Monday, 23 July 2007

Eating & Living

It is a year today that I became a vegetarian -- a change that stumped many. It has been widely known that I subscribe to the 'live-to-eat" philosophy and my unflattering shape is the result for my love for food.

But what prompted the switch was this video that was screened in a health workshop that I attended on my birthday last year.

I just could not bear watching. For the first time in my life, I closed by eyes and just wished that the video would come to an end soon. Disturbed, I was. Scenes of cruelty to the animals kept on flashing in my mind. How could I put meat into my mouth again?

Friend KC took the words right out of my mouth when he stood up after the screening of this Meet Your Meat video declaring that he's turning vegetarian. He had intended to for sometime and this was just a good a time as any. I had harboured no such prior intentions but it was very strong there and then.

A part of me was not sure. Could I live up to it? What about the family, the inconveniences? What if I have cravings for the bah kut teh, the curry mutton etc etc. The debate went on internally. I was in conflict.

Wife Jessie probably knew what was going on in my mind. She suggested that I tried going for a one-month vegetarian diet just to follow Workshop convenor Jo Ean's recommendation that it can help those with sinus problem. Yeah, a one-month trial! That would be it!

I made the declaration to my lunch mates and the lunch outings with them just became less and less. More and more, I was eating alone at vegetarian restaurants. But it opened up a whole new world to me. I never knew there were so many vegetarians... young ones too. And there were so many vegetarian restaurants too.

The transition was smooth. A month went by and I was certain -- from the trial and supportive wife -- that I will be a vegetarian. No two ways about it.

My decision to turn vegetarian was compassion-driven. The scenes of cruelty to animals opened my eyes to unknown realities and my heart opened up to be filled with compassion. As if being led along this path, I had one night during the one-month trial found myself waiting at the traffic lights next to a lorry with hanging pig carcass. It further turned me off.

While I have had supportive family members and friends, there were also those who taunted me. One disgustingly blew his breath in my face, taunting me to smell the mutton he just had for lunch! Another just teased me with a chicken drumstick.

But surprisingly, I did and do not have cravings. I did and do not miss the food that I so loved. It's a different frame of mind. I now eat to live, to sustain myself. And the benefits? A healthier me that's in greater shape. And also more spiritually at peace, knowing that I am not responsible nor a contributory factor to a life being taken or being tortured.