The right balance to a healthy lifestyle

PUBLISHED : Monday, 14 June, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 14 June, 2010, 12:00am

I think both vegetarians and meat eaters can be healthy as long as they have a balanced diet and good nutrition. There are a lot of minerals and fibre in vegetables, and meat contains proteins and nutrients such as iron.

But leading a healthy lifestyle is more than just eating the right food. You need to exercise to stay fit and boost your immune system. If you don't exercise, your body will become weak and you'll fall ill more easily.

All in all, a healthy lifestyle has to be a balanced one. Heidi Chan Hiu-kwan, Christian Alliance S.C. Chan Memorial College

From the Editor

Thank you for your interesting letter, Heidi. What we eat can have a massive impact on our health.

The majority of people in Hong Kong are enthusiastic carnivores. Unless you go to a Buddhist restaurant, it can often be hard to know where to find decent vegetarian food. Many people see it as boring and not filling enough.

A small amount of meat can provide enough of certain nutrients, while a vegetarian will have to eat kilos and kilos of dark green vegetables or tofu to absorb the same amount.

But there are broader advantages to vegetarianism - and the most convincing ones are environmental.

Raising animals for meat requires a lot of land so they can graze. Land also has to be devoted to growing food for them. This means less land for other plants and for animals' natural habitats. The food has to be transported, as do the slaughtered animals, which requires fossil fuels. And all animals - cows in particular - create methane, a greenhouse gas.

There are also health benefits to cutting meat from your diet - for example, meat is far higher in cholesterol than vegetable products.

I'm not suggesting everyone immediately stop eating meat - I'd struggle to give up my roast chicken and steak habit. But it is a good idea to 'go veggie' at least a couple of times a week. Not only is it healthier and cheaper, but you'll be doing your bit to help to save the planet.

Karly, Deputy Editor