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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Increasing Tofu Options At Asian Grocery Market

Yep, here we are back at again at Good Fortune Supermarket. My wife and I frequently visit this place for our grocery needs. We go here almost once a month to get food. Located at Eden Center in Falls Church, VA. Its a very convenient location to restaurants we frequent, to and from work, or to our rental house. Has Route 50 and Route 7 as its major intersections, its a place to zip on by. We’ve been coming here since the near its grand opening and have been pleasantly pleased with the options and prices they have provided so far.

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What I have noticed is in its once small tofu section has grown quite increasingly large. It used to be simple medium and soft tofu options in large uncooked packages. With now growing into 3-4 sections. In it, you can find a variety of deep fried tofu, hard tofu, mock chicken and beef tofu, five spice tofu, hot and spicy tofu, soy noodles and so on. Included are a bunch of soy milk options as well. I’m overly impressed on the variety and vastness of selection. These tofu options can be used in a ton of dishes. Before being regulated to just regular soft tofu, it was very hard to incorporate to dishes with flavor. Its the toughness and texture in these other tofu options that satisfy the craving that I use to get from meat.

Not only with that, there are 3-4 Vegetarian soup options as well in a can. It is just as good as Pho Hot In Annandale. I’m almost certain they pop open one of these cans and then put some noodles it. Sorry to say, I’ll probably have to save on the $6 to just eat and make at home. Now its just time to find the hard whey soy that they get and I’m set for life.

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So a thumbs up to Good Fortune to increasing there tofu options and helping vegetarians like myself.

Be The Best You Can Be

My switch in my diet to becoming vegetarian has had its up and downs. The reasoning, the logic, the countless decisions for every meal has been made with the best of intentions. While I always strive to become 100% vegetarian, it doesn’t always happen. But isn’t a vegetarian suppose to be vegetarian 100% of the time and no excuse? Yes I believe so. Does it always happen for myself. No it does not. One view I have always had in many things, is that I am a realist. Not everything is bright and shiny. Not everything is perfect. People’s lives and decisions can have many obstacles and I’m realistic about them.

So I eat vegetarian 90% of the time or 50%? What does that make me? Am I good vegetarian or bad one? What sect of diet does that make me out to be. I talked to my cousin Andrew and he said that means I”m a flexitarian aka I”m flexible on what I do and eat. Even though I don’t like the sound of it, I still claim to be vegetarian. What I want to do with my life and how I approach it fall behind a vegetarian values. Maybe I am bad? But I will always try to follow for people trying to and learning to be their best.

I’m come under a number of situations where it wasn’t always easy to a vegetarian. Sometimes I’m mad at myself, sometimes I make excuses. And this is not an article to make an excuse or seek solitude from others. I’m just being real. Maybe I’m at relatives and they only have meat dishes? It’s somewhat rude to not eat what was prepared for you. Or I go to a restaurant and eat the most vegetarian dish? And throw away the meat? I’m so exhausted from work and my wife has prepared dinner but do I make her cook another meal that’s purely vegetarian? There is this and countless other situations I’ve come upon on. The worst is when i’m so tired from working in the yard and the quickest and easiest meal is something with some meat in it.

I think people delve too much into the minor parts or classifications of what people are and are not. It starts to come a battle with two sides and one is right and wrong. If you talk about these issues it gets heated and dirty. So I’m vegetarian, but i’m no vegan? Then i’m not good enough. Or I’m vegetarian but blame others for eating meat? What is good or bad. I think in the public realm, you’re not going to change peoples minds by blaming them for what they are doing. They aren’t going to change your mind and you’re not going to change theirs. What needs to be done is a simple discussion on what and why somebody eats meat and help educative them and let them make the decision on their own. Hopefully through you’re own efforts they can see why it might be good to do it themselves. So what if they eat meat and won’t stop. Maybe try to do once a week at first. Or leave big meat eating just for holidays. Eating meat has been something humans have been doing since our existence. You can’t just stop it on a dime. Help them understand but don’t blame them.

Imagine if someone choose one meal a day or one one day a week not to eat meat? What if they used holidays to stop eating? 3 meals a day and 7 days a week. 1 meal can be a be change to help. Imagine if millions of people stopped eating meat for one meal a week. Its millions of countless animals that would be saved. Need to start small and grow as people can adapt to the idea.

