I fell sick again during my reservist back in mid-August, about a week after I had recovered from my earlier bout of flu where I became extremely high.
It’s absolutely frustrating to eat healthily, exercise regularly, abstain from fast food, but still fall sick at the end anyway. Twice.
While I was visiting my acupressure therapist for a checkup on a minor shoulder ailment, the first thing he commented on was how much weight I had lost. In particular, I had lost a lot of muscle on my shoulders and deltoid area (if you don’t know what a deltoid is, just google it and learn something new about your body). I told him that I had turned vegan about six months ago, and he strongly recommended me to at least take some fish and eggs into my diet — vital sources of protein.
He also explained that when the body undergoes a drastic change in nutritional intake, its ability to heal and recover from illness will also be impacted. It took me 2 weeks+ to recover from the flu, and then another 2 weeks to recover from the subsequent second illness. Usually, I’ll be fine after about a week.
I measured myself on the weighing scale a few days back and was quite surprised at how much weight I’ve lost. I’m now 52.7kg, the same weight as my sister. This is probably the first time in over a decade (?) that I’ve dropped below 55kg. I knew that I had lost some weight — I dropped two pants sizes from 30 inches to 28 — but I didn’t realise how big a loss it was.
For some perspective, the heaviest I ever weighed was 64.9kg. This was back in 2006 before I first enlisted for my mandatory two full-time years in the army. So yeah, I can thank plants and the army for helping me lose weight.
Reactions to my newfound herbivore eating habits have been surprisingly diplomatic. While eating at the cookhouse during reservist, one of my platoon mates remarked with concern: “Hey bro, you sure you can eat that?! There’s milk and eggs inside…”
He was referring to a pandan cake dessert snack. It had vanilla and cream, made from milk and eggs.
“Ya, I’m not that particular about milk and eggs now,” I replied.
“You sure ar… you’re not committing a sin ar…”
I laughed out loud at that comment. My colleague was referring to Buddhism. Some Buddhists, the devout ones, have to abstain from meat at certain times of the month. I’m a free thinker, but I was grateful at the concern shown by my friend. He is a Malay Muslim.
Interestingly, the news of my vegetarianism had reached my supervisors in the camp, who went the extra mile to make sure that I had received my vegetarian out-rations. One of the cookhouse uncles even handed me my rations automatically during lunch time while I was queuing. I had never met him before.
Another uncle, on another day, gave me a short two minute lecture about the merits of Buddhism.
“We are fighting not because we want to intentionally kill another human being, but because we are defending ourselves,” was the most noteworthy quote I remembered.
Again, I had never met that uncle before.
So yes, six months after turning vegan (but now allowing dairy and seafood back into my diet), I’m happy to say that life is pretty much the same. It’s not that hard to look for vegetarian food, both at home and at work. I love QQ Rice, but I absolutely hate gluten — I cannot stand eating those mock meat substitutes. I’ve lost weight but I honestly don’t care, I was never the type of male who believed in bulking up for the sake of doing so. I’m not a bodybuilder or pro wrestler.
Do I miss meat? A little bit. I miss Texas Chicken. I’m lighter, but I don’t feel weaker or more lethargic. Despite being down for a month trying to recover from illness, my energy levels are still the same and I somehow have more endurance now for my night shifts.
I’m not trying to put others down for eating meat or fast food. It’s your own personal choice. But every time I stare at the latest McDonald’s burger and its accompanying side dish of greasy french fries, knowing that I cannot and will not eat them, I’m happy to be free from consuming that sort of crap.
CM Punk once famously highlighted the straight-edge lifestyle: no alcohol, no tobacco, no recreational drugs. If you add in “no fast food” I wonder what that is called? Ultra sharp straight-edge? Razor’s Edge? Ok, enough wrestling talk from me. This herbivore rant has gone on long enough.