Liv Magazine July 2022

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A BALANCING ACT How to optimise your hormones for a healthier life





JULY 2022 | l i v - m a g a z i n e . co m LIV MAGAZINE

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THE METABOLIC RESET If you think you’re doing all the right things but you’re still not seeing results, a hormone check can reveal your body’s true health. Functional medicine coach Tricia Yap talks us through the ways in which your hormone levels can help or hinder your health goals, and introduces us to their renowned Metabolic Reset™ programme.


ormones are chemical messengers that your body relies on to communicate with all the organs in your body. A common error is to focus on one hormone specifically, when in fact hormones exist in ratio of each other. When hormonal ratios are balanced, it leads to optimal mood, body composition, metabolism, digestion, sleep, menstrual cycle and cognitive performance. One of my favourite examples of how hormones can directly affect health is cortisol - the stress hormone. Cortisol wakes you up in the morning, and over the course of the day, your levels should slowly curve downward and be their lowest at night so melatonin can be produced for you to sleep. However, the cortisol curve can be easily disrupted. When people go on a drastic diet fasting or slashing calories down to as low as 1,200 a day - this causes cortisol to be elevated as it acts to release energy stores to prevent the body from going catabolic. Some will take it even further, adding in intense exercise, which in turn contributes to even higher cortisol levels. This will eventually result in poor sleep and increased stress, which then further cascades to increased hunger hormones, which in turn leads to sweet cravings and binge eating. This can explain why people who diet in this way have a lot of cravings they may never have had before. You might lose a lot of weight at the start of many diets, but because your body will autocorrect to slow down your metabolism to conserve energy, this will lead to increased fat (re)gain and decreased performance, which takes you on a downward spiral of yo-yo dieting.

HORMONE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN MEN AND WOMEN Men and women both go through puberty, and while men may experience “andropause (the male version of menopause), women experience many more hormonal journeys in their lifetime - pregnancy, post-pregnancy, perimenopause, menopause and postmenopause! Hormonal health for women is more complex, but the basics for both sexes are very similar. By doing the following, you’re already taking big steps to optimising your hormonal health. • take control of what you put in your mouth • add muscle (muscle releases hormones too!) • focus on gut health for optimal digestion and absorption • stimulate the rest and digest (parasympathetic) nervous system through programmed recovery and sleep Learn about all this and more in The Metabolic Reset,™ a transformative health program designed to rebalance hormones and kickstart weight loss. Expect a deep health approach through one-on-one assessments; comprehensive lab testing on gut function, sex hormones and more; continuous glucose monitoring to truly personalise your nutrition; small group workshops and 1:1 health and habit change coaching.

Exclusive Offer for Liv Readers! Registration is open for the next Metabolic Reset, which is launching in September. Liv readers can get 10 percent off the joining fee, and score $500 credit towards hormone testing. Just get in touch and quote the code LIV OFFER to redeem! Website:

Whatsapp: 98554437 or Email:

JULY 03 Editor’s Letter

LIV | NEWS 06 Wishlist

Lovely things we want right now

10 Hot Right Now

New happenings on the wellness scene

12 Fresh Cuts

Grow your own microgreen kits

15 Review

Dog adoption from HKDR

18 Community

The New Normal Charity

LIV | STORIES 20 Hormone Issue

Inside the weird, wonderful world of hormonal health

26 Short Stop The best summer daycation deals 12

LIV | MORE 30 Recipe

Vegan tofu and pea curry

32 Beauty Ayurvedic beauty brands

34 Home

Air con cleaning in Hong Kong

36 Family

Eco-conscious, kid-friendly sunscreens








id you know that it’s quite common to experience excessive sweating and hot flashes just before your period? And that hangovers are actually a result of low anti-diuretic hormone levels, which cause the kidneys to stop retaining as much water? Those are just some of the fun facts I learned this month, while researching the endocrine system and how it impacts our overall wellbeing. Spoiler alert: hormones play a massive role in our health! From making us more or less efficient at workouts, to everyday habits like eating, sleeping and emotional regulation, our body’s hormones are the chemical messengers calling the shots behind virtually everything we do! But we don’t really think about them or discuss them much unless we’re talking about puberty or menopause - the bookends of our hormonal health journey. To learn more about this unplumbed area of health and wellness, we spoke to some local experts to get a better sense of our hormones work, what they do for us, and how we can optimise them to live a healthier lifestyle. Learn more about it on p.20. Stuck in the city for a third summer running? Let’s get real - we’re all running out of novel ways to keep ourselves entertained over Hong Kong’s interminably hot and sticky season. For your consideration - we present the daycation! Shortterm stays and experiences at many of the city’s top hotels and tourist attractions are becoming more common. We round up some of the best deals over on p.26. Our latest issue also gives you the lowdown on some summer essentials, like kid- and planet-friendly sunscreens (p.36) and where to get your air cons cleaned (p.34). We also explore Ayurvedic skincare brands (p.32) that integrate ancient healing practices into your beauty routine, the simple magic of microgreen kits, and a decree from our very own founder, Sarah Fung, that dog adoption is actually quite awesome (p.15). Have a fab summer, hope you’re all staying cool!

Ziggy Makant gives the lowdown on the best sunscreens to slap on this summer on p.36.

Aarohi Narain learns all about microgreens and where to find kits in Hong Kong on p.12.

Who’s a good girl?! Sarah Fung reviews the dog adoption process with HKDR on p.15.


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‘‘Liv Magazine’’ Copyright 2022 Liv Media Limited. The content provided here is the property of Liv Media Limited and may not be reproduced in any part without the written permission of the Publisher. The information provided by Liv Media Limited’s contributors do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher or the company. The information provided by Liv Media Limited, or its staff, advertisers and contributors is given in good faith; readers should gather more information before making the decision to purchase any goods or services highlighted here. Liv Media Limited will not be held responsible for any action, omission or error resulting from actions taken on the basis of the information provided here. Please seek the approval of a doctor before following any health advice.


