For the past 10 years, environmental activist Simon Chau Siu-cheung hasn’t taken a sip of water, even though it is hot.
He did not light the stoves in his kitchen either. While his wife still prepares his own food, he only eats uncooked vegetables and fruits.
Even though most households in Hong Kong turn on their air conditioners in the summer, Chau hasn’t had one in his home for 40 years.
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In addition to these extreme commitments, the 73-year-old said, “I take showers… once every 10 days. This way I save a lot of energy.
Chau, who taught translation at Baptist University until his retirement in 2005, calls himself a “green civilization transformer” because of his advocacy for sustainable green development in Hong Kong.
Recently, he has taught regular farming lessons and led farm tours to the town’s first organic farm in Fanling, run by the Produce Green Foundation, which he chairs.
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Young post visited him yesterday at his three story home nestled on the edge of Plover Cove in Tai Po.
We couldn’t help but notice that his village house was cool even without air conditioning.
“We are very lucky to live by the sea and we survive with the fan on the hottest days,” he said, pointing to his standing fan.
Going out of air conditioning is just one of the many ways it minimizes its consumption of water and electricity. Other things we couldn’t find in Chau’s house included soap, shampoo, or any other cleaning supplies.
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Chau uses a mixture of apple cider vinegar and sea salt as an alternative to shampoo. It uses tea seed powder, which removes grease, to clean household items, such as dirty dishes, floors and clothes.
When we met Chau in the morning – shortly after the Hong Kong Observatory issued the black rain warning – he made a 1.5 liter green smoothie for his first meal of the day. He mixed four bananas and a handful of spinach, which he had grown on his roof. Without the ice cream that keeps most smoothies cool, it tasted like a banana drink at room temperature with a slightly vegetal flavor of spinach.
Green smoothies, he said, have become both a staple and a daily ritual for him. Becoming “raw” was such an important decision for him that he considered it his “rebirth”.
Interview with environmental activist Simon Chau Siu-cheong in Tai Po. Photo: SCMP / Winson Wong
A raw food diet, also known as live food, involves eating only plants in their original, unheated state below 41 degrees Celsius. A raw food specialist considers raw food to be “alive” with essential nutrients and therefore consumes a diet consisting primarily of whole, uncooked plant foods, such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and sprouts.
So everything he consumes, even if it’s just a cup of coffee to start the day, is made as naturally as possible.
Her favorite coffee recipe involves mixing walnuts or cashews, cocoa powder, coffee extract, dates, and water in a blender.
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Chau doesn’t label his breakfast or lunch meals because he wants to avoid having a set time to eat every day. He also doesn’t eat anything after sunset.
He follows these eating practices because he wants to follow the diet of a primate, as they are the ancestors of modern humans.
His goal in the coming years is to switch to a mono diet – he will only eat one to three types of food per day, which is similar to how primates eat.
His decision to become an environmentally conscious person began when he spent five years in Europe in the 1970s.
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“I witnessed the first wave of the green movement there,” he said. “Before that time, no one in Hong Kong cared about the environment. No one knew we were in trouble.
“We believe that we have to fight for material comfort and satisfaction in order to be happy. [But] we have to come back to a very natural way of seeing things, ”he added.
Chau has gone to great lengths to live his life as organically as possible.
Chau follows a raw diet because he says he wants to live as organically as possible.
“I don’t drink water,” he said. “I haven’t drunk pure water for 10 years.”
He prefers to get the water he needs from fruits and vegetables. That is why he constantly drinks juice throughout the day.
He justifies this by saying that monkeys and chimpanzees don’t need to drink water to stay hydrated.
For the past 30 years, Chau says he hasn’t gotten so sick that he had to see a doctor.
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“I have a lot of energy and I never feel tired,” he said. “Everyone thinks I’m 20 years younger than my age.”
He believes that this diet has brought him rejuvenation and happiness. And he believes the city’s exam-driven education system has hampered discussions about sustainability and well-being, so he hopes to continue promoting green education in Hong Kong.
Be careful, raw food is not suitable for everyone. Remember to see your doctor if you are thinking about making any major changes to your eating habits.