HELLO THERE!

HELLO SGVegan READERS!

I hope you’ve all been well.

Apologies for not being able to blog – my one and only sole laptop (MacBook Air) was out cold the past few days.

(For those of you who are on my Facebook, thank you very much for all the concern shown – long story short, the universe has answered my prayers and I got my MacBook Air back in tip top condition without having to pay a cent! *whee*)

I’ve been blogging from my mobile using the WordPress app for the last 5 posts, so pardon me if things were not easy to read or photos were too small (I’e edited them) as I was unable to do things such as formatting – changing the font color!

The past month has been really fulfilling. Hiking, vegan potluck, vegan meetups….you name it!

I guess sometimes, we must disconnect to connect. If you know what I mean 🙂

For those of you who are following me at Instagram (my photos are on the right of this page), there will be exciting link-ups and collaborations coming soon!

I will be blogging in detail soon – many exciting stuff coming your way!

Till then, have a WONDERFUL BRILLIANT week ahead! ^_^

Stay tuned. 🙂

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[Reblogged] Mother on a mission: Let’s talk about food

Hey readers, I would like to share this blog article that appeared on Cleopatra’s blog sometime back in November 2012.

Cleo is just one year older than me. We met as colleagues just before I embarked on my university path in 2007. When I heard that she was going to get married at such a young age, I was apprehensive, but since she was just my colleague, I just hoped that she made the right decision and would be happy.

Fast forward to now, Cleo is now a mummy of 2 beautiful kids, Xander and Evie. The family resides in Melbourne, Australia.

Cleo and Family_SGVegan

Through the years on Facebook, I have noticed and was surprised as Cleo started to have a shift in her lifestyle. Frankly, she was not one of those whom I expected or even thought of that would start choosing a healthier lifestyle and diet choices out of her own will as she was just a typical Singaporean lady, not even a health nut freak when we first met each other.

However, as a result of her expanding family, her mindset started to charge. She may not be vegetarian, but she sure is walking the talk through the daily lifestyle decisions that she made. This is what I call an exemplary lady/mother! I am very darn proud of this friend of mine as she is a very good role-model.

The post below appeared on Cleo’s personal blog on 27 Nov 2012, and it is a worthy article to read.

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I am a mother on a mission. A mission to provide my beloved family with the cleanest, greenest, and most non-toxic environment to live in and grow.

My impetus to embark on this quest was simple – my baby boy. Prior to his arrival, I never gave it a thought. How chemicals and toxins were such an integral part of my everyday life. But his arrival into our hearts and family changed everything. We saw that we had a huge responsibility to this new person who is entirely dependent upon us for the best start to his life. So much of the first years of a child’s life is the critical foundation upon which the rest of his life is built upon, including his health and physical well-being. It took having my own child, for me to learn how precious life truly is. Here is a little person, so perfect, so pure, so undamaged. And yet here he is, in our world, inhabiting our planet, which now has way too much toxins and dangerous chemicals in its air that cannot possibly be good for us, let alone a tiny little being like him. I wanted to provide him with the best possible environment to grow up in. I wanted to do everything in my power to ensure that we are around for him for as long as possible. As the mother and the wife of this little family, it was ultimately up to me to make these changes. To set us on the right path. So I began my research.

I will be the first to also admit that this is one heck of a daunting task. One that is so huge and feels almost impossible to achieve fully. But every little change makes a huge impact in our lives and every little change is a step towards a better life.

There are so many areas in our lives that we have made changes to and I don’t think it’ll all fit into one post, so there’ll be a few posts coming up that will be related. Today, I’m talking about food.

We have committed to eating real food most of the time, as much as we can. My basic rules are:

Stick to fresh ingredients in my cooking. Cook with fresh hormone-free and chemical-free meat instead of bacon and luncheon meat and such. Use fresh vegetables and eggs. Things like that.

Use natural aromatics like ginger, garlic, spring onions, natural sea salt, etc, to reduce my life-long reliance on artificially processed flavourings such as soy sauce and oyster sauce. If you’ve ever looked closely at the ingredients list of these sauces, you’d be appalled. Artificial colourings, flavourings, and preservatives are all common ingredients. All of which does harm to our bodies, not something I want my son to eat much of.

