The links between diet and health have been thrust into the spotlight with Netflix’s documentary The Game Changers , in which Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton and former body builder Arnold Schwarzenegger discuss success on a plant-based diet, the growing popularity of plant-based meat Beyond, and fast food options such as Burger King’s Impossible Whopper . Arnaud Hauchon, culinary curator at Fivelements, says: “The food we eat greatly affects our mental landscape. Our brain, like any other organ, needs proper food to function properly, and with the ongoing discovery and research on gut and brain connection, it is obvious that people are just not only what they eat on the physical level but also on the mental level.” Riding on The Game Changers wave, Green Common is offering a box set that aims to help new converters to the plant-based diet. Do plant-based patties taste as good as beefy ones? In Hong Kong, Green Monday’s Omnipork is creating ripples – and branching out to China and Singapore, with Taco Bell Shanghai the latest to add to the expanding Rolodex of retailers. Green Monday founder David Yeung is bringing what was previously deemed not profitable to restaurants, and Fairwood Hong Kong chairman Dennis Lo has committed to offer plant-based options at all of his outlets. View this post on Instagram Vegan options used be NON-EXISTENT in mainstream fast food chains, which explains why I am soooo appreciative to Dennis Lo, Chairman of the Fairwood #大快活 for committing to offer plant-based options at ALL their ~150 outlets at ALL time! Their first few @omnipork menu items have proven to them that there is real demand! They are doing further R&D and will be adding many more green choices to their menu soon. Stay tuned! #MakeChangeHappen #MakeGreenCommon #omnipork新豬肉 #omnipork #plantbased #yum #yummy #food #foodie #foodstagram #foodporn #hkeat #hongkong #yum #yummy #green #eat #new #fairwood #tasty #taste A post shared by David Yeung 楊大偉 (@greenmonday.david) on Dec 5, 2019 at 10:03pm PST Demand for plant-based options are on the rise. Apart from plant-based meat options, there is a need to look at the implications of a plant-based diet. This Veganuary, I speak to chef Arnaud to understand the lifestyle and how we can no longer “force” people to convert to a diet. “All of the deadliest diseases Western people face nowadays can be cured thanks to a whole food, well-managed plant based diet,” says Arnaud. He started embracing a plant-based diet about 16 years ago. “At 28 years of age, I went through quite a few life changing experiences that led to my evolution towards a vegan diet a year afterwards. My first motivations were spiritual [to follow the wish of not harming animals], I then learned about the sustainability of the diet. I intuitively knew that a plant-based diet was way more healthy. 6 traditional Japanese dishes that vegans can try in Kyoto “A badly managed plant-based diet can be detrimental, and following a plant-based diet without any understanding of basic nutrition and an overall care for your daily menu can be worse for your health,” he adds. “One needs some basic notions on nutrition to thrive on a plant-based diet.” Arnaud believes that adopting a plant-based diet is the first step to unlocking other healthy habits. “At the age of 43, I have more endurance and stamina than most younger men that I know. I have had the same body weight since I was 27. Of course my body suffers from years of working excessively, but regular yoga helps a lot. A plant-based diet led me to follow Buddhist principles and I think meditation has got easier and deeper. My commitment to a plant-based diet gives me hope and eases the burden of climate crisis. I know that this diet is viable, that it makes people healthier and that it is a big part of the solution to ease the consequences of the climate crisis to come, it also carries a strong message of compassion, sobriety and altruism. I do not work such long hours now, but I still maintain high energy daily practices like kung fu and gardening projects.” View this post on Instagram Research has shown how important our digestion and gut health are and the impact they have on our physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. Imbalances in our gut microflora can easily affect our mood and cause 'brain fog', anxiety and depression. Having a healthy gut is vital. Many of our dishes at Sakti Elixir are designed to help you balance your gut. Our Miso Set (pictured), Cashew Cheese on Toast, Purple Dragon Fruit Bowl, Rosella Kombucha and many more dishes and drinks are either fermented or made with lacto-bacillus to improve your gut flora. 研究證實消化和腸道健康失調可輕易影響你的身理和心理質素，甚至導致焦慮和抑鬱。 Sakti Elixir 為你而設的菜餚，有助平衡你體內的腸道益菌。圖中豐富的味噌套餐更包含多種發酵食品，增強你的消化能力。 #FivelementsHabitat #FivelementsHK #Fivelements #HongKong #SaktiElixir #FactsFriday #guthealth #wellness #wellbeing #holisticwellness #urbanwellness #citywellness #plantbased #vegan #fermented #fermentation #mindfulness #腸道健康 #瑜珈 #植物膳食料理 #植物膳食 A post shared by Fivelements Habitats (@fivelementshabitats) on Dec 26, 2019 at 6:20pm PST Creating a plant-based menu for Sakti Elixir at Fivelements Habitat Hong Kong in the colder months is a delight for Arnaud. “Winter is the best season for me in Hong Kong, as the local harvest offers much more diversity and exciting products. The new menu has a lot more local organic products from our farmers. We have onions, ginger, garlic, sweet potatoes, carrots, gai lan, choy sum, curly kale, cherry tomatoes and tomatoes, Chinese lettuce and even strawberries coming straight from the farm to us,” Arnaud says. “The concept is plant-based cuisine. I don’t call it vegan cuisine because we use honey, and it can be misleading for pure vegans. Apart from honey, we do not use any animal products.” Why non-vegans will love these plant-based places in Hong Kong too “Everything is home cooked, all the menus are gluten free, and every ingredient is carefully considered. We support local farmers and include organic products as much as we can, and when it makes sense to use it – this touches upon the age-old conventional local versus organic produce from the other side of the planet debate – I am really pushing to create a menu that is as sustainable as possible. I also want to keep the menu affordable as I believe that proper food has to be affordable and accessible for most. I am also including more fermented and cultured foods, which are beneficial for health gut, and indirectly, mental health.” Demand for honest and whole food is growing. Take the latest opening of Miss Lee by ZS Hospitality, whose restaurants include Lee Lo Mei and Lee Ho Sing. Miss Lee specialises in dainty healthy vegetarian and vegan dishes inspired by traditional Chinese menus – the restaurant has added three new vegan items and adjusted existing dishes so that they are completely plant-based without eggs or dairy. Will Alpha’s vegan nuggets turn non-vegans on to a plant-based diet? “Because of the nature of a plant-based diet, a person will lose weight, and tend towards a lower BMI (body mass index), have plenty of minerals and vitamins, water, fibre and will have more vitality to practise other health-enhancing activities,” Arnaud says. So whenever you crave junk food, Arnaud advises: “A plant-based diet is a step towards a bigger understanding and is also compassionate and mindful.” Slowly, one would find one self leaning towards more healthy options. Want more stories like this? Sign up here . Follow STYLE on Facebook , Instagram , YouTube and Twitter .