Retail Therapy


Here's what we're crushing on this month


Spruce up your keys with this adorable accessory from Spanish artist Javier Calleja. He’s known for his whimsical cartoon designs, and this latest cute coffee-themed collab is right on brand. $180 from HYPEBEANS, Shop B30, Landmark Atrium, 15 Queen’s Road Central


Facing a quarantine stint? Try enlivening your bland hotel meals with a trio of these locally made sauces from local chef Simran Savlani. $270 from



Made in Fujian, the birthplace of white tea, these white peony and chocolate tea bars are a next-level indulgence. And peep that pretty ecofriendly packaging, too! US$24 from


The perfect cookie doesn’t exi-... OK, we must admit, these buttery biscuits made with rich English clotted cream and chunks of pistachio are basically heaven on earth. $208 from Fortnum & Mason

Retail Therapy



Lightweight, waterproof and folds up into an easy-to-stash pouch, we’re in love with this colourful men’s anorak. Bonus: vibrant violet makes it easy to spot your hiking bud when trails get foggy and misty! Price $1,480 from lululemon


Keep the mozzies away and look good doing it! This Sports Edition mosquito repellent strap fits all wrists and ankles, with reflective strips for improved outdoor visibility. $175 (band + 2 repellant pads) from PARAKITO

Two shoe brands in one Wishlist?! Have we lost our minds? When we saw these rainbow-spotted limited edition trainers from sustainable shoe brand K!BO, we knew it was time to smash the status quo. $1,280 from K!BO


The latest version of Nike’s premium running shoe just dropped, and we’re itching to break a pair in. Come on Hong Kong, let’s get races and running events back on the calendar already! $2,299 from Nike



JUNE 10, 2022

Sponsored Feature


n celebration of Global Wellness Day, Liv Media held their Women of Wellness 2022 awards ceremony at Grand Hyatt Hong Kong on June 10. We were thrilled to invite 60 women to an intimate celebration with a delicious networking breakfast provided by the hotel. After welcome remarks from Sarah Fung, publisher of Liv Media, and Mr. Richard Greaves, General Manager & Area Vice President of Grand Hyatt Hong Kong, guests were treated to a short welcome speech and seated grounding exercise by Sibyl Lo of Rituals, followed by the awards presentation. Afterwards, guests indulged in a bountiful and health-conscious buffet breakfast loaded with fresh fruits, yogurt parfait, plant-based pastries and delectable savouries, along with kombucha, fresh coconuts and juices. A special thank you to our sponsors lululemon, MindNLife, Indigo Living and High Society Skin Clinic for bringing the Women of Wellness to life. A big congratulations once again to all our winners!


Cool Stuff



Looking for something to do with whole fam jam this summer? Asaya is back in action with a new family-oriented wellness package at Rosewood Hong Kong. Choose from a one- or two-night stay, and get the kids involved in the immersive wellness experiences tailored to children aged 5 to 16, such as a DIY essential oil-making workshop, a “junior massage” experience, or a botanical facial by RARE SkinFuel. Adults can also indulge in their 60-minute pampering treatments and private family workshops. You’ll also get dining credit and access to all wellbeing classes, fitness centre and outdoor infinity swimming pool, making it a staycation to remember. The Family Wellcation packages are available from July 15 until September 4, and start from $8,000 per night on weekdays and $8,900 on weekends.


Cool Stuff


Nothing like a bit of internet drama to cause a carb craving! Anyone else bingeing on bagels for the better part of a month now?


We’re all on the hunt for new and exciting places to staycation in Hong Kong, especially as seamless international travel remains a pipe dream for most of us. The Silveri Hong Kong is a new eco resort on Lantau, boasting environmentally-conscious credentials in nature-inspired surroundings. The property holds a BEAM Plus Gold rating, a marker of sustainable development issued by the Hong Kong government, and says it plans to offer green initiatives and eco-friendly guest experiences. Beyond its eco-friendly ambitions, we love the stylish settings, from its lush gardens and courtyard waterfall to sweeping views of the glittering South China Sea and surrounding countryside. Put this at the top of our destination list for this summer.

New Leadership A new CE is in charge. The question on everyone’s mind: will he reopen the border? Watch this space…

Beach Days June’s rains brought a ton of trash to Hong Kong’s beaches. Time to clean it up before we hit the waves!



Christmas is ages away, but it’s never too soon to start thinking about how to make your holidays more plastic-free! Starstreet Precinct just launched its latest eco-friendly initiative, collecting recyclable plastic bottles which they will use to repurpose into upcycled Christmas decorations. They’ve set up 16 temporary PET plastic bottle recycling points around Admiralty and Wan Chai. For each recycling donation made, Starstreet Precinct will plant a tree in Nepal using EcoMatcher’s Global Forest Program. You can even track the progress of your tree using EcoMatcher’s app.

OK, so we actually called this last month, but the latest rules to enter Hong Kong’s night clubs have become downright absurd. Big nights out just aren’t worth the hassle anymore.





BIG GREENS Everything you need to know about growing your own microgreens in Hong Kong. By Aarohi Narain.


ou’ve probably spotted microgreens on the menu at some of Hong Kong’s trendiest restaurants, but what are they actually? Microgreens are simply the seedlings of edible vegetables and herbs, somewhere between sprouts and baby leaves, and they are incredibly nutrient-dense. Some studies say that compared to their adult counterparts, they contain more than 40 times the vitamins, and offer a broader spectrum of antioxidants. They’re best eaten raw or lightly stir-fried, adding zest and complex vegetal notes to salads, sandwiches, wraps, and anything else your heart desires. The best part about microgreens is how micro they are! Their tiny size makes them easy to grow indoors - ideal for space-starved Hong Kong homes. They’re also quick to grow (typically 7-14 days) and resilient, making them relatively simple to care for, even if you’re lacking a green thumb. Keen to try growing your own microgreens? Here are three local organisations in Hong Kong that offer kits and growing advice.


Founded by former geologist Agnes Yeung in 2018, Grow Something is an organic farmingfocused social enterprise with a mission to get more people growing their own veggies. Along with supported home visits to help you start and manage your own organic vegetable patch, the company also sells three different kinds of microgreen grow kits: arugula, sunflower and snow pea. All the kits come with a white ceramic pot, bamboo saucer, natural soil and organic seeds, and range from $45-$85. If you don’t have an easy source of direct sunlight for the pots inside your home, they’ll also sprout under a reading lamp. 12



Rooftop Republic

Grow Something

Rooftop Republic

Hong Kong’s urban gardening stalwart, Rooftop Republic, offers two kinds of kits: the Basic Microgreens Grow Kit ($150) and Ceramic Microgreens Grow Kit ($220). The latter includes a decorative ceramic vessel, enough materials to grow at least three trays of organic microgreens, and four types of local seeds well-suited to Hong Kong’s climate. The soil, growing tray, and spray bottle can all be reused, while microgreens seeds - which include kale, broccoli, alfalfa, beetroot and half a dozen more - can be reordered from their online store as you need them. Want to dive deeper into urban farming? Rooftop Republic also conducts a self-paced online course in growing your own food ($250), starting with an introduction to urban agriculture, setting up your garden, layering your soil, making compost and dealing with pests and diseases.


For the busy, more forgetful gardener, self-watering kits are here to save the day! Veggroom’s grow kits use a special selfwatering system, with a large water reservoir and a rod that releases water into the soil regularly. Choose from four seed options: pea, amaranth, radish and arugula, starting from $89. Veggroom also uses coconut coir, an eco-friendly soil alternative that helps to aerate and drain away excess water, which promotes growth. You can find the kits at Pimary in Hong Kong, or order online.




