HK HEARTBEAT
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LIFE

How Hongkongers can become greener and live healthier lives

New monthly advice column will help you live sustainably and fill your body with things that are good for you

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 29 September, 2015, 7:40am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 29 September, 2015, 10:21am

Healthy living is getting a boost in party-loving Hong Kong. After yoga paved the way early in the millennium, superfoods are gaining popularity, vegetarian restaurants are trending, exercise studios are popping up faster than Starbucks, juicing beats smoking and mindfulness is the new valium.

Hong Kong is a global leader in some areas and at the back of the line in others. Until 2001, raw sewage was dumped directly into the harbour and the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department was first established in 2002. The practice of asking for forgiveness instead of permission is about to change as residents begin demanding international safety standards in Asia's World City.

Bursting landfills draw attention to food waste. Leaded water raises more alarms. Tainted milk, paper rice and gutter oil drive demand for food traceability.

Food rules in Hong Kong and food is a leading driver in the healthy living trend. Many people don't yet make the link between personal wellness and global sustainability, but our changing relationship with food is leading to raised awareness. Whether it's what we eat or wear or put on our skin, all products have an impact, either positive or negative. We might be affected or it might be someone else who bears the consequences of our daily choices.

Greenwashing, a relatively new form of marketing and publicity, has taken hold in Hong Kong with innovative agencies finding creative ways to describe anything as environmentally friendly.

Eco is now cool and research is required to uncover the truth behind the buzz. Unfortunately, a quick online search of almost any product will return a wealth of conflicting results.

Greenwashing, a relatively new form of marketing and publicity, has taken hold in Hong Kong with innovative agencies finding creative ways to describe anything as environmentally friendly

Butter is either good for you or it causes heart disease, and the legal definition of free-range eggs depends on the chicken's country of residence. For example, Australia's Queensland government approved an increase in free-range-laying hen-stocking densities from a maximum number of 1,500 to 10,000 hens per hectare as recently as 2013. Apparently, free-range hens do not range as freely.

Growing up in a zero-waste household on a mixed family farm on the Canadian prairies, I have sustainability in my DNA.

My consumer studies major prepared me for a career as an advocate.

But nothing prepared me for my 1992 arrival in Hong Kong when my comments on pollution were met with suggestions to go home.

Local wet markets became my haven for fresh food without triple layers of plastic, foam and polystyrene supermarket packaging.

It isn't easy being green in Hong Kong where green means cash, but I am determined to make it easier for you by sharing my years of experience promoting natural life in the fast lane. I love connecting the dots, uncovering the truth and sharing what I learn.

In this column, I will attempt to answer your questions and provide insights that will help everyone make conscious choices every day … naturally.

Kinzie is the founder of HK Heartbeat, a network sharing fresh content and connections for nature-conscious lifestyle choices since 2001. This column will run monthly