Lessons From Vegetables

I recently went on a strike — a meat strike. For a good 14 days, I make sure that no meat goes into my stomach. Well, at least no meat that’s visible. At the end of this vegetarian diet exercise, I’m sure I must have greens sprouting out of my eyes, ears and nose.

2 weeks of going “meatless” brings quite a few surprises. For one, I find my pants looser although my children will tell me they can’t see any difference. And a few lessons applicable to life.

It’s hard to be the minority.
Being a vegetarian puts me right into the minority group. It makes me realise that choices for the minorities can be very limited. Not every eating place has a vegetarian food stall. There was once when I visited this food court and could not find a single dish that doesn’t contain meat and fish! At times like this, I was so tempted to just throw my resolution away and have some meat dishes.

It is easier to just follow others simply because it is so much more convenient. To be one of the “odd one out” and not “flow with the tide” require a lot of mental hard work.

Life is unpredictable so live with it.
There is one, and only one, vegetarian stall near my work place. About a week after I embarked on my vegetarian exercise, the stall relocated due to high rental. This throws a spanner in my plans. My dinner break is very short and I don’t have the luxury of time to travel to other places for my meals. I thus have to think of alternatives and make do with the situation. Some days, I packed a simple meal from home. Other times, I opted for mushroom noodles from a non-vegetarian stall. it is not vegetarian in the strictest sense, but i decided that I can afford some flexibility.

Things don’t always go according to plans. We just have to learn to make do because, you know what? Life goes on. There is no problem so big that we cannot solve. All it takes is a change of mindset.

Making choices is not just about me.
Going on a dietary restriction is my decision, but it affected the whole family. For one, I’m the cook in the house. Which is unfortunate for them. Being lazy and highly challenged as far as my culinary skills are concerned, I often opt for one-dish meals when I need to feed my brood. Hence, there were days when I would plonk a bowl of vegetarian stuff on the table and shut my ears to their whining and groaning. On a few occasions when I have dinner at my in laws’ place, my MIL had to go through the trouble of having an extra vegetarian dish just for me.

Making a decision may be a personal choice, but it doesn’t just impact us alone. Our family and loved ones, even friends, face whatever may come along with our decision whether they like it or not. .

Parenthood is about modeling.
My children grow up having vegetables on their plates at almost every meal. Hence, they rarely have to be forced to take their greens. Having a full vegetarian meal, though, is a different story. On the few occasions when we brought them to vegetarian restaurants in the past, we inevitably elicit groans and whines. During the 2 weeks of my dietary restriction, however, they willing go to any vegetarian restaurants without so much a grimace.

Want buy-in from children? Demonstrate to them our commitment and determination. They will naturally show us their support.

The 2 weeks of going on a vegetarian diet has been fun, and yes I have to admit, a little torturing at times. But I may just do it again. Oh, is that my kids screaming in protest?


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