Your new favourite brunch spot has just opened in Kennedy Town! Popular for their great coffee and with outlets around town, Blend & Grind has just opened up a 65-seater, all-day-dining spot on Catchick Street. With a semioutdoor area out front for pets and a mouthwatering menu packed with nutritious brunch classics, this is a perfect spot to kick back with your furry friends. The owners are fitness buffs, so expect to see gym-friendly dishes such as the lamb shakshuka with olive and thyme sourdough; the brunch board loaded up with grazing goodies; and the beef superfood salad with Thai dressing. Looking for something sweet? Try the dutch pancake baked in a skillet and served with fresh strawberries and zesty lemon sauce, or the Insta-worthy acai bowl topped with fresh fruit. 20 Catchick St., Kennedy Town, 6905-4038,


Japanese-French restaurant Lumi has just launched a mouthwatering weekend breakfast menu! Located in Pacific Place, it’s a perfect spot for a healthy yet hearty bite after a morning yoga class or outdoor workout in Hong Kong Park. Available from 10am to noon, the menu is small but perfectly formed - try the signature Lumi Breakfast Plate ($148), which comprises house-smoked salmon with scrambled eggs, avocado, salad and roasted miso cauliflower, with a mini croissant on the side. On the indulgent side, the lobster Benedict ($198) comes with juicy lobster tails served with rocket and toasted sourdough. Looking for something sweeter? The banana pancakes and berry cream tacos are made fresh to order. Shop 301, Level 3, Pacific Place, 88 Queensway, Admiralty,

LE MERIDIEN CYBERPORT REOPENS WITH REVAMPED DINING OUTLETS Le Meridien Cyberport has just reopened its doors after an extensive renovation, and Southsiders will be thrilled to have a new dining destination in the area. Their casual restaurant, Southside Bistro, offers sustainable seafood alongside plenty of vegan, vegetarian and health-conscious options. Meanwhile, their pet-friendly ground floor terrace can be enjoyed by diners from Japanese izakaya Umami and coffee shop (by day) and bar (by night) Latitude 22. Chinese restaurant Nam Fong is a locavore’s delight; they’re committed to sourcing local ingredients for their elevated interpretation of Cantonese classics. We love Le Meridien Cyberport’s commitment to sustainability; they even have their own hydroponic farm to supply microgreens and herbs to their kitchen. 100 Cyberport Rd., Cyberport, 2980-7788 14


TEST-DRIVE Liv checks out the newest workouts and wellness trends DOG ADOPTION

ADOPTING A DOG FROM HKDR The Buzz: As the saying goes, you come out of the pandemic with either a dog, a baby or an air fryer. With two kids already and kitchen counter space at a premium, a dog it’s gonna be! Animal abandonments are at an all-time high and the city’s shelters are overflowing with pups in need of a home. After stalking various animal charities on social media, our hearts melted when we heard of a scruffy terrier cross rescued from an illegal breeder on rooftop in Tsuen Wan. The Process: We paid a visit to Hong Kong Dog Rescue’s new Kennedy Town homing centre for small- to mediumsized dogs. You need to fill in the adoption form before visiting so they know you’re serious about. There, we met rescued poodles, mongrel puppies and… Scruff. We immediately fell in love with her friendly and energetic nature, and after taking her for a walk around the block with an HKDR volunteer, we decided to offer her a home. Uniquelooking dogs with even temperaments are in high demand, so we had to act fast. We went from talking about possibly having a dog to becoming fully-fledged pet-owners in less than 48 hours! Props to the HKDR team, who were friendly and efficient. We were provided with all the paperwork and a vaccination card, and have received post-adoption support from their dog trainer, who patiently answered all

our questions and provided muchneeded reassuance via email. The Dog: We definitely had a couple of panicked days of “what have we let ourselves in for?” Having never been walked in her life, our one-yearold, 18-kilo dog had trained herself to go to the bathroom indoors - which meant she would come home from long walks and immediately relieve herself on our carpet. But with patience and regular time outside, she quickly figured it out. Dog beds were also an issue; the first one was destroyed in a matter of days, and the second one has sat ignored in the living room, as she prefers to sleep on the hard floor. Speaking of sleep, having a new young dog is like having a newborn, and we are regularly being woken up before 6am for walks. But the challenges are far outweighed by the utter delight that is Scruff, who is extraordinarly loving given her start in life, rarely barks and has made herself truly at home. If you’ve been suffering from pandemic blues, and have the time and energy, consider giving an animal in need a loving home. Verdict: Our shoes are chewed but our hearts are full. 10/10 would recommend. 15



s we deepen our yoga practice, it’s natural to want to achieve certain challenging asanas. But all too often we hit our physical limits, and certain balancing postures, inversions, or poses requiring more flexibility remain frustratingly out of reach. Moe Ng, Regional Head Coach at PURE Fitness, explains how a targeted personal training programme can complement your yoga practice and help you nail those tricky asanas. Q What are some common areas of the body where yogis might experience muscle weakness? It really depends on the individual, but common weaknesses we see are core stability, and wrist and shoulder strength. If you find that you wobble during single-leg balancing poses, you may need to strengthen your core. A lack of core stability and strength will lead to challenges when trying to hold a handstand. Without a strong core your other joints will be under too much stress, which will in turn lead to pain or injuries. For wrists, a lack of mobility or strength will lead to wrist pain when performing high planks or push ups. Mobility and strength in the shoulder are also important for yogis. Impingement is very common when practising overhead positions or push-ups, and stiff shoulders can lead to overcompensation elsewhere in the body. Overuse and chronic pain that isn’t treated properly will cause injuries and derail your progression. Q Why is it important to have a strong core? A stable and strong core helps promote good, upright body posture. As you move through poses, force and muscle tension will be in correct alignment, which will in turn help you avoid muscle imbalances and joint instability which eventually leads to chronic pain. Maintaining a strong core with stable joint and muscle control will help you prevent injury and enhance your overall performance, which means you can continue to practise yoga and improve year after year. Q Let's say we have a specific goal that we want to achieve in yoga - to master an arm balance or an inversion, for example. How can a PT help with this? First, we would identify our goal and set a time frame. Improving one’s overall strength and stability forms the backbone of training. Simultaneously, we identify areas of weakness and prescribe exercises to help strengthen these areas. In general, arm balances and inversions require flexibility in your

Sponsored Feature shoulder, thoracic spine and wrist, and stability, strength and neuromuscular control in your core, shoulder, wrist, hip and leg. Endurance is also key to performing these exercises successfully, so we will work on all these elements together. We will design a program and assess the progress regularly to make sure they are on track. Q Besides muscle strength, can PTs also help develop other physical skills such as balance, stamina and flexibility? As PTs, we believe that all humans should exercise regularly and develop a regular fitness routine for lifelong wellbeing. Our goal is to provide a healthy foundation so that you can continue to do the things that you love safely while enhancing your skills. Our PTs regularly go on courses and gain qualifications for all manner of exercises protocols, and apply our knowledge to help you achieve your goals. Methodologies are varied, and can include Tabata, HIIT, plyometric and single-leg exercises, which can improve muscle control and stability while addressing imbalances. We also provide personalised stretching and massage sessions pre- and post-training to promote recovery.

