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

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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.