“Sesame oil Lion’s Mane mushrooms with shredded ginger”
Ingredients: Lion’s Mane mushrooms (Hericium erinaceus), black fungus, shiitake mushroom, turmeric, wolfberry
Seasoning: cooking oil, sesame oil, rice wine, light soya sauce, sugar
It has been nearly 12 years since I became a vegetarian. I was still a university student when I joined Tzu Chi. That was when and how I came to know about environmental protection. When I found out about the severe environmental impact of the meat industry, I was hit by the thought of giving up on meat as I could not bear to be part of the cause of the destruction on our environment.
There are unavoidable challenges on this meatless journey, especially the objections that come from elder family members due to their stereotypical thinking that going meatless is equivalent to not getting adequate nutrients.
I still remembered how my husband and I had tried to persuade my family members to accept our decision to become vegetarians. We took the opportunity to share with them our aspiration to “bless our family through vegetarianism” during a Buddha Day celebration. Despite receiving some “approval” and “cooperation” (where they purposely prepare a few vegetarian dishes for us during family gatherings) from our family members after some time, after knowing about my pregnancy, the elderly still insisted that “meat is essential in confinement meals to replenish vital energy and blood”.
Fortunately, I stood firm, probably due to the convincing fact that despite not taking any meat or seafood in the past 12 years, I have remained healthy and rarely fall sick.
During my 10-months of pregnancy, I did not encounter any symptoms of anaemia nor dizziness. I walked around as per normal during Tzu Chi events. And my son was not born with a light weight. He is a healthy vegetarian baby.
During confinement, I did not feel the need to rely on supplements from meat origins. In fact, as long as I stick to a balance diet, I can get all the nutrition that I need from vegetables, fruits, grains and beans.
For the sake of health and simplicity, my reasons for upholding vegetarianism are to nurture compassion and leaving behind a blue sky, a clean ocean and a beautiful earth for our next generation. Meanwhile, I hope that my child would continue with this benevolent practice so that he could live in harmony with nature.
There are too many good reasons to adopt a vegetarian diet, why not try it yourself?
(Translated by Bernard Ng Jia Han)