STRONGER TOGETHER Moe recommends three simple exercises FOR CORE STABILITY Dead Bug Step 1: Lie on your back and lift your legs into the air with your knees bent 90 degrees. Keep your arms straight into the air with your wrist above your shoulders. Step 2: Inhale as you lower your opposite arms and legs toward the floor as you count to four, going as low as you can. Don’t arch your back. Step 3: Exhale and take four slow counts to return to your starting position. Repeat up to 12 times

FOR STRONGER WRISTS: Dumbbell Wrist Flexion Step 1: Sit on a bench or chair and keep your forearms resting on your thighs, suspending your wrists past your knees Step 2: Grip a light dumbbell in each hand, palms facing up, and gently extend your wrist to lower the weight Step 3: Curl your wrist back toward you to lift the weight. Repeat up to 10 times

Moe Ng, Regional Head Coach at PURE Fitness

FOR SHOULDER STABILITY: Side-Lying Dumbbell Shoulder External Rotation

SUPERCHARGE YOUR SUMMER AT PURE! From now until August 28, everyone is welcome to visit any of PURE's 22 outlets free of charge on up to three consecutive Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. You can also sign up for a complimentary PT trial class. Plus, redeem exclusive joining privileges if you decide to sign up as a member. Enquire at any PURE Fitness reception to learn how to redeem your free PT trial. Bring a friend and sweat together!

Step 1: Lie on one side and support your head with a foam roller. Hold a dumbbell in your opposite hand, with your elbow bent 90 degrees at your side. Hold the dumbbell in front of your stomach. FIND OUT MORE:

Step 2: Begin by externally rotating your shoulder to a point where your forearm is facing straight toward the ceiling Step 3: Then, internally rotate your shoulder back down to complete the repetition. Elbow remains flexed 90 degrees throughout the entire movement. Repeat up to 10 times





Founded in London, The New Normal Charity is a peer-to-peer support group connecting people through their grief and mental health. We spoke with Jess Hulton, who recently started the group’s first Hong Kong chapter, to learn more.


Can you give us some background on The New Normal Charity? We were founded by Ben and Jack, who met back in 2015. Both men’s fathers had recently died, and they shared their losses with one another, finding their conversation to be highly therapeutic. In a bid to help others struggling with grief, they launched a peer-to-peer support meeting in 2018, posting the details to Instagram at a venue in North London. On that day, just seven people came together with tea and biscuits, and spoke openly about grief and dealing with their loss. Since then, our meetings have grown in ways we could never have imagined. When the pandemic hit, our meetings continued virtually, and as a result, we have met attendees from all corners of the world. Our roster has grown to include specific meetings for students, LGBTQ+, young carers, and complicated grief, to name a few, as well as our spaces for mental health. We estimate that we have held over 600 meetings and reached over 5,000 attendees. We believe that nobody should ever feel isolated, and there is always somebody who will relate to your story. Why was it important for you to bring The New Normal Charity to Hong Kong? I'm relatively new to Hong Kong. I lost my dad during the pandemic. I tried to find counselling through the public health system in the UK, but I found that wait times are long unless you are in a crisis, while


private therapy was cost-prohibitive for me. I started attending The New Normal Charity's virtual grief support meetings, and soon realised that all I needed was someone to tell me they had felt the same at some point, and that it would get better. When I moved to Hong Kong, I was curious to see if people here faced the same issues I experienced in the UK, and quickly realised that it was a similar scenario. We held our first grief support group, Good Grief Hong Kong, at The Hive last January, and since then have also begun to offer a women's mental health meeting, Girls Talk. Explain a bit more about what you offer the community and how you operate? Peer-to-peer support is a format that The New Normal Charity has proudly adopted from its inception. We feel that one of the best forms of therapy is to talk to others with similar life experiences. We help by facilitating conversations between individuals who find themselves in similar positions, aiming to ensure that no one feels alone or isolated, no matter what they go through. Our spaces are all free, open and non-judgemental. Aside from our meetings, we also partner with health and fitness practitioners to highlight the connection between our physical and mental health. And we offer webinars and panel talks to organisations to raise awareness and understanding for people struggling with grief or mental health issues.

How can readers get involved? There are many different ways to get involved and support the cause. We're a charity staffed by volunteers, and we couldn't continue our work without help. You can help us to build awareness by spreading the word or becoming ambassadors. You can experience our services firsthand by joining a meeting or talk. Or you can partner with us by sharing ideas, joining us for a panel talk, or offering spaces and any form of expertise! We are truly grateful and humbled by the support we have already received in Hong Kong, and look forward to working with more people and organisations to expand what we offer. Get in touch with, and follow on Instagram @tnncharity and @tnnhongkong.

What advice do you have for people who are trying to be supportive to a grieving friend? None of us are ever prepared or know what to say. It's not about the exact details of the conversation but just that you had the conversation. The most important thing is to say something, ask a question, and get in touch. Equally important is really listening to what the person has to say in a non-judgemental way, which often means withholding advice. Can you talk a little bit about the events you've recently started to offer? We launched our Good Grief meetings in Hong Kong in late January this year in person at The Hive Wan Chai. Unfortunately, the pandemic meant we had to return to virtual meetings, but this month we are making a welcome return to our in-person events. We have also held collaborative events with fitness professionals to provide free mindful movement classes followed by mental health peer support meetings. 19

Cover Story

My First, My Last,

My Endocrine Everything you need to know about hormones. By Carla Thomas


ormones. Everyone’s got ‘em, but for many of us, we don’t give them the full attention they deserve, nor do we understand the central role they play in our health and wellness. The truth is, hormones are essential to optimal functioning. Although we tend to attribute things like sex, puberty and menstruation to hormonal activity, these multi-purpose molecules in our bodies are also the catalyst for virtually everything we do in our daily lives, including eating, sleeping, moving, and our overall emotional wellbeing. A hormonal imbalance can be responsible for a wide spectrum of symptoms, including heart palpitations, depression, hair loss, anxiety, weight gain, memory loss, and more. It can even increase the risk of serious health issues such as heart attack, stroke and osteoporosis. That’s why understanding our hormonal levels and how they actually work is crucial to living our best, healthiest lives. So let’s dive into the weird, wonderful world of hormones, starting with the basics…


Hormones are our body’s chemical messengers. They’re produced via the endocrine system, a complex network of glands and organs: the hypothalamus, pituitary, and pineal gland in the brain; the thyroid and parathyroid in the neck; the thymus in the chest; the adrenal glands in the kidneys; and the pancreas and reproductive organs. Each area produces and secretes specific types of hormones into the circulatory system, in order to control everything from body composition, metabolism, energy levels and growth, to our response to injury and stress. This process is largely kept in check through a feedback loop, meaning that once balance is restored in our bodies, the system should switch off. Problems occur when our endocrine system either won’t turn on or off correctly, leading to a plethora of confusing signals floating around in our bodies and generally causing mayhem.


Cover Story

THE ENDOCRINE SYSTEM PINEAL GLAND Produces melatonin and controls sleep

THYROID AND PARATHYROID GLANDS Controls your growth and metabolism. Parathyroid controls bone health.

