It’s not very often for us Malaysians to encounter friends or family who follow a certain dietary lifestyle by choice. We Malaysians are blessed with an abundance of food, so it’s rather difficult for us to stay away from food because, well, food is life.
However, with the influence of cultures and education from abroad (i.e Hollywood), we’ve seen more and more people who’ve started to alter their lifestyle due to health and ethics concerns. While there are many local Buddhist and Hindus who are vegetarians due to religion influence, vegan is relatively a new term to many of us as there are a whole lot of moral concerns to it.
But first, what makes vegetarian, a vegetarian?
A vegetarian does not consume animals such as chicken, beef, seafood, and poultry, but may eat products that come from them or any diary products such as milk and eggs. There are two types of vegetarian:
1) Lacto Ovo Vegetarian
Consume diary products such as eggs and milk.
2) Ovo Vegetarian
Consume only eggs as a single dairy product or consume all the dairy product (milk, yogurt, cream etc.) but exclude eggs from their diet.
3) Demi vegetarian
Consume fish, eggs, and other dairy products but exclude meat from their diet
4) Semi vegetarian
Consume fish and seafood but no meat or poultry.
Which brings us to this question:
What makes vegan a vegan then?
Generally speaking, vegan are people who do not eat or use animal products. These people are mainly driven by moral concerns about harming animals. People who consume vegan diet for moral reasons tend to be passionate about animal welfare; they avoid leather and suede because they are made from animal skins. Vegan also avoid items includes gelatin or lard. Gelatin is a protein derived from pork, which you can find them in gummy candies.
There are 3 types of vegan:
1) Ethical vegan
Exclude any dairy products such as milk, eggs and honey from their diet and avoid the usage of any products which made from animal skin or parts.
2) Plant based vegan
Consumes only plant-based food which grow from the ground only.
3) Raw vegan
Does not consume any animal by-product and anything is cooked above the temperature of 115-degree Fahrenheit.
Whether you’re a vegetarian or vegan, it takes a whole lot of discipline and perseverance to stay on your course. While restaurants which are pro-vegetarian have increased over the years, vegan-based eateries in Malaysia are still rather limited and with the lack of education from the general public, eating home is the only way for most vegans.
If you have friends whom are vegan or vegetarian, it’s important to be more mindful and considerate when dining with them as well. A meal or two without any meat will surely do no harm to us, no?
Header image source from here.