Since creating my plant-based persona in Malaysia, I’ve had the chance to meet many other vegans in my community who have had amazing stories to share. One such individual is Jeremy Loo. He is the Owner and Coach of LN Fortunate Coffee at Solaris Mont Kiara and Sunway Geo. He was the first person I did a video interview with for my cafe scouting video series, and opened up to me so candidly about his own journey towards health and happiness.
So inspired was I, that I told him that one day I would love to share his story to others.
Today’s the day!
Jeremy is the first featured profile in the ‘Vegan Vantage’ series on this blog, celebrating how the plant-based lifestyle has transformed Malaysians in positive ways. Thank you for sharing your journey with us, Jeremy!
If you know of anyone who has or is experiencing an amazing shift in health, emotions and mindset through a shift in their diet, please send them my way (email me at email@example.com)! I would love to share their stories too.
Take it away, J!
How long have you been vegan for?
I started my vegan journey in early 2012.
What was your health and outlook on life like prior to going vegan?
I will start with my outlook on life prior to going vegan. I thought I was enjoying life to the fullest and basically believed I was invincible. Every night was a party, plenty of good booze and rich food and in the day, trying to recover from the night before and when sober enough, will immerse myself in my work. My motto was work hard, play harder.
Health was not a major focus for me at that point in time and even though I feel bloated, heavy and lethargic, I just put it down to the partying.
Can you describe the situation you were in that made you consider altering your diet?
What made me consider changing not just my diet but my entire lifestyle was that fateful day I got a call from my General Physician to meet her to discuss my medical check-up report. Before I go into that, just want to backtrack a little on why I went for a medical check-up; it was CNY and wanted to do a good deed so decided to go to the National Blood Bank to donate blood. The medical personnel there refused my offer. My blood pressure was too high and I was told I could suffer a stroke anytime! They did not want to take a risk with me.
Back to my meet-up with my GP: my medical check-up report was like an all-star list of what not to have – severe hypertension (at levels where a stroke could happen at any time), excessive cholesterol levels (my triglyceride level was so high, they couldn’t measure my LDL level accurately) and suspected stomach cancer.
For someone who is not a fan of medicine (unless it’s called whiskey or cognac) and having lost quite a few loved ones to chemo, things were as bad as it could get.
What changes have you experienced since going vegan… physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually, or in any other way you wish to highlight?
Plenty of changes, from those that are soul searching to enlightening to some that are mind blowing.
Physically, I feel lighter (both in terms of weight and feel), my recovery from tiredness is so much better, am fitter without any workout and I have been told many times my complexion is better than ever.
Mentally, I definitely am more alert and here again, recovery from tiredness is so much better, endurance also has a marked improvement. The downside after going vegan, in this respect, is beginning to have a mental image of a LIFE wasted whenever I see others the choices non-vegans make.
Emotionally, my wife did mention regularly that I am less temperamental. Personally, I do feel that I have a lot more patience. What used to be norms for me before my switch to being a vegan now has me cringing whenever I see animals or animal-based products being consumed.
Spiritually, I saw the biggest changes in myself as I began to look at Mother Earth as a living being and all sentient life as equal to humanity. For example, I used to really dislike cats when I was young as I used to percieve them as a nuisance. Nowadays I look at them as just like a brother or a sister of mine.
I am committed to live my life based on the principles of Universal Family. This encompasses: a nature-loving culture that reflects harmony between humans and nature, respecting the dignity of all life forms, that a human’s life is invaluable but is only so because he/she is capable of doing so much more for Mother Earth and all life thereto, and embracing a global approach for the realization of ONE World, ONE Family, on and with Mother Earth.
What began as a treatment for my ailments has in fact set me on a journey to be an advocate for Mother Earth, a voice for those that are unable to speak or defend themselves, a restauranteur that provides alternatives that are not only healthy and tasty but also bringing the least harm to both Mother Earth and all life thereon.
What advice would you wish to share with Malaysians who are interested in the idea of being plant-based, but are too afraid to pursue it?
If you are afraid of being malnourished, it’s not even remotely possible with a ‘balanced’ plant-based diet of greens, nuts and fruits.
If you are afraid of being an outcast, make new friends.
If you are afraid of feeling hungry, this is related to our eating habits and an issue of not eating the right food.
Veganism in Malaysia has come a long way since I first became one. Back then, there was only one full vegan café around. Nowadays, in the Klang Valley alone, there are more than half a dozen. If you add the opportunists and non-vegan establishments that offer some kind of vegan options, you have no reason to go hungry.
There is also the Malaysian Vegan Society who is at the forefront of promoting Veganism in Malaysia and the International Nature Loving Association-Malaysia, whose principal objectives are to promote the principles of Universal Family (loving and respecting all life) and loving nature (protecting the environment), that will be able to share relevant information on both plant-based and vegan lifestyles. The numerous vegan groups on FB are also great source of information and inspiration.
All one needs to do is ask and take that leap of faith for oneself, humanity, all other lifeforms and Mother Earth.