Now I have to say the reasons to get meat are logically. I get it, I understand. But for those not willing to discuss, they seem to lack a good reasoning behind it. They throw back childish attitudes on the discussion. No one is particularly superior. YOu’re not better to be vegan but you’re also not just because you eat meat. I don’t understand that mentality to gloat that you eat meat. What positives come from that and at the end better than me in life?

A recent satire video on meat eaters and vegans came up. I have to saw its pretty funny and I’m sure true for many situations. And their in lies the problem. The bashing and elitism by those vegans aren’t swaying anyone. And then you have to ask yourself, whats the point and what positive are you doing? This discussion can go on and on. BUt I think this is a good start and a discussion is what is needed.

 

 

Animal Welfare League of Arlington Check Up

I wanted to take a look at the Animal Welfare League of Arlington and see if I could find anything interesting. I actually did. I found that they keep statistics of how many dog and acts they get and how many are adopted. Among a number of other stats. I see that they included in adoptions animals transferred to other organizations. Is that really a success? Or is it that the dog/cat is adopted through another organization and they just transfer there. Its a little vague and not clear. Also some people lose theirs dogs and it is returned. I for some reason feel uneasy about that being included.

Currently there stat is at 96%. I was amazed and wanted to take a look into the numbers. I was uneasy about it and decided to calculate myself. Lets take a look here.

https://www.awla.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/Shelter-Statistics-FY2016-for-website.pdf

Total Intake: 1712

Adoptions: 1259
Transfers: 66
Return to Owner: 260
Total: 1585

Euthanized: 71

In there positive outcome rate, they decide the total of adopted, transfers and returned to owner and divide it by those same factors but include ones euthanized. So whats wrong with that here. Is it a simple in and out equation? No its not. They don’t even factor that. They consider success or “positive outcome rate” which they bold and highlight as a measure by comparing the number adopted/returned to owners versus how many are euthanized and adopted. So basically they are saying how many didn’t die in their hands or have to put down. 96% of those adopted were not euthanize. That is the stastitic. Why does that matter and why is that the highlight? I”m not trying to critical here but it is a little play on statistics with the presentation of it all. I want to know how many out of the well to do dogs and cats were adopted from the # that came in.

A real number would be the # adopted 1259 versus total intake minus the ones who had to be euthanized (1641) is the most accurate. And the true number people want to know. That is a 76% RATE. Which hey I think its still pretty good. This is an adoption agency and they are doing great work. I’m not doing this to discredit AWLA but the adoption rate is not as high as they portray. And my reasoning here it is not painting the correct picture of the adoption world. It is not all glitter and happiness that every animal gets adopted. We need to show the light that it is difficult to get them adopted and we need to focus efforts on owners keeping them.

I adopted my poor Dotty who passed away from seizures from there after we found at our home. They took well good care of Dotty and I will always miss her.

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

Simple Yes or No. This Is Where To Go.

One of the early changes in my shopping routines with my wife after becoming vegetarian is “Well…What do I eat now?”. Lots of stuff are vegetarian such as pasta, fruits, vegetables, noodles, etc. But you have to figure out what to eat day to day. You need the good amount of protein with a well balanced diet. The kicker, it has to taste good too. No way you will last with such bland vegetables and fruits with meals. You have to be real and set expectations lower on how delicious your meals day to day can be. Not to say you can’t make good food.

Being a carnivore for 30 years, everything revolved around meat. Ok Steak with this and this, ok chicken with this and this, if not that much pork, then put this and this. It was the central focal point of nearly any and all meals. So I began to shop and find my places and things what to get. You need that substitute for hard protein. I found that Trader Joes, espeically one in Falls Church, was a great place to get veggie options. They have  soy sausages, soy chirizo, and even meatless breakfast patties. You’re not really missing out when you these things kind of available. The hard part is simply to know whre to go. You’re not going to know where you can shop and what you can get without visiting them. Knowledge is key. Trader Joes has a fantastic selection of vegetarian and soy based goods to apply to many meals. Even my wife was impressed with the soy chorizo and said it was hard to tell the difference. Thats how much flavor there is. She took the soy chorizo and mixed it with a spaghetti sauce.

