual or this piece of God that’s etched inside them, this thing, would inform them if they sat still it’s made their own decisions they wouldn’t do it. So your diet would change.
Do you know that 50 percent of African American women over 20 have some form of heart disease? That all the bad cholesterol, every single bit of it comes from animal product. I mean why, you know, when there’s so many alternatives that are better, that are cheaper. It just makes good sense to move away from animal product to a plant based diet.
And talk about climate change right and everybody’s discussion climate change and never mentioned the greatest cause of global warming, the abuse of these animals. The destruction of all the resources on the planet and the planet itself. The cows alone are more destructive to the planet than all the trains, planes and automobiles and boats put together almost times two. So why not mention that when we discuss climate change.
And I think people just have to make a choice. But also it’s why we go back to the meditation thing. You meditate so you can be present and aware, you know. You don’t have to have the past inform your future since the past and the future will never be here. All you have to do is just the second in the presence and you can change on a dime. The past and the future, just the imagination that never comes. So if you are present even in the second of presence you can shift your life. You don’t have to carry the weight or the burden of what’s been forced on you or what mistakes you’ve made or you can just be present and operate from a really free space.
Being awake and aware means you're unlikely to participate in "the biggest karmic disaster in the world," says legendary music producer Russell Simmons, by which he means eating meat.
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