When buying store bought food, I ALWAYS scrutinise the ingredients lists and if I cannot pronounce it, or if I don’t know what it is exactly, I do not put it in my shopping basket. Rule of thumb: not more than 5 ingredients, and nothing I cannot recognise in its natural state. Even something as simple as strawberry jam can be deceiving. The only strawberry jam I buy for my family, is made up of at least 55% strawberries and sweetened only with grape juice, and preserved only with lemon juice and fruit pectin. That’s it. 4 ingredients. Check out the label of your strawberry jam the next time you reach for it. Most store-bought jams contain less than 30% fruit, and more than 50% pure refined sugar, in addition to artificial colourings, flavourings, and preservatives. Think again, about what you are eating!

Choose the lesser of the evils. I am not willing to give up on potato chips just yet. I still enjoy it way too much to be willing to give it up. Maybe one day I will. But for now, we only have original-flavoured stuff in our pantry. All our potato chips have only 3 ingredients: Potatoes, oil, salt. Period. Have you looked at what’s really in your favorite potato chips recently?

All the other junk gets dumped. I don’t remember the last time I had chocolate, ice-cream, a full can of soft drink, gummy bears, M&M’s, etc. I no longer waste money on them, and no longer kill myself slowly on them. I do, however, indulge very occasionally in fruit sorbets from the gelato stand at the shopping mall, knowing that they freshly churn their sorbets in store. Soft drinks are simply horrible for me now. The last time I drank half a can, I had to crash and take a 3 hour nap because of the intense sugar rush, the chemical-induced migraine, the fuzzy blurry vision and more. Thank goodness it was a weekend and Jude was home to watch Xander. Ditto to chocolates. Especially the milk chocolates. I haven’t tried dark chocolate yet because I can’t handle the caffeine when pregnant or breastfeeding, so no chocolate for a few years yet.

No more processed food that pretends to be the real stuff. I’m talking about instant noodles and such. The smell of the instant noodles is enough to make me dizzy and sick. The last time I ate a packet of my favorite Korean ramen noodles, I was throwing it all back up in less than half an hour no matter how hard I tried to keep it down. MISERABLE does not even begin to describe it. I thought I’d miss it because I was a HUGE fan growing up, but I truly don’t. I don’t miss how terrible it made me feel after eating it. Ugh.

Dairy is a rarity in our home, which is a huge deal because Jude has always been a big milk drinker. Ever since he began cutting down on his dairy intake, his life-long issues with acne and gout has dramatically improved. Those large painful breakouts that he used to suffer on a regular basis started to become less frequent, and months can go by without his gout problem flaring up and leaving him in pain. We also discovered that Xander has a dairy intolerance and he is seriously better off without it. When we used to give him yoghurt and cheese, he would be sick for days – cough, runny nose, teary eyes, lots of phlegm, diarrhea. Yuck. Jude takes olive oil butter, I wanted to switch too but my pregnant taste buds haven’t found something suitable yet so for now I’m sticking to a half dairy/half canola oil blend of butter. We still have the occasional homemade pizza with grated cheese, Jude still has the occasional slice of cheddar cheese with his breakfast sandwich, but we’re slowly getting there. Instead of drinking Yakult for my probiotics, I take probiotic capsules instead. Baby steps.

Eating out is a luxury we choose not to indulge in. We went from eating out or getting takeaway at least 3 times a week to now maybe once a week or so. Not only have we been saving a lot of money, we have been much healthier for it. Nothing beats fresh home-cooked food that has been lovingly prepared by us and knowing exactly what went into the food. Even when I was having my exams and struggling to complete my assignments, I still made it a point to cook dinner everyday because it is simply better than anything we can get outside. We also went from eating MacDonald’s breakfast every Saturday morning, to cooking our own breakfast feast at home with fresh eggs, ham, toast or fresh wholemeal English muffins. Sometimes we have homemade pancakes, french toast, etc. So much cheaper, and so much better.

Since we started making these changes in our diet, we have seen our health improve drastically. We all have so much more energy, so much more life in us. No more feeling cranky and lethargic all the time. I would not have believed it if I didn’t try it for myself either.