Anyways, that gave me the idea to simply make a map of places that are vegetarian friendly. And I don’t mean, anything you can eat that is vegetarian. Obviously I know i can eat some pasta, some bread, some fruits, some candy, or eggs and be vegetarian. These things are offered at any grocery store. What I mean was for places that given a YES or NO to be a vegetarian and/or vegan friendly offerings from their store. Places with lots of soy goods or everyday household meals that are vegetarian or vegan friendly. So lets start it, google maps, and where can we vegetarians can shop and get lots of goods!!

**** The vegan cheese needs a considerable amount of work. I dont mean to be picky or choosy. And I know many times its not close to real stuff and thats not what I’m seeking. Half the time, I’m just seeking somethin bearable resemblance. The vegan cheese offered at Trader Joes,. major turn off. I could barely stomach it. Dont get it unless you want to support the cause.

 

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Lets Go Nats!!!

Off to the ole great american past time baseball. Its been quite a few years since I made it out to a Washington Nationals game. Nice summer air, sun shining and some nice cold brews. I went with my brother, sister in law, niece and good friend. Something to do on a Saturday afternoon. Sister in law got some tickets from her work as a company event and thought why not tag along.

Lots of families enjoying the game and looking at the beautiful stadium. My brother and Vandy decided to get some beers of course to start off the game. I got an Goose Island IPA that was a little hard to drink fast. I was at half the speed of finishing my beers compared to Vandy and David. After sitting down for a little while, it was time for dun dun LUNCH! With our tickets we get a free beef hot dog, chips and a drink.

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I started to think oh what should I eat instead of getting that free meal. I forgot I’m probably one of the worst places as a vegetarian. Hot dogs, hamburgers chilli nachos, all of the great meaty foods accompanied with the sport. I just walked around to the food stalls and could smell the fatty and fried foods encompassing the stadium. I thought I was screwed. I guess I’ll have to suck it up and eat a beef hot dog.

After my brother got his meal, I went up to get my free hot dog. Then I saw  V………E…G…G. ?! Can I believe it? I…EEE, its a veggie hot dog!!!!! Just my luck! I was jumping for joy inside that the Washington Nationals my hometown DC team would provide something like this. They are conscious of vegetarians and do offer something for us to enjoy like everybody else.

I put my order in for a veggie dog. Thirty seconds later, a lady comes back and says, ” Here’s your beef hot dog”. I’m like what ok, simple mistake.  I tell her “sorry, I ordered a veggie hot dog?” She goes oh ok. **Tosses beef hot dog into trash and runs to get veggie**. My heart sinks. The point is to make a stance but also to not waste, in order to eat a veggie dog, the beef hot dog was thrown away. And now that cow died for nothing or at least a piece of him/her. Not my fault but I did feel terrible. What was the point of all that, I would have eaten the beef one. My parents haven’t gone through the Killing Fields and my mom chattering since a child not to waste a SINGLE grain of rice. Its implanted in my brain not to waste food. But what can you do. The veggie dog was pretty good and I  got to enjoy my day just like anybody else.

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After wandering the whole stadium; I realized there was quite a few vegetarian options. Not just fries hahaha. They even list it on there website. Veggie burgers, cauliflower sandiwch, veggie tacos, etc. YOu name it, you get the ballgame experience with similar ballgame food. So its a shoutout to the Washington Nationals who do their part to make an enjoyable experience for meat eaters and vegetarians alike. You guys get a Home Run from me!!! (cheesy).

Food Concessions Veggie Options: http://washington.nationals.mlb.com/was/ballpark/concessions/index.jsp?content=vegetarian

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.

Lost Dogs and Adoption Billboard

 

Its really sad to see this board of lost dogs or owners trying to find their dogs new homes. This board was on the entrance of a Petco in Falls Church, Virginia. Most the posts were from months ago and who knows if their dog was found or not. I”m going to assume not because the paper is still on this board. It must be an absolutely heartbreaking feeling to lose a dog. You can run and drive all around with no clue where they are. A dog may feel free or scared and run off in any direction and not know where you or home is. I was especially sad to see the one post where the dog is young and afraid of people. The dog must be so frightened and difficult to rescue if will not come near people. Northern VA is a big and scary place for a lost dog. I really hope the owners are able to find them. Aside from these postings, checking around the neighborhood, and calling shelters, what else can you do? Definitely tag a dog with your home address and phone # so someone can contact you immediately. Who knows how many dogs get lost each year. Sadly, last year, a former coworker of mine said his mothers dog was stolen off her porch and never returned.

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