This article is a part of The Ascent Summer Program 2020
By Pritha Nag
Seven months ago I went to Auroville, the sustainable town of India, and that trip changed my outlook towards my diet, forever. The trip was an amazing experience, not only for seeing how a sustainable town runs, but I met so many different animals! In particular, I petted a cow, after that my heart broke knowing that these animals get killed for people’s satisfaction in eating them. So after that trip I made myself a promise to go pescatarian (no meat, but seafood). I was a huge meat eater probably the biggest in my family, but after that trip, I didn’t ever want to eat meat again. My goal is to go vegetarian one day or even vegan, many may argue that it can be hard to do but Mee Sha, an 18-year-old Malaysian food blogger thinks differently saying “Lots of people have the all or nothing mentality, but it is really important to start small and build up from it so it is not overwhelming”
Mee Sha is an 18-year-old college student that is using her platform to advocate for veganism and helping to debunk myths surrounding veganism, in showing that vegan food can be delicious! Mee Sha runs the Instagram account “myplantifulcooking” (instagram.com/myplantifulcooking/) that shows delicious and easy vegan foods to eat, along with step by step directions to achieve delicious vegan food! Mee Sha says “I just provide my audience with really easy vegan recipes to make, and indirectly encourage them to incorporate more plant-based meals into their life.” Many people are put off meat when learning “about how animals are treated and raised inhumanely in agriculture settings” and can instantly be put off meat, with Mee Sha saying “I was really put off by it and literally went vegan overnight!”
“Plant-based diets are too expensive!”, “Plant-based diets are too hard!”. These are common excuses heard around when people are asked why they don’t go vegan, or why they don’t try to incorporate it into life. With living in the 21st century, Mee Sha decided that the best way to spread the word that vegan cooking can be easy and delicious was her Instagram and her blog (https://www.myplantifulcooking.com/) filled with simple and delicious cooks! Mee Sha is a perfect example of also showing that being vegan can be fun and enjoyable by “Veganising some of my childhood favourite dishes.” And that vegan cooking is something that naturally comes to her because she “usually just have some ideas popped up randomly during the day and I immediately jot them down”. In Mee Sha’s blog she “always put convenience at top priority” hence why she includes easy recipes that take little time to make, and most of her cooking “only use basic cooking techniques, and more oftentimes under 10 ingredients.” Mee Sha is a perfect example of using your platform to advocate for important things.
Veganism has had a recent rise, with the number of US consumers that identify as vegan grew from 1% to 6% between the years 2014 and 2017 veganism has seen a definite increase. With veganism becoming a new concept for many, not many people have managed to fully wrap their heads around veganism. With Mee Sha stating on her blog “vegan teenager living in the not so vegan-friendly Malaysia. It is getting better these days, but often vegan food can be hard to find, especially in rural areas.” This is primarily one of the reasons as to why Mee Sha cooks at home so much, and why she shares her ideas. So people living in less vegan-friendly communities can find fun vegan food that “are not just salads”. As a vegan in the “not so vegan-friendly Malaysia” Mee Sha says that she does face a couple of challenges with eating out with friends and family “as the concept of veganism is still quite new in Malaysia. It can be hard to find good vegan options.” As with anything though, there are pros and cons, but we can do what we can to be a little more open to veganism and have a better mindset to help make it more of a better-understood concept.
Veganism has a different definition for everyone. We may think that veganism is avoiding using any animal consumed products, or maybe trying to help us out with the climate crisis. But none of us should be scared of turning vegan, because it may seem big at first but
“it is really important to start small and build up from it so it is not overwhelming.” We should be more open to veganism because “As we are the minority in this society, it is close to impossible to be a perfect vegan. We should just do the best that we can.”
Mee Sha’s amazing blog: https://www.myplantifulcooking.com/
Mee Sha’s wonderful Instagram: instagram.com/myplantifulcooking/