Meet I-Li Ho
I-Li is a Chinese medicine practitioner based in Sydney, Australia. She also has academic backgrounds in western medicine, holistic counselling and art psychotherapy. I-Li is passionate about natural healing and believes that whole person’s health can be achieved through the combination of spiritual practice, a well-balanced lifestyle and adopting vego diet.
What is your reason for choosing vego?
I naturally became vego as my mother is a devout Buddhist who promotes compassion and no killing of animals. She cooked less meat and more variety of vegetables for the family and educated us on the benefits of being vegetarian.
When did you start going vego?
At the age of 15.
What were your challenges?
There was not really any challenge as it was a progressive process. One day my sister and I decided to become pure vego when we felt the time was right. I also like the ideas of compassion and that all human and animals have equal rights of living.
How did you convince your spouse/family?
Most of my family are vego except my dad and brother who still have meat at times. They respect the rest of the family and do not cook meat at home but only have prepared cooked food from external sources. They are happy for us to be vego and think that it is a healthier way of living.
What do you think are some misconceptions about vego?
Vegos do not get enough protein and iron as we do not eat meat. This is incorrect as we do get plenty of protein and iron from plant sources such as fruits, vegetables, grains and legumes as long as we eat a balanced and varied vego diet. Many non-vegetarians also get anaemic due to hereditary factors. As a vego for more than 20 years, I have never been diagnosed with anaemia.
Did you notice any good or bad changes to your health or being after vego?
I feel that my mind is clearer and I have better endurance. When I first became vego, I did get hungry more often and so needed to have small meals in between. My body system has been more ‘cold’ (from Chinese Medicine perspective). However, this was because we did not know the right way to eat a balanced diet. If we eat a lot of processed/refined vegetarian foods, it is still not good for our health and can still result in illness. Regular exercise and proper exposure to sunlight also helps to warm up our ‘internal cold’.
What would you say to a newbie vego?
I think being vego is a compassionate way of living – kind to yourself, the animals and the planet. However, you need to be clear of the reason why you choose to be vego. This way you are happy and will be able to sustain your choice.
What would you like to say to a non-vego?
I have many friends who became vego when they are aware of the benefits of being a vego, and understood the cruelty that animals have to suffer before becoming food on a plate. We respect your choice but please think twice before you eat meat as the animals don’t get a choice! Many lives are being taken away purely for the temporary enjoyment of the human’s palate!
What kind of support would you like from the community?
I hope that the community can be more supportive of non-toxic vegetable farming (i.e. organic and spray-free) and cruelty free animal farming. This way we can help to do less damage to our earth and live a more compassionate and healthier life. I also urge everyone to commit to regular vego diets at least one meal a day or one day a week. Just by doing this little gesture, many lives could be spared, a lot of resources saved and less waste produced! This not only helps to improve the planet we are living on but also create a better environment for our future generations.