Malaysian Minister of Health Datuk Liow Tiong Lai, a vegetarian who has made his diet the cornerstone of his healthy lifestyle, has won a People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) Asia-Pacific Proggy Award for Promoting a Vegetarian Diet. Proggy Awards ("Proggy" stands for "progress") recognise animal-friendly achievement in 21st century culture and commerce.
"I'm concerned about the health of the people in the country, especially with regard to the healthy lifestyle", says Datuk Liow, who holds a degree in science and nutrition from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia and a master's in business administration from Universiti Malaya. "I would emphasise more on prevention and healthy living instead of curing patient and health."
Going vegetarian is a key in helping to prevent a variety of diseases, including today's leading killers. Meat consumption has been conclusively linked to heart disease, strokes, diabetes, obesity and several kinds of cancer. Pathogens also place meat-eaters at risk. E coli, salmonella, listeria, the bird flu virus and mad cow disease all result from raising animals for food.
Going vegetarian is also the best way to help the planet. According to the United Nations, raising animals for food is "one of the top two or three most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global." Of course, adopting a vegetarian diet is also the best way to help animals who might otherwise suffer on factory farms and be slaughtered for food.
Want to follow Datuk Liow's lead and do your part to help animals? Pledge to be veg for 30 days today, and we'll e-mail you our favourite recipes as well as tips on making the switch to a vegetarian diet.