Green Queen Heroes: Anita Cheung of i-Detox


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Tell us a little bit about yourself. 

I come from a background in the fashion industry. After 13 years, I wanted a change and retrained. In 2005,  I completed the program at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York and became a holistic health practitioner and wellness coach and advocate. I’ve since been trained in various coaching, emotional & energy healing modalities, holistic aromatherapy and TCM Hand Diagnostics and other holistic health practices. 

As a practitioner, I offer a multi disciplinary approach to support clients and engage them in proactive and preventative self care.  My first company was called “Integrative-Living” but most people know me as the founder of i-Detox. Launched in 2008, it was the first company to provide urban nutritional detox programs in Hong Kong. i-Detox also offers a progressive health food & lifestyle store as well as a wellness consultancy for corporations and individuals. 

I consider myself a life long student. I have always loved reading, from literature, philosophy and nutrition to quantum physics. My idea of downtime is learning something new, and my idea of working is sharing what I’ve learnt. My passion lies in working with “busy” urban people who want to upgrade their quality of life.

As a business owner, I have been described as a “heart-based” entrepreneur. I once dreamed of running charities to help people, but these days I believe being an entrepreneur is at least just as good of a contribution to the world’s progress. I like the idea of being able to earn my livelihood and provide employment to others meaningfully by creating commercial and social profits at the same time. It gives me very good reasons to get out of bed every morning, and it makes working long hours worth the while.  

 

 

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When did you first adopt a green lifestyle?

Even as a five year old girl, I questioned the way things were done such as why did we need to carry around clunky dictionaries and heavy books, wasn’t there a smarter way to store information and make it accessible? I grew up in the 70s! Growing up sidetracked my green awareness. Only much later, a few years before I left the fashion industry when I was feeling physically, emotional and spiritually drained, did I start dabbling in dietary changes, learning yoga – this is before large chain yoga studios were ubiquitous- and focusing on personal development.

It became increasingly clear to me that I did not wish to spend the rest of my life creating clothes that nobody needed, at least not the people we were selling to. My last job in fashion involved fur trims. Dealing with that and witnessing the heart-breaking pollution from the dyeing factories was the last straw for me: I knew I had to leave the industry. I was also suffering from persistent respiratory issues, which drove me towards a more organic lifestyle and a holistic approach to health. While medicine and the doctors’ advice occasionally helped some, the issues always came back. The day I handed in my resignation, all my symptoms stopped.

You could say that when my heart was called back, that was the real start or restart of my green lifestyle. I believe green is the colour of the heart chakra.  It was moving from living “outside in” to “inside out” for me that my life took a turn. 

 

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Tell us about i-Detox and its mission.

Our mission has always been to educate, inspire and empower. At i-Detox  we strive to provide pleasurable and practical wellbeing solutions.“Pleasure” is important to us in our recommendations and product merchandising because pleasure reverses the stress response. If there are two practical health solutions available and one is pleasurable and one is not, I will always choose the former. That’s why I prefer superfoods and wholefoods to pills/supplements in general.

When I started, I only had a small selection of superfoods that were hard to find at the time in Hong Kong, like raw cacao. The shop has grown over the years to be a more comprehensive specialty health store not just with health snacks, detox related supplies (such as enema bags and Epsom salts, kitchen and healthy lifestyle equipment (juicers, blenders, water ionizer etc), therapeutic essential oils, organic pantry items, personal care products and even organic make-up.  All of our food products are free of dairy (except the ghee), gluten and refined sugar. We launched our first e-commerce webstore in 2012.  The Chinese version will be live later this year.

Our urban detox program (Superfood DetoxTM) has evolved over the years and currently includes superfoods, some supplements, a detox and lifestyle manual and lifetime VIP membership (which offers clients lifetime discounts on all our products as well as other perks). Our detox program is very flexible and can be adapted to various levels of cleansing and rebalancing.The programs are blood-sugar and adrenal-friendly. They are not crash diets that so often compromise long term health. We need different diet at different times of our life. The original meaning of “diet” was “way of life”. That’s why all our detox clients have our LIFETIME support to help them incorporate “detox” and “wellness” habits & techniques into their life for the longterm.  What we provide is a way of life, rather than a set of products and a cookie-cutter type “detox program”. We encourage our clients to stay in touch with us through their detox period and beyond. 

“Emotional Detox”/Stress Management education is also part of our service offering. I believe that learning to switch on the healing response by switching off the stress response is one of the most important life skills for true wellness. People can also just book in for an initial assessment and exploration, and together, we can decide on the best course of action.  

