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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

So you think you know about vegetarianism?

Those who have followed my blog(s) long enough would have known about my alternative dietary lifestyle. I just celebrated my 2nd anniversary as a vegetarian on November 8th last year, which you can read more about it here.

While the vegetarian lifestyle is immensely popular and strongly established in the West (it is alleged that close to 10% of the UK's population have at least adopted a form of vegetarianism, and that's some 5-6 million Brits), many people in this country are still confused about the vegetarian diet. Malaysians often see vegetarianism as something associated with the Indic religions (Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, etc). Although this is largely true, there are also those who resort to this lifestyle for health and moral reasons.

A lot of vegetarian eateries in Malaysia are either Chinese Buddhist or Indian establishments. Before I go any further into this, you ought to know the 4 general forms of vegetarianism:

  • Lacto-ovo vegetarianism: A vegetarian diet which includes animal products (honey, eggs, and dairy products)
  • Lacto vegetarianism: A vegetarian diet which includes honey and dairy products but not eggs
  • Ovo vegetarianism: A vegetarian diet which includes honey and eggs but not dairy products
  • Veganism: A strict vegetarian diet which excludes all forms of animal products
Being a Malaysian Chinese vegetarian (and a Buddhist one as well), I'm automatically perceived to be one that practises Su vegetarianism, which is basically veganism within the context of Buddhism where the 5 fetid vegetables 五荤 (onion, garlic, scallion, leek, and shallot) are not part of the diet. Hell no, I love my onions and garlics as well as milk, cheese, and eggs! I'm a lacto-ovo vegetarian, and definitely not a vegan nor a Su vegetarian. It's somewhat annoying that my vegetarian diet is often questioned by my friends or the people around me whenever they spot me having eggs, onions, cakes, or dairy products. I hope I make myself very crystal clear now.

One of the most popular myths about the vegetarian diet is that it won't be able to provide you sufficient protein. My friends, you don't need meat to cater for your active lifestyle. A balanced vegetarian diet can do that equally well or maybe better. Here is a list of famous sportsmen and athletes who are, well you guess it right, vegetarians. And you think being a vegetarian won't grow you muscles as well? Behold, professional bodybuilders like Bill Pearl (who was also the 1971 Mr. Universe) will have you swallowed your own words.

So you think you know about vegetarianism?


Twilight Zone said...

I really didn't know about vegetarianism till I read your informative post. No eggs and garlic are usually "Yi Guan Tow" followers if I am not mistaken. Your face must be smooth and flawless for no meat diet. I wish I could too! Thanks for sharing.

Doreen said...

before this entry of yours, I only know of Lacto and Veganism. Now I know another two more! Do you notice your skin turns better after being a vegetarian? Or you've good skin to start with.

day-dreamer said...

I like the style you practise... simply because... I love eggs too much. LOL!

kyh said...

Wah... Why all the talk about skin conditions?

Twilight Zone: My face? Not really because I sleep very late at night. And this has taken quite a toll on my skin. Haha!

Doreen: A lil' bit lor... :P

day-dreamer: Eggs are delicious, especially half-boiled ones!

ehon said...

i was ignorant about the different vegetarian until i had to book a flight for a began friend and there was all the lacto-ovo, ovo and lacto vegetarian option and i was WHAT?!!!

kyh said...

Haha! Confusing hor? :P

chuishen said...

hmm...i think your face is more to 面有菜色 kua...haha~

kyh said...

Wow... So shocked to see you here!

You wanna eat me, is it? :P

chuishen said...

opps! sorry! i'm carnivore, i dun like vege one!

kyh said...

No wonder you're 面有肉色 lah!