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Duration | 1:49

Category | Env. Protection, People

Organisation | Tzu Chi Foundation (Singapore)

Overcoming challenges of adopting a vegetarian diet with determination

After becoming a Buddhist at the age of 27, See Geok Bee would go vegetarian on the 1st and 15th day of the Lunar calendar month. After attending the Water Repentance Sutra Adaptation in 2013, she decided to remove meat from her family’s daily meals, but that decision was met with many challenges. In the early stage, her children could not adapt to the new diet and cut down on eating at home. The challenge that followed happened a year ago when she became so weak that she was unable to get off the bed at one instance. The deterioration in her health condition had drew skepticism from her family and friends on vegetarianism. Despite the mounting pressure and sadness which she had to endure during the process, it did not affect her vow to be a vegetarian. While she was recuperating, she kept wondering about the cause of her health issue and finally got the answer after seeing a Traditional Chinese Medicine physician. It turned out that one’s body constitution would affect the body’s ability to absorb nutrients, so she started to maintain a certain amount of exercises every day to strengthen her physique. Geok Bee is now more energetic and also healthier as her body is better able to absorb the nutrients from vegetables and fruits.

Busy preparing meals for her family in the kitchen, See Geok Bee used to go meatless for two days in a month. After attending the Water Repentance Sutra Adaptation in 2013, she decided to level up her vegetarian practice for earth. However, it was difficult for her children to follow her.

Tzu Chi volunteer, See Geok Bee
(My son) refused to eat at home, and that prompted me to make some changes. So, I kept referring to different recipes to make the dishes look and taste delicious in order to draw my family's appetite, and let them eat happily.

Geok Bee encountered some health issues one year ago, and that made her family and friends skeptical about vegetarianism.

Tzu Chi volunteer, See Geok Bee
My blood level was too low, the doctor said that if I still do not go for a blood transfusion and don’t eat food that can replenish blood, my life would be at risk. My family suggested that I should eat some pig liver to increase my blood level quickly. I decided to take medicine to replenish my blood level to avoid taking meat for the same purpose. Then I kept pondering, do I really want to go on medicine for life? I was very particular about my diet, I would find different fruits and vegetables of five colours to cook for my family, but only I couldn’t absorb the nutrients. That made me doubtful.

Was her health issue really caused by going meatless? Geok Bee finally found the answer.

Tzu Chi volunteer, See Geok Bee
TCM physician said that I have a weak spleen and stomach, and so I have difficulty absorbing the nutrients. How well can our body absorb the nutrients also depends on how often we exercise, and our mental state and mood. So now I am actively doing exercises and getting better.

Just stick to the right direction, an improvement in health will be the best reward.


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