VSS eNewsletter 28 Apr 2006
VSS eNewsletter 28 April 2006
On 25Apr, a VSS officer published a letter in the ST Forum Online Letters:
I refer to the article "Climate change: 2 nations can make difference" (ST, April 22). Kyoto Protocol, Singapore adds to its reputation as a green country. To implement the Protocol, individuals and the government should consider that our eating habits can affect the environment as much as our means of transport and energy generation. In particular, we can slow climate change by eating less meat. Two main links exist between meat consumption and climate change.
One, meat consumption is inefficient because we have to feed an average of about five kilos of plant food to animals to derive one kilogram of meat. To use an analogy, think of how much food a growing child eats before gaining a single kilogram. One implication of this inefficiency is that more forests are destroyed to grow the food fed to animals, thereby worsening climate change.
Two, going back to the five-to-one ratio, what happens to the other four kilos of plant food that aren't turned into meat? A major proportion becomes waste, which causes air, soil, and water pollution. This waste can contain methane and nitrous oxide. Scientists at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimate that these two gases have greater global warming potential than do carbon dioxide. Per molecule, methane traps more than 21 times more heat than carbon dioxide, with nitrous oxide absorbing 270 times more.
The environmental hazards of eating meat are why the Worldwatch Institute lists reducing meat consumption as one of its ten ways to go green. No sacrifice is involved in eating less meat, as we have so much delicious non-meat food to enjoy here, not to mention the health benefits of eating more fruit and vegetables.
If this eNewsletter doesn’t provide you enough veg news, you can go to http://www.ivu.org/news/veg-news to subscribe to IVU (International Vegetarian Union) Veg News. VSS is affiliated with IVU. The purpose of IVU-Veg-News is to provide open channels where news and information can be exchanged freely. The IVU-Veg-News list is open to anyone who is interested, regardless of his/her opinion(s) on vegetarianism. But beware – this is only for folks who like to get lots of mail!
Host a Singapore Meatout Week Event
Planning is underway for Singapore Meatout Week 2006, 22-30 July. All kinds of events are being planned. What about something where you live, work, study or play? Could be a talk, food demo, food fair, art display, fun run, fund-raiser or whatever you think would help people consider eating less meat.
Discover the many wonders of sprouting seeds and how to grow them in your own kitchen. What can sprouts do for you and your family? How can you create your own skin and hair care with sprouts, and make delicious health drinks and smoothies?
Find the answers on 6 May, Sat., 3-4pm, Church of St. Peter & Paul, 225A Queen St , Praise and Worship Rm, Level 1, next to canteen. Speaker: Wendy Yeo, Food/Herb Consultant. For more information: 6337.2585.
In our last Newsletter, a reader called people’s attention to the veg stall in the staff canteen in Terminal 1 of Changi Airport. Another reader wrote in to say that veg food is also available in the staff canteen in T2: Ci Xin Healthy Vegetarian Food, Stall 17, Level 3M, Car Park C, tel: 6542.2670, hours: 5:30 AM to 8.00 PM, closed every second Sunday.
Now, let’s hope someone will open something in the new Budget Airline terminal.
After hosting a very successful VSS Wellness Seminar and delicious dinner earlier this month, Genesis Health Food Restaurant is offering a health talk and cooking demo this Sunday. Here’s the plan:
I. Health talk by the in-house dietitian
II. Cooking demonstration of:
1. Queenly Quinoa
2. Vegetarian Fish
3. Cashew Mayonnaise
III. Supper and sampling of demonstrated food
Date: Sun, 30 Apr
Place: Genesis Health Food Restaurant, 1 Lorong Telok (near Raffles Place MRT)
More info: 6438-7118, genesishf@....
Pre-registration and advanced payment required.
Fee: $40 pax
Here’s a place to visit to learn how we can save the earth one bite at a time: http://www.veggiesforecology.org.
The following article summaries a study by two researchers from the University of Chicago ’s Department of Geophysical Sciences: http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/story?id=1856817&page=1. The researchers conclude that greening our diet by reducing or eliminating meat helps the environment even more than greening our mode of transportation. To read the entire article: http://geosci.uchicago.edu/~gidon/papers/nutri/nutri.html.
Most people aren’t aware of the connection between meat and environmental destruction. Please spread the word.