We are certainly not perfect. We still eat too much biscuits and I would like to rid my freezer of frozen convenience food like fish fingers that only contains 48% fish, for example. I would like to make more homemade pasta sauces and even things like jam and such. But the truth is that I simply cannot find the time. My daily routine is jam packed with chores and Xander that I cannot find the time during the week to do any of that. Weekends, we have started using a little more productively. Baking goodies for snacks for the rest of the week, cooking proper meals instead of eating out, etc. But it’s still not enough, not when I’m pregnant and caring for Xander all on my own most of the time. So for now, we pick our battles and make the most important and simple changes first. Everything else will fall into place soon enough.

I’m very proud of how our family eats today, and it makes me happy to know that I’m doing my best to give my child the best start to life, by ensuring a good diet for him. And especially now that I’m pregnant, I feel great knowing that my unborn little girl is getting much better stuff from me than she would be before these changes.

I am even prouder of myself, for proving at least to myself if no-one else, that it’s all about mindset. I used to HATE onions, garlic, spring onions, capsicum, ginger, celery, carrots, etc. Today, I regularly cook with them and to my surprise, I’ve started enjoying them. I believe it’s because in my mind, I know they are good for me and definitely better than artificial flavourings, so I am more able to accept and embrace them. It’s good… I feel good!

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Below are some photos I got from Cleo’s Facebook album that proves she really practices what she believes in.

Here is Xander, a young kid, completely enjoying his “deconstructed tortilla burger wrap, made up of multigrain tortilla, avocado slices, cucumber sticks, cherry tomatoes and a bit of mama’s handmade chicken patty” with a huge smile on his face. Bet you can’t find kids who enjoys eating such healthy food nowadays.

Xander_SGVegan

And Cleo’s homemade natural playdough for Xander:

Natural Kids Playdough_SGVegan

It is very admirable that a young mum like Cleo can spare a thought for her kid’s health. How about you? 🙂

*If you would like to contact Cleo to find out more from her, please do not hesitate to drop her an email at cleopatra.liew@gmail.com*

A fruitful Sydney trip! :)

Hello there my dearest readers!

I hope you have all been well, healthy and happy during this period which I have been away from blogging.

I have just got back from my 2nd trip to Sydney, Australia and I must say, I had the most awesome and fruitful trip this time round! 😀

First off, I was lucky to be there when it was feeding time for the 2 koalas who live at the entrance of Madame Tussauds at Darling Harbour when 2 huge bunches of eucalyptus shrubs were brought in for their feeding time. I was only there to walk around and it was by chance that I spotted them (after noticing a crowd taking photos of some trees/leaves) sleeping away hidden among the shrubbery. They woke up and became active, and one even posed for me!

Koala

Wow, the smell of eucalyptus filled the air as the koalas were munching away and it was very refreshing! Both the smell and the unique experience. I have no idea why koalas were located there but I supposed its due to the area being the location also for the Wild Life Sydney Zoo (I have no visited any attractions there!). However, it seems like the koalas are in good hands and I am glad!

Also, I finally did something that I’ve always wanted to do since last year when I went to the Jenolan Caves – Plughole Adventure Caving!! It was such a great great experience, highly highly recommended!!! 🙂

Here’s me in one of the super smallest holes:

SGVegan Plughole Adventure Caving

I was able to smile super brightly for the ONE photo cos I was slim enough to fit to the tiny opening. The guy before me had the toughest time ever fitting through (I was the last person of my party of 7) so I could see how his legs (and the rest of my group) struggled to find a grip/position as he was squeezing through.

Its a great experience going into a cave and “exploring” it on your hands and knees and bum, not having to worry about the cleanliness of overall as it will be washed! The only thing I was concerned about was my vegan Stella Mccartney shoes as I did not want to get them too dirty that I have to wash it. Thank goodness I was slim enough making it easier to maneuver for my legs/feet . HAHA.

And! The after effect of going caving is that you get a free hand-cial (like facial) and you get the smoothest silkiest skin ever on your hands after you wash away the dirt. I loved that feeling! Plus the fact that you get a free Certificate of Achievement.