PANCREAS Produces insulin to stabilise blood sugar

HYPOTHALAMUS Connects your endocrine system with your nervous system. Tells the pituitary gland when to stop and start producing hormones. PITUITARY GLAND The body’s master gland that controls hormone production elsewhere in the body. THYMUS Produces white blood cells

ADRENAL GLANDS Produces adrenaline for flight or flight response. Also produces corticosteroids, which controls your metabolism REPRODUCTIVE ORGANS Testes produces testosterone in men, and ovaries produce oestrogen in women.

HOW DO THEY AFFECT OUR WELLBEING? To learn more about the specific ways that hormones affect our day-to-day health, we spoke with functional medicine practitioner Miles Price. He recently opened his own clinic, Peak Metabolism, which specialises in hormonal regulation and metabolic health. “One of the major hormones your body produces is thyroid hormone T4, or thyroxine, which is converted to the active form T3 (triiodothyronine) in the liver, kidneys, heart and gut,” says Price. “Nearly every cell in your body is affected by your T3 levels. When you’re deficient, it can have wide-ranging effects, including stubborn weight gain, fatigue, disrupted menstrual cycles, constipation, depression, dry skin, muscle cramps, sensitivity to cold and loss of libido.” That’s why keeping your thyroid levels in check is so important. What’s more, Price says that the thyroid is particularly sensitive to other hormones produced in the body, such as cortisol, the stress hormone. “Managing your stress levels and circadian rhythms is critical to keeping your thyroid function optimal,” adds Price.


Cover Story

A FINE BALANCE According to Beth Wright, a Hong Kong-based personal trainer and health coach, having an excess of hormones can be just as problematic. “Hormones can behave as blockers to the way we want to feel and look, and whilst our body does a wonderful job of regulating itself, sometimes tweaks can be made to help the process along,” she explains. “It’s a little bit of a ‘Goldilocks’ effect where too much is potentially just as negative as too little. Cortisol is a good example of this - we’re not trying to eliminate it entirely, we want just the right amount.” A lawyer by day, Wright’s journey into hormonal health began when she struggled with her own 20-pound gain and insomnia, something she attributes to high stress levels. She gradually started to learn about the interplay between hormones with nutrition, sleep, stress and weight, especially in women, whose hormonal levels tend to fluctuate more than men’s. “I realised that the women I was working with, especially those around a certain age, found it harder to lose weight, feel better and improve things like blood pressure or cholesterol,” says Wright. “I would often hear ‘I am doing everything I did before but it is no longer working’.”

// We need to get serious about sharing the information, advice and support that women need to manage their hormonal health. //


HORMONES IN WOMEN One reason why women in particular may struggle is due to the expression of different sex hormones. Unsurprisingly to anyone who’s struggled with PMS, women’s sex hormones like oestrogen and progesterone fluctuate wildly during the menstrual cycle. According to Price, women’s sex hormones are also more sensitively influenced by lifestyle. “Oestrogen and progesterone levels are affected by factors like diet and nutrient intake, and they can directly affect the production of those hormones. From that perspective, women need to take more care with their lifestyle choices compared to men.” There’s also the huge hormonal shifts that women face during life events like pregnancy, breastfeeding, perimenopause and menopause. Wright says that she started to think more about how to support women struggling with menopause, particularly after she noticed how the topic was trending outside of Asia. “I actually really don’t like the term ‘menopause’ as it sounds so final,” she laughs. “I prefer ‘long-term female hormone deficiency’, which I find more powerful. It’s factual and something we can work with, adjust and support.” To help women optimise their hormone health, Wright even co-created a dedicated menopause programme, including nutrition plans to avoid unwanted weight gain and maintain energy levels; exercises to build bone density and muscle mass; and strategies to improve sleep. “Compared to the US and Europe, where menopause is getting a lot attention right now, I find that Asia is sadly still far behind. We need to get serious about sharing the information, advice and support that women need to manage their hormonal health, because there’s no reason for anyone to suffer.”

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ormones are your body’s chemical messengers. They travel around your bloodstream, telling your organs, skins, muscles, and other tissues what to do and when. They play such a powerful role in your body that even the slightest hormonal imbalance can harm your health and disrupt your life. Hong Kong’s experts in hormonal health and balancing, IMI’s naturopaths are skilled at treating hormone-related conditions. Irregular menstrual cycles, PMS, heavy/ painful periods, PCOS, endometriosis, infertility, thyroid disorders, weight gain, menopause, cysts, fibroids, acne and more. Rather than masking health conditions with hormonal medication proven to cause short- and long-term side effects, our

Tel: +852 2523-7121

naturopaths find and address the underlying cause of hormonal imbalances. They focus on bringing your hormones back in balance, naturally, risk-free, and for the long term. Your journey to optimal hormonal health begins with your IMI naturopath doing a comprehensive intake of your medical history and current symptoms to deeply understand the internal and external factors at play. Drawing on industry-leading functional medicine and diagnostic tests, they then identify the presence of too little or too much of every hormone in your body and - with a crystal-clear view of your health - they connect the dots as to why your hormones are off-kilter. To address your unique hormonal challenges, your personalised treatment

Enquiries and appointments:

plan may include specific herbal medicine, homeopathic remedies, and supplements from our in-clinic dispensary, as well as dietary and lifestyle advice. If a multidisciplinary approach is required, your naturopath may refer you to practitioners like osteopaths for structural blockages, psychotherapists for stress or trauma, or acupuncture to bring your hormones into balance. IMI Naturopaths Dr Benita Perch, Dr Ardyce Yik and Dr Ji Woon Min are available for in-person and telehealth consultations. For more information on how they heal hormonal imbalances, visit https://www.imi.


Cover Story


// The typical fast-paced, Hongkonger lifestyle of staying up late, drinking too much alcohol and coffee, and relying on take-away food can wreak havoc on the expression of some hormones. //

So what can we do to keep our hormones in check? The good news is that for most people, it’s not terribly complicated to correct and restore imbalances. “For many of my patients, lifestyle changes and specific supplemental interventions are all they need, which can include vitamins D3, B-complex, magnesium, fish oils, and increased fibre,” says Price. Maintaining a healthy weight, engaging in regular exercise, managing stress - these are the building blocks of a healthy hormonal profile. It’s not rocket science, but according to Price, that doesn’t make it any easier - especially in a city like Hong Kong. “The typical fast-paced, Hongkonger lifestyle of staying up late, drinking too much alcohol and coffee, and relying on takeaway food can wreak havoc on the expression of some hormones.” Both Price and Wright say that the first step to assess whether a hormonal imbalance is present is a consultation, where clients give a detailed history, including onset of symptoms and lifestyle habits. In some cases, a complete diagnostic work-up of hormone expression is useful, in order to better understand someone’s insulin, cortisol, thyroid and sex hormone levels - all of which can subtly influence each other. It may take some time, but Wright insists that knowledge is power when it comes to hormonal health. “It is really enlightening to establish the ‘why’ behind certain issues including weight gain, libido, poor sleep, low energy, and so on. When we better understand what’s happening inside of us, we’re better able to get past our previous blocks to reach our desired goals.”


