First off, I would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year’s. As a vegan, the holidays can have some special struggles. My family and I would get invited to family parties. At those parties, my dad and I (being the only two vegans) would have nothing for us to eat and our relatives would pressure us to eat. Most of the food would be animal foods, such as ham, turkey, chicken, pork, etc. My dad and I were forced to bring our own food and make it a potluck. If we did not bring our own food, we would have nothing to eat at the family parties.
Being A Vegan Filipino
Now as a vegan Filipino American, the struggles are definitely greater. I would attend Filipino parties and all I would see is fried fish, lechon, abodo, and rice. I usually would not see any salads, or if there are salads, they would have cheese, cream, or even chicken in the salad. That would make it not vegan. When I declined to eat these foods, then everyone would become a nutritionist. They would ask questions, such as “Where do you get your protein?” or “Eat meat if you want protein.” or “What is wrong with meat?” or “How come you don’t eat meat?” I would also get jokes, such as “You can eat some leaves or grass in the garden.” The relatives and friends that ask me these questions and tell me these jokes do not know about the slaughter of over millions of farmed animals, the deforestation that occurs when farmers clear lots of forest to raise cattle for beef, the pollution that these factory farms emit, the methane emitted by cattle, the studies that show that a vegan diet reduces the risk of chronic disease, and the impact that animal agriculture has on our environment. Most importantly, they do not know that a vegan diet gives you a lot of energy and allows you to recover faster from runs, swim workouts, and resistance training. I have shown this by completing six total half-marathons, finishing four of them in one year. My most recent half-marathon is the San Diego Holiday Half-Marathon. After running each half-marathon, I noticed I can recover faster and I can start running again in less than a week. As a Filipino American, I did not realize until I went vegan how bad lechon, abodo, and fried fish would be bad for my health and my running performance. Furthermore, I did not realize how defensive my relatives get when I do not eat such foods due to living a healthy and active lifestyle.
The Consequences Of Eating Meat At Filipino Parties
I am not surprised that growing up, I have witnessed a lot of relatives and family friends pass away from cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer. Currently, I have a grandma who went through a kidney dialysis. No one knows that it is the animal foods that people eat at Filipino parties that increases the risk of these chronic diseases. What is also shocking is that a Filipino doctor in the local Filipino community passed away from cardiovascular disease. This one doctor recommended my grandparents, relatives, and family friends to eat a lot of meat. It is very ironic that he is a doctor, encouraged his patients in the Filipino community to eat meat, and pass away from heart disease. Seeing all these deaths in my local Filipino community persuaded me to not only run and swim laps but to also adopt a vegan diet. I do not want to end up another statistic in my Filipino community. I do not want to be the next Filipino American to die from chronic disease.
You Can Be Vegan And Filipino At The Same Time
It is possible to be Filipino American and vegan at the same time. You can veganize certain Filipino foods, such as this vegan pancit my dad made. There is a vegan Filipino restaurant called Nick’s Kitchen in Daly City that serves vegan Filipino food. As I myself have shown, I can be vegan, an endurance athlete, and a Filipino American at the same time. My dad and I are not the only vegan Filipinos in our local community. I also know a Filipino American girl who’s also vegan. She is part of a dance crew that is well-known in San Diego. Now she knows she’s not the only one in our local Filipino community. Hopefully, more Filipino Americans become aware of how healthy a vegan diet is and how it gives you tons of energy. Hopefully, they become more aware of Nick’s Kitchen and the vegan Filipino food it serves. Hopefully, they learn that you can veganize Filipino food and that you do not have to kill animals to eat lechon and adobo. Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat can possibly create Impossible Pork and Beyond Pork and us Filipinos can put a spin on it and make it Impossible Lechon or Beyond Lechon. This shows you can be vegan and Filipino American at the same time and you don’t have to eat meat to be considered Filipino American.