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Duration | 3:58

Category | People

Organisation | Tzu Chi Foundation (Singapore)

Embracing a healthier life through vegetarianism

Pan Han Ni, a home care service nurse at the Tzu Chi Lakeside Family Medical Centre in Singapore, became a vegetarian when she was studying in secondary school after watching a video titled “Meet you Meat” during a Tzu Shao class. It’s been 17 years since she decided to go meatless. At the beginning however, due to her frail stature, she had to pay extra attention to her diet and change her picky eating habit in order to get the permission from her parents. Unexpectedly, her health improved after she turned vegetarian. Her persistence and self-confidence in vegetarianism inadvertently influenced the people around her and they gradually reduced the consumption of meat themselves. Pang who loves to cook is always keen on learning how to make vegetarian dishes. Her wish is to lead by example to show everyone that the life of a vegetarian can be wonderful too.

Tzu Chi's home care service nurse, Pan Han Ni
I started cooking vegetarian food for myself after I moved out from my parents’ house. When I looked at those meat dishes in ordinary restaurants, I would think of how to transform them into a vegetarian dish by looking for plant-based substitute for the meat.
Becoming a vegetarian – Affinity

I have become a vegetarian for about 17 years. It all started from the “Meet your Meat” video, which has made me realize that all lives are equal, and that we should respect life.

Becoming a vegetarian – Health improvement and helping family to understand vegetarianism

Tzu Chi's home care service nurse, Pan Han Ni
When I told you I want to become a vegetarian, how did you feel?

Pan’s mother
I felt a bit troubled, because you can no longer eat the meat and fish that I cook, meaning you have one less dish to eat every meal. I didn’t understand (vegetarianism) at that time, I thought that there are not enough nutrients in a meatless diet.

Tzu Chi's home care service nurse, Pan Han Ni
I fell sick very often in the past. I kept getting flu and was ill almost every month. After becoming a vegetarian, I became more aware of my nutritional needs and I know how to source for protein from vegetables and fruits, as well as fiber and vitamins. I would do more research to make myself healthier.

Pan’s mother
Now I understand that vegetarianism is a good practice, we certainly hope you will continue to promote (plant-based diet). (Have you thought of becoming a vegetarian yourself?)
Yes, I would follow your footsteps forever.

Becoming a vegetarian – “Hey friends, wanna go meatless?"

Tzu Chi's home care service nurse, Pan Han Ni
I did not promote it at first because I was worried that I might become the “alien” in our group, also, would they feel reluctant to dine with me because I am a vegetarian? Turned out that it wasn’t that difficult after all. I started cooking some vegetarian dishes by myself later and began sharing my food with my colleagues or classmates. After some time, everyone started noticing that plant-based food is delicious. And that got them to consider trying vegetarian food. In fact, there are times when they would invite me to go for vegetarian meals.

Becoming a vegetarian – Traveling as a vegetarian is easy

Tzu Chi's home care service nurse, Pan Han Ni
As a frequent traveler, my family and friends are very worried about me having problem finding vegetarian food outside because not every country has vegetarian food. I have just been to Mongolia recently. Most people would think that the staple food of Mongolian people is either cattle or sheep. But I was lucky to have many Mongolian chefs who purposely made vegetarian food for me. There is vegetarian food everywhere when I travelled to Japan, South Korea and Australia. As long as there are vegetables in that country, it is not difficult to go vegetarian at all.

Becoming a vegetarian – Go vegetarian as a respect for life

Tzu Chi's home care service nurse, Pan Han Ni
I think going meatless is a good thing, we are cherishing life too when we do that. Nobody wants their family members to be harmed, so we should not harm the families of other living beings. Why not become a vegetarian?

Pan Han Ni, a nurse by profession.
After switching to a plant-based diet out of compassion for animals,
she saw improvement in her health, and now she is determined to promote vegetarianism.

Just do what is right


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