The signs and symptoms of a hormone imbalance are varied and can be attributed to many other causes, but if you’re regularly experiencing these symptoms and lifestyle changes aren’t helping to alleviate them, you may want to consult a medical professional specialising in hormones. • • • • • • • • •


Tiredness and brain fog Irregular or atypical periods Gastrointestinal problems leading up to periods Heart palpitations and mood swings Bloating and weight gain Chronic acne, especially along the jawline Headaches, mood swings and anxiety Lower libido and vaginal dryness Insomnia


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THE GATEKEEPER OF HORMONAL HEALTH Functional Medicine practitioner Miles Price is the founder of Peak Metabolism. He takes a deep dive into the role insulin and cortisol plays in our overall health, and explains how you can adjust your lifestyle to regulate these hormones for optimal wellbeing.


ormones control nearly every aspect of our lives, and so optimising and balancing them can not only influence how happy and energetic we are, but also how fast we age. Functional medicine practicioners look at the total expression of hormones produced by the body. Of all the hormones in our body, stress hormone cortisol and insulin, which regulates blood sugar, are two of the most important, thanks to their influence on our thyroid and sex hormones. With today’s snacky, high-carb diets and stressful, imbalanced lifestyles, insulin resistance is on the rise and is currently experienced by some 1.5 million Hongkongers. Unfortunately, early symptoms are difficult to catch unless you are testing your fasting insulin levels, so it is rarely caught early. Subtle clues to

look out for include low energy, cravings before and after meals and stubborn weight gain. With cortisol, the story’s the same. Working late, poor sleep and poor diets can disrupt cortisol production and impact negatively on energy, cardiac and mental health. Again, cortisol levels over a 24-hour period are rarely tracked and symptoms are often overlooked. Insulin resistance (high insulin) has been shown to be associated with sub-clinical hypothyroidism, and continued hypothyroidism can lead to whole range of additional symptoms. Insulin resistance also negatively impacts the sex hormones by driving up testosterone and Dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT is a powerful androgen that can cause excessive hair growth, acne and Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). Insulin resistance also lowers the carrier protein for estrogen, which in turn dumps more estrogen into the bloodstream. This leads to estrogen

dominance and its associated symptoms such as moodiness, heavy periods and fibroids. Insulin resistance also negatively affects cortisol by driving up its production, which in turn contributes to insomnia, memory loss and confusion, anxiety, cravings, weight gain, hypertension and poor gut function. So we can see that by modifying just one hormone, insulin, you can influence many other hormones to self-regulate properly. Taking the control of your insulin and cortisol levels and optimising them will have significant downstream benefits on thyroid and sex hormone expressions, as well as your overall health. Nearly every chronic health condition, including heart disease, alzheimers, cancer, diabetes and kidney disease can be linked back to insulin dysregulation. If there’s one thing to do for your long-term health, it’s to get your insulin levels in check.

Peak Metabolism Integrated Medicine Centre, Suite 1105-06, Eastern Commercial Centre, 395-399 Hennessy Rd., Wan Chai WhatsApp: 6890-6041


Day Trippers Sarah Fung investigates the rising trend of the daycation, and where to try one out in Hong Kong this summer.


e're all familiar with the idea of a staycation... but how many of you have tried a daycation? Many of the city's top hotels and attractions are offering them this summer, from spa getaways to heritage tours. To help get you initiated, we've got all the best Hong Kong daycation ideas for a fun-filled, short-term holiday that’ll (almost) make you forget that you’re stuck here for yet another summer.

ENTOURAGE YACHT Perfect for: a tricked out junk boat party Junk trips are the ultimate Hong Kong daycation, but if you're looking for something a little more tricked out, check out a three-storey, 75foot yacht that can accommodate up to 50 guests. It offers fully catered charter packages and will drop anchor at picturesque spots around the Southside. Looking to set up a private wellness retreat? It has a fully equipped kitchen for prepping healthy cuisine and an outdoor terrace that's perfect for yoga. $38,000 for a fullycatered day charter for up to 50 guests. 26


FOUR SEASONS Perfect for: a spa getaway Looking for a spectacular spa day that also includes some pool time? The Four Seasons Spa’s Summer on my Skin promo includes two hours of treatment time plus 90 minutes by the pool for a full day of pampering. First, pick your massage (Ayurvedic oil, lymphatic drainage, pre- or post-natal, or a Cellu M6 Body Revolution), and then your choice of either a 30-minute body polish, express manicure or express pedicure. Once you’re good and relaxed, nab a sun lounger and kick back by the pool with a complimentary wellness drink. The package is $3,300 - a steal by Four Seasons standards - and runs until July 31. Four Seasons Spa, 6/F, 8 Finance St., Central, 3196-8888

LIVE July & August! Wondering how to make your fitness comeback this summer!? Why not try something new and sign up for your first class at Project S.

Project Summer 3X

50 min session



30 min session


$888 projectsfitness +852 2328 8211 33-34/F, The Chelsea, 69 Jervois Street, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong 27


MIRASPA Perfect for: rainy days Hong Kong has so much to offer when it’s good weather, but your choices are a little limited when it rains. Located in the basement of the Mira Hotel, MiraSpa is a subterranean pamper palace that removes you completely from the bustle of TST above. Lounge by the indoor pool with a smoothie, work out at the state-of-the-art gym, and indulge in beautifying experiences galore. The Couple’s Day Retreat lasts for a marathon four hours and includes use of the pool and gym, bottle of champagne and fruit platter, massage, facials, scrubs and a private jacuzzi session. Looking for some alone time? Their new facial from German skincare brand Biodroga uses gold leaf to soothe reactive skin and provide deep nourishment for a glow that lasts for days. B/3, The Mira Hotel, 118 Nathan Rd., Tsim Sha Tsui, 2368-1111,

WATER WORLD Perfect for: a pool party with friends and family Planning a Water World trip this summer? Make it boujee by levelling up to a VIP cabana, which turns a fun if slightly taxing day out, into a lush Hong Kong daycation! Facing amazing ocean vistas and lush jungle, the cabanas all come with a mini fridge, safe and even a charger, while some of the bigger ones come with sofas, umbrellas, tables and chairs. The larger villas and chalets - suitable for up to eight and 12 people respectively - also provide free towels, a locker and a selection of welcome drinks and snacks to help fuel the fun. Prices start at $628 for the smallest cabana on a weekday, and go up to $3,990 for the 12-person chalet on a weekend - which doesn’t include your entry ticket.


