Understanding Vegetarianism

It was January 31, 2018 when I finally decided to shift from being a meat-eater to being pesco-vegetarian. It was a gradual transition of giving up eating pork in a month then finally, I was able to exclude chicken and beef in the succeeding months. It was one heroic act for me and believe me, it was victory in the palm of my hands. 

The Many Kinds of Vegetarian
"A Vegetarian diet is one consisting entirely or mostly of foods derived from plants." Professional Cooking. 8th Edition. Wiley. 

I know it sounds absurd because most Filipinos consider meat, pork specially, as ubiquitous of each meal. As for me, I used to despise vegetables when I was a kid. Fried chicken was my comfort food. But in recent days, people ask me if I were vegetarian then why am I eating fish or seafood. Well, there are different types of vegetarianism and let me present to you one by one:
1. The Vegan Diet. It is the most restrictive form. Vegans only eat plant products. Eggs and dairy products are totally off limits. In such condition, I think I can't pledge myself of being strictly vegan. 

2. Lacto-Vegetarian. It includes dairy products to plant products but will not eat other animal products. This is contrary with my form of vegetarianism. For months, I stopped comsuming dairy products entirely. However, if it comes with the dish, I am okay with it. 

3. Ovo-Vegetarian. Eats eggs in addition to plant products. For the first few months, I also stopped eating eggs along with dairy products. But again, I couldn't resist puddings so I occasionally consider egg in my diet. 

4. Lacto-Ovo-Vegetarian. Eats both dairy and egg products as well as plant products. I started eating both last September but I am still not a fan. 

5. Pesco-Vegetarian. Eat fish and plant products but not meat or poultry. They may or may not eat egg and dairy products. This is my kind of diet. 

Proteins. Proteins. Proteins
Oftentimes, I hear people asking me, "Where do you obtain protein?" Here is the fact:
Our body needs 9 amino acids to complete the various combinations of protein. To take note, protein is the very nutrient involved in the building of all body tissues. It helps on making up enzymes and hormones which regulate body functions. 

I know this is our major drawbacks and we supplement these proteins by eating complementary food. By the way, soybeans contain complete proteins. 

Why Vegetarian? 
- On Health Issues
It all started with a major health concern. I used to weigh 45 kilos in my early 20's  and that was my normal weight. I was unmindful of my eating habits since I used to hike almost every weekend. When I hit 30, panic came to me when my weight was whooping up to 55 kilos. I felt heavy and easily gets tired. So with a paradigm shift, I choose to be healthy again. 

- On Ethical and Moral Beliefs
What changed me to being Pesco-Vegetarian was my hiking experience. One day, I passed by a group of men slaughtering a pig. For some, it maybe normal. But the act of cruelty accompanied by the wailing of the pig cringed me inevitably. These days whenever I am invited for a celebration with "lechon" on the table, I could only imagine the grotesque image of the slaughtered pig. (My apologies to lechon fanatics. I do respect you.)

- Environmental Concerns
Raising meat animals require more natural resources than producing plant foods. The wastes produced by these animals are harmful in the environment and to people. If these wastes are not handled properly or not converted as biofuels or energy then we are polluting our environment. With as much as our environment is concern, a little movement towards saving Earth is a great lift. 

- Economic Factors
In a smaller scale, let me compare the price of a "bean sprout a.k.a. Tauge for 10 pesos than that of a porksteak for 40 pesos in a local food store (carenderia). This is yet another aspect where I prefer to eat vegetables than meat and poultry because they are much less expensive. 

Notable Quote
With this lengthy article, let me drop a notable quote for both meat-eaters and plant-eaters. From the Green Revolution which started between 1950-1970's, I think this applies for everyone. "If you eat, you are involved in agriculture." (from a bumper sticker). 

Note: This is my POV. Any constructive comments are helpful and welcome. Thanks for reading. 
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About Marie Angelique Villamor

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