By Florence Hui, Under Secretary for Home Affairs 香港民政事務局副局長許曉暉
It feels like the blink of an eye, but I have been a vegan for many years. Every time I meet friends who are new to the idea of vegan food, they show concern and ask questions about my diet. To sum up, their questions are mainly centred around three issues:
(1) Will having vegetarian or vegan food be dull, even unpalatable?
(2)Will eating fruits and vegetables,which in Chinese traditional medicine are considered “cold”, be bad for our health?
(3) How about nutritional adequacy? Will supplements be necessary?
From my personal experience, I know that by just following a fewsimple rules, we can enjoy the benefits and pleasuresthata vegan diet bringsto body,mind and soul, and overcome the inconvenience of giving up meat. This is because there is an ever-changing variety of vegan food to choose from, including fruits,vegetables, crops, nuts and grains.
To follow a vegan diet, the main principle is to include all kinds of "roots, stems, fruits and leaves," and to incorporate different colours of the plant-based diet- green, red, yellow, white and black. Allowing our eyes to participate in relishing our food will ensure that we absorb various nutrients effectively. In addition, we should try to eat seasonal produce, which are both fresh and inexpensive.
In Chinese traditions, vegan food is similar to other foods. The attributes of vegan food can be roughly classified as mild, warm or cold. As long as these three categories are well combined, such as preparing bitter gourd with garlic or turnip with black pepper, the hot and cold food can have a neutralizing effect on each other and also stimulate our taste buds.
If you really wish to take supplements, you could use food sources rather than tablets or powder. For example, brewer's yeast is rich in vitamin B, wheat germ contains vitamin E, and sesame seeds can supply calcium. As well as their good taste, these healthy food can certainly bring more vitality to your body.
We have just entered the year of the Horse. May vegan eating bring more blessings to all of us.