Tzu Chi Philippines prepared 2,500 vegetarian meals for this year’s Ethical Eating Day. The campaign aims to promote vegetarianism for environmental protection and compassion to all beings.
Employees of Elegant Fumes Beauty Products Inc. were more inspired to become vegetarians after enjoying a vegetarian meal.
In line with its mission for environmental protection and compassion for all beings, Tzu Chi Foundation Philippines celebrated its fourth Ethical Eating Day by preparing 2,500 vegetarian meals for those who are interested.
This set another record, topping last year's 1,300 packs of vegetarian meals.
“The target is 1,000 packed lunch. But orders just kept coming in at the last day.” said Tzu Chi volunteer and head of the kitchen, Lu Lee Ching.
Ethical Eating Day started in 2015 by the initiative of Tzu Chi USA to promote vegetarianism on every 11th of January. The worldwide event campaigns for vegetarianism for the awareness of climate change and to end cruelty to animals.
For this year, more than 1.3 million people all over the world pledged to observe strict vegetarian diet for the day.
For the Philippines this year, people from different schools, companies and communities ordered vegetarian meals at 100 pesos per pack for lunch and dinner. In Ormoc, around 400 people also pledged to have vegetarian meals for the day.
“Vegetables can be cooked in different ways. People should enjoy eating vegetables.” Lu Lee Ching added.
She also stated that vegetarianism could help alleviate the increasing number of natural disasters in the world.
“Master Cheng Yen teach us to be vegetarian, so that’s why I took the opportunity to promote vegetarianism and encourage people to become vegetarians.” she said.
Tzu Chi volunteer and vegetarian Quim Sy Brito also said that Ethical Eating Day is to remind people of the benefits of going vegetarian. Brito is one of 78 Tzu Chi volunteers who helped in preparing the meals.
"Tzu Chi wants to encourage everyone to become vegetarian. Vegetarian eating can save the earth and mitigate disasters." she said.
Livestock industry is a major contributor to global warming and climate change. According to a journal article by experts in natural resources, livestock production contributes to 18 percent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions. In the United States alone, around 55 billion animals are killed each year for human consumption according to animalclock.org.
Aside from protecting the environment, Brito also mentioned the health benefits of going vegetarian.
"Vegetarianism is more nutritious than eating meat, so we encourage everyone to be vegetarian to be healthier." she said.
Research shows that having a vegetarian diet benefits health. An article in Harvard Health Publishing said that having a vegetarian diet lowers the risk of heart-related illnesses, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancers.
Sharon Sy, the coordinator for this year’s Ethical Eating Day treated all her 181 employees in Elegant Fumes Beauty Products Inc. with the vegetarian lunch packs. Being a vegetarian herself, Sy aims to encourage her staff to a vegetarian lifestyle.
“If I could encourage my staff to become vegetarian, then why not? Gradually, I could change the mindset of non-vegetarians, because I’m a vegetarian myself and I know the benefits of being a vegetarian. It’s light on the mind and body of a person.” she said.
Sophia Tan, an employee in the company, expressed her gratitude to Sy for encouraging them to become vegetarians.
“When we eat vegetable, we would have a healthier body, we can minimize earth’s pollution and we can lessen animal killings…Even if that’s only for one meal,but it has an effect on minimizing animal-killings and earth’s pollution.”
Other employees of Elegant Fumes Beauty Products Inc., said that they were more inspired to become vegetarians after enjoying the vegetarian meal.
Jacielyn Pica said that she wants to become a vegetarian because of the health benefits.
"It's healthy for us because it's all veggies. We know that vegetables are better for our bodies. They are very healthy." said Pica.
Jonalene Pagatpatan said that Tzu Chi’s promotion of vegetarianism would help the Filipinos especially the younger generation in adapting a healthier lifestyle.
“It helps a lot of Filipino. Especially children because nowadays, our youth don't like vegetables. So it's important that we promote eating vegetables to children because it's healthier." said Pagatpatan.
For lunch, people enjoyed a meal of tea eggs, pickled radish topped with konyaku, blanched broccoli, preserved tomato and tao pao served with rice.
For dinner, the volunteers prepared a meal of takoyaki, Vegetarian ham; sautéed cabbage, green beans, special tofu ‘Pai-Yeh’ with carrots and pickled squash with sesame rice.