Hyprocrite

Short update for this week. I’m often at odds at myself whether I’m doing the right thing, what makes me happy, what my morals are and what I do for the movement. I try my best. And sometimes like in situations I stated before I will eat meat. Whether its a food prepared by my mother in law or eating out with friends anre their are no good vegetarian options. Should I just not eat and wait to go home? Should I tell everybody to find a vegetarian option place to eat just for me? Or do I not enjoy eating a famous restaurant with my wife and I know its something we used to constantly enjoy.

But I still consider myself vegetarian…but that makes me a big hypocrite. Is the cause and morals for what I’m doing not mean enough to me. In the end, it come down to the past time and making others happy. Its something I don’t want anyone to feel guilty of. Eating is a important part of peoples lives and I want people and my wife to be happy.

Its not a good thing I ate meat sometimes to see this. But in the end, it taste very good. Too good. How can you expect people to give it up. Makes me think for the many reasons people may change whether for ethics, morals, health etc. The taste and sanctification from meat is just too high and overcomes those reasons. I don’t care how good you make tofu and vegetables, its nearly impossible to say that it will be comparable to a steak or burger. I think if people had the option to eat beef or a plant that tasted exactly like beef. People would choose the plant based one so a cow wouldn’t suffer and die.

Do I feel guilty, sometimes yes. Its not an excuse or making it OK. It is a learning process and for everybody it will be. The point is to be aware of the issue and try your best. Its up to companies to produce humanely these animal products or some new innovator to make good tasting non meat foods at restaurants. BUt its our choice that can help determine those outcomes.

There Is No Line

A big debate is often discussed what is OK to eat and not OK to eat. Where do people’s values lie in what animals? How did they come about those values? Did society play a role? What values are inherent to human nature or a learned behavior. There often is a question of “Where do you draw the line?”

In the God Ole USA, we eat chickens, cows, and pigs. Those are the three main animals we eat and consume on massive scales. You can find it anywhere and get it cheap. It is OK to eat in our society and accepted by nearly everyone. Lets go across the map for a bit. In China, the notion is they eat dogs. Actually its true, its not everywhere but they do. In India, they do not eat cows because they are revered as a God. In some places, they like to eat bugs, while we here in America do not. In Japan, there is a small place where they do yearly dolphin hunting. Approximately 1,250 dolphins are killed during this tradition. In Spain, matadors kill bulls for culture or entertainment, how you look at it. In some places in Africa, tribal villages can still eat bush meat of other primates.

So how is it, that its OK to eat some animals here, its not OK in other cultures there. While some have animals as pets, while others eat it. While some can kill animals for culture. Where is the line? Who is right, who is wrong. How can you tell me not too eat a dog, when you kill millions of cows? Am I advocating to eat dogs and cats. Most certainly not. My point is, there is no one to really blame, there is no one you can point fingers at. We are all just as guilty for whatever meat consumption we do.

There are many ways as you can see for why we eat certain meat and not others. Some it is just engrained in our society, some its our traditions, some its our value on animals, and a big one is the intelligence. My logic, it is all or nothing. It is all life and all fair game or it is not. There is no line to draw, there is no line to say this is OK and this is not. There is no way to argue or justify why it is OK for animal to die and not another. All life is valuable and that is why #alllifematters. My point of view is the intrinsic value that every living thing has its own value and should be cherished for being so. My goes down to a deeper and more philosophical reasoning. Not measured by culture or tradition or any other sort of illogical reasoning.

Who are we to judge on what life is more valuable than another for whatever reason. Whether it is valuable to us, or it is cute, or it is smart, or it taste good. They are all valuable and in that conclusion meat eating, it is no animal that can be deemed OK to eat.

There are a billion arguments on why it is OK and reasons for what we do. It goes back to me sitting and thinking about my own parents and what they have been through. They went through the Killing Fields of the late 1970’s by the Khmer Rouge. Nearly 1.5 million Cambodians lost their lives. My mother lost her parents and 8 siblings, my father lost his sister. Everyone was affected. Everyone lost somebody close to them. Why and how this happen is unfathomable.

