being vegetarian saves money and can help control food inflation

July 12th, 2011 by poobalan | View blog reactions Leave a reply »
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I have gone vegetarian for the last 50+ days, just to give it a try. Not so difficult as one may think.

As I was reading about rising cost of food, and obesity issues in Malaysia, this idea popped up.

I noticed that I tend to eat less, eat accordingly, and waste less after being vegetarian.

So, I suggest that we practice vegetarianism in our daily life. It need not be strict accordingly to religious believes, but adapted to your liking. I would suggest a minimum of 4 days vegetarian and if can up to 6 days in week.

By being vegetarian, one reduces intake of meat and poultry products (like egg, chicken, mutton, pork, fish, seafood, and beef). Once demand reduces, what happens next? The prices will drop.  All Malaysians should try it for 6 months and see what happens. Imagine the price of chicken is RM8.3o per kilo currently. But if no one buys it, would it still be at that price?

Secondly, by reducing meat, the livestocks being reared will be reduced (in the long term), and this in turn reduces the need for animal feed (food for the animals). A portion of agriculture products is channelled towards animal feed. By reducing this portion, we can have more grains and other products directly for human consumption. Result = price of other food items MAY (yes, I know, “may” only because some may try to cash in by hoarding or having cartels) drop due to availability of these items.

Admittedly, there’s not many choices for vegetarian food in Malaysia. The safest place is any pure Indian restaurant (no mixing of vege and non-vege items)  and also the Chinese vegetarian restaurants (serving mock meat – not advisable). You most likely can’t go to fast food joints, Mamak restaurants, kopitiams, Western food restaurants, and Malay restaurants. So, you tend to eat less. No more in between snacks, no burgers, no fast food. LOTS of money saved. When the options are less, you tend to eat less and spend less. Most of the time, we eat to fulfill our taste buds, but remember, once the food passes through our throats, there’s no taste.

You can also start a mini garden at home. Plant a few herbs and plants. If you make arrangements with neighbors and friends, each can plant different items and do a barter trade. This helps to reduce cost as well. There are plenty of DIY kits available – from home fertigation to hydroponic techniques.

Yet another option is to shop at the Pasar Tani or smaller markets which can at times provide a very competitive pricing if compared to hypermarkets or shopping  centers.

Some quarters will say that you will lose nutrients or can’t get enough proteins and vitamins. Well, if you are really into that excuse, then take meat once a week. You are not in a labor-intensive industry right? Are you shovelling tar on roads? Or cutting trees in middle of forest? Do you need that much of protein and food, or is it just a craving/norm that you are used to?

I stopped taking coffee and tea for a while, just to see if it can be done. So, no more Starbucks. No more Old Town white coffee. No more teh tarik. End result: less chance of wasting time at these places and end up overspending. Who knows, it can help to reduce the price of coffee beans globally if we reduce the intake of these beverages.

Yeah, you can ask…where’s the little pleasures in life if want to cut down on everything? As I said earlier, try reducing little, if not all. You can still have your cuppa one a week, or once a fortnight. Surely there are bigger things in life than being attached to food.

Another thing, I would also propose that buffet meals are banned in Malaysia, limit the number 0f 24 hour restaurants in a locality, and avoid having too many open houses during festivals. Our food havens may well be the silent killer for many Malaysians.

new slogan: Eat less.

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