For me, it was to eliminate meat from my diet 13 years ago (when I was 20-year-old). As I embarked on the journey to change my diet, I read many books and blogs that extol the virtues of a meatless diet.
I think I was under some spell back then as I just decided overnight that the next day I would stop taking meat. When I first conveyed my resolution to my family, they were really amused by it. However, little did they expect that I was serious about it and I stuck to my words, notwithstanding that there were moments when I almost pulled the plug.
What kept me going was my passion for cooking and the increasing number of plant-based hawkers, restaurants, and bakeries in Singapore. It was not entirely smooth sailing to transition into a meatless diet when my family and friends are not vegetarians. I experienced perpetual hunger in the first few years of adopting this diet, not understanding why I was always so hungry. For a period of time, my body felt cold and clammy as I was eating too much salad and raw food. During my period, I would also feel really tired and experience painful cramps due to iron deficiency. These are the problems that people do not really highlight when they share about the benefits of a vegetarian diet.
I think it is important that people who are thinking of switching to a meatless diet be aware of the potential problems that they may face. There are remedies to all the three problems that I highlighted above which I will share in subsequent articles.
WHY AM I STILL ABSTAINING FROM MEAT AFTER 10 YEARS?
- It is my strategy to control my diet. I can say NO to most of the menu items in a fast-food restaurant.
- I feel more agile and I read that a vegetarian diet promotes faster tissue recovery after a workout. However, I still feel intense muscle aches after exercising sometimes hence I am not sure how true this assertion is.
- As I read more and more books in my twenties, I saw a pattern that many great-thinkers whom I admired were or became vegetarians at some point in their lives. Therefore, it triggered a sense of camaraderie and an illusion that I may one day become as accomplished as them.
Do I still crave meat now?
Yes and No. I know it sounds contradictory but I think the cravings are just flashes of memories triggered in my brain when I walked past a fast-food chain and reminisced about the fish burger that I used to have. However, that impulse quickly subsided when I imagined the pungent smell of meat lingering in the surrounding air.