Green dining has become one of the fastest growing and strongest emerging trends of the 21st century. Today, the vast potential in the business of healthy dieting is apparent in the massive boom of health stores and rise in number of vegetarian restaurants both in Hong Kong and Asia. This lifestyle option has already become a mainstream and socially-accepted choice in Europe and the Americas, with more and more people shifting towards a plant-based diet.
According to the American Society for Nutrition, a proper vegetarian diet can reduce the risk of type-2 diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular diseases. Plant-based diet which includes fruits, vegetables, grains, seeds and fungus, can provide sufficient nutrients including iron and protein. These nutritious gifts from Mother Earth are rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber, and contain zero cholesterol. Meat on the other hand, contains a significant amount of cholesterol and saturated fat, which has been correlated with cancer and various cardiovascular diseases.
While the vast majority of the developed world is aware of the adverse effects of fossil fuel-powered transportation systems and heavy production industries on the environment, until recently only a small minority fully understood that the foods we consume also contribute to global warming. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the production of the meat we consume adds more greenhouse gases – carbon dioxide (CO2), methane, nitrous oxide etc. – into the atmosphere than either transportation or industrial production! Just as humans do, animals eat, drink and excrete. Factory farming leads to an increased burden on the Earth’s natural ecosystem, stressing and polluting our water forces further contributing to deforestation, not to mention the ever-growing concern of world hunger – feeding livestock with crops such as grains and seeds, means less for us.
Putting it simply, a vegetarian diet alleviates burden and stress from both the environment and one’s health. If all the citizens of Hong Kong switched their meat and seafood diets to greens only once a week, the amount of carbon emissions produced by Hong Kong annually would be reduced by 1.5 million tonnes, requiring over 65 million trees to offset. This is the equivalent of taking 86,000 cars off the road. With plenty of vegetarian options readily available and with more to come in the future, going green has never been as fun and easy and tasty as it is at this very moment. Why wouldn’t you go green?