VSS eNewsletter 1 October 2013
1 October 2013
By George, Reader's Query Answered
Reader Responds to Vegetarian Wedding Story
Add Your Opinion to Research
Classes by Nutrihub Culinary Art
Classes by Little Green Cafe
Veganism at Oktoberfest? Yes, You Heard Right!
Plant Walk from Venus Drive to Jelutong
Most major examinations would be finishing this month and our youth will be experiencing the euphoria of post-exam freedom. If you're a parent, we encourage you to use this moment to help your child reconnect with nature and appreciate the beauty of all its creatures, big and small. Let this moment of bliss be associated with tangible wonder rather than the digital world of PC and console games.
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A participant from SG Vegetarian Meetup Group who is embarking on the journey of adopting a vegetarian diet, queried our past-president, Dr George Jacobs, on facing the initial challenges - here is his informative response.
QUERY: I need your advice on vegetarian food. I am not a vegetarian but am learning to be one. That's also the reason I join the Meetup so that I can learn from experienced mentors like you. I have tried to eat vegetarian when I m outside. I realise that the vegetarian stalls at the food courts are not serving healthy food at all. I find the food to be very oily n salty. I feel better off eating fish ball kueh tiao soup or yong tao foo soup! Just a while ago, while I was waiting for my fried kueh tiao, I was chatting with the hawker assistant. I found out they are not vegetarian. The boss who owned the stall is not. Even the cook is also not vegetarian. He told me they just substitute the meat n seafood with the so called vegetarian stuff. What surprised me was there was egg in my kueh tiao! Can you advise me how to look out for healthy food while eating out?
Dr George Jacobs: Tough question. Here's what I do.
1. Usually veg stalls will have at least one veg (as opposed to deep fried and mock meat). Almost every stall has cabbage. I only get that, even if that means 2-3 servings of cabbage.
2. There's one veg stall on my way to work. I sometimes eat breakfast there and then pack for lunch.
3. Oatmeal is so quick and filling, and can go with sweet or savory ingredients. Organic baby oats are especially easy to prepare. You don't even need to heat them. Just pour soy milk over them.
4. More and more veg stalls have brown rice, but if i know i'm going to be in a place without, I sometimes bring my own brown rice. I do this a lot for the Indian stall where I sometimes work. They only have white rice. Lots of good tupperware available these days.
5. Last night, I was in Chinatown and ate at Ci Yan, which has healthy veg food; so, I packed something for the following day. I carry the tupperware with me most times. More eco-friendly. Similarly, I bring a reusable spoon.
6. I like cooking. Very simple stuff. A lot of time, the key is nice ingredients with some good spices, sauces. For example, I like apple cider vinegar. Make lots on the weekend, such as sweet potatoes. Raw veggies are great. Mushrooms, small amounts of raw seeds and nuts.
7. If you are in the same place a lot, build a relationship with a stall, restaurant, veg or non-veg. Let them know what you want and they may be able to help. You might be surprised how much veg stuff there is at non-veg places.
8. Demand leads to supply. Try to get others to eat like you to create more demand. Invite them for a veg meal once a week, such as on Thursday.
9. Don't worry if you slip up now and then. Actually, it's virtually impossible to participate in the modern world without being responsible for the death of some animals.
10. Even 'unhealthy veg food' is probably healthier that non-veg.
11. Remember that veg food (even the unhealthy kind) is healthier for the environment and for our fellow animals.
12. If you don't have much of a support network, try the internet. Lots of blogs, websites, newsfeeds, etc. that you can visit regularly or that arrive in your inbox reminding you of why you are doing this.
13. Become active in spreading the word about veg. that's a great way to build a veg network and to remind yourself of how important veg is.
As ever, George's forthcoming reply offers a wealth of ideas and strategies in managing an 'unconventional diet' here in Singapore. But it's really not as hard as it might seem at first and many Singaporeans have a convenient and comfortable time leading a lifestyle that excludes meat, dairy, fish and eggs. There are many avenues to get support if you are transitioning from a mainstream diet to a more compassionate one, so please contact us at info@... should you need help and encouragement. Remember, it is not the destination (i.e. successful transition) that matters but the journey (i.e. continual effort to reduce meat consumption) that will make the difference.
After reading about a vegetarian wedding in the September newsletter, Ms Harbans Kuar wrote to us from Malaysia congratulating the couple…
"I was delighted to read the story 'Strictly Vegetarian Wedding' and would like to extend my Heartiest Congratulations and best wishes for a wonderful life together to the happy couple, Ramil Lin and Jamie Ng! :) Way to go, guys.
I have attended Sikh/Hindu weddings where the couple opted to have a Vegetarian dinner here in Malaysia, and also a few Chinese couples who are Buddhists who have opted for this - but this is the first time that I hear of one being held at a grand hotel in Singapore.
Congrats and best wishes to them again!"
As Ms Harbans Kuar's email to us shows, every positive action we take can have far-reaching effects, and every one of us has the capacity to lead by example and inspire others – well done to Ramil and Jamie!
A student of James Cook University based in Singapore is currently working on his Honours degree thesis regarding Human-Animal Interactions. He is investigating whether people perceive animals the same way as they do one another, and if their behaviour changes based on their judgment. He has developed an online survey to gather information on this and needs your help to collect the necessary data. So please be a part of this research by spending 10 minutes (or less) of your time to complete the following online survey at http://edu.surveygizmo.com/s3/1352427/Friends-Food-Worth-Fighting-for. The survey is completely anonymous and responses will prove extremely valuable in shedding light on the psychological underpinnings of how we treat our animal companions.
