This year -2019 is the seventh year that I follow a vegetarian diet, this article is my personal experience which I tell the truth to inspire you all about the real benefits of the vegetarian diet and how I as an ordinary person started and lived it.
You might think that a vegetarian in general is someone who does not like to eat meat or loves animals very much. If that’s what you think: you’re wrong! That does not apply to me. I spent 20 years of my life as a meat eater. I don’t know since how old I have barely touched vegetables at all, only 2-3 types of vegetables can enter my mouth. I am also not a person who is easily touched by scenes of animal cruelty in front of me.
But things began to change when I entered adolescence, I began to feel that eating meat is not a good thing for me. Entering college, I like to read various books from various religious, philosophical and wisdom backgrounds, which further strengthen my determination that I want to be vegetarian. Luckily I was born in the era of information technology that is so advanced. Even with the rudimentary facilities, only through the internet cafes around the boarding house, I tried to find information about vegetarians on the internet. It turned out that the facts I found were very surprising, I found so many health benefits derived from a vegetarian diet, I found so many intelligent people, great inventors, and the great thinkers of the past who also apparently chose vegetarian as their dietary choice. Then I also understood how the vegetarian diet saves the planet’s natural resources very significantly! And my strongest motivation for vegetarianism is: I cannot close my eyes and ears to the cruelty of animals that occur every day out there, on farms and slaughterhouses. I could not calmly imagine that there were millions of animals that had to end their lives with all the screams of fear and horror just to satisfy the desires of my tongue. If you have never seen a video and investigated animal husbandry practices, try to see it once in a while, you will understand what I’m talking about.
I was born and raised in Balikpapan, then I lived as a boarding boy in Surabaya. I live in a boarding house with very minimal facilities, do not have a vehicle, TV, newspapers, even my boarding house does not provide white rice. Busy college, the absence of white rice, and lack of cooking skills made me choose to buy food from outside. So how do I deal with vegetarianism at the time? What I do is choose menus that are free of meat, such as pecel and gado-gado. As a variation, I also often order mixed rice which side dishes I can choose. That way I can choose tofu and tempeh and other vegetables without meat for me. I also ordered fried rice, capcay rice without meat and eggs. Basically, all we need is carefulness to modify the existing menu.
What I always pay attention to balance the menu is a varied consumption. Consider the source of protein (derived from tofu tempeh), and vitamins-minerals (derived from vegetables and fruits). I don’t make specific nutrition lists to organize my food, I’m a practical person and (honestly) lazy to do things like that. My message is do not be lazy to consume vegetables, do not forget tofu-tempeh, and eat fruits. Vary the types of vegetables and fruits that you eat as much as you can. The more you live it, the easier it will be for you later. At this time I have become a vegetable-eating eater, ranging from green, yellow, orange, purple, and others. I happened to have heard the nutritional recommendation which indeed advises us to consume colorful vegetables. But of course that’s when conditions allow. In fact, the absence of a vehicle makes my diet tend to be monotonous because I can only look for food around my boarding house. When I’m lazy to consume fruit, I usually buy fruit juices that are around the campus.
Someone said: “I can’t be vegetarian because it is expensive!” I have to say to people like that: You’re wrong !! Honestly, I came to Surabaya with mediocre funds. Remittances from parents are not much left when deducted by boarding and tuition fees. But I was helped because my diet is very economical! I can still set aside money at the end of the month for other purposes because my food money is still left. As an illustration, in my favorite stall and my friends. One meal I only spent Rp. 3,500 for a portion of mixed rice and a bottle of soy milk. My mixed side dishes are fried tofu/tempeh, and I replace the vegetables as I wish at the time, from vegetable soup to vegetable lodeh. Meanwhile, my friends usually spend between Rp. 5,000, – up to Rp. 7,000 for a plate of mixed rice and a glass of sweet iced tea. Sometimes there are friends who are jealous of how economical I am to eat, with better drinks too …
So, how do I feel after being vegetarian? I happen to be a person who does not pay much attention to myself, I do not feel what people are telling me like: “Wow, when I started to become a vegetarian my body immediately relaxed and fit”, or another said: “The beginning of being vegetarian, my body feels somewhat weak, but after a few days of adaptation, my stamina and endurance became much better. ”I felt nothing in the transition process.