The following is transcribed between myself and the informant, from this point forward the informant will be known as TT and I will be MH.
MH: Are there any food specific traditions you and your family or area would partake in?
TT: Well, I really am not sure if this is outside of where I grew up or not, but according to the lunar calendar on the 15th and 30th of each month we would go vegan.
MH: Every month? Is there religious value to that or just something that is done?
TT: Well my family is Buddhist and a lot of Vietnam is Buddhist so I feel it is something most connected to those values. The families my family was friends with would also partake in that. I’m confident it has something to do with being “pure” in the eyes of Buddhism. Even though I no longer live at home with my family and do not align with any religion, I instinctually find myself wanting to eat vegan a couple times a month out of habit.
My friend grew up in South Vietnam and often thinks about the more rigidly held traditions he and his family would partake in back home. He sometimes misses that familial, communal and regional duty to tradition experienced there versus the lack of heavily structured traditions that exist on the grand scale here in the states.
I often find myself eating vegan and I find I feel better, and I was asking my friend – who mainly seems to be extremely meat focused- if he could go vegan and then it launched us into this conversation.
I think there is something to be said about cycling through being vegan. Many people who are not even apart of Buddhist cultures believe that being vegan cleans your body and can also in turn help you mind.