How I Became a Part-Time Vegetarian

January 22, 2016
By

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It may be a strange thing to say, but I see myself as a “part-time vegetarian”. There is probably a special phrase for this, but those words fit my situation really well. It all began about five years ago when I started to take part in the annual ten day Vegetarian Festival. This takes place across Thailand in and around October. For ten days I kept a strict vegetarian diet which included no animals products at all. I did it the first year as a challenge, thinking that I wouldn’t be able to survive. At that time I couldn’t live without my bacon sandwiches or pork chops. But, I survived and actually quite enjoyed the experience. It was really easier than expected as there were many shops selling vegetarian food and they all flew yellow flags. It also helped that I had a Chinese community near where I lived.

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The following year was a little easier and each day I looked forward to eating another vegetarian meal. I should add at this point, that during the festival they often have a lot of imitation meat or deep fried products. If you can, it is best to try and avoid these. For myself, if it was a spicy dish, I didn’t miss the meat. Around this time I was talking to a friend about how much I looked forward to the annual vegetarian festival. She then suggested that I should do the same as her and be vegetarian once a week on the Wan Phra days. These are the Buddhist holy days much like the Christian Sundays. These are set by the phases of the moon and so fall on different days each week. Up for a new challenge, I decided to go for it. At this stage, I wan’t really doing it for health reasons, I was more doing it to give animals a break. At first I planned to do it on Sundays, but soon decided to switch to Wan Phra days. I have an app on my phone that lets me know the dates. By having to think about it each time, made me more mindful.

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It was about a year later when I first saw the movie “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead” that I decided it was time for me to lead more of a healthy lifestyle (see my earlier blog here). My new year’s resolution that year was to make sure I had the daily allowance of fruit and vegetables. I did this mainly through juicing. I know some people disagree with the benefits of juicing, but for me it changed my life. Not only was I feeling great, I also lost a lot of weight. At that time, I was fast approaching being obese. But, ever since I became more aware of the food that I was putting into my mouth, I managed to lose 15 kilos and get down to my optimal weight. This wasn’t through diet alone. It was more by making a lifestyle change. The following year I got an UP24 health tracker (see my blog here) and I became more active. So, a combination of healthy heating and being more active meant that I was able to keep the weight off.

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Around this time, I also stopped buying and eating processed food. This included mince meat which I often ate. There are a number of food documentaries that you can watch which will put you off eating burgers and minced meat for life. It worked for me. I am no longer tempted by a Big Mac. I also look at pizzas and ask myself, are there any nutrients in this meal which will be beneficial for my body? The answer, of course, is no. That is not saying I will never eat a pizza again. It is just not my first choice any more. So, between juicing and making sure I eat enough vegetables each day, I soon realized that many days passed without me eating any meat. So, I made a conscious decision that I would stop buying meat at the supermarket. These days, when I cook at home, I don’t add any meat. And I don’t really miss it.

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The reason that I didn’t go full time vegetarian is because I didn’t want to be that fussy eater. I think we all know one. We invite some people to our house for a meal or go to a restaurant and there is always one that cannot eat the same food as everyone else. So, whenever I go to eat with friends or if I am on a trip around Thailand, I will eat whatever is offered to me. Whether it be steak or pizza. It makes life so much easier and you won’t get so stressed. You benefit from having a healthy vegetarian diet for most of the time and if more people do this, then maybe less animals need to be reared and slaughtered in the future. Do yourself and animals a favour, become a part-time vegetarian!

17 Responses to How I Became a Part-Time Vegetarian

  1. Greg Jorgensen
    January 22, 2016 at 3:39 pm

    Interesting. I eat far less meat than I used to now and it ain’t so bad. 2016 is the year I want to keep the trend going. That being said, I do like to dig into a steak or meat lover’s pizza every once in a while.

    • January 22, 2016 at 3:45 pm

      The easiest way to become a vegetarian is to become one without realizing it! Just start with one or two “no meat” days per week and then gradually increase. And yes, I still enjoy a steak, it is just not my first choice when deciding what to eat.

