“It is my view that the vegetarian manner of living, by its purely physical effect on the human temperament, would most beneficially influence the lot of mankind.”Albert Einstein
When I was back in the Philippines, I always wanted to be vegetarian. There is one main reason why becoming a vegetarian in my country is difficult – vegetables and fruits are really expensive. Dried fish is cheaper than carrots and potatoes, chicken is cheaper than broccoli and cauliflower. When I was in the Philippines, we hardly ever had potatoes, broccoli or cauliflower! They are so expensive that most people cannot afford them. Almost everyone consumes meat because it is more practical choice given the price. One cannot really blame Filipinos for being meat lovers because most Filipinos don’t have a choice to be vegetarian especially when one is also struggling financially; Not to mention, it’s more tastier for many.
That was me in the past. I didn’t have a choice when it came to choosing vegetables. At home, my parents mostly bought fish or chicken. We don’t eat pigs, shrimps and crabs because of the restrictions in our religion and beef is expensive. When my mother or I cooked a dish mixed with meat and vegetables, I chose vegetables and gave the meat to my parents, brother or nephew. When I was out alone and had to choose between meat and vegetables, I always try my best to choose vegetables; I had been practicing this since my college days. I knew there is still meat in my food but I thought to myself that I am doing a good job in disciplining myself; I choose to do it a step at a time.
I am living in India for about 7 months now. (If you are reading this and don’t know me personally, you can check out our Youtube Channel. I film my Life in India and I am currently trying to document my life in a more aesthetic way. The videos show snippets of my life and experiences in India.) My husband, in-laws and the rest of the family are all vegetarian. When I tasted Indian vegetarian food, I was mind blown by how tasty it was even though the food was prepared using spices and simple ingredients. I came to know that vegetables in India are way cheaper compared to those in the Philippines. I was convinced that I can easily embrace being a vegetarian here in India because of my in-laws’ lifestyle and the way my mother-in-law cooks. I’m speechless, and currently I’m trying my best to get better at Indian style of cooking.
There is another reason why I firmly told myself to be vegetarian, and it’s the belief of the Hindus to not hurt other life forms. My in-laws had already told me about this, but when I visited the Akshardham Temple with my husband and attended the presentations inside, it made me realize that animals have the right to live; they have the right to live a normal life and not just be raised to be consumed by humans. It made me realize how selfish I am, and that in order for me to satisfy my cravings needs a sacrifice of life. This realization awakened me; I decided to be vegetarian for the rest of my life.
If you ask why I chose this topic, it’s because of a comment I read on our Youtube Channel. I am sharing the screenshot of the said comment/s on Youtube for your reference. This is not to humiliate the person who commented, but to educate the readers that there are people who will force you to do something you don’t want to do or follow a lifestyle you don’t want to follow. The comment is deleted by the commenter so you will not be able to find it in any of our videos.
Why is it a big deal for other people when someone chooses to be vegetarian? It’s like people will push or convince you to eat something when you firmly decide not to. They want you to follow their lifestyle when you already have your own. I think everyone should learn and respect others’ life choices because they are living their lives how they want and that’s their right to do so.
The real question is: Is being vegetarian hard? Definitely no! If you are like me, who yearns to be vegetarian but didn’t get the chance to be, then you will surely feel amazing in finally following something you always wanted to. However, if you are a meat lover and are transitioning to vegetarianism, it will definitely take some time. It needs a lot of self-discipline and dedication – just don’t give up. It’s a process that needs to be followed consistently, and if you are resolute in this kind of lifestyle, you will be able to save innocent animal from being sacrificed and they will surely thank you for it.
Do I condemn people who eat meat? Definitely no! I respect everybody’s choices. Besides, everyone has their own way of helping the animals and mother nature; some may be reusing plastics or planting trees, while others find ways to lessen plastic waste, to not use plastic straws or to use tote bags instead of plastic bags while in groceries. While in grocery, it may be preferred to hold small items instead of putting it inside a plastic bag or going digital to lessen paper usage. I do believe that before I point fingers to others, I must look in the mirror and check on myself.
I am currently extremely happy with my choice! I know I will have to do a big adjustment when I come back home to the Philippines, but I am sure I will be able to handle it very well like I handle it well here in India. I will always remember all the animals I saved because of this choice, and thereby I will always be satisfied that I made a meaningful choice that changed my life forever.
You can check my vlog about being vegetarian on our Youtube Channel. You can click the CC on the subtitle to see English Translation.