Vegan Monk reveals the secret to a happy life
06/27/2018 // Rhonda Johansson // Views

Eating processed meat can kill you — in more ways than one. Former genetic scientist and current Tibetan monk, Matthieu Ricard says that going vegan is the key to living a happier and more fulfilling existence, reports Ricard, who is touted to be the “world’s happiest man” recently urged the public to make dramatic shifts in their diet practices.

“I am extremely concerned by the fate of the eight million other species who share the world with us, and who, like us, wish to avoid suffering and live out their lives,” he says. “When you ask people if they are in favor of justice and morality, everyone will say yes. Do you think you could then ask that it’s just and moral to inflict unnecessary suffering on sentient beings? Everyone will say no. And that’s exactly the case, because today this suffering is not necessary. If you love animals, watch and take action.”

Ricard’s appeal was published in a campaign video for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).

A cycle of pain and violence

These assertions were made after recent studies linked processed meat intake with an increased risk of diseases like cancer and the aggravation of symptoms of conditions like asthma.

“The animals suffer, the environment suffers, and we suffer,” notes Ricard. “True happiness can only be attained when we avoid causing pain to others, so please become vegan like me.”

Ricard may have a point -- the monk had his brain measured by a team of neuroscientists back in 2012. Around 256 sensors were placed on Ricard’s skull which measured his brain activity while he meditated. The scans show that when Ricard is meditating on compassion, his brain produces unfathomable levels of gamma waves, which are linked to learning, memory, attention, and consciousness. Lead author of this study, Richard Davidson, says that the waves that Ricard was producing have “never [been] reported before in the neuroscience literature.”


Scans reveal excessive amount of activity in Ricard’s left prefrontal cortex compared to his right side, providing him an abnormally large capacity for happiness and a reduced propensity for negativity. This led researchers to dub Ricard as the “world’s happiest man.”

What health organizations say

The World Health Organization (WHO) classifies processed meats as probable carcinogens. Processed meat includes bacon, ham, hot dogs, sausage, and some deli meats. It describes any type of meat that has been treated in any way to preserve or flavor it. This includes such processes as curing, fermenting, salting, and smoking. Red meat -- a possible carcinogen -- includes goat, lamb, beef, and pork.

This classification was given after 22 experts from 10 countries reviewed more than 800 studies on the possible links between processed meat and the onset of disease. It is suggested that merely eating around 50 g of processed meat every day increases the risk of colorectal cancer by 18 percent. This is equivalent to around four strips of bacon or one hot dog.

Consuming large amounts of red meat also increases the risk of colorectal, pancreatic, and prostate cancer. Several more studies show that eating processed meat leads to an increased risk of hypertension, heart disease, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Eating processed meat is also associated with poor lifestyle habits. Those who regularly consume processed meats are more likely to smoke or drink excessively.

Thankfully, these risks can be entirely eliminated by changing dietary habits. The WHO recommends switching to a diet composed mostly of fruits, nuts, and vegetables. The organization estimates that 6.7 million deaths worldwide can be attributed to inadequate fruit and vegetable consumption. Current data shows that a plant-based diet can significantly reduce the risk of developing fatal diseases, maintain proper health, lower blood pressure, modulate cholesterol levels, and prevent oxidative damage to the cells in the body.

Sources include:

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