Its 4 months now since I am a vegetarian. I admit…

October 23, 2006

Its 4 months now since I am a vegetarian.

I admit it hasn’t always been easy. There are many times I just want to sink my teeth into a juicy cheesy burger or a succulent kong bak pao . I try to ban these thoughts out of my head, sometimes I succeed & sometimes I fail miserably.

And when I do fall off the wagon, I fall with a BIG thudd. Believe you me. It became a gorging fest. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not proud of myself, I feel like I’m a hypocrite. But I figured while I’m off the wagon, I might as well make the best of it. I know tsk tsk tsk *head down in shame*.

Anyway, met Rumah Kuching Kechil last Thursday at Ajahn Brahm’s talk & she asked how my vegetarian efforts are coming along. I fessed up. She was sweet & reassured me that people do fall off the wagon every once in a while (but I’m not sure if people fall off & into a gorge fest!).

She recommended Bocca burgers since I LOVE cheese burgers. Bocca’s available in most Cold Storage, comes in a box of 4 soy patties. Tried them on Sunday with sesame burgers, cheese, tomatos & lettuce & they are really very good. So thank you RKK!

Since I chose to be a vegetarian, I become even more animal or rather planet friendly – conscienciously recyling my plastics, metal & paper, avoid buying stuff that’s leather, going for organic produce than the regular ones in the market.

The funny thing is, it costs more to maintain this lifestyle than living in the mainstream. Take the Bocca patties for example – it costs something like $7.50 a box as compared the Farmland chicken patties that costs something like $3.50 a box. This doesn’t make sense does it? A non-meat-made-to-taste-like-real-meat food costs more than the actual meat itself. Sure, Farmland is bad processed meat. So make a patty from scratch with ground beef, it still won’t costs as much. But I guess its the economics of demand & supply. *sigh*

The annoying thing I deal with on a regular basis is to explain what a vegetarian is, what I can & cannot eat & why I am one. You’d be surprise, people still offer me fish balls & say ‘its fish not meat’. Or maybe, I just work with extremely dense people.

I have to explain ‘any food that comes from something moves, has a brain, I don’t eat them. I eat the green stuff called vegetables.’ Good grief. Next question ‘Vegetarian you Buddhist ah?’. ‘Well, yes I am a Buddhist but was not the only reason I became a vegetarian. There is compassion & love for life.’

Compassion & love for life is not a concept my colleagues can understand. And what people can’t understand, they categorise. I ‘m now sometimes known as ‘that Buddhist’ (with slight tone of disdain) or ‘that crazy animal lover’ (comes with a tone of a little sympathy). Look on the bright side, I added 2 more labels to my belt (the other being ‘the crazy cat lady’). I feel like a PETA in the office sometimes. Whatever.

Other than a few predicted bumps on the road, it is not that bad. I do feel healthier & more energetic (contrary to classic conditioning that without meat we will be weak). At the same time, accept the fact that I’m human & I do have my weak moments. The next time I do, I’m not fessing up! πŸ™‚

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11 Responses to “Its 4 months now since I am a vegetarian. I admit…”

  1. M said

    I have been an on again/off again vegetarian my whole life because I love animals.
    Good luck and I am proud of you.

    I fell off the wagon this last time because I lost too much weight and started getting sick. I am not good at replacing my protein!

    Now, my new attitude is to eat a lot less meat and to buy meat that has been farm raised.

    Animals such as cats eat meat so I think that it is okay for humans to eat meat(although not necessary, we can survive on plant protein if we try hard enough.) What I think is absolutely imperative for humans whether they are vegetarians or meat eaters is to treat animals better.

    The Lion eats meat but it doesn’t mistreat it’s prey. Humans can learn a lot from animals in the wild who eat only what they need.

  2. calsifer said

    Take heart, Cat! I so know what you mean, and I get a lot of the same misguided goodwill – “Why? Fish/seafood is not meat what! So strict ah, you?”

    I tell people, my guiding principle is, if it bleeds, I don’t eat it. I think marine animals get extra shafting simply because people don’t view them as living things that also feel pain and bleed, just because they don’t breathe air the same way us landlubbers do.

    It is very tough to spread the message without becoming PETA. People don’t get the concept of going vegetarian for non-health and non-religious reasons (though sematically, imho, I feel vegetarianism is for health and religious reasons too). You tell them it’s a moral decision, and a personal statement/protest based on how farm animals are treated, and how much meat-eating contributes to environmental destruction, they laugh it off – “Oh, then I am very immoral” – and continue with life as it is. It’s frustrating.

    Like m, I am not categorically against eating meat – I started out with the core rant that it’s the way meat ends up on our tables which bothers me.

