First off, what does compassion mean?

Broadly defined, compassion is a feeling of kindness, support, or understanding towards someone else. In a more specific sense, we would say that a person shows compassion by behaving in a helpful, supportive way towards someone less fortunate than themselves, without necessarily expecting anything in return for their benevolence.

Many believe that showing compassion means donating to or working for a charity of some sort, such as poverty relief. But there are an infinite number of ways to behave in a compassionate way, and only some of them involve what we would normally think of as charity work. There are many ways of showing compassion that have more to do with one’s lifestyle choices than with donating money.

Compassion: Sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress together with a desire to alleviate it
— Merriam Webster dictionary

Compassion food: we practice compassion by choosing what ends up on our plates


We find that making compassionate food not only helps us make ethical choices in everyday life, but also satisfies our palate and provides us with good nutrition, satisfying our bodies and, in turn, our minds. We start out by educating ourselves about the way food works inside our bodies.  This understanding is necessary for ensuring that our moral choice of not harming others doesn’t end up harming ourselves.  When we feel good, we do good, and vice versa. When we are healthy, we act healthy; good health creates happiness, happiness creates good health; and so forth. By continuing this way, we can make this world a happier place together. It is essential that we take care of our selves, as well as the rest of the environment around us, because we are all a part of it. When we do, we are in a much better disposition to take care of others. 

We include non-human animals in our cycle of compassion, understanding their ability to suffer. We respect them as the other creatures that share this planet and its resources with us. By making compassionate eating choices, we sympathize with those who cannot speak out about their suffering, boycotting their commercial exploitation and lending them our voices as consumers

Our task must be to free ourselves...By widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and it’s beauty.
— Albert Einstein

But industrial animal farming is not the only place where sentient creatures are harmed by our decisions. That’s why we here at Ficus also care about wild animals harmed during plant harvest and other problems that arise with high scale cultivation of specific plants (using conventional methods).  Compassion food thus involves seeing further than merely what specific life form made up the food on our plate. If we really want to show our compassion for the creatures around us, we need to accept the full consequences of our dietary choices – even if they seem counter-intuitive at first. 

It's important for us to carefully choose our ingredients according to where they come from, how they were cultivated and a rough estimation of how many problems arise as a result of getting the ingredients to our kitchen. Most of the time this result in eating plant based (mostly plants), locally (knowing the farmers), seasonally and organic. 

Photo by: Asbjørn Korntorp, taken in Bjørvika community garden (Oslo)

Photo by: Asbjørn Korntorp, taken in Bjørvika community garden (Oslo)

This may sound like a lot of thinking, but in short what we are trying to say is that you can live and enjoy many forms of culinary pleasure, all while caring for others and reducing their suffering. Even if it may take some time to get used to.

If you want others to be happy, practice compassion.
If you want to be happy, practice compassion.
— Dalai Lama