By: Cyd Deserva Potian
Since 1992, I have been practicing Yoga lifestyle. I studied the philosophy behind a vegetarian diet, and the benefits of eating vegetables and fruit. I made a decision to change the way my six-year-old daughter and I ate. Meat was out, veggies and fruit were in. My daughter made the transition easily because she was able to have her usual singang, menudo, and dinuguan without adding meat to the dishes. I substituted tofu and other meat alternatives. The meat cravings were gone - out the door!
Four of my children were born into the vegetarian lifestyle. The challenge for them came once they started school. Sadly, there are no vegetarian choices at their school. I would get up early every morning and prepare their favorite dishes. My children did not mind taking their lunch to school, since there was no other choice.
I made lunch for my youngest son, who was four at the time. Steamed corn and mushrooms with brown miso paste on the side. His classmate told him that it looked like “poop.” My son started to cry. ( I would cry, too.)
When he came home and told me what happened, I wrote a letter to his teacher and asked her to explain why my son’s lunch is different from their lunch. Since then, the children were more open-minded about his diet. Now, when there is a birthday celebration, the classmates would tell their parents that there is one classmate who does not eat meat. They take my son's preference into account, and the parents prepare vegetarian meals for my son.
My joy is seeing my children healthy and not lacking in nutrients. My children get to inspire other kids by informing them that veggies are the ideal food for humans. Their classmates curiously would ask if they could partake in the packed lunch. My children, with a smile, gladly share their lunch with them.
Economically, being a vegetarian is beneficial. It is also healthier and good for the environment.
Cyd Deserva Potian is a mother of five and a licensed acupuncturist in the Philippines.