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Monday, September 30, 2013

Turning to vegetarianism

In the past, I thought vegetarianism for me would be impossible - I loved meat too much. Every meal HAD to have at least a shred of meat. And firstly, I'd like to apologize to a high school friend that I made fun of (to get along with the crowd) because she turned to vegetarianism. It was uncalled for, and mean. I'm sorry.

The catalyst to this decision to change dietary habits wasn't really about seeing the animal cruelty videos (I've seen videos of sharks being finned, and dogs being skinned alive for cooking in China), but I met a guy on Instagram who's a vegetarian, and posts the most mouth-watering food photos that you won't believe are actually vegetarian.

It started off with an experiment to see how the hell vegetarians survived in this meat-dominated world.

The effects of the new dietary habit were positive - I was more energetic compared to the past, especially on the days where I slept for 2-4 hours every night continuously. Bowel movement also increased in frequency. And I'm really testing my creativity to make veggie lunchbox combinations.

There were mixed responses about my decision - my fellow vegetarians seemed (emphasis on SEEMED) pleased that I had joined the bandwagon; friends and ex-teachers were supportive and helpful. The annoying part were the people who pointed out every "mistake" I was making - consuming garlic and onions, and not really minding that I sometimes made my meals in the same frying pan that my sister used to cook meat with previously.

"Dealing with the people was the hard part" - quote from the IG guy (shall remain unnamed until I get his permission =P). And it is, up till now. It's been about a month and a little more, but I haven't been strictly off meat - I had it a few times, when I was out with friends.

My ex-teacher, who's always been supportive, from my break-up depression stage up to my decision to ditch the Dunhill and Marlboro, told me that I didn't have to be all that strict. There are different types of vegetarians - those who just reduce their meat intake in general, to vegans who don't take anything that comes from an animal.

Making my own meals were fun and interesting at first, until I ran out of available ingredients to cook with, and I started to have to do my own grocery shopping because, well, there wasn't enough veggies in the house for me to cook with. My family still makes roast chicken or some kind of meat dish for dinner most of the time, so I'd have to take care of my own dinner whenever that happens.

The most frustrating thing is talking to some people about the whole vegetarianism thing itself. Although my reason for becoming a vegetarian isn't as noble, but there are a whole lot of reasons why people stop eating meat - be it religious, or just to be healthier.

Vegetarian meats are no stranger to vegetarians and/or vegans: made from soy and/or flour, they're made to resemble meat, in terms of looks and texture. My mum and I had a discussion over this topic. According to her, people who consume vegetarian meats (a.k.a fake meats) are people who betray themselves - they are supposed to restrict themselves to a vegetable diet, but they insist on taking something that resembles meat.

The exact quote was "Why do they wanna betray themselves? If they don't wanna eat meat, why do they eat fake meat?" That's like asking why a Muslim doesn't consume pork, or a Buddhist why he/she doesn't consume beef. Seriously?

At the end of the day, what we eat is our choice entirely. I know people who go completely clean of meat; some who will eat a dish cooked with meat in it, but just pick out the meat; some who would drink milk but not eat eggs; some who go for the Buddhist vegetarianism and opt out garlic, onions, and chili.

Personally, I can't guarantee that I'll be swearing off meat for the rest of my life entirely, but my diet will definitely be vegetarian unless I really don't have a choice. So before you start debating on the varying aspects of a person's dietary choices, see if it actually concerns you first. If not, just shut up - you're doing everyone a favor.

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