However, none of those above beats the direct 1st hand experience of a pure complete 2 hours of simply going back to nature without any gadgets (I didn’t bother to bring a camera/phone with me for extra photos), crawling about with dim lighting on all fours, working in a team as we relay messages on how to move, personally experiencing complete darkness and silence in the cave (awesome) and that feeling of finally of coming out alive!~ ❤ How refreshing!! 🙂

Next up, more on some yummy vegan food/goodies! Anyone interested? Hee.

[World Vegetarian Day] and an introspective look into life

This life is as impermanent as a water bubble, remember how quickly it decays and death comes.” – Lama Tsongkhapa, The Foundation of All Good Qualities

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Its been a long while since I’ve last blogged.

Life as a graduate student has been really hectic for the past few 2.5 months. I apologise sincerely for the lack of blog posts on my end. If you do have any queries, please feel free to drop me an email. 🙂

Now, what finally got me to blog at this hour?

The past 2.5 months have been a roller coaster ride of experiences (and emotions) for myself.

I’ve used the most amount of brain juice ever in my life and, at the *ripe* old age of 24, have encountered 2 sudden deaths from my circle of friends. One of whom is my age.

As I am typing this, many many thoughts are flying through my mind.

Life is really funny.

Looking back, it seems like life is there just for a fleeting moment, yet the majority of us live our lives as if we are permanently existing.

Well, take myself, for instance. Ever since I started on my graduate studies, my first priority has been lab. Lab, lab, lab. Trying to dust those cobwebs that accumulated in my brain for the past 1 year. Head to lab early, head back home late.

I’ve been struggling to maintain a work-life balance. I’ve yet to come to a balance point, but I am still striving to achieve it!

아자 아자 화이팅! Q(^_^Q)

Anyway!

Amidst the hectic-ness of life, I’m glad to have been able to support the organising of a recent World Vegetarian Day 2012 on 01 October. Needless to say, this is one of the highlights of my veg*an journey.

October is the Vegetarian Awareness Month – to inform the public about the health benefits of a vegetarian diet, the saving of animals’ lives and preservation of our Mother Earth.

Together with Ms Zenna Ho of Eight Treasures Vegetarian Restaurant, the Vegan Topic team, consisting of Carol, Jeffrey, Bala, Katrina and myself, organised this humble event.

This event would not have been successful without the support from Dr George Jacobs (President of Vegetarian Society Singapore), Ms Delcie Lam (Delcie’s Desserts and Cakes), Ms Chan Shiao Chew (Lee Kum Kee), Mr Anson Loh (Highlanders) and Ms Peggy Ong.

And lastly, I would love to share this video with you. It was screened during the event. Please, give yourself just 15 minutes to go through this video to the end. I would appreciate that. 🙂

 

I hope the video was impactful to you, like it was for me. Watching the part on the male chicks being grinded up alive woke me up to the reality that even a vegetarian diet is harmful – both to us and the animals. Thank you. x

Because ice cream makes you smile :)

Because ice cream makes you smile :)

Ever wanted to eat guilt free, wholesome ice cream?

Fret not!

Brownice (pronounced “brown-niece” or “brownese”) is Singapore’s first vegan ice cream parlour.

Strawberry Brownice ice cream with granola topping, S$4.80.

Located at 8 Sin Ming Road, Sin Ming Centre, #01-03 Singapore 575628, or a mere 10mins walk from Marymount MRT Station, Brownice is a cosy place to chill/relax/hang out at, whether alone or in a group.

During the day, Brownice offers customers a quiet environment, which is ideal for getting some work done, whether you are a student or a working professional. There is free wifi (Wireless@SG) with good signal.

First time walk-in customers sampling different flavors.

It is only at night after dinnertime, that the crowd starts to swarm into Brownice, enticed by the sign that reads “Guilt free ice cream in store. Ask us why.”

For the clueless, Brownice ice cream is made from organic brown rice.

Usually, most of us will steer clear of ordering brown rice when we eat out, as we do not like the taste of it.

However, if you have the chance to have a taste of Brownice ice cream, I am definitely certain that you will not believe that their ice cream can taste so good.