  2. Arthur Birago
    January 22, 2016 at 3:44 pm

    Juicing changed everything. Can’t even remember last time I had a cold. Also I eat much less meat and feel fit

    • January 22, 2016 at 3:46 pm

      I’m still juicing but I also use something called a Nutri Ninja which is a very powerful blender. It turns vegetables into a smoothie with no lumps. I’ll be writing about this soon. In some ways better than juicing as you drink all the fibre and nothing is wasted. Breakfast for me is a smoothie with kale, spinach, beetroot, cucumber, apple, pineapple, banana, ginger and carrot juice. Or variations of that. Takes literally 5 minutes including clean-up.

      • John
        January 22, 2016 at 5:34 pm

        Where did you buy your nutri ninja and how much was it?

        • January 22, 2016 at 6:43 pm

          I bought it in the UK. I haven’t seen anything like it here yet but I’m sure it will come soon. I’ll try and get a blog up about it in a few days.

          • Ian
            January 23, 2016 at 10:54 am

            I brought a Magic Bullet blender from the local TVdirect shop a few months ago in a clearance sale for 1990 Baht. I have checked their website but it is not advertised now, I guess they are out of stock. Very pleased with it at that price, well worth it if they get more in.

          • John
            January 28, 2016 at 1:35 pm

            Been looking online and looks like the only shop selling the Nutri Ninja BL450 in Thailand is Galleon (galleon.co.th)m but at 9,250 THB it’s twice the price in Europe…

            So I actually bought the Philips HR2195 (900 watts), works great and easy to clean, and it’s only 4,200 THB at Central.
            There’s also the HR2097 (800 watts) for those who’d rather have a steel jar.

            Anyway, still impatient to see your blog about the nutri ninja. 🙂

  3. Pino Pezzoli
    January 22, 2016 at 3:47 pm

    Interesting, i will start one day per week no meat experience…thanks Richard.

  4. Leah Ellis
    January 22, 2016 at 9:31 pm

    Thanks for sharing! Sounds like you started taking little steps toward better health & got where you were headed!
    I stopped eating meat when I was 13- a rebellion against my hunter/fisherman father. As an American, we’re so all or nothing, although I think I’ve heard the term flextarian for the flexible kind of vegetarianism you describe.

    We came to Thailand last October, & I totally lucked out & was in Bangkok for the Vegetarian festival! I was amazed at all of the produce & flowers you have there! And all of the STREET FOOD! I’m impressed that you ever cook, I’m not sure I would with all of those choices! Take care!

  5. Chris
    January 22, 2016 at 9:49 pm

    I like your approach Richard. It is really annoying if beeing out with friends who are radical veggies or vegans and messing about every food that they get offered.
    I also keep it like you and try to reduce the meat intake when cooking at home. On business trips or other occasions i still can bear McD or other fastfood.

  6. Dean Carroll
    January 23, 2016 at 11:05 am

    Thanks, Richard. Your blog inspired me so today I bought a Nutra Ninja. Had to throw out my first smoothie but thoroughly enjoyed my second.
    Walmart had the best price here in Texas.

  7. David
    January 24, 2016 at 3:08 am

    Vita Mix works great as well, still using the one I bought in 1984. I also use it to make Almond Butter.
    Thanks Richard!

  8. January 24, 2016 at 8:20 pm

    We moved to Thailand 3 months ago and living in Chiang Mai. We find we are eating much healthier now thanks to the abundance of fresh produce and although not vegetarian we are finding that we eat a lot less meat these days.

    • January 24, 2016 at 8:21 pm

      Are you cooking for yourself? I find most street food doesn’t have much in the way of vegetables.

      • January 24, 2016 at 8:25 pm

        Yes we cook a few times a week and get a lot of food from the markets. Your right the street food although tasty doesn’t have many vegetables and we think could have a lot of MSG

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