Posted by: jauipop | June 17, 2008

Confessions of an On and Off Vegetarian

Hi, I’m Jau, and I’m a Meat Eater. I have been meat free for 3 weeks. Well, I started the no-meat thing back when I was in high school in Melbourne, Australia. I was 14 at the time and maintained a vegetarian diet (not vegan) for about 8 years. I returned to my homeland Malaysia when I was 20 and only started eating meat when I was 21 and had gone to China for 3 months to study. Living in Asia didn’t really help my willpower to stay vegetarian because there is just very little understanding amongst peers / colleagues about the ‘lifestyle’ (even if you can call it that). What made it harder was the fact that I’m a guy. In Malaysia, culturally, a fair few people still think that guys who are vegetarians are weird (to say the least). My only saving grace is that my whole family is vegetarian (or at least, there is no meat in the house), so it is quite easy to stick to it if I don’t leave the house for meals.

I’m now 24 and it was only last year that I went back to a meat free diet. I even managed to convince my partner to join me and we did sustain it for about 5-6 months. Festive season came and went and I became a meat eater again.

And as of 2 weeks ago, I have fallen off the meat wagon and soaking up the soy again.

So as you may be able to deduct, I had 3 stages in my life in which I had a switch flip and changed eating habits.

Stage 1 – Teenage years
Spiritually, I decided to cut out meats (along with my family) because we had started following a certain way of life and karmically, the vegetarian diet is easier on your big book of karma calculations (if you believe in that sort of thing). I won’t go into it, but after 7-8 years of this, it pretty much just became a pattern and it was very easy, as I wasn’t alone in Melbourne and vegetarian options were very available.
I remember once during my high school cross country season, I was concerned about nutrition and I spoke to a sports nutritionist about my diet. She looked at the list of foods I was eating and she told me that I was getting a very good diet compared to many meat eaters who often leave out the vegetables and legumes in their life. She told me just to continue with my diet which included raw vegetables (or lightly cooked), legumes (beans, lentils, chickpeas) and tofu.

Stage 2 – 2007
After a few years of giving into the chicken/steak/fish desires, my sister (who runs an eco-product online store, www.tinytapir.com) stumbled across a documentary called Earthlings (www.isawearthlings.com). Now, this documentary is an intense (and VERY graphic) depiction of how animals have been exploited in the meat / clothing / entertainment / pet / science industries. It is based on the very real fact that every living creature on Earth is an Earthling and by humans (as one species) exploiting another species, we are performing a gross act of specism (like sexism, racism etc).
This opened up my eyes and I realised that my meat eating habits weren’t helping both spiritually (on a personal level) and the environment (on a more global level).
I highly recommend Earthlings to everyone. The only way you will be able to see it is through purchasing the DVD through the website. It is directed by Sean Monson, narrated by Joaquin Phoenix and scored by Moby and it is just a very well made, yet controversial, documentary. It was not picked up by any studio because it was too graphic in the depictions of animal slaughter/animal testing etc. and so it is very important that we, as individuals, support efforts like this.

Stage 3 – 2 weeks ago… 2008
So I vow that this will be the last time I ‘relapse’ into being vegetarian. This time, it was a combination of my memories of Earthlings, the 11th Hour and Sharkwater.
I’m sure you know about the 11th Hour, but may not have seen it – if you haven’t, do yourself (and the planet) a favour and watch it.
Sharkwater may be a little less known – especially in Asia where it is most important. You can order it off http://www.amazon.com or check out their website http://www.sharkwater.com.
I recently took up diving last year, and the ocean is a beautiful place – it’s another world. I will write more on Sharkwater in my next entry (I need a whooole entry for this one). In a nutshell, if Chinese people around South East Asia and the greater Asian area see it and fully understand the impact that, as a race, we are making on the ocean, we would stop seeing sharksfin soup on wedding banquet/banquet dinners in Chinese restaurants and hotels.

Till next time, go through the sites pointed out through the blog and do a little reading for yourself – because knowledge truly is power (hmmm… cliche I know, but true).

www.sharkwater.com
www.isawearthlings.com
www.tinytapir.com

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Responses

  1. Hi there. I have been considering vegetarianism for some time now. Do you have any tips on how to survive around a bunch of ravenous meat eaters?

  2. then you shouldn’t try poland. can’t walk five steps without tripping over kielbasas, pig knuckles or something.

    but hey, nicely done on the vegan efforts. saving the planet and all that.

  3. Damien: – I will probably write a post in response to that question very soon. Basically, it’s willpower and not succumbing to the people around you – once you start it, the ravenous meat eaters will stop making a bit deal about your choices and it’ll just be part of who you are. More to come!!

    empyreal: – haha… yeah, trust me, Malaysia isn’t any better. There’s meat everywhere you go and that’s why I relapsed a few times.
    Unfortunately (or fortunately), I haven’t become a vegan just yet, but that might change in time.

  4. go jaui power go!
    hehehe
    love you, my SOON TO BE RAW VEGAN brother, if i have my way 😛
    xo


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