Anita Cheung: Hong Kong's first Holistic Health Coach
Anita Cheung is one of Hong Kong's leading wellbeing experts. A Holistic Health Practitioner and Wellness Advocate since 2005, when she became the first Certified Holistic Health Coach (AADP) in Hong Kong. Anita is a pioneer in the areas of personal nutrition, lifestyle consulting, corporate wellness, functional nutrition using superfoods and urban detox programmes. In 2008, she founded i-Detox, Aduna's partners in Hong Kong and a leading wellness education centre, progressive health food shop and urban detox consultancy.
You're the first Certified Holistic Health Coach in Hong Kong, how did you start your health and wellbeing journey?
I started my health coaching practice in 2005 after a sabbatical in New York. Prior to that, I worked in the fashion industry and was stressed out and unhealthy. I found myself enrolling in an innovative school called Institute for Integrative Nutrition in NYC where I met many inspiring teachers and classmates. That was the beginning of my continuous training in the wellness field.
In 2008 I started i-Detox and my 'Superfood Detox" programmes designed for urban dwellers like myself who want to detox and restore balance without leaving town or following a starvation diet. I had to create my own programme because I could not find something that suited my Asian body constitution and my palette. I wanted a program that was holistic and could be adaptable to people of different body types and cultures. I've been advocating superfoods since 2005 and my company i-Detox started wholesaling since 2008.
How do you celebrate the New Year?
The Chinese New Year is the most important festival of the year for Chinese people. Celebrations start on New Year's Eve where the family gathers for dinner. Fish (which has the same sound as the English word "surplus") is served among other foods and I remember my grandma always made sure we had enough fish leftover to last us through to the new year to remind us to always have enough to spare. My grandma would insist we all wear new clothes and new underwear - some people still do that nowadays and even wear new red underwear in celebration!
On the days before the new year every family does a thorough clean out. Homes are decorated with cut-out paper decorations featuring greetings or auspicious themes such as health, longevity and prosperity.
People usually spend their holidays visiting their families and friends. Traditionally it was a 15-day affair, with the last day being "Chinese Valentine's Day".
During the Chinese New Year celebration period, married people give red packets filled with money, symbolising prosperity and good luck, to younger and unmarried people.
What's your favourite Chinese New Year recipe?
Marbled Egg or Tea Leaf Egg - it's a Chinese New Year speciality in our household. My (late) paternal grandma and my (late) dad were from Shanghai. We used to make a big batch of 30 eggs and give them away to people. The only difference from the more traditional recipe for tea leaf egg is that when we make them today, we use English tea such as Lipton's and we steep the eggs for days so they come out really flavourful. The tea and the spices used make the egg more digestible. Eating warm or room temperature eggs like these is a great way to keep warm in winter. Interestingly one of my nutrition teachers bought this up in NY - Paul Pitchford, author of Healing with Whole Foods. I was so happy to learn my favourite foods growing up is actually healthy!
What are your top 5 health tips to be healthy this year?
1. Eat, rest, move and poo like your great great great granparents did, or as closely as you can. (You know if you are not pooing about 1 feel or 3 times a day like our ancestors used to do you are probably constipated... Sorry for the poo subject... but I hope I get a license for it because I am a detox coach...!)
2. Forget about being 'motivated'. Be INSPIRED. Inspiration has better mileage when it comes to implementing positive changes than motivation or will power.
3. Think LONG TERM - you didn't get to where you are now overnight. Be realistic with your health goals and be patient and compassionate with yourself.
4. Have fun. Or create the life you want if you are not having fun right now.
5. Take time to small the roses - or atleast the essential oil of a rose - slow down and remember your connection to nature and the source of everything.
You can find out more about i-Detox on their website: www.i-detox.com