Nadine’s MEANINGFUL JOURNEY
Nadine Alexandra conquers her many ambitions with grace; from being an actress to a TV host and a Puteri Indonesia, she now shares with us her proudest one yet – her journey to Veganism filled with persistence, compassion and understanding.
WHEN WE approached the cafe counter to order our beverages, I noticed my old friend, Nadine inquiring about the availability of soymilk for her coffee before deciding to have tea instead. For a moment, I assumed it was just a matter of preference until I learned more about her inspiring journey and ideals as a vegan.
“It began when I watched a documentary showing the impact of animal agriculture on global warming,” said the passionate environmentalist, who is also an active volunteer of Kalimantan’s Bornean Orangutan Foundation. I started to realize that my principles about the environment and animal welfare were not cohesive with my lifestyle so I decided to eliminate all animal products from my diet and become a vegan.”
Here comes the twist, Nadine’s grandfather is a butcher and she has been raised in a home where Sunday roast is a weekly family tradition. “When I was little, I used to joke about being a vegetarian because the lifestyle choice seemed unlikely. After all, my dad is English so my kitchen had a British food set up with meat being a huge part of it! Our family would always have dinner together and the menu would include rack of lamb, chicken, beefsteak, you name it! I have always been accustomed to some homey and hearty Western food,” she said nostalgically. “We still often have Sunday roast, but this time I opt for the vegetables instead. And some vegan sausages from Europe that [an exasperated sigh] recently ran out!”
In October, Nadine proudly celebrates her first anniversary as a vegan, however the process took her more than two years. “I began with meatless Mondays then gradually moved on to three times a week. In between, I also experimented with the pescatarian and paleo diet before becoming entirely vegetarian.”
“It wasn’t easy because I didn’t understand what to eat so my body lacked certain nutrients like protein, ion, calcium and so on. I was hungry all the time due to empty calories so there were times I would relapse and eat meat. Eventually, I researched and learned more about the necessary food intake and substitutes to remain healthy as a vegan,” she continued.
Being a vegan in Indonesia sure has its advantages, especially since the local cuisine has recently become one of Nadine’s favorites. “Indonesian food from across the country is so varied and incredible – there are so many options! Even the snacks like sukun and klepon chips are great to have, especially since most of their snacks do not contain milk.”
Moreover, due to her recent major role in a traveling TV show called My Trip My Adventure, Nadine was able to experience the astounding array of dishes Indonesia had to offer. One of her favorite dishes is called Milu Siram from Gorontalo, the most Northern part of Sulawesi; it is a white corn soup paired with eggplant dabu-dabu and rice. “I also love Padang food – the sambal, tempe and eggplant balado in particular is amazing!” Oh, did I miss mentioning that she utterly loves eggplants? Yes, that is her ultimate vegetable!
Recently, it has also become much easier to find vegan friendly restaurants around the capital. “I highly recommend SNCTRY for their amazing smoothies and Japanese salad with grilled miso eggplant! Also, I love going to Burgreens, especially for their big fat juicy burger that never fails to satisfy my cravings!” Speaking of cravings, I had to ask what she missed the most from her non-vegan days and she blurted out one word – cheese!
Vegans are often stereotyped as being too tensed about their food choices, but Nadine said: “I believe you need to just be lenient about it. Mistakes happen especially when you are eating outside or buying packaged goods. All we have to do is try our best to avoid certain products and find the correct substitutes, while learning to read labels to avoid any hidden unwanted components like gelatin and so on.”
“If you want to make a lifestyle change, know what you’re getting into. Individually identify your health problems and find substitutes to neutralize those effects.” shared Nadine on healthy living. “Be aware and cautious of the food you consume, research well on the changes required, make slow and steady adjustments and then take a holistic approach. With the right information and willpower, you can tackle any temptations that come your way,” she added avidly.
So what’s next for the aspiring director? “Aside from making my own films, I hope to someday have a plot of land to grow my own food. There’s nothing like fresh produce!” said Nadine enthusiastically.
On that note, we end with a quote that Nadine tries to live by: ‘Let thy food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food’ – Hippocrates.