In our new premises, we also offer wellness treatments like therapeutic massages, which supports structural alignment, strengthens the immune system and promotes deep relaxation. We host regular experiential events like our popular “Superfood Happy Hour” and other fun educational events at the centre. Our customers and clients are more like friends to us and we love that.  

As we settle into our new space, we are expanding our retail offering and our wholesale product activities. Every month we add new products to our range. This year our goal is to collaborate more with like-minded people and to work “smarter” too.

Treatment room 

What are some of the greenest features of i-Detox?

In our new premises, all our product display shelves and most other wood features are made from recycled wood.  All our lighting is LED and energy saving.  Wherever possible we used only toxin-free paints and furnishing materials.

We compost on our terrace. While we are on a busy section of Wellington Street, we try to go out to the terrace to breathe in “fresh air” from time to time. Studies have shown that indoor air is a lot more polluted than outdoor air even in urban places like Hong Kong!  We avoid having our air conditioning system on full blast as much as possible. We infuse the air with (truly pure therapeutic) essential oils that smell great and also naturally disinfect our breathing environment. We have not started to grow herbs on our terrace yet…but it’s on our to-do list!

Everyone who comes by can taste our filtered, energized and ionized water infused with detoxifying lemon essential oil. We also make water kefir (and have grains to giveaway for those are keen). They are great probiotic beverages and easy to make. 

 

There is still a lot that we can do to be more “green” of course and we strive to continuously improve. 

 Choc_Balls

What is one of your greenest daily habits?

I have gone through phases of being raw, vegan and organic to different extents.  While I naturally gravitate towards nutrient-dense foods like superfoods, organic foods, and whilst I avoid processed foods, I am not overly obsessed these days when it comes to what I eat.

Studies have shown that more than 70% of our thoughts are repetitive and negative. We literally create toxic stress from our own thoughts, such as those of fear such as eating toxic food, not being healthy enough or slim enough, not looking young enough; blame, criticism, guilt, worry, resentment, self pity and so on.  I believe the most important thing to do that would reverse oxidation and inflammation is to detoxify our inner world, and restore our innate joy and peace.  Anything I do, I like to do so from a space of love and respect, and not fear.

So I would say my “greenest” daily habit is to mind my own inner ecology.  It involves using my heart more than my head, and to be compassionate with myself and others.

From my years as a health seeker and practitioner, I’ve observed that “indigestion” of emotional trauma causes disease/ dis-ease. That’s why I like to use Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) treatments, make use of healing essential oils in maintaining balance and practice being mindful.  

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Share a green Hong Kong tip with our readers.

Slow down, consciously b-r-e-a-t-h-e a few times a day, and drink plenty of water.  Just because you don’t feel thirsty does not mean your body is well hydrated.

Breathing and hydrating allows energy to be produced at the cellular level. Plus unhealthy cravings will be diminished. Think of how much you can save if you no longer need (or need less of) addictive caffeinated and alcoholic drinks and sugary snacks that actually deplete the adrenals.

It’s the nature of our busy mind to tell us we have no time to “breathe”… My trick is I stop at intervals of my day to breathe, drink water and sniff pure therapeutic essential oils…This helps to restore the balance of the nervous system. No matter how tough things get, it is only ever as as bad as how our nervous system interprets it. 

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Where is your favorite place to eat green in Hong Kong?

I would like to think home cooked meals are the greenest option! Since we have a kitchen in the office, we can make food often.

Short of that, I get gluten-free takeaway from MANA Fast Slow Food, which is a stone’s throw from us.

For Chinese food, I like Pure Veggie House on McDonnell Road which is MSG free, uses better quality ingredients than most places I know, and offers Chinese healing foods on the menu. 

We are also lucky to have our friend Chef Lakshmi Harilela of Love True Food cook delicious Ayurvedic food for us. 

We just got a brand new Thermomix, also known as “the world’s smallest kitchen, ” in the office so we will be using it to make more quick and healthy meals for sure.

Whatever I eat, it will be green if it’s eaten with joy and gratitude!

 

 

i-Detox is open Monday thru Fridays from 10am to 7pm and Saturdays from 10am to 2pm. Call +852 3904 1072 or email office@i-detox.com to find out more about their detox programs and services. 

 

Make sure to follow Anita’s wellness blog where she shares her holistic health wisdom at www.anitaonwellness.com.

 

All photos courtesy of Anita Cheung at i-Detox, all food prepared by i-Detox including the raw superfood cheesecake, power choc balls and superfood guacamole with spirulina crunch.

 

Green Queen Heroes is a monthly series showcasing the talented and relentless individuals who are helping to make Hong Kong a greener, cleaner, kinder place to live and giving us eco-warriors more accessible options! 


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