Every November 1, vegetarians and vegans around the world celebrate being meat-free after a whole month of ‘vegetarian awareness’ in October! I first heard about this day about five years ago on Twitter, and at the time, I was still a meat-eater who loved her fried chicken.
However, I had just come off of a serious cinnamon bun, powdered white donut and Halloween candy binge that made me want to swear off food forever. So, on November 1st five years ago, I decided to try and go meat-free for 30 days in Hong Kong as a sort of detox and challenge to myself.
To clarify, I only cut out chicken and pork as I had been beef-free since 2006 (after seeing a gruesome bullfight in Valencia — something I don’t recommend, btw) and wasn’t yet ready to give up seafood.
Those 30 days flew by and I discovered that it wasn’t about how “hard” or “easy” it was to go meat-free in Hong Kong (as many people like think), but that it was really a personal choice I had to make with each meal. Sure, cravings come and go, but if you have enough reasons to go meat-free (the book Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer gives you plenty, Meatless Monday has some more), it’s really not that hard.
Five years on, I haven’t touched a single cut of meat and don’t miss it at all (except the occasional fried chicken craving, which I have yet to fulfill!). For those who think they can’t live without meat, it’s really something that’s been conditioned into our society rather than reality. And if you love meat a lot, you can still enjoy it — just maybe less often than you do now, if you really want to do something to help the environment.
Today, it’s pretty clear why we should adopt a more plant-based diet — being that it’s healthier, better for the world in terms of conservation and animal-friendly. And as hip as it is to be healthy/earth-friendly these days, I’m still amazed at how many people resist going vegetarian or vegan, even if it’s just one day a week.
“NO WAY!” they scoff in defiance, saying they’ll NEVER give up meat. Others laugh about it condescendingly, saying they’ll just take the vegetarians’ portions of meats too.
But just as everyone knows by now that they should save paper to be more eco-friendly, people should really understand the connection between factory farmed meat and the huge amount of harm it does to our planet and health as a whole.
Just imagine if someone was told that they should save paper, but they went ahead and used an ENTIRE roll of toilet paper in one go, or printed out 100 copies of unnecessary documents, just to piss off the tree-huggers who are only trying to do some good.
It really makes no sense to me, but for whatever reason, meat-eaters are usually extremely sensitive about being told to cut back. The good news is, those who aren’t ready to go vegan or vegetarian don’t have to. All it takes is one day a week or even one meal a week to make a difference, and with so many supporting restaurants and groups in Hong Kong like Green Monday nowadays, it’s really become so easy.
Anyhow, this post came about after I received Deliveroo’s email about World Vegan Day, which promotes vegan restaurants in Hong Kong for anyone wanting to support the cause.
Expat Living also has a great list of vegan and vegetarian restaurants in Hong Kong, so why not make it a weekly adventure to try something new?