I learnt a new word over the weekend. FLEXITARIANISM! (Say what?)
Good ol’ Wikipedia says that it is often used interchangeably with semi-vegetarianism. I guess that makes me one of them, since I’ve been taking more pro-active steps in reducing my meat intake. And it would also include the increasing number of folks that have been subscribing to “No Meat Thursdays” as a start to reducing their meat intake.
There have been several factors which have supported the “less meat” campaign. From reducing one’s level of consumption and carbon footprint – given the amount of resources needed to produce meat, and the carbon emissions (as methane) – to resistance to inhumane practices towards animals in farms and slaughterhouses. The documentary Food Inc captures the essence of this perfectly. And of course, vegetarian societies would be more than happy to give you more reasons on why you ought to be (literally) stuffing yourself green.
Fortunately, there are a few places, in my opinion, that make going vegetarian easier. One option would be Indian vegetarian cuisine, which is for the most part in abundance… Ananda Bhavan, Bombay Woodlands, Bombay Cafe… those are my favourite spots. ( in fact, I only ask for Indian vegetarian food when flying on Singapore Airlines).
But then there’s also Veganburg, which I’ve only JUST got a chance to savour their gluten-and-GMO-free burgers in the good ol’ Eunos. Its been a year since they opened, and business has been booming. I hear they’re planning to open a branch at the Marina Bay Financial Centre soon (up-market seh!).
The October special is pretty awesome… Creamy mushrooms with their signature soy patties. I totally love the juices they serve and more so the fact that they serve their burgers and seaweed fries in mess tins. Most importantly, its filling. Honestly, being vegetarian has never been so easy!
I must say however that it costs a little bit more than your usual fast food prices. A burger alone will cost you 6 to 7 bucks, and a meal would be 11 to 12 bucks. For those on a shoestring budget, having a 3 to 4 dollar Char Kway Teow or Chicken Rice at a hawker centre would perhaps be a better option. Looking at it from this perspective, it may seem that Going Green is something that the only the rich can afford.
But that’s not really true if you think about it deeper. Poor folks do not always have the luxury of eating meat as it costs more than vegetables. Rather its the growing middle classes that have had more income to afford meat. As such, it would perhaps be possible to have more vegetarian and organic options in the heartlands overtime. In fact, an organic shop-cum-cafe called Thorvewest recently opened near my place in Bedok Reservoir. They have nice organic cherry tomatoes from Australia!
At the end of the day, whether you chose to be a flexitarian, pescetarian or hard-core vegan, it is ultimately about taking those baby steps in testing yourself to get out of your comfort zone, and forego simple luxuries that we often take for granted. For me, its a good way to also continue to control/reduce consumption even after Ramadan.
Because really, going green is not a fad, its a way of life.