Here's a list of upcoming classes by Nutrihub's Vinitha Ang.
Sat 26 Oct from 2pm to 5.30pm:
Healthy Living - Malaysian Vegan Cuisine
Sat 9 Nov from 2pm to 5.30pm:
Healthy Living - Indonesian Vegan Cuisine
Sat 16 Nov from 2pm to 5.30pm:
Healthy Living – Korean Vegan Cuisine
Sat 23 Nov from 2pm to 6.30pm:
Healthy Living – CNY Vegan Cookie Baking class
Sat 30 Nov from 2pm to 6.30pm:
Healthy Living - Raw Vegan Gourmet Cuisine
For enquiries and registration, please contact Vinitha directly at 92368402 or send her an email at nutrihubculinaryart@.... Private classes are also available upon request, find out more at www.nutrihub.blogspot.sg/.
Chef Shalu offers her next set of classes for October.
7th Oct, 11am-2pm: Gluten-free cooking
This class is for anyone who's gluten-intolerant, or simply wanting to learn how to cook with healthy, unprocessed ingredients! Learn how to cook creatively with gluten-free grains and starches.
Menu: Savoury stuffed crepe with crispy vegetables and spicy dipping sauce, Curried quinoa with roasted cauliflower and lentils, & Grilled feta and spinach polenta with rocket and roast tomatoes
8th Oct, 7-9pm: Vegan cooking
This class is designed especially for vegans, but is open to everyone. Learn some healthy recipes using the most surprising ingredients to replace everyday dairy products. Low in fat, high in taste! Class includes explanation on how to replace eggs and dairy in most recipes.
Menu:Spicy scrambled "eggs", Vietnamese savoury crepe w/spicy dipping sauce, & White chocolate banoffi mousse
14th Oct, 2-5pm: Mastering Tofu
Tofu is often overlooked as most people don't know how to cook it in a flavourful way. Learn the basic techniques on using this highly versatile, protein-packed ingredient in a variety of cooking styles and discover some surprises about cooking with tofu. You will see the humble tofu in a new light!
Menu: Tofu & herb cutlets with spicy tomato salsa, Crispy sambal tofu, & Black pepper and five spice tofu
16th Oct, 11am-2pm: Time to De-tox!
This class is for you if you want to get you back on track with healthy recipes that will cleanse your system and make you feel good from inside out. Create delicious meals using ingredients that are low in fat, high in antioxidants and other nutrients.
Menu: Green goddess soup, Warm somen noodles with tofu, edamame and orange-ginger dressing, & Quinoa and sweet potato cakes
22nd Oct, 2-5pm: Southeast Asian cuisine
Make use of fresh local vegetables, herbs and spices to make 3 different Southeast Asian dishes that are bursting with flavour!
Menu: Sambal terong (Grilled eggplant in slow-cooked, spicy tomato sauce), Sayur lodeh (Indonesian coconut curry with garden vegetables & tofu), & Mee goreng (Stir-fried Singapore noodles)
24th Oct, 2-5pm: Sensational Soups and Salads
Salads and soups don't have to be boring. These dishes are tempting, tasty and colourful and they are designed to accompany and balance your everyday meals by injecting lots of freshness and plenty of essential nutrients. And, most of them are substantial enough to be meals in themselves!
Menu:Thai-style pumpkin soup, Moroccan-spiced roasted carrot and avocado salad, & Warm couscous salad with lentils and roasted vegetables
29th Oct, 11am-2pm: Vietnamese cuisine
Classic Vietnamese dishes with an emphasis on using the freshest herbs and vegetables. These dishes are light and tasty but full of flavour, perfect for our tropical climate.
Menu:Fresh rice paper rolls w/mango & mint, spicy dipping sauce, Spicy tofu w/lemongrass & holy basil, & Savoury crepe stuffed with tofu and crispy vegetables, fresh herbs
31st Oct, 2-5pm: Indian cuisine
Everybody loves Indian food but its often daunting to re-create at home because of the sheer number of spices involved. Learn the use of ingredients, spices and techniques. Master the skills of cooking an authentic Indian meal from scratch.
Menu: Vegetable butter masala (Garden vegetables in a fragrant creamy tomato sauce), Keralan eggplant curry, & Aloo tikkis (Spiced potato cutlets w/coriander chutney)
All classes listed are priced at $75 and will be conducted at Upper East Coast Road. To register, please email shalu@.... Private classes can also be arranged on request - visit www.littlegreencafe.com.sg for more information.
Oktoberfest is the paradise for any beer drinker and Germans are quite well-known for their heavy meat-based cuisine, so unsurprisingly it is an event that is as obnoxiously un-vegan as it gets. Thus it is a testament to the pervasiveness of the vegan lifestyle that this year's edition of Oktoberfest will feature vegan options and even vegan wines. The vendors who set up tents are the ones who have elected to offer these options – which means they are responding to consumer demand. This is evidence that change will come faster when initiated by the people rather than wait for the authorities (or someone in power) to effect it.
You can read more about this in the following news article by ABC News - http://abcnews.go.com/International/meatless-munich-oktoberfest-introduces-vegan-food-options/story?id=20400139.
Our friends at Nature Society (Singapore) are leading a walk on Sat. 12 Oct, 9.00am along the Jelutong Tower track. Expect to see cultivated and wild plants, some of which offer edible parts. The walk should take 2.5 to 3 hours and participants are advised to bring at least one litre of water per person, a hat, an umbrella, and insect repellent.
One of the reasons for this hike is to encourage people to think about suggested routes for the proposed Cross Island MRT line. Please see this article for more.
More detials about the hike here.
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