Friday, January 13, 2012

How to perpetuate the effort of vegetarian movement

Vegetarian awareness in Singapore is definitely on the rise.

Yesterday I received a call from The Strait Times
surveying the trend of vegetarian outlets in Singapore
asking a lot of questions about the demand of vegetarian fodd
and the owners' intentions of setting up vegetarian outlets in Singapore.

Meanwhile, as published on
we also see that vegetarians are getting
more vocal and defensive about their aspirations

And, looking at the feedback column following both online articles
it's thrilling to see the endless debates between
pro-veg and anti-veg sentiments.

I noticed this situation many years back,
and was indeed very puzzled
why even with the hard solid facts and figures
general public are still "not convinced" to go a little less meat...

I later got some guidance/inspirations from teachers
that the vegetarian movement
has to go beyond just raising awareness,
and evolve into imparting proper education on vegetarianism.
-- This so as to perpetuate/sustain the effort of vegetarian movement
done so far in Singapore.

From what I have been experiencing,
proper veg education isn't that straight forward
like running a weekend Veg Roadshow
or putting a few veg lines on FB.

That is at most drawing public attention/awareness,
and merely suggesting to the public about
how they may go via a plant-based diet
to improve their health, protect animal welfare and conserve the environment.

Vegetarian community has to take one step up
to adopt a more holistic educational approach
via a "planned" step-wise nurturing process:

The followings are some suggestive steps that fellow vegetarians may adopt
to better convince/influence family and friends to go less meat more veg :)

Step 1. befriending with non-veg
            -- greet them with smile and kind words always, to establish a good first image :P

Step 2. building rapport/bonding with non-veg
            -- by participating in their lives
               e.g. go non-veg restaurant with them (but order veg option) and do sports with non-veg

Step 3. establishing moderate and trustworthy image of a veg
            -- interact with non-veg by good will, without prejudice,
               shower them with compassion and always willing to add value in non-veg's lives.
               This is a critical bridging step for subsequent "information transmission"

Step 4. gradual information feeding to non-veg
            -- subtly and casually pass on information on plant-based diet (with positive vibes)
                e.g. the anti-aging benefits of phytonutrients

Step 5. engaging non-veg in *omnivore-friendly* veg events/activities
            -- that is to receive non-veg friends in veg events with sincerity and
                absolutely avoid anti non-veg sentiment during conversations.
                This is so that non-veg would feel welcome and won't feel out of place.

Step 6. confer proper education about vegetarianism
            via good books, videos, lectures and workshops 
            -- these educational info has to be fact/science based, absolutely no emotional remarks
                and most importantly with moderate views.
                Otherwise, non-veg tends tp think veg are just a bunch of extremist.
Step 7. lend non-veg friends unconditional support/love
            when they decide to try out a vegetarian regime
           -- when non-veg step out of their comfort zone to try out a new diet,
               support and love are essentials to give them a sense of security and
               to gather courage to move on.

As one can see from above,
promoting vegetarianism is not going to be
simply opening our mouth and argue by the facts and figures
(and stirring up heated, meaningless debate sometimes).

Vegetarian education movement takes
a great deal of energy,
a lot of patience to nurture,
a very deep compassion to educate the non-veg public

Only by a holistic approach to educate,
then only vegetarianism will continue bloom harmoniously in Singapore.

Well regards,
Kee Yew

{Learning Holistic Wellness for Wisdom and Compassion}

Monday, January 9, 2012

When wholesome grains spell trouble?

A good friend of mine, Violet,
recently drew my attention to some 'troubling' issues
about the consumption of whole grains.

According to an article she read,
improper consumption of whole grains
may cause problems like:
- indigestion/mal-digestion 
  (due to high fibre and enzyme inhibitors)
- minerals mal-absoprtion 
  (due to high fibre and phytates)
- intoxication 
  (due to rancidity)

It's very true!

Although whole grains is more nutritious and healthier
than refined grains,
it's important to learn the proper ways to consume whole grains
to avoid some unnecessary "side-effects".

To circumvent/solve the problems above, one may consider
doing the followings:

(A) Storage
> store at cool and dry place.

~ whole grains contains a lot of good fats
   (which white refined grains do not have
   after polishing away the brain and germ layers).
   But these good fats easily go rancid if stored under heat, direct sunlight
   and high humidity.
   Hence it's important to ensure the proper storage of these grains
   in dark, dehumified container away from heated spot of the kitchen.
   This will also prevent the growth of microscopic mould on the grains
   which is very toxic to our liver.