Look Who’s Talking about Pigs’ Emotions
It seems like caring about the emotions of our fellow animals is no longer just something that vegetarians do; even websites such as those concerned with pork production are talking about it: “Modern pig production is no longer focused on just economically efficient pork production; consumers, governments, the public and those directly involved in the industry, all have concerns for aspects such as animal welfare traits and the environmental impact of the production systems.”
One more reason for eating less or no meat is that modern meat contains antibiotics. Why is such a high level of antibiotics used? Perhaps to combat the possible spread of disease among our fellow animals in the crowded, stressful conditions of modern factory farming. Read more at:
Vegetarian in China Turns 120!
China Daily, China’s national English Language newspaper, reports that the person who the Guinness Book of World Records calls the World’s Oldest Person, and who just happens to be a life-long vegetarian, recently celebrated her 120th birthday. Du Pinhua lives in Leshan in Sichuan province. Besides being vegetarian, her longevity may also be due to the fact that, according to people in Leshan, she is an easy-going, contented person, who does not become involved in arguments. http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2006-04/26/content_577134.htm.
And, what about Singapore ’s own centenarian vegetarian, Teresa Hsiu? But she’s only a kid, not even 110 yet! If any of you out there have contact with her, please let us know at info@.... Thx.
As mentioned in this eNewsletter earlier this month, Vyvyane Loh (http://www.vyvyaneloh.com) is a unique combination of dancer, medical doctor, and author whose debut novel ‘Breaking the Tongue’ has been short-listed for the whose debut novel is short-listed for the International Impac Dublin literary award. Dr Loh is currently lives in the U.S. She kindly agreed to an email interview with VSS.
1. When did you become a vegetarian? Was it an overnight change or a gradual process?
I have been a vegetarian for 3 years now, but before that, I wasn't a heavy meat-eater anyway. I'd mainly eat meat if we went out to dinner and someone else ordered it or if I was a guest in someone's home. Otherwise I was pretty much vegetarian so when I made the 'switch', I hardly noticed it. The main difficulty is when I go out to eat. People seem to think 'vegetarian' means you only eat vegetables. I have a hard time making them understand my protein needs.
2. Why did you choose to be a vegetarian?
My main reason for being vegetarian is my concern for the ethical and humane treatment of animals. Additional reasons: I believe that a vegetarian lifestyle is healthy and also much more sustainable for the earth and our growing global population.
3. How did family/friends/colleagues react?
I have many friends who are vegetarian and one of my brothers is vegetarian, so no-one even blinked when I became one.
4. What is your perspective as a dancer on being vegetarian?
My energy level as a dancer hasn't changed. If you educate yourself you can get all the nutrients you need as a vegetarian.
5. What is your perspective as a medical doctor on being vegetarian?
As a doctor, I think it's a healthy diet--high fibre, low-fat (depending on cooking methods). As a doctor you are trained to preserve and respect life; being vegetarian is a natural extension of that.
6. How is being vegetarian in the U.S. different from being veg in Malaysia/Singapore? Some say it's easier here, while others claim it's easier there?
I think there are probably more vegetarian choices in SE Asia and yummier choices as well, but I'm biased because I love Asian food. I don't like some of the vegetables the West seems so fond of. For example, I hate bell peppers, zucchinis (tolerable), brinjal (yuk--I know this is common in S'pore and Malaysia too but it just tastes worse here) and barely cooked/uncooked onions. Give me kangkung and Chinese broccoli anytime! And lentils taste so much better in curry sauce or some kind of Indian Dhal soup. And don't get me started on tofu. I don't think Americans know what to do with tofu.
As an aside, besides being vegetarian, I try to use products that haven't been tested on animals. Animal-testing in research for serious medical problems still makes me cringe but I can see the need for that. I cannot, however, condone animal-testing for vanity problems (genetic research to find the magic pill for preventing obesity, for example--that's clearly a lifestyle issue, not one a pill will solve!) and for the use of cosmetic products. Ugh. Kill/maim animals for the sake of some magic cream so we can feel/look younger/prettier--disgusting. Sure, many products we use now were tested on animals but we should be more enlightened and stop the practice today. It's sad that there are still cosmetic companies out there who test their products on animals.
7. Do you try to influence others to become veg? If so, how?
I don't try to push anyone into becoming vegetarian but I try to answer their questions and to be supportive if they are interested in becoming
one. Deep down inside, I wish the whole world were vegetarian though.
Unfortunately, the chance of that would be the same as world peace! And come to think of it, a vegetarian world might not be too different from a peaceful one!
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