The semi-vegetarian alternative

By Herbert Vego

TIME was when I would not eat vegetables. I had no appetite for them. Instead, I devoured meat — especially beef and pork — as if it would no longer be available the next day.

Today, at age 72, I have no choice but to adore veggies for health reasons – that is, without eliminating minimal meat.

There are different types of vegetarians. Some consume eggs and dairy products, while the strictest kind, vegans, eat no animal meat at all.

I have adopted a semi-vegetarian lifestyle by necessity. It began more than a decade ago when my chest x-ray revealed an image of atherosclerotic aorta. My doctor said it was the reason why I was having dizzy moments, body weakness and muscle pains. He warned that while the disease was common among senior citizens, I could die of chronic hypertension, heart attack or stroke unless I slowed down on meat and other fatty foods.

Not wanting to buy expensive drugs that could not guarantee cure after all, I decided to spend more time reading books and articles on vegetarianism; it could be the answer to my problem. One of the books recommends strict adherence to a vegetarian diet in order to reverse atherosclerosis or inflammation of the arteries.

Vegetarianism is the practice of eating foods from the plant kingdom. Strict vegetarians who eat no animal or dairy products are better known as vegans.

Vegetarianism is embedded in philosophical and religious beliefs. According to my photo-journalist friend Ricky Alejo, a Hare Krishna follower, animals have souls; killing them for consumption is considered an affront to the Deity. Using available land to raise vegetables, grains and fruits instead of livestock makes more ecological sense.

While the Seventh-Day Adventists preach vegetarianism for better health, the Roman Catholic Trappist monks practice it for a different reason, which is to fulfill vows of austerity and self-sacrifice.

Today, scientific studies show that diets rich in fatty animal foods may contribute to the early development of diseases, including obesity, coronary artery disease, hypertension, diabetes and colorectal cancer.

The plant-based diet has the advantage of being low in saturated fats, cholesterol and salt, but most vegetables can be lacking in essential nutrients received from mammal meat, fish and poultry.

The good news, however, is that grains like mongo and beans are as rich in protein as meat. An excellent substitute for milk and other dairy products is soy bean.

In the United States, the American Dietetic Association recommends that vegetarians take vitamin and mineral supplements always. Plant foods are naturally lacking in Vitamin B12. So, vegans who avoid dairy products and eggs need a regular source of this vitamin.


Many Hollywood stars have shifted to vegetarianism over time. To quote Alice Silverstone, “Since I’ve gone vegetarian, my taste buds have opened up to a whole new world.”



KUDOS to Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas and MORE Power’s President Roel Z. Castro. who are spearheading the move to partially lay underground the cable system in Iloilo City, which has also gained the support and participation of the telecommunication companies. They are collectively known as the Public Utilities Group of Iloilo (PUGI).

The project, according to councilor Rommel Duron, is in line with the Sangguniang Panlungsod Resolution No. 2022-493, requesting MORE Power to do the underground installation as soon as possible.

The initial phase of the project will cover the entire stretch of J.M. Basa St., spanning 843 meters on each side for a total of 1.6 kilometers – including the roads surrounding Sunburst Park and Freedom Grandstand. Only the transformers and poles will remain above ground.

The roads surrounding the public plazas of Jaro, Molo, Mandurriao and La Paz will likewise enjoy underground cabling.

Underground cabling, which is already in vogue in modern cities worldwide for its aesthetic value, refers to embedding of all transmission cables below ground level, thereby abolishing unsightly “spaghetti wirings” or overhead lines that may endanger lives. The underground out-of-sight cables are well-protected by heavy-duty insulation.

Based on the Daily Guardian’s interview with MORE Power’s deputy head of network operations, Engr. Bailey Del Castillo, PUGI had yet to reach a final agreement on how to shoulder the costs, estimated at ₱150 million. That is around 10 to 15 times the cost of overhead cabling.

The other PUGI members in Iloilo include Globe Telecom, Smart, PLDT, Sky Cable, Converge, Panay Broadband, and DITO Telecommunity.