    Honestly though, being veg’rian in SG is not easy – for me it’s esp tough because I like variety. People throw around the term vegan like it’s the new sexy thing to be – “So you’re vegan lah?” But being vegan means embracing a whole different lifestyle – and short of growing your food and making your own stuff to use and making sure all your supplies are non-animal derived, cruelty and enviromental destruction-free, I don’t think any Singaporean vegetarian can rightly claim to be vegan. So imho, veganism is unattainable in SG under the current environment. At best, the strictest among us can be termed conscientious vegetarians. =P

    But I disgress, the important thing is to try. Every effort counts, and it is really brave of you to make the decision and to try living by it.

    This is my fourth veg’rian round that’s lasted more than 6 months, and it’s the longest yet. So don’t be too hard on yourself, Cat! =)

    Hang in there.

  3. vegancat said

    Err…you met Veganmeowiesat Ajahn Brahm’s talk.

  4. Cat said

    Oops! Sorry Veganmeowies :p

  5. auntie p said

    Cat: Your efforts are admirable. πŸ˜‰
    I read somewhere that vegetarian food means it has no eyes. Your version is that it has no brains. That seem to exclude some seafood and shellfish?

    Tell you a joke: I once worked as a temp at a French MNC and me lady boss was a vegetarian. Then one day, I saw what’s in her lunch – seafood sandwich (with tuna and shrimps). So, she is what I call, a pseudo- or “seafood vegetarian” (quite an oxy-moron?).

    Another Chinese friend of mine had always told people that he is a vegetarian, and even had a vegetarian wedding dinner. Yet he admits that he eats fish.

    If it were that easy, then I guess I can also call myself a “vegetarian”, like what the above 2 persons did..?!?

  6. Cat said

    Thank you all, for the encouragement πŸ™‚

    Aunty_P – yes, I do know people who do not eat meat but take seafood. Their justification being sea creatures don’t have a brain or only have a 3 second memory. They call themselves Fishetarians. Don’t know if this is a recognised terminology or a new age name but I do find this concept to be rather amusing.

    Then again, isn’t it better to be ‘half a vegetarian than not at all?’ πŸ™‚

    Like M & Calsifer, I am not against meat eating itself but I am against the way farm animals are treated & killed, the way seafood is harvested in the ocean. It is cruel, inhumane & lack of respect for the animal lives. By eating them, I will be endorsing that these methods are right.

    But yes, I agree with Calsifer, it is difficult to be a vegetarian here. The options are limited & so damn expensive.

    I guess at the end of the day it depends on what your guiding principle is – like what Calsifer said & then to consciously exercise this decision.

  7. the letter b said

    sometimes whenever i’m in one of those moods [whatever they are], i’d exclaim: eh, rabbit food ah? πŸ˜€

    but then, knowing what some Singaporeans are like, is it of any wonder why alot more just keep to themselves instead of wasting their breath, sorry BRAINCELLS trying to explain why you chose a totally different lifestyle. what annoys me greatly is they :
    1.look at you as if you are a freak
    2.and then giggle nervously
    3.and make totally unnecessary remarks that they justify as “joking only! why so sensitive?”

    but actually, deep down they feel threatened by us for not being like one of them. we upset their balance, and they hate us for it. i mean who’s stopping them from changing right?

  8. veganmeowhttp://veganmeowies.multiply.com said

    Hi Cat,
    Why not give in to your cravings and just look for the vegetarian versions of those foods πŸ˜‰ There is a vegan substitute for everything! Knowing that I can have cheese and sausages if I really want to, makes all the difference. In time those cravings will subside…

  9. CatDonna & Cats said

    I think vegans and vegetarians are very brave in rising to the ethical-ecological challenge of respecting the earth we live in.

    I’ve tried a couple of times before. Didn’t work out because, as mentioned earlier, options in Singapore are almost non-existent.

    Time to re-think the game plan.
    πŸ˜‰

  10. Anonymous said

    hi guys! ok since i am a non-vegan and have really little vegan friends, i just like to apologize to all if i had ever ever said anything horrible about beign vegan. dun think i do anything per se, just admit that i will ever ever be able to give up meat and that i think its ok to eat meat even if i am an animal lover becuase its natural. (as in, humans are omnivorous) but that aside, i think the reason why some pple tihnk that fish is ok is becuase certain vegans (tink indians who abstain from meat for relgiious purposes) do eat fish and sea food. what i learned before is taht there are categories of vegans – those who eat eggs, those who drink milk, those who doesn’t, those who eat seafood. so yup, perhaps you could educate us on ewheter this is true? or really, the standard is jujst no brains. – autnie tom

  11. Cat said

    Auntie Tom – there so many types of vegetarians (i’ve put them in my vegetarian blog – http://thesingaporevegan.blogspot.com/2006/10/know-which-vegetarian-type-you-belong.html)

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