 

IMG_3788***The above photo is the area where my pregnant aunt (Dad’s sister) was killed, amazing to see how a pristine meadow leaves no trace of horrors from before****

Who got to live and who didn’t was also explained with reasoning. They were also deemed with only a certain value. Even as backwards as it is, knowledge was the enemy. Someone who was educated was killed. Someone who played music or in the arts was killed. Someone who was a doctor was killed. Someone who wore glasses or had soft hands to show they didn’t work as farmer was killed. The judgement and reasons for such atrocious events were given to only a handful of people. It was carried out by an army and they all listened. Even though it should defy logic, they still did it. It makes me think, every single one of those Cambodians who died were valuable. They were valuable to someone. They made someone laugh or cry. I’m sure there aren’t any we could say is a life not worth to live. I wish I could meet all my uncles, aunts, grandparents, cousins, family friends and share a dinner or have a talk. But that’s not the case because someone drew a line and said their life is not worth it.

Just like its OK for us to pet our dogs but eat cows. But someone else in the world it is OK to pet cows and eat dogs. There is no correct way to reason it all as a whole. Just like how it is illogical for the Khmer Rouge or any other sadistic dictator like Hitler, Stalin, Enver, Mussolini to carry out the acts they did. Even now in today’s times because we value someone lower based on intelligence, race, or color. We put into a perception on what value they are. Is because someone is ill, disabled, a certain race, mentally unstable, give no less or no value to their life? No it does not, so it should not be the same for animals. They all provide their own value. So that is why we should get rid of the line, get rid of the boundaries, give rid of the reasons. All life is valuable, don’t eat meat. #allifematters

Get Strong. Eat Meat. Be Fast. Eat Meat.

Sports has always been a major part of my life. I watched my dad and brother play soccer basically since I was born. I always looked up to them and wanted to be them on the field. Play soccer and be good at it. Get strong and get fast. The better you are at those things and the better you will be playing. Tons of games as a kid and then playing for and managing the Cambodian soccer team here in Washington DC area. Not only did I take interest in that sport but others as well. I loved to play basketball and football and even took on tennis at Annandale High School. Sports can help build leadership/communication skills, make you healthier, and just all out make you happy. Whats not to like about sports?

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What do girls like. Strong guys, muscular guys. Abs, abs. abs. These things jolted in and out of my head growing up as a teenager and in college. Why did I start to lift. Girls, that’s about it. I hit the gym five times a week at Virginia Tech. (Oh yeah, big sports school you might have heard. Go Hokies!)Read crazy amount of articles online, magazines and join forums. Took me quite some time to learn and get the hang of things but I did. Slowly but surely. Learn to eat and get big. Spend the next 10 years of my life getting big. Doesn’t hurt to be strong. Did I really get any girls, HA! Not really, too weird. But I have my wife, so it all works out!

Whats the point of all this? It always revolved around meat and protein. After a big soccer game, lets get some steak for dinner. What do you need after, before, during and every other time of the day. PROTEIN! Chicken, fish, steak, pork, get your calories, get your protein. Every pound you weigh, you need 1 gram of protein. Keep eating, get big. More protein. Pre workout, post workout protein. Chow down. More protein. I might seem crazy while writing this but it just reminds me of the focus and over saturation of protein and you get the most from where? Animals. Always have to have your protein. Aka always have to have your meat. Don’t get any meat, won’t be stronger, won’t be faster, won’t get girls.

Well now, I have a great girl and now I’m pretty big and fast. So keep eating meat? Keep getting faster and stronger? Keep pushing? I will have to say, eating healthier and more well balanced meals in college didn’t make me feel just flat out awesome. There was no enlightening feeling from eating more fruits and vegetables. I felt the same. I noticed I got better skin and improved eyesight and that’s about as far as it went.

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So last year, when I became vegetarian, it came about being strong and fast in a new way. How was it going to affect me. Will I be just as strong, what do I have to do. Ok so eat tons of broccoli and kale be just as strong and fast? I don’t think so.