(B) Preparation
> soak, germinate/sprout the grains prior to consumption.
~ all whole graisns/seeds contain enzyme inhibitors, phytates
   and other toxins that causes digestive and absorption problems.
   This is part of the plan of nature,
   to protect the seeds so that
   they do not anyhow get gobbled up by animals
   to ensure their survival.
   But we human could use a bit of intellect
   to render these seeds suitable for consumption,
   by soaking to remove phytates
   by germinating/sprouting to degrade away enzyme inhibitors and other toxins.
   Therefore, in order reap the wholesome benefits of whole grains,
   we have to invest some effort. -- But it's very worth it!

(C) Consumption
> improve digestibility/absoprtion and minimise acidity by:
     i. adding more water content (e.g. congee, plant milk, soup) 
     ii. low heat treatment (e.g. light toasting prior to making buckwheat tea) 
     iii. grinding into powder (e.g. brown rice powder)
     iv. fermentation (e.g. miso, rejuvelac) 
     v. complement with fresh juices (for alkalising purpose)
~ all the approaches above not only will help mitigate digestibility and absoption issue,
   but will also introduce more variety of dishes!

(D) Combination
> consume various types of grains but consume 1 type of grain at one time
~ each type of grain are 'made different,
   hence they have different nutritional profiles,
   having their own 'strength' and 'weakness'.
   Eating a variety of grains will help compensate
   each other's imperfections and synergise their strengths.
   However, if we eat different grains blindly in one meal,
   that may cause indigestion,
   as different grains may need different enzymes to digest in our gut.
   Therefore, it's advisable to eat each different types of grains separately
   for maximum digestibility.

Hope this posting will help clear the worries about the "side-effects" of whole grains
as well as offer some ideas on how to make small improvement in their daily diet =)

Bon apetit!
Kee Yew

{Learning Holistic Wellness for Wisdom and Compassion}

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Advancing Vegetarianism in 2012

2011 was proven to be a hectic year,
as I took a few steps further
to advance my soul searching,
via physically reforms in my career and lifestyle
just like I did in 2010...

Some of LHW readers may have known that
I quit my full time job end of July 2011,
to better prepare for the commencement of
The Veg School in Oct 2011.

Like many others, I took long considerations
and had multiple consultation sessions with my family
before taking the plunge,
as it's expected that for substantial period of time
I will be short of stable income.

With permissions and support from my family,
I officially went full time into vegetarian education
as a new career cf. as a part time hobby in the past 10 years.

It has been five exciting months since the career switch.
and so far,
I am enjoying this new life! :D

During this very short period of time,
with the help of many boddhisatvas,
The Veg School successfully conducted
two workshops,
helping general public to understand the basics of healthy plant based diet,
and the importance of going organic for better health and environment.

At the same time,
some extraordinary learning opportunities came along,
when Nutrihub invited myself to help out on their marketing,
and two boddhisatvas offered very sincere incentives to convince me
to start up a vegan tea house at Kovan.

Everything happened just so quickly in the second half of 2011.

While I am indulging in my hectic (but spiritually-rewarding) new life,
2012 has now sneaked in!

Actually, I didn't quite realised it's 2012,
until my students were asking for
my new Vegetarian Wellness timetable for 2012 :P

In this new year 2012,
as seen in the timetable link above,
The Veg School will continue
to educate the public on vegetarian wellness,
serving even a larger audience
including the Mandarin speaking crowd (from April onwards)
and the residents in Kuala Lumpur (in May)!!

On my personal capacity,
I am also organising more outdoor workshops/tours/camps
to make it more lively and invigourating to learn vegetarian wellness,
including a Detox Workshop cum Retreat at Bornoe Highlands Resort (Apr)
and a 6D5N Healthy Lifestyle Transformation Camp at Aenon Farm (June).

Hope all the new vegetarian wellness programs lined up for 2012
will entice more people to learn more about vegetarian wellness
and to lead healthier lifestyle via compassionate and environmental diet.

Here, I wishes everybody
Good Health, Wisdom and Inner Peace
in 2012!

With metta,
Kee Yew

{Learning Holistic Wellness for Wisdom and Compassion}
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