Veg nutrition in Indonesia - the professor explains

International Vegetarian Union | 07/17/10

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Questions for a Keynoter at IVU World Veg Congress - October 2010  - Jakarta/Bali, Indonesia:

Prof. Dr. Kusharisupeni will be a keynote speaker at this October's IVU World Vegetarian Congress in Jakarta: She heads the Nutrition Department at the University of Indonesia, in Jakarta and edited the nutrition book published by Indonesia Vegetarian Society, the host for the 2010 WVC. Prof. Dr. Kusharisupeni kindly agreed to answer some questions.

Hi. Please tell us a bit about the diet of the typical Indonesia? Has it changed much in the past 50 years?

Generally, Indonesian people eat boiled rice, vegetables and a fried dish such as tofu, tempe, and fish. I don't think that has changed much in the recent years.

Do many people in Indonesia know about vegetarianism? If so, what do they think about it?

No, not many Indonesians know about vegetarianism. They may think this is a diet that is associated with religion. Let's hope that the IVU World Vegetarian Congress, along with the ongoing efforts of Indonesia Vegetarian Society and others, can raise awareness and understanding. So, we hope that many people will attend the Congress.

What about most nutritionists and other health professionals? Do they know about vegetarianism? What do they tell people about eating less meat and more plant based foods?

Yes, Indonesian nutritionists know quite well about vegetarianism. They inform the public that eating less meat and more plant based foods reduces the risk of degenerative diseases such as heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, and osteoporosis.

In the Department of Nutrition at the University of Indonesia are any studies conducted that relate to vegetarianism? If so, please tell us about one or two of them.

Yes. Studies carried out by our students sometimes relate to vegetarian diets, such as studies on anemia and vegetarian diet, and dementia in old age (vegetarian & non-vegetarian diets).

Please tell us what you plan to talk about in your keynote address at the IVU World Vegetarian Congress.

In my talk, I will report on some of the vegetarian-related research conducted by graduate students in our department. I think that the audience will find these studies to be of great interest. We are very proud of the work our graduate students are doing and believe that it augers well for the future of Nutrition science in Indonesia. We want people to understand the importance of prevention via proper eating, rather than relying solely on cures after diseases arise.

What are two healthy, tasty Indonesian dishes that visitors should be sure to sample while in Indonesia?

Two very popular Indonesian dishes that will be available to try at the Congress are Gado-Gado (Indonesian salad) and Nasi Goreng (fried rice)

Please tell us a nutrition joke.

This is a sad joke, unfortunately: It is easy for us (lecturers in Nutrition) to show examples of various categories of nutritional status (obese, normal, undernourished) to our students because among our department staff are obese, normal, and undernourished people.


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