Honestly, I just stopped thinking about when I transitioned. Just eat what you eat and just workout and do whatever. Don’t change more than what my diet is. I actually undertook a big kitchen renovation as a DIY with my wife. Lots of demolition, lots of hauling, lots of wood cutting, hammering, etc. Lots of things that need some muscle. Everybody in this world except myself saw I got noticeable bigger. And it wasn’t just all muscle. I put on some fat. I ate a lot of carbs, I was really hungry doing all that work. So three months later and a nice semi decent well done but great look kitchen was finished. I needed to cut the fat. I learned how to become a leaner vegetarian and have my routines.

Little did I realize after most the fat was gone..yo I’m pretty strong. I was able to work pretty long hours and lift quite a bit of weight. I decided to push myself pretty hard at the gym. Wow i’m pushing some pretty good weights here. But how? No meat, no protein right? I did eat lots of vegetables, soy, nuts to get the protein I needed but not nearly enough as I should to become “strong”. But it seems I still was. Probably the most real observation for me and feeling, was my body was extremely efficient and cut all the bullshit from the meat I was intaking. My body seem to work clean and fast. Processing anything necessary from my plant protein to build big hardy muscle.

I look back and think, why did I even care to eat so much meat. After switching to a plant based diet, I’m just as strong or stronger than before. I go out to play soccer and I’m still just as fast. I can still knock the ball around quickly, still just as smart as before, and make some hits as a defender. Did meat really even do anything for me? No. I can still have fun and play just as high a level as any one else.

So I say to athletes all over. Ditch the meat. Give it a try. You’ll be surprised.

 

 

 

 

Simple Question

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If you love them, why do you eat them? Its a really simple but yet deeper question. It hit me hard because you can’t really find a good answer for it. If you love them, why do you eat them? I mean why do you. It goes back to show how inherent eating is and just a mindless habit. I like to keep stating I do not blame people for eating meat. I just want them to think about it and understand the other side and make a decision. It is all too easy to write it off. Take anything in life where love comes into play yet you do something negative routinely and without thought. I do love animals and do not eat them. Its that simple to do and understand but very complex to why people don’t can’t understand the reasoning to it. #alllifematters

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Why Did I Even Do It?

For 30 years of my life, I’ve eaten meat. Meat has always been a central theme to nearly any and all meals. I use to tell my mom as a child “No meat, no eat”. So she literally cooked a meat dish for nearly every meal in my life. I don’t think that is an uncommon thing for any family or person actually. Meat is the best tasting and most anticipated part of the meal.

Being Asian, I think meat might be even more central. Many meals for Cambodians only deal with simple fish and rice. So any other meat is a prize. To have the abundance of meat at a grocery store, we will want to eat and keep eating meat to our hearts content. Beef, chicken, lamb, fish, crabs, lobster, you name it we wanted to eat it.

I never really cared to look into being vegetarian and have met plenty people in my life who were. Some just didn’t like the idea of flesh; others had traumatic experiences as children that made them stay away. While some can even do it for religious reasons. I got my first real experience of its impacts at a Washington DC Green Expo back in 2009. Vendors were set up being sustainable and green way of life. Many of these vendors provided green, vegan foods for guests to try. I had never seen so many people look so healthy in my life. People well into their 50’s and 60’s with shiny skin and hair. Eyes were bright and full of life. I was quite amazed.

Only until a year ago, I just really start thinking about myself, my life and what I wanted to do with it. There was always documentaries that show vegetarianism and veganism as the thing to do. I watched this one called Cowspiracy which showed how factory farms were a major contributor of greenhouse pollution and causing climate change. Though the main focal point was not to become vegetarian on a life issue but as a planet issue. A lot of the information was not new to me having studied it for so many years.

It was absolutely appalling to see the factory farming. Millions of animals dying everyday to feed our desires. Chickens cramped in cages, cows being mistreated and beat up, animals skinned alive. And 99% of male chickens are killed in the first few minutes of life because they provide no overall value!!! YOU GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!!! I think that was my primary driver that how animals are treated. Lets say all these animals were treated well and lived for a long time. I think I might be more OK with people eating meat. Everything was just driven purely by profits. I was against the system of abusing and killing animals. ANd this is how the world works. My initial stance was to be against the system and how they treated animals raised for consumption.

