Tag Archives: lacto-vegetarian

Veg (Pinoy) From Around the World: Mark Bantigue — Philippines

A guest post by Mark Bantigue
founder and chief administrator of P3, a citizen journalism website based in the Philippines. He’s a former San Franciscan who now lives in Manila and is lacto-vegetarian.

Before I continue, disclosure would be proper. I am not vegan. I’m not as cool. I’m lacto-vegetarian. Yes, butter, cream, milk, honey, cheese – fats and sweets to keep it real. Some leather shoes and belts too. I’ll get there, patience. There is a pull to go more cruelty-free. Thank you yoga.

I’ve realize that the short durations that I manage to keep vegan are associated with pleasurable experiences of stress-free harmony and good times; I guess my body craves wholesome when experiencing wholesome. And so I wanted to write a piece, no, an ode, to pleasurable memories and veganism — craving the presence of one of the easiest and tastiest additions to a vegan diet. It’s a memoir I call, “Add almost butter to that!”. And it’s in reverse chronological order. It’s about near-perfect moments.

Last weekend, I rewarded myself with a much needed break from my demanding but fulfilling work and took a day-trip with three of my buddies to the east coast of the Philippines, Real, Quezon Province. The night before, I prepared a huge container of chopped tropical fruits — watermelon, banana, papaya, lychee, and pineapple. We got there at first light; the air was fresh and electrified. Some thanksgiving and meditation to greet the morning before the 7am surf session. At 11am, we followed a river (at emptied out into the sea) inland for about 10 minutes and boom, a beautiful waterfall about 50 feet high. We jeered each other to jumping the falls. It was adrenaline-filled to say the least. We realized that it was 1pm and we hadn’t had a bite to eat. We chomped down on the fruits as if we were starved occupy wall streeters. I busted out a fresh loaf of rye bread but sadly we had nothing to spread on it. Would have been a perfect day if we…
–add almond butter to that!

I first went vegetarian in 2007 when I discovered yoga. Since then, I got my wife into it and when the baby came in November of 2008, as soon as she can firmly walk around, got into yoga as well. Due to work, we hardly have a session all together. In the beginning of this year, we woke up early and commenced our practice on an empty stomach — proper! A sense of pride came over me when I looked between my legs during a downward facing dog to see my wife and little girl doing the same. It was followed with a pranayama practice and silencing of the mind. We were starved and ready for some wholesome nourishment. My wife brought out the most perfectly ripe bananas…
–add almond butter to that!

In 2006, my brother flew into San Francisco from New York for work on a Friday and stayed the weekend to chill and catch up. I was single then and we partied hard. We wanted to hit up an event with a star DJ and MUNI the city with a backpack of vegan goodies. When it was time for an afternoon snack, we settled down in the Embarcadero with vegan herb brownies and raw cacao chocolates sweetened with raw agave nectar. The fat that milk, butter and cream provided was replaced with raw virgin coconut oil. To say the least the bonbons were rich and creamy. Suddenly, this guys who sat near us busted out a pack of Reese’s cups. I got pissed! How dare he try to one-up me on my glory moment?! He got me thinking; my raw chocolates would top his Reese’s if I…
–add almond butter to that!

Spring break of 2001, Jamaica! It was my last spring break before the “real world”. The afternoon was planned –Picnic with a hot date, calm beach, reggae in the background, a bottle of Jamaican Appleton Run. My date brought skewered tofu kebabs; she was a new age girl (does she ride a bike?) But I was craving for a thai sate sauce to go with it. That drove me nuts! Why can’t I have a perfect vegan situation? Then I thought — ever tried replacing the peanut sauce in a sate with almond + ginger + chili sauce? BOOM!
–add almond butter to that (sauce)

42 minutes earlier, on our way to the beach front, my date and I saw an empty parking lot hidden from public view. We parked the car there for, well, 42 minutes. It was sexy, it was risky, it was hot.
–add almond butter to that!

Lastly, I recall coming home from after school activities in my senior year of high school. My parents weren’t home and I was hungry. I grabbed a spoon with an single minded intention of raiding the fridge. Before I got the chance to open it, I saw an unopened letter stuck on the refrigerator door via a keepsake magnet. It was from a college. My heart jumped. I grabbed and ran outside with it for some fresh air. I forgot my hunger. The only thing that existed was the content of that letter. Happily, it was an acceptance with a good chunk of the tuition gratis. I was floating in temporary heaven with a spoon in my hand and my hunger slowly creeping back in…
–add almond butter to that!

Those are the happy and happy-vegan moments I can remember that merited some of that great alkalizing nut butter! I wish everyone good times, good vibes, and good clean eats. Remember when it doubt…

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