In fact, you will not even believe that it is made from brown rice.

How did the Brownice concept come about?


With the Brownice team.

Denise (second from left) is the sweet lady who came out with this concept by chance.

How?

A self-confessed kitchen mouse, Denise loves making food.

Kitchen utensils are her toys, food are her babies. 🙂

Denise started her kitchen journey by having the opportunity to operate on a small scale by making food in a kitchen that was owned by a friend and selling them in store.

Unfortunately, the place closed down but Denise was able to get a similar second chance.

After some time, as indicated through the in store sales performance, Denise discovered that the food item she made (ice cream) was popular.

As such, she started testing the market by participating in flea markets organized at The Central (Clarke Quay).

Brownice ice cream was initially sold in brand less plain cups.

The crowds came; many people loved her ice cream, giving her the affirmation and determination to set up Brownice.

Sometime back, Delcie (who guaranteed that I would love Brownice ice cream) introduced me to Denise.

I can still remember that it was a hot Thursday afternoon.

With Google maps as my guide, I alighted at Marymount MRT station and embarked on the 10mins walk to Brownice.

I chanced upon Brownice after noticing the sign at their shop entrance: “Guilt free ice cream in store. Ask us why.”

Upon entering, I was greeted by Delcie, who surprisingly happened to be visiting Denise as Brownice just had their official store opening a few days back!

It was a really amazing experience to be in the company of these 2 ladies who are the pioneers of guilt free vegan desserts in Singapore. What’s more, the both of them are really nice inspiring ladies!

Being new to Brownice, Denise “walked” me through all the ice cream flavors that were available. She had me slowly taste every single flavor, with alkaline water to rinse my mouth between tastings.

At that time, it was chocolate week and there were many chocolate flavors available. I was elated! It is not easy to come by vegan chocolate. Plus, chocolate is my #1 favorite!!

And… Brownice did not fail to disappoint my taste buds. All their chocolate flavors had a robust chocolate-ty taste.


Brownice ice cream bun, S$4.80.

After enquiring with Denise, I was pleased to learn that she uses the WHOLE cocoa bean for the chocolate flavors.

The reason for this is because Denise strongly believes in the concept of real wholesome food.

Hence, she will ensure that the whole fruit (e.g. strawberries, vanilla pods etc.) goes into the making of Brownice ice creams.

Thus, different batches of ice cream will have slightly different flavors. This is due to the natural seasonal difference, especially in the fruit flavors. But they will never fail to disappoint. And that’s a promise.

So far, I’ve been a frequent customer at Brownice as I love the cosy atmosphere.


A day out at Brownice.

In addition, the 3 yummy reasons below ensure my frequent patronage of Brownice.

1.     There is a never-ending supply of healthy delicious ice cream.


Brownice ice cream bowl, S$12.50 with 4 toppings (additional scoops at $1.50 each).


Brownice Mudpie, S$9.80.


Brownice pops, S$5.80.


Made-to-order Brownice ice cream cake (price and delivery available upon request).

2.     Their waffles (vegan!) are really delicious.


Brownice waffle with generous organic maple and chocolate syrup topping, S$3.50.


Brownice waffle with 2 scoops, S$9.

3.     All the food at Brownice are lovingly prepared from scratch.


Denise lovingly preparing our order.

And a plus point that sets them apart: they serve alkaline water, which is better for the body. 🙂

Don’t hesitate, head down to Brownice now!

P.S.: I recently introduced a fellow female blogger to Brownice. Read about what we did on our day out here.

My Vegan Friend: Through the Eyes of an Omnivore

The following is an account by Yong Zen Tan, who is currently pursuing an engineering degree in NTU. A self-confessed “omnivore who is a 70-80% meat-eater”, Yong Zen shares with us his experience hanging out with a vegan friend (myself). SGVegan would like to thank him for with us sharing his sincere thoughts.

Before meeting Amanda, I totally had no idea what vegan was, I always thought vegetarians are missing out all the good food out there and thought vegetarians are always weak and lethargic because they are not getting enough nutrients. I shall begin my story on how Amanda changed my diet.