But that documentary did spark a question in my brain and discussion with my wife. “Why reason do I have not to become vegetarian?” I care for the planet. Check. I love animals. Check. I want to be healthy. Check. And Check and Check. So then I asked myself, “Why do I need to eat meat?”. What benefit does it provide to the earth and myself to eat it. Only reason, it taste good. From there, it continued on an endless circle of reasoning in my head. Other things taste good too, why does it have to be meat? Do I want to kill a life just because it taste good. No, not really. I love my pets, I love life, why am I eating them for my own satisfaction. Seemed rather selfish.

After much debate in my own brain and with my wife. It just clicked. Just do it. Become vegetarian. Simply its the right thing to do. It seemed like an epiphany in my life. I felt good, well, I felt really good. It came down to, I just valued life too much. All life is precious. No matter what shape or form. The fact is, I WANT to eat it, I do not NEED to eat a life to enjoy my own. There are a billion other things that make me happy, not eating meat anymore will not lessen my life and joy. Lots of things taste good with no meat. Pizza, fried tofu, good fruit, breads, cheese, etc. I can do this.

I thought it was something I might not be able to do. I just realized I needed to take it day by day. One meal at a time with no meat. It seemed like a long process and goal but it wasn’t. I was easily able to cut nearly 90% of my meals with no meat in no time. I didn’t feel I needed to eat meat, I didn’t have a sense of missing out. And now a year has passed and I’m still doing it, I still feel good. Its a cause I believe in and what I want to fight for. Each meal I eat is a stance against relentless killing of life.

It is a choice in the end, every meal is a choice. What you eat at the restaurant or buy from grocery store is a choice. And thats what it comes down to as a major game changer. No, you’re body does not NEED to eat meat as a human. You can survive and live perfectly fine without it, plenty of studies out there just google it. If we needed to eat meat, then well we would be carnivores. But we our omnivores and are able to eat both plant and meat. For the longest time we needed to eat anything to survive and meat was a good way to be full and get nutrients. We do not need to hunt for food to be full and provide for families. Its at a grocery store now less than 10 minutes way. Nowadays, you can get anything you want living or no n living and still be fine.

It is how you want to live your life and what you value. I do not expect everybody to just drop eating any and all meat right away. But to just sit and think for a moment what you are doing. Do you really need to kill that animal for a good meal? Do you really need to eat that much meat to be satisfied? Don’t you think if we slaughter all these animals, they should at least live decently for what little time they have on this earth?

So in the end, it is your choice on what you want to do. And my choice is to value all life. #alllifematters

More More and More

 

After becoming vegetarian a little over a year ago; I always have this sort of amazement at the meat section in asian grocery stores. Not only can you get butchered meat but you can get live fresh fish and seafood. They serve live crawfish and live crabs along with an assortment of live fish. (I think these are tilapia).

Here is Good Fortune Supermarket in Falls Church, VA. What amazes me you ask? Its the the ease and abundance of food dead or alive you can have at your finger tips. Whether I want one fish or a hundred. Whether I want 1 chicken wing or 100 chicken wings. I can have it. There is no work to it. Just walk into a store and buy as you wish. For hundreds of thousands of years, we had to hunt for meat. You had to set traps or bait to get animals. You had to work in teams and track for days to hunt bigger game. Throw a spear or use a knife. Now we can even PRODUCE meat.IMG_3068

We have a science down to a tee in efficiency and savings on producing meat. How much we can produce, by when and at what cost. I walk into this store and can get anything I want alive to kill and butcher for a meal on the dime. Its just the mere quantity that is incredible. Over 350 million people in this country and we can feed them all easily.

Look at the condition of the tank the fish are in. Had to be over 50 of them in an enclosed space. How could you even begin to change this. Bigger tank, cost more, more water, cost more, filtration and oxygen system cost more for bigger tank more cost to run. Theres no incentive for a store to do that when its about the profit.

Hopefully one day we do something to make it more comfortable them at least.