I open the fridge to grab a “head” of raw beet. I pick out a small one: it’s been sitting in the fridge for a few weeks, “waiting” for its turn. I am no longer at peace even eating raw vegetables. What I mean is that: I feel even for them. Yes, for raw vegetables. I am not a vegan or even a vegetarian. I eat what my body requires and wants. But I am an empathic eater. I feel for the food that we all are. Even this beet has a self: indeed, if given a chance, it’ll grow. I’ve seen that happen with cloves of garlic. What does it mean to grow? If a “thing” grows, is it a thing? I don’t think so. It is a "self." Just like I am. So, I can relate to a beet: it doesn’t want to die; it’s holding out, sitting in the fridge, on some level hoping to be pardoned. I slice off the top and the bottom from the root. Later today, at a minimum, I’ll toss these living parts out into the backyard, back into nature. At a maximum, I might stick them into soil – just to give them a bit of a chance at being a beet.Paradoxically, it's harder to eat raw beet for me than a piece of chicken. The beet is still alive, the chicken is already dead. Hard to feel empathic for the dead. Sure, I might have some abstract compassion/empathy for the bird that was once alive. I certainly would feel compassion/empathy for a living bird that one day might be butchered. But sardines in a can that I also opened this morning - they are long gone, there is no living process left here for me to rescue. But the beet, the beet is still alive. And the seeds in an apple. And even probiotic bacteria in a cup of yogurt - they too are alive. Each gulp - microbial genocide.Life is zero-sum: to eat is to kill, no matter how you slice it.