While today marks the anniversary of the Coronation Day of our beloved king the 5th Druk Gyalpo and Clean Bhutan Day, it’s also a day for me to celebrate my three years of vegetarian life. I don’t really care about the religious merits I might have accumulated over the past three years for quitting meat and thereby saving some animals, but I really feel good that I have managed my health pretty well even without meat. So on this special day, I would like to share some personal experiences of being a vegetarian in a society in which the majority of people are non-vegetarians.
After several thoughts and unsuccessful attempts, it was on 1st November 2011 when I could finally decide to quit meat. I didn’t intend to accumulate merits to attain enlightenment though. My intent was crystal clear: I wanted to be free from the guilt of inexplicable pain and torture innocent animals are subjected to in slaughterhouses. When I was a non-vegetarian, I used to enjoy my food very much and would never think of how painfully each piece of meat I had been served would have been extracted. But whenever somebody would talk about how animals are slaughtered, I would always feel guilty of contributing to the torture as a customer and although I would sympathize with them, I used to feel I did not have the moral right to do so as a non-vegetarian. In a crucial twist, somebody added me to “Bhutan Vegetarian” group on Facebook which gave me more confidence and courage to quit meat. Through this vegetarian group, I came to know a lot of vegetarians who shared similar interests and passion like me and we got the opportunities to exchange our experiences and ideas. I could get access to several videos and articles which convinced me the type of journey animals make all the way from their farms to our refrigerators. So with strong determination and commitment, I decided to start a clean vegetarian life coinciding with Clean Bhutan Day 2011.
Since the day I have become a vegetarian, I have realized that I feel more fresh and healthy because I know meat usually increases your appetite to eat more and takes a longer time to get digested. Taking green vegetables has made me feel lighter and more comfortable. Although I have sometimes struggled to get vegetarian items in social gatherings, I am really enjoying being a vegetarian. Today I have even begun to love those vegetables like pumpkins and squashes which I hated before. I had a very tough time to survive in Thailand last year on my way back home from Australia but felt lucky that I had at least not quit eggs. I survived on fried eggs and plain rice, but I didn’t mind. I decided to continue taking eggs simply because there is no visible physical torture involved as in the slaughter of adult animals. I know that eggs and dairy products are the only sources of animal proteins for me. Before I went to Australia, some of my friends who had returned from there had told me that vegetables are more expensive than meat in Australia and that I won’t survive and have to turn back to meat. But I managed to maintain my vegetarian life even in Australia where meat supplies are abundant. So, I am glad that I have successfully lived a healthier vegetarian life so far.
One most important thing to remember as a vegetarian is that while we quit meat, we should never forget to compensate our diet properly. This is one of the main worries of people considering to quit meat. If one adds a variety of green vegetables, dairy products and fruits to the routine diet, the animal proteins which we get from meat can easily be compensated. I wish I never fall sick or circumstances never compel me to relapse to meat once again. I regret for not realizing this painful fact early in life but it still makes me feel great that at least the meat suppliers in Bhutan has lost one almost-regular customer since three years ago. May God bless all of us and millions of innocent animals tortured and slaughtered around the globe every day. I am sorry if I have hurt the sentiments of any non-vegetarian reader here but this is only my personal views. I am just trying to share what I know about the harsh realities of life poor animals are put through in order to quench our hunger. Please believe me that I am not trying to preach vegetarianism here. I hope some of you would agree with me. I would love to hear your comments if it either resonates or contradicts with your own convictions.
On this special occasion of the Coronation Day of His Majesty the 5th King and Clean Bhutan Day, I wish our beloved king and his family a very peaceful and prosperous life. May the sun of peace shine on Bhutan forever.