ABERDEEN FLAIR Perfect for: a taste of the houseboat life For a Hong Kong daycation with a floating twist, check out the fleet of houseboats available for rent on Aberdeen Flair. Available for both day hires and overnight stays, these boats host private gatherings, offsites and other events, making them perfect for a chill day on the water. If you love to cook, the fully equipped kitchens come with a large alfresco entertaining area. Want to cool off in the water? They can arrange a private sampan to take you from the houseboat to Repulse Bay for a dip.


eth is a functional medicine practitioner and health coach. She specialises in personalised programmes, fat loss, and hormonal profiling. Beth’s 1:1 and group programmes cover hormone related issues for women in their 20’s, 30’s, 40’s, 50’s and beyond.

TAI O HERITAGE HOTEL Perfect for: a taste of Hong Kong history in lush scenery For a daycation with a cultural twist, head to Tai O and pay a visit to this famous stilt village, where fishermen still practice a traditional way of life. Once you’ve done exploring the photogenic village and having your fill of traditional snacks, head to the Tai O Heritage Hotel, a former police station that’s now a carefully restored nine-room boutique hotel. It offers free daily docent tours, which are open to the public and run at 3pm, 3:30pm and 4pm. Architecture buffs will love this educational tour, which leads you through the former Police Inspectorate Headquarters, highlighting architectural features along the way.

• Personalised hormone-focused coaching for better: energy levels, sleep, libido, focus, and zest for life! • Metabolic reset programmes for men and women • Fat loss and body composition • THRIVE through menopause programme • Starting September 2022

Liv readers get 10% off any of Beth’s programmes with code LIV2022.

Follow Beth at or visit | +852 61145622 29




Low-fat and super easy to make, this vegan curry dish is perfect for a weeknight dinner. It’s a plant-based spin on mattar paneer, a popular Indian recipe traditionally made with cottage cheese – just swap the cheese for tofu, and dig in!


300g tofu

120 ml coconut milk (regular or reduced-fat)

130g frozen garden peas

1 tsp coarse sea salt plus pepper to taste

400g canned tomatoes

1 tsp garam masala

1 large onion, finely chopped

½ tsp cumin powder

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

½ tsp turmeric

1.5 tbsp peeled ginger

4 tbsp cilantro finely chopped

1 bay leaf

5 tbsp olive oil

INSTRUCTIONS: 1. Start by preparing the tofu. Drain it well, wrap it in a paper towel and squeeze gently to remove any excess water. Cube the tofu and set aside. 2. In a pot, heat 3 tbsps of oil, add the bay leaf, garlic, ginger and onion and fry on medium heat for a minute, stirring often. 3. Add garam masala, cumin and turmeric and continue frying for another minute or so, stirring often. 4. Add tomatoes, salt and pepper, cover and simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. In the meantime, heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a separate large pan and fry tofu over medium heat until golden brown (about 2 minutes on each side). 5. Remove sauce from heat, discard the bay leaf and puree the sauce. 6. Add coconut milk, cilantro, tofu and frozen peas. Reheat the dish and adjust the seasoning if needed, and serve! 30



20 minutes

TIP: Enjoy with bread, naan, or rice.




News from the beauty aisle



Skincare Brands What TCM is to Hong Kong, Ayurveda is to the Indian subcontinent. Here’s how to integrate this ancient healing practice into your routine. By Aarohi Narain.



yurveda is an ancient Indian medical system, dating back around 5,000 years. Possibly the world’s oldest holistic healing system, it’s rooted in the belief that everything in life is connected, and we must seek to balance the energy types (doshas) between our mind, body, spirit and the world around us. Even though it’s old as heck - or perhaps because of it modern skincare brands are increasingly embracing the timehonoured principles of Ayurveda to create balanced product lines, which are environmentally friendly and cruelty-free. Here are five amazing, women-owned Ayurveda beauty brands that you can find in Hong Kong.

PUREARTH Founded by experienced Ayurveda practitioner Kavita Khosa, and headquartered right here in the 852, Purearth takes a luxe approach to traditional Indian skin science. Premium, all-natural ingredients make up most of the formulations – think aloe and raw honey, as well as lesser-known actives like neem (Indian lilac) and Fuller’s earth, a mineral-rich clay from Pakistan. In line with Ayurvedic practices, Purearth’s products evoke harmony between mind, body and soul, and are crafted in a zero-waste studio. What’s more: Purearth employs fairtrade and foraging practices, and partners with NGOs and community-based organisations that help women in the Himalayas.


Ranavat 32

Adaptogens are herbs and plants that purport to help our bodies adapt more effectively to stress. Blending adaptogenic science with ancient Ayurveda, Ranavat sets itself apart with potent botanical formulations to pamper the skin and hair. Their hero item is the Brightening Saffron Serum, a lightweight line-erasing that’s earned a cult following from beauty insiders. What’s


even more cool is that Ranavat’s products are all “tri-doshic” meaning they target all three doshas rather than just one - so they’re designed to work on most skin and hair types. Available at Beautysaur Organics.

UMA OILS Struggling with how to integrate oils into your beauty routine without breaking out? Enter Uma, a skincare and wellness brand with a laser-focus on the A-Z of oils. Founder Shrankhla Holecek blends both Ayurvedic alchemy and her family’s 800-year-old expertise in producing farm-to-bottle essential oils. Designed to restore mind-body connection, the tightly edited range is totally organic, vegan, and free from nasties like parabens and synthetic fragrances. Some highlights include UMA’s Intensely Nourishing Hair Oil - essential for keeping your locks luscious during the summertime heat. Available in-store at Beautysaur Organics and Lane Crawford, and online at

Uma Oils

SIAMSEAS Toxin-free ancestral healing in a bottle - that’s what Thai beauty brand SiamSeas delivers. Founder Supadra Geronimo used her personal experiences with chronic inflammation and autoimmune issues to develop this organic skincare brand which incorporates Ayurveda, TCM, and Southeast Asian herbal remedies. You’ll find a diverse range of ingredients, from skincare staples like hyaluronic acid and K-beauty essential centella asiatica, to ancient plant medicines like ashwagandha, black rice, and manjistha. Slather on the Skin Revolution Mask to transform congested skin into a glowing complexion, or keep it simple with the Morning Delight Cleanser, a superfood-based cleanser that doubles as a makeup remover. Available at Beautysaur Organics.


SUBTLE ENERGIES Founded by Ayurveda practitioner and aromatherapist Farida Irani, Subtle Energies blends the best of both worlds with heavy influences from aromatherapy and Ayurveda into one potent product line. This Australia-based brand uses only top-of-theline active essential oils, with no preservatives and strictly no animal testing. It targets a wide range of concerns, from the physical (dry or sensitive skin) to the energetic (grounding and focus; destress). Relying on decades of clinical research, the results-based skincare line has also become a favourite of highend spas around the world. Available in-store at Joyce Beauty.

Subtle Energies 33




CHILL Sarah Fung gets her aircons cleaned.


ummer’s here, which means our aircons are running full steam ahead! But did you know that in order for aircons to run optimally, they need to be regularly cleaned? Getting your aircon cleaned helps to improve your home’s air quality by removing trapped dirt, dust and bacteria. It also helps your aircons to run more efficiently and provide more effective cooling. In short, it’s good for your health, your aircons, your electricity bill and the planet! Experts recommend getting your aircons cleaned annually to extend the life of your appliances. Here you’ll find seven great companies offering aircon cleaning services in Hong Kong.