Being more of a carnivore than an omnivore, I cringed at the thought of a fully vegan meal the way Amanda had described; no eggs, no milk, all veggie and food derived from plants.

Then I told her how I thought cauliflower was broccoli accidently knocked into a pail of bleach and how I wonder who was the one who thought those moss like flowers are edible in the first place.

Usually, that’s when your vegan friend will roll his/her eyes and say “ok, I will not preach anything about being a vegan to you anymore.” But Amanda was persistent; bombarding me with the millions of benefits that comes with being a vegan, and believe me the list is longer than the benefits of a credit card and she makes a great insurance agent.

Then comes my first vegan western food, Veganburg. I admit that when she first told me about it, I had the thought of subway’s veggie delight which doesn’t really make me delighted. However, I always like trying new stuff, so I went along.  Well, I’ve got to say my first vegan meal tasted fantastic.

There was this once I went to Loving Hut in Suntec for yet another shot at a vegan meal, I had the herbal soup rice set and when it came it looked like what my mom cooked with something that looks vaguely like a piece of meat with a small piece of bone.

Naturally I went for the “meat” first and Amanda said “That’s the mutton.” I shot her the stunned look before she replied “Fake mutton!” Well, she probably didn’t know that I am not stunned because of what she said, but because the “mutton” had a piece of edible bone and it tasted like mushroom meatballs but yet it’s purely vegan.

It was the first time I tasted vegan herbal soup and finish the unidentified stuffs in the bowl because Amanda said it’s good for me. Usually, the herbal soup I drink has pork ribs or some black chicken and I don’t really dare to slurp in the unidentified sediments.

I must say the bowl of soup was rejuvenating; it chased away a cold virus that was on its way, which I am seriously thankful.

After the fulfilling late lunch, we headed to Starbucks for a tea break. And since Amanda was having her soy green latte, and I can change the milk in my coffee to soy for free (Ok, I am a cheapo), I decided to try out the soy alternative of iced caffe mocha. There’s really not much of a difference to be honest and it tastes less sweet which is pretty good. I had a healthy vegan afternoon that day.

Whenever I went out with Amanda, she will tell me something new about being a vegan (I forgot to mention, she’s a good teacher too). With the recent setting up of her blog, I learnt even more about having a vegan diet.

Since I knew the fact that cattle rearing produces more greenhouse gases than any other activities, I cut down on going for a buffet; making a pact to eat only what I need because the amount of food wasted in a buffet does not only end up in the rubbish bin, it ends up in the sewers too. I am proud to say I have probably only eaten 1 buffet last year.

But I just couldn’t give up meat because it’s been part of my diet since I was probably 2 or 3 years old and it tastes good. Little did I know for every kilogram of feed a cow eats and every 11000 litres of water used, we merely get back a measly beef patty in our hamburger. For that I am ashamed.

Why?

Because I have an engineering diploma and I am pursuing an engineering degree and in engineering where efficiency and effectiveness are always measured and compared, I failed to see that the process that really needs to be improved or reduced lies in our daily diet. And the way to improve it, is so easy and it doesn’t even need any expensive equipments; just change your diet.

Of course asking any omnivore or carnivore to become a vegan is just torturous but if everyone could be a vegan for just one day a week, imagine how much land used to grow the cattle feed could be freed up to grow crops that could feed millions and how much less greenhouses gases we will produce.

Of course some skeptical people will start saying the market will still be there, even if you don’t eat, they will still rear, so what’s the difference? No offence, but if you are one of them, and you are reading this post, just take a minute to read about how demand and supply really works.

There will be a lag time in which the market starts to react to the demand changes and that will only happen if we are persistent in having a vegan day every week. Small fluctuations will be ignored and dislocations will put companies out of business. Like every difficult problems, be it climate crisis, global warming, energy crisis, etc, the solutions could be easy but the problem lies with who wants to make the change, who takes it seriously and of course who has the power to catalyze and enforce the change.

One thing for sure, such changes can never be carried out by one man alone, it is a collective effort made by everyone of us living in this world, on earth. I shall quote Mahatma Ghandi,

“Be the change you want to see in this world.”

