I feel like a freak in a carnival show — most of the time. Mostly when people look at me queer after I tell them I’m vegan. At one point, someone even pointed out I was the first vegan he’d ever seen. He said it as though I were a well-behaved zombie, fitting in with the living.
I don’t mind the odd reaction (I think it’s funny). I don’t even mind the look of pity that follows because I assume people think I’m missing out on all the awesome meat feasting (I’m not, truly). I do mind the mistaken label some people use referring to themselves as “semi-vegetarian.” I would argue that no animal on a semi-vegetarian’s plate would be “semi-dead.” That’s just me.
The Good Diet
Although, it’s a good effort to try and limit meat from your diet. That said, eliminating meat entirely isn’t rocket science, or impossible. You have more meat-free dining options in Manila more than ever before.
You cannot argue with the benefits of a vegan or vegetarian diet either. It ranks number 19 on the world’s best diets. The diet will help you lose weight and reduce risk for heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
You also help out with environmental efforts. Industrials farms produce 37% of methane emissions, which contains 20x more than the global warning potential of CO2. Factory farms also contribute to air pollution, releasing ammonia and hydrogen sulfide.
If these benefits aren’t compelling enough, maybe this will “speak” to you: vegetarians have better sex lives. Herbivores have more energy — but that’s just one of the reasons.
Meet Your Vegetarians
Vegans don’t eat any animals and animal by-products, which include honey and gelatin. Basically, nothing with a face. Apart from food, vegans don’t use leather, wool and silk, and products tested on animals. The lifestyle also extends to entertainment: no zoos, aquariums and any other business that exploits animals.
Lacto-ovo vegetarians include dairy products and egg in their diet. Meat, fish and poultry are stricken from meals. You may also meet a lacto vegetarian, who still consumes dairy products, but no egg. An ovo vegetarian consumes egg, but no dairy products.
If you find it hard to go on a meat-free diet, start slow. Try meat-free Mondays. Add more vegetables to your diet. Go to restaurants with vegetarian options. Don’t stress out about missing meat. Drink vegan beer and chow on vegan burger.
Think about how awesome you’ll be in the sack with more vegetarian meals in your future.
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Joy has been a vegan for over 20 years. She's done a wide range of stories for magazines, from music and movies to business and culture matters. She continues to write professionally to this day — like, right this very minute.