Liv Magazine March 2016

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MARCH 2016 | l i v - m a g a z i n e . c o m

Feel the Fizz Sky Running in China it’s not for the faint-hearted

Our Daily Bread

Le Pain Quotidien arrives in Hong Kong

Pancakes = Health Food?

fermenting for beginners

Ticket to Ride

extreme biking adventures through Asia

we kid you not!


TO TECH? Here’s how to kick that smartphone habit

PLUS Win a year’s supply of gourmet coffee beans on page 16!

Sponsored Feature

MARCH 06 Editor’s Letter

LIV | NEWS 08 It’s a Date

Events for your diary

10 Hot Right Now

New happenings on the wellness scene

12 Fresh Cuts

Making healthy food choices just got easier

14 Cheat Day

Because you can’t eat quinoa every day

17 Well I Never

Andrea Lo checks out an underwater HIIT class.

LIV | STORIES 18 Give up the Gadgets

Hong Kong is in the grip of a tech addiction epidemic. Here’s how to unplug

22 Scoby Do

New to fermenting? Read this first.


LIV | MORE 26 Food

Healthy online supermarkets that deliver to your door

29 Recipe

Gluten-free, superfood-packed pancakes

30 Pamper

We try a floatation tank, and find out why microbeads are a no-no


32 Travel

Once-in-a-lifetime cycling holidays through Asia

38 Family

Kids’ rugby clubs

44 Q&A

Dr. Lucy Lord of Central Health talks cervical health

50 How I Liv


Bobsy, ecopreneur and owner of Mana! 36




I love my iPhone as much as everyone else. Technology is amazing, and allows us to make plans, stay on top of tasks, catch up with friends and play Clash of Clans on the MTR. But the negative effects of all those hours spent on our phones, tablets and computers are becoming increasingly difficult to ignore. This month, we’re reporting on the rise of tech addiction in Hong Kong - one of the most gadget-saturated cities in the world - and find out how to unplug (p.18). As fermenting newbies ourselves, we were excited to learn more about kefir and kombucha this month, and we’ve even got tips on how to brew your own fermented drinks at home (p.22). And if you want an equally healthy snack to go with your new fizzy fermented beverage, check out the super tasty healthy pancake recipe on p.29. Elsewhere, we’ve got a roundup of Hong Kong’s newest, coolest online grocery stores that make healthy shopping super simple (p.26); a review of Zero G, a new floatation spa in Happy Valley (p.30), and an interview with one of Hong Kong’s top docs on HPV awareness (p.44). Our March calendar is also packed full to bursting, with big ticket event Taste of Hong Kong taking place on the 10th. And if you’re a yoga enthusiast, make sure to head down to West Kowloon on the 5th to check out Your Escape, a yoga event with classes, stalls and other activities right on the waterfront (p.8). Here’s to a healthy March, and don’t forget to look up from your phone every now and then!


MEET OUR CONTRIBUTORS Can’t put down your phone? Kate Springer learns more about the citywide obsession with technology that’s harming our health.

WIth her passion for healthy eating, Shan Shan Feng learns how to make kombucha and kefir at home.

Exercise newbie Andrea Lo puts on her mum’s long-sleeved swimsuit and tries an underwater HIIT class.

Adrenaline junkie Zoe Bellhomme undertakes an epic cycling adventure through China, all in the name of research.

Our new travel columnist Gayatri Bhaumik seeks out the hottest travel news, from a skyrunning weekend in Australia to a yoga retreat in Morocco. Ahead of the Sevens, Kate Farr learns more about Hong Kong’s mini rugby scene, and meets inspirational rugby ref, Mui Thomas.


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Liv Media Limited Makerhive, 10/F, Cheung Hing Industrial Building, 12P Smithfield, Kennedy Town PUBLISHER SARAH FUNG SALES MANAGER JASMIN BLUNCK BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT STACEY MARCELO GRAPHIC DESIGN TAMMY TAN CONTRIBUTORS KATE FARR, SHAN SHAN FENG, ANDREA LO, KATE SPRINGER, GAYATRI BHAUMIK, ZOE BELLHOMME SPECIAL THANKS ZACH HINES, BLACKIE HUI, EDMUND IP, TOM HILDITCH PRINTED BY GEAR PRINTING Copyright 2016 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.