Established in 2002, Will Legend offers eco-friendly professional cleaning services for homes and businesses. Its aircon cleaning service removes dirt, mould and biofilms from your appliances using nontoxic cleaning agents. They’ll even add an antimicrobial coating for long-term protection. Corporate social responsibility is a big part of their DNA, and they work with local bee-keepers to help protect Hong Kong’s biodiversity. If you’re interested in helping with their mission, they will also offer a cut-price service for installing a mini pollinator garden in your home, office or school.


Experts in eco-friendly cleaning services, Johnson Group is well known for its aircon cleaning services, which banish mould and grime not only from your filters, but from your fan coil and grill, where hidden dirt often gets trapped. You’ll be shocked at what comes 34

out! They use a pH neutral enzyme-based cleaner that’s approved by the US Environmental Protection Agency, and guarantee 12 months of protection. If you suffer from allergies, you may find that cleaning your aircons also brings relief from your symptoms.


This company offers both commercial and domestic aircon cleaning services. All casings, filters, coils, fans and drain hoses are professionally washed by trained technicians, after which an antibacterial and antimould disinfectant is applied. For a finishing touch, a drop of essential oil makes your home smell lovely and


Johnson Group

Besides aircon cleaning, they also offer professional post-tenancy home cleaning services, window cleaning and minor home renovations.


AC Express has more than 10 years experience in the aircon cleaning industry, and their team of licensed professionals provide 30 days post-service support in case of any issues post-cleaning. Prices are super transparent; single unit cleaning starts at $650 for a window-type or $750 for a split-type, with a 20 percent discount when cleaning three or more units.


fresh. They’re super transparent with their pricing too - it’s $1,000 for a single unit, and gets cheaper the more units you need cleaned - bottoming out at $600 per unit for six units or more.


Quality work is Golden Age’s MO, and they pledge to be the most thorough aircon cleaners in town - their website shows some pretty scary before and after photos of aircons they’ve tackled over the years. They clean both split-type and window-type aircons, and prices start at $1,000 for a single unit, going down to $550 per unit when cleaning three units or more.

Lazy might be a bit of a misnomer; their platform is filled with testimonials from satisfied customers! This online booking platform and app takes the guesswork out of finding a technician; you can get a quote from a contractor in a matter of minutes. Kind of like Gogovan, but for cleaning services. In addition to AC cleaners, you can find contractors for pest control, VOC removal, spring cleaning, post-renovation cleaning, pre- and post-tenancy cleaning, and even cooking and infant care! This is a great website to bookmark.


Eco-friendly pest-control company Biocycle also offers aircon cleaning services. It uses an eco-friendly wet flush method designed by Hydrokleen Australia to ensure that every last trace of gunk is eliminated from your units. The technology used has also been approved by the Australian Asthma Council, ensuring that you can breathe easy once the work is complete. 35



with Ziggy Makant



he scorching Hong Kong summer is upon us, and as an ecoconscious mama, I want to make sure that my sunscreen is both child-friendly and ocean-safe. Deciphering the ingredients on a label, however, can make that challenging. Here’s how I choose my family’s sunscreen. The best protection is always covering up or staying in the shade, so consider full-length swimsuits and a sun hat with a large brim, particularly if your child is sun-sensitive.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR: Select a sunscreen that offers protection against both UVA and UVB rays. UVA rays have an immediate tanning effect and can penetrate through glass. UVB rays have a delayed tanning effect, and can cause redness and sunburns. A sun protection factor (SPF) between 30-50 is best; anything over SPF50 doesn’t offer much additional protection. SPF30 will protect you from roughly 96% UVB rays and SPF50 offers about 98% protection. No sunscreen can guarantee 100% protection. It’s best to opt for mineral sunscreens, with active ingredients like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. These are effective against both UVA and UVB rays, and are safer for both the environment and your children’s skin. Most commercial sunscreens that are easy to buy over the counter are non-mineral; they’ll do in a pinch but try to make your go-to a mineral variety! As a mother of two toddlers, here are some additional requirements I have for sunscreen: • Easy to apply (spray, stick, or squirt bottle) • Lightweight (too thick and it’s a nightmare to rub into excited children)

• Fast and absorbent (no white streaks please!) • Reusable or recyclable packaging over plastic single use



Active Ingredients like: • Oxybenzone

Aerosol cans • Affect the earth’s atmosphere • May pose an inhalation risk • Don’t provide a thick enough skin coating to protect from UV rays

Skincare ingredients like: • Retinyl palmitate • Retinol • Vitamin A

Ingredients that damage coral:

Fragrances 36

• Avobenzone • Homosalate • Octinoxate

• Octisalate • Octocrylene • Oxybenzone

F Fa ammi li yl y

Ziggy’s Picks 1. THE KIND SUNSCREEN (Available online at INGREDIENTS  SPF30  Mineral-based (zinc oxide)  Contains only nine ingredients

APPLICATION  Sweat- and waterresistant for 80 mins  Easy application Slower absorption

ECO-CREDENTIALS  Tube made from recycled plastic  Carton constructed from recycled card

2. SUPERGOOP PLAY EVERYDAY LOTION (Available at Sephora) INGREDIENTS  SPF 50  Free from parabens, fragrances, oxybenzone and octinoxate  Mineral sunscreen

APPLICATION  Lightweight  Instant absorption  Sweat- and water-resistant ECO-CREDENTIALS Plastic packaging

3. RAW ELEMENTS - BABY & KIDS SUNSCREEN (Available at Live Zero) INGREDIENTS  SPF 30  Mineral-based (zinc oxide)  Soothing natural ingredients coconut oil, calendula and chamomile

APPLICATION  Sweat- and waterresistant for 80 mins Thicker texture Slower absorption

ECO-EXTRAS  Biodegradable cardboard stick applicator  Eco-friendly reusable tin

4. RALOHA (Available at Landmark or from INGREDIENTS  SPF50 PA+++  Shields against blue light, infrared and pollution  Mineral sunscreen  Naturally fragranced with essential oils  Paraben- and sulfate-free  Non-comedogenic and hypoallergenic

APPLICATION  Sweat and water-resistant for 80 mins  Fast absorbing  Easy application ECO-CREDENTIALS  Donates portion of profits to charities and NGOs Plastic packaging

Ziggy is a Hong Kong-based mum of two, pre- and postnatal trainer, micro-influencer, and co-host of the Mom Body Soul Podcast. She loves all things motherhood, sustainability and parenting. You can follow her adventures on Instagram @zig.fitmama or reach out to say hello at for FitFam leads and pitches!


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YOUR GO-TO GUIDE FOR SELF-CARE IN HONG KONG Launching this August, the Self-Care Guide is a keep-me-forever directory of all Hong Kong's best brands and businesses that empower you to prioritse your authentic wellbeing. Find out how to get listed in this guide:

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