It’s been one month since I publicly declared I was becoming a vegetarian.
How has it been going so far? Confession time.
There are times I’ve accidentally consumed some meat. Sometimes it’s the meat in less obvious places. Like hidden in a spring roll, or minced meat in a bowl of noodles.
It is much easier to choose vegetarian meal options when I eat alone.
It is more difficult when I eat at home, or when going out with others . Mostly because I don’t want to impose on others or make it inconvenient for everyone.
Also, sometimes when eating out there aren’t any vegetarian choices. So I can only do the next best thing, order something without meat even though the broth or sauces may have been cooked with meat.
I have also found it impossible to avoid ikan bilis and sambal belacan (made from shrimp).
Despite my failures, I’ve drastically reduced my meat consumption. I eliminated meat from 90% of my meals.
My family have accepted the fact that I want to become a vegetarian. Colleagues are starting to notice I always order food without any meat.
I haven’t had any cravings for a steak or lamb chops yet, though I have this strange craving for seafood.
I would say my biggest success this month is just learning more about the vegetarian diet, finding more resources and exploring new restaurants.
I’ve learned that I won’t die from hunger or malnutrition. I won’t get sick or grow weak.
I’m still learning to adjust my diet.
I’ve doubled my rice intake. Usually I take a serving of rice (about the size of my fist, or 1 cup) but now I take a double portion.
This may seem ‘fattening’ because thats almost 800 calories on rice alone. But I discovered that rice is a source of protein, iron, magnesium, zinc, selenium and other minerals I used to get from meat.
I don’t know if I’m over-compensating for protein or putting too much focus on it, but I try to take generous helpings of fruit, tofu, bean sprouts, bean-vegetables and soya milk.
I still take eggs and cheese.
My focus will still be learning. Maybe I’ll start tracking my food intake for a month to see if I’m meeting the recommended dietary requirements, then adjust from there.
Maybe I can adjust the portions if I’m taking too much, or find alternatives.
I’ve been heavily dependent on Indian vegetarian food. I can’t really find any Chinese vegetarian restaurants I like. So I’d like to explore and find more options that are tasty and not pricy.
It hasn’t been too difficult to avoid eating meat. I’d say on a scale of 1 to 10, the difficulty is a 2. It can be inconvenient at times, be definitely not hard to do once I can find the right source of food.
It would be easier if the rest of my family joined me, but that’s not my choice to make.
Photo By: Fleur Suijten