IT’S A DATE This month’s hottest happenings

MARCH 10-13


Move your cheat day over to March 10, because Taste of Hong Kong is coming to town. The Taste Festivals take place in 22 locations around the world, and this new event in Hong Kong is the brand’s first foray into Asia, wherethe city’s top chefs will be serving up miniature versions of their signature dishes. Visitors are given a stored value card, then all they have to do is explore the booths and “doot” when they want to give something a taste. There’ll also be stalls filled with local gourmet and artisanal products, as well as visiting chefs from top international restaurants (including London’s Duck & Waffle), making this a fun and festive day out. New Central Harbourfront. hongkong.tastefestivals. com. Tickets:



For a free blissful day of yoga and wellness, head on down to West Kowloon for Iris: Your Escape with Biotherm. There will be eight yoga classes taking place on the grassy lawn throughout the day, hosted by some of the city’s top instructors. There will also be a meditation dome, goodie bags and booths from healthy local businesses dotted around the site, showcasing their healthy snacks, fitness apparel and more. Grab your mat and head on down for a day of asanas and chill. The event is free but don’t forget to register. From 10am, West Kowloon Cultural District. Register at 8




Natural and Organic Products Asia, also known as NOPA, is coming to town from August 31 to September 2 at Wan Chai’s Convention Centre, and is the largest trade show in Asia for natural and organic products. If you’re a fledgling natural business you won’t want to miss the chance to snap up a booth to showcase your products to more than 8,000 buyers and industry insiders. And if you’re simply passionate about a healthy lifestyle, there’ll be workshops, seminars and networking opportunities taking place throughout the event. For booth booking and more info on how to visit, email info@ or visit

MARCH 10-12


The hottest health ticket this month is the LOHAS Expo and Vegetarian Food Asia, both of which are taking place at the Convention Centre. Expect to see booths showcasing the newest healthy and sustainable products on the market, from food to fashion, skincare and home furnishings. The first two days of the fair are for trade only, and will open to the public on March 12.

Maximal Concepts is hosting a fundraising event at their nightclub, Play. Together with the Hong Kong Shark Foundation, they’re aiming to raise $500,000 for education and advocacy programs to prevent sharks from ending up on Hong Kong dinner tables. It’s set to be a fun evening, with a silent auction and free-flow food and canapes, all for a good cause.


$10 (public); free for trade. Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, 1 Harbour Rd., Wan Chai,


Tickets $600 (standard), $750 (VIP) or $1,000 (corporate). 7-10pm, Play, 1/F, On Hing Building, Central. Tickets:



Pull on your greenest garb, because Ireland is coming to Hong Kong! The Consulate General of Ireland is putting on a month-long celebration of all things Gaelic, The highlight of the festival is a St. Patrick’s Day parade on March 13 at Tamar Park, but there’ll be literary events, food promotions, concerts, comedy shows, dance, balls and a film festival taking place throughout March (and a bit of April). Most events are free, but the balls and concerts will be raising money for good causes. Visit for the full program. 9

Cool Stuff

HOT RIGHT NOW News from the wellness scene

Mat Finish

Looking for a yoga mat that’ll really stand out at your next community class? Bali-based Yoga Design Lab has just launched in Hong Kong and is ready to share its beautiful, boldly-patterned mats with the city’s yogis. Priced at $525, you can choose a mat in 16 designs, from geometric shapes, swirling ink, multicoloured chevrons and even snakeskin. They’re produced with waterbased inks and biodegradable tree rubber, and US$1 from every sale goes to benefit youth yoga outreach programs. Right now they’re available online, though expect to see them in stores soon. Free shipping in Hong Kong. Available online at

Cottoning On

Known for its stylish basics and quality fabrics, online fashion purveyor Grana has dipped a toe into athletic wear with its collection of Peruvian pima cotton sweats. Woven using a special technique that ensures breathability and dryness, these joggers are super soft and comfy - ideal for slouching around your neighbourhood and hitting the gym alike. Men’s and women’s styles available. Tops and bottoms both $303 from 10

