Here are a few ways to improve your diet, ensure that animals are humanely treated, and maintain physical health, without giving up what you love – a great meal!
By Zipporah Gene.
The verdict is out: the vegetarian diet is the diet of the future. Scientists, nutritionists, and environmentalists all agree that we should be eating less meat. According to a 2014 study, there are approximately 375 million vegetarians in the world, and the number of people opting to go ‘flesh-free,’ whether vegan, vegetarian (lacto/ovo) or raw, is growing yearly.
The highest grouping of vegetarians to date is predominantly found in the Indian subcontinent, among those practicing ahimsa. One of the cardinal virtues of Jainism, Hinduism, and Buddhism, ahimsa teaches that you should not hurt, and by extension consume, another living being. On the other side of the world, many have also chosen this lifestyle because of the intensive and oftentimes cruel practices of modern animal husbandry. Others opt-in for the simple fact that a plant-based diet not only helps in weight loss but also, it has been shown to reduce the risk of bowel cancer. It is also credited as being the diet that just might save our planet.
However, if you’d rather be marooned on a dessert island than even entertain the thought of giving up your right to beef, pork, or chicken, there are a few ways to improve your diet, ensure that animals are humanely treated and maintain physical health, without giving up what you love.
1. Start Slowly
Everyone knows that going cold turkey is a surefire route to failure. The easiest way to begin is by switching up and introducing more vegetables into your diet. Start by making one meal a day plant based and when you’re comfortable and familiar with doing that, you can move on to having an entirely ‘meat-free day.’
2. Do the research
New and untried territory is always going to seem more difficult at the start. There are many myths, misconceptions and unrealistic ideas spread about what it means to be vegetarian. However you’re definitely not alone in your quest for a more sustainable lifestyle. There are countless online resources available with recipes, articles and forums – why not sign up with a few?
Once upon a time, being vegetarian meant relegating yourself to only a few ingredients and a narrow pool of options. Luckily, nowadays, just about every restaurant, bar, cafe and online recipe, has a meat free option. Once you start looking, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at what is out there.
3. Choose Ethical
Being more conscious about what you eat shouldn’t just stop at vegetables. Although it might be pricier, ethically farmed and organic meats, not only ensure that the animal was treated humanely, but it also means that you’re getting meat that wasn’t pumped full of chemicals.
4. Be adventurous
Try different cuisines, try different vegetables and you’ll be amazed at just how many are vegetarian. From pastas, to som tam, falafels, to tortillas, soups to salads, the options are unlimited. Once you’re on the lookout, you’ll discover an entirely different world of exotic foods, or even popular home dishes, that you may have neglected.
5. Have fun
If something starts off as a chore, the likelihood that it will end up being fun, although not unheard of, is rare. View your foray into meatlessness in the same light, because it too can be a wonderfully insightful way to reacquaint yourself with your food.
If you’re still not convinced, why not have a test run at any one of Bangkok’s foremost vegetarian restaurants, and see if you can stomach vegetarian cuisine.
I’m sure you’ve heard of this place before. With an eclectic array of European and Asian dishes, expect to pay a little bit more here. However, the crunchy, flavorful, and intriguing quinoa charcoal burger is definitely worth a visit, as are the highly addictive tofu satay skewers.
Address: 899 Sukhumvit Soi 49, 095 251- 9799
Bonita Cafe and Social Club
Run by the friendliest owners you’ll ever meet, this restaurant has a very inviting ‘home-style’ to it. Although small, they cater to vegans; vegetarians and you’ll even find gluten-free and raw dishes on the menu. Come for Sunday brunch and sample their insanely good gluten free pancakes.
Address: 56/3 Pan Rd, 02 637 9541
This cafe, located in front of the spa, boasts of delicious and visually stunning raw vegan dishes. Made without cooking, these fresh wholesome dishes are also meat, wheat, and diary free. The raw Hawaiian pizza, made with macadamia cream, is definitely a must try.
Address: 57 Sukhumvit Soi 39, 02 662 4803-5
One of Ekkamai’s best kept secrets, this is the darling of Bangkok’s meat free dining scene. With options aplenty, a great vibe and classy interiors, Khun Churn does not disappoint. You won’t find any quorn-type, fake meats here, just well prepared, delectable dishes. Don’t worry if you don’t get the chance to try the delectable pomelo salad, or sail through the plethora of curries – you’ll be back.
Address: G/F, Bangkok Mediplex Bldg, Sukhumvit Soi 42, 02 713 6599