Earth is our home, and if we want it to stay this way for generations to come, we have to make the changes necessary, starting from changes that could be easily made; reduce, reuse and recycle, switch off appliances that not in use, proper disposal of e-waste, using energy efficient products, switching to hybrids and the easiest of all, change your diet.

Eating what I need and treating meat as a delicacy to be enjoyed in small portion is the best I can do right now, but I will reduce more in time to come. Maybe then I will have vegan Monday and vegan Friday? I hope everyone would appreciate Amanda’s efforts to keep this blog going just as much as I do, because of her we are able to learn more about being a vegan. And also because of her and many other vegans like her, the damage done by cattle rearing is reduced (now she’s like a heroine <-not the drug).

My Life Journey Begins…When I Heard My Voiceless Friends

The following is an article by Carol Pan, a Singaporean vegan. Carol shares with us her life story as a vegan and how was it like surviving as a vegan in Singapore.

I had officially started my life journey as a vegetarian since 1999. In fact before that I’d tried once not having any meat consumption for a week. But I did it because of my religion as a Buddhist. That one week to me seems one year, as I was too young and was not guided on how I should start off, so I took plain biscuits for my meals. On the third day of the week I started feeling weak, worst of all I started vomiting, having diarrhoea and fever.

I consulted a doctor and was thus diagnosed with dengue fever. For the rest of that one week I totally lost my appetite till I started recovering after three days of good rest. Then guess what? I find myself too pathetic starving so I decided to give up. The first thing I did was to dial for KFC delivery and I enjoyed a chicken feast!

One fine day in 1999, my mum casually passed me a DVD from one of the Buddhist temple of how farm animals are slaughtered for food. I was so terribly shocked after watching. I wasn’t aware that cruelties are injected to the poor animals such as being enclosed in small cages; pigs got electrocuted, their ears nipped off without any anesthetics during the process. I cried while finishing the whole movie. I can remember that’s the moment when I swore I’ll never eat them again!  All the more I couldn’t bring myself to hurt any animals whom are of the same kind like my pet dog.

Nevertheless, I still eat eggs and dairy products since I thought they don’t have to die for them. My family wasn’t vegetarians but they do respect me for being one. So usually we’ll visit different vegetarian restaurants for any festive celebrations. I don’t force them to think like me, but I never stop educating them all these while.

Most typical people always think that meat is very essential for our health wellness and it’s hard to change them since eating meat has like been a tradition for the Chinese. I was very firm and never have the urge to consume any meat at all throughout these years. It wasn’t at all difficult when we find ourselves very good reasons why we shouldn’t! That’s why my second attempt lasted for more than ten over years.

Fortunately, there are many good vegetarian restaurants around in Singapore. So I don’t find any difficulties having delicious meals outside at all! The other benefit about being a non meat-eater, I look so much younger than my actual age. I was also very often complimented for my good complexion too.

Several months back I began to visit the vegetarian and vegan pages in Facebook, that’s where I found myself many vegetarian/vegan friends all over the world. The truth of the meat industries became more visually exposed to me. I realize that eggs and dairy products were produced through the animals’ sufferings too! Even those of our daily essential needs such as fur wears, cosmetics or beauty products also support animals’ cruelty.

That’s when my final or complete stage of being a vegetarian had reached its peak.

I switched to a vegan by stopping eggs, dairy products, honey and I buy eco friendly products for daily essential usage, and somehow it automatically shoo me away when I saw leather products too during shopping. I ensure I watch out for the ingredients contained on every choices of food I’d chosen to be fed into my stomach.

Now I ate lots of fruits and veggies. It makes me feel wonderful. I felt lighter, healthier and most importantly enjoy a more complete guilt-free lifestyle. I don’t contribute sufferings to the other sentient beings. I’m more clear-headed on what I want in life. I hope to fight for the voiceless, as long as I’m still breathing in my remaining life. Just my strength alone can be too weak and I know very well it’s beyond my ability to change the entire world. But I won’t stop, even if at the end of the day I might only change one person’s view, I will pass on without regrets.

There’s a favourite quote of mine I’d like to share with all of you:

‘I won’t die if I don’t eat meat, but they definitely will if I did.’