Cool Stuff

Props to You

Put down yoga block and pick up a Prana Wheel for your next yoga practice. These nifty Australian yoga aids are new to Hong Kong, and have a multitude of uses, from helping to deepen poses to providing stability when performing inversions. You can also use them for myofascial release, and to gently stretch out and increase mobility in your spine, shoulders, quads and hips. $989 (large) and $789 (small) from A Day with Fe, Shop S502, PMQ, 35 Aberdeen St., Central, 2546-9300,

Take the High Road

If you’ve done the Dragon’s Back to death, up your trail running game with China Mountain Trail, a new trail race organiser headquartered right here in Hong Kong. Newly launched earlier this year, all the races organised by China Mountain Trail are - you guessed it - in the remote reaches of China, combining high altitudes, stunning scenery and challenging terrains for a race you won’t forget in a hurry. There are three races scheduled right now: the Yading Sky Run on April 30; Devil’s Ridge in the Gobi Desert on September 10; and the infamous Huangshan (Yellow Mountain) pass in early 2017. All of these events will present a real challenge for even the most experienced runners. Find out more at

Utter Nutters

The fine folks at The Nutter Company have been making the rounds at markets across town, and we’re excited about their line of allnatural handmade nut butters. You’re bound to find something you like here, with just about every kind of nut imaginable churned and blended into various tasty concoctions. Besides single-type butters such as almond, Brazil nut and cashew, you’ll also find doubleor triple-nut blends, as well as peanut butters infused with dark chocolate or (our favourite) white chocolate and toasted coconut. They’re far less sweet than commercial varieties, but still pretty damn tasty. Prices run from $65$130; keep an eye on their Facebook page for upcoming retail locations. 11


FRESH CUTS Dining news that’s good for you

BRING THE PAIN Wan Chai’s dining scene just got a little healthier and we couldn’t be more excited. Belgian bakery cafe Le Pain Quotidien - which has 235 branches worldwide - is opening up its first Asian outlet in Wan Chai. Committed to simple food that’s organic, sourced sustainably and done really well, you’ll find organic breads, pastries, eggs, steel-cut oats (pictured), whole wheat sourdough tartines (open-faced sandwiches) and great coffee. The brand leans heavily on plant-based ingredients, and so has plenty of options for vegetarians and vegans that are labeled as such on the menu: standout dishes include the six-vegetable quiche and quinoa taboule salad. Takeout and catering is also available, making it a handy option for Wan Chai’s office crowd. Shop G41, The Avenue, Lee Tung Avenue, Wan Chai, 2520-1801,

SWEET ENOUGH ALREADY We could all do with cutting back on sugar, but with 33 grams of the white stuff in a can of fizz, it’s all too easy to undo all our good habits with drinks and mixers. Enter Green Cola, a stevia-based soft drink that offers an authentic cola flavour but without the health drawbacks of the sugary original. Stevia is a plant-based low-GI natural sweetener with zero calories and carbs that’s growing in popularity as an alternative to aspartame or other no-sugar sweeteners. In addition to the benefits for weightwatchers, it’s also a great option for anyone who needs to manage their blood sugar. Available at F&B outlets citywide, including Il Bel Paese, NOM and Isono. Also abailable to buy online at HKTV Mall, to name a few, with more outlets to come. Learn more at 12


ZUMUFI OPERATOR Sheung Wan smoothie joint Zumufi is well known for its superfood-packed smoothies, but we’re excited to learn that they’ve expanded their menu to feature healthy meal options such as paninis, salads, soups and “heartwarmers” - hot wellness drinks tailored for the Hong Kong market. We’re most excited to try the Goguma Latte - a blend of purple sweet potato, walnut, almond milk and cinnamon, with a dash of maple syrup; and the Hot Choco, a thick, healthy blend of banana, cashew, cacao powder, almond milk, coconut water, chia seeds, nibs, oats, coconut palm nectar and pink Himalayan salt. We’re also excited about the prices: all the hot drinks come in at less than $40, paninis are $29 and a 16-ounce Zumufi+ is $58. Finally, a healthy lunch option in Sheung Wan that doesn’t cost a bomb! Shop D, G/F, Willy Commercial Building, 28-36 Wing Kut St., Sheung Wan, 2949-9829,


Heather Thomas Shalabi, Flex

Sum up your food philosophy in my curfew; and Stan Cafe for a a sentence. truly authentic French meal. I only It’s easy - input has to equal eat bread and butter when I go output. If I exercise more one to Stan. Too bad my ten year-old day, I eat slightly more. If I have a sons adore it, and insist we bring couch potato day, I try to eat less. home their baguettes and butter Too often people overindulge on twice weekly! lazy days, which undermines their What do you grab for lunch fitness goals. when you’re on the go? Either I eat a salad that I diligently What three items do you always have in your fridge? bring to work every day, or I eat A green salad, a quinoa salad and a Quest bar - not healthy, I know. crudites with hummus. I also keep But I’m not into sit-down lunches stocked up with soup, almond mid-day. I like to go non-stop milk, probiotics, fruit and a grain until dinner. of some sort, such as brown rice What do you have on cheat day? or oat bran wraps. A great glass of wine, the What do you usually have for aforementioned Stan cafe breakfast? baguette and butter, and amazing Pu’er tea, two glasses of water cheese. Followed by dark mixed with probiotic and vitamin chocolate of course. powder, followed by a low GI When was the last time you ate grain plus a protein - for instance McDonald’s? a small bowl of lentil soup over If I say never, it’s clearly not brown rice. If I’m really in need of true. But it must be so long a pick-me-up I’ll have a Nespresso ago that I honestly don’t cappuccino with almond milk. remember. I never ate fast What are your favourite food as a teen; my parents restaurants when eating out? were kind of hippies and A mix of healthy and indulgent. completely into health Grassroots Pantry is the best; food. I ate a lot of greens, I always leave ready to run a homemade yoghurt marathon. Gaia Ristorante is and granola as a child, a nostalgic favorite. We eat which I’m sure Christmas supper there every formed my year, as well as landmark adult habits. birthday celebrations; the food and staff are amazing - it’s like a homecoming. 22 Ships for a fun night out; I always run into people at the bar and overstay



Because life’s too short to always order the salad

DRIVE THROUGH MEALS At first glance, a Mercedes-Benz concept restaurant doesn’t seem like a likely spot for quality fine dining, but Mercedes Me, in partnership with the Maximal Concepts restaurant group, has been scooping up acclaim from critics and clients alike. It’s just rolled out a multi-course Sunday semibuffet brunch of fusion Japanese-Peruvian-Spanish dishes that look well worth loosening your belt buckle for. It starts with a welcome oyster, followed by unlimited visits to six buffet stations - salad, pastries and cold cuts - plus interactive stations with eggs, a raw bar of sustainable seafood, and cheese. Eight mains are served to the table, tasting-style, with bikini sandwiches, tiger prawns, wagyu skirt to name just a few, before a selection of dessert arrives: don’t miss the Catalan cream foam with vanilla ice cream, orange and honeycomb (pictured). The meal is $580; upgrade to a drinks package at $320 (Ruinart champagne and wine) or $280 (Bloody Marys and beer). Shop C & D, G/F, Entertainment Building, 30 Queen’s Road Central, 2895-7398, 14

WIN: A 12-month coffee subscription with 88 Beans Want a year’s worth of artisanal coffee beans delivered to your door? New coffee subscription startup 88 Beans is offering a 12-month coffee subscription worth $3,999. You’ll receive 500 grams of freshly roasted beans every month, either single origin or a blend of no more than two varieties. The beans change every month so you’ll always have something new to try.

Deadline: March 30

WIN: A two-week membership at Barre 2 Barre If you ever did ballet as a kid, you’ll love building strength, tone and coordination with a barre class at Barre 2 Barre, a cozy boutique studio in Central. Barre to Barre also offers “mindful movement” classes including yoga, Pilates mat classes and wing chun kung fu. We’ve got a two-week unlimited class pass worth $900 to give away.

Deadline: March 30

WIN: A yoga mat from Yoga Design Lab We are stoked about these stylish yoga mats from Balibased company Yoga Design Lab, which has recently set up an online store in Hong Kong. They’re made from biodegradable tree rubber and come in 16 quirky designs. We’ve got a yoga mat to give away, worth $525.

Deadline: March 30

visit for a chance to win!



HIIT THE POOL I Obviously, Andrea Lo dives into the deep end with a high-intensity aqua fitness class.

I don’t own proper exercise clothing so I borrowed my mum’s long-sleeved swimsuit.

’ve always been into water-based activities, like swimming and stand-up paddle boarding. I like being able to control my own rhythm and be as lazy as I want. So when I heard about Hydro 1.0, Hong Kong’s first aqua fitness centre that offers high intensity, low impact exercises under water, I figured I’d totally ace it. Hydro 1.0 was founded by Simon Cheung, who spent more than two decades working in logistics following a stint in the US Navy. He was inspired by his daughter’s passion for swimming and founded the centre initially to provide a place for swimmers to train. Hydro 1.0 eventually became an indoor aqua fitness centre, catering to a wide clientele - everyone from athletes to patients undergoing aquatic therapy. Obviously, I don’t own proper exercise clothing, so I borrowed my mum’s longsleeved swimsuit and shorts for the 40-minute aqua fitness class, selected as it sounded like the most gentle session on offer (I took a pass on underwater cycling, treadmill, aqua spinning, aqua CrossFit and dragonboat training). The focus of the class is on calorieburning and increasing metabolic rate, and is good for fat-burning, muscles and building cardiovascular endurance. The centre is equipped with a small pool, accommodating classes of up to five people. I meet instructor Sasha. Formerly a pro swimmer, she taught aqua aerobics in her native Russia. Sasha is super energetic and ready to get us moving, even though the lovely warm water made me want to float around and not do anything. We started off with some warm-up moves that consisted of us kicking our legs out the water, then in, then out again. Next we worked our arms using the water as resistance. The key is to stay still while

you do these exercises, which I found close to impossible. Your coordination is all over the place while you’re in water. Jumping with my arms raised was fairly easy, but I just couldn’t nail raising my left arm and right leg together, and vice versa. The pool is equipped with an underwater camera projected on a screen, so you can see what you’re doing, and yes, I was totally out of synch with everyone else. Also: think you can’t sweat under water? Think again. I felt my heart rate go up, and Sasha commented that my cheeks were flushed. I was getting out of breath when Sasha told us to grab a pool noodle each, and then use our body weight to push it down into the water. More used to reclining on a noodle while on a junk trip, this was astonishingly intense. The exercises got harder: Leg raises against the wall, and running around the pool as fast as we could - which looks silly and is also much tougher than it sounds. When the 40 minutes were almost up, we went back to the easier exercises to cool down. The class was a real eye-opener: I can definitely see the appeal of aqua fitness, which presents a whole new way of working out. You learn a lot about how your body moves, and the fast pace of the class means that you actually get a good adrenaline rush. Maybe next time I’m floating around in a pool doughnut I’ll switch it up with some aqua fitness moves. Hydro 1.0, Shop 6, G/F, Brilliant Court, 28 Praya, Kennedy Town, 9475-0737,


Cover Story

Do You Need a Digital Detox? A rise in cases of internet addiction might make you look at your smartphone a little differently. By Kate Springer

Digital Detox? Do You Need a


alk down any street in Hong Kong and you’ll notice the same scene: thousands of adults and children walking around with their eyes fixated on a smartphone. When not checking their phones, most Hongkongers are glued to a computer screen at work, playing games on a tablet at home, reading on an e-reader or watching a movie on a TV screen. While technology is both a wonderful tool, it’s fast becoming for many a worrisome obsession. As it becomes more and more omnipresent in our lives, scientists and psychologists are increasingly concerned about the rise of internet addiction, which can start as early as adolescence. A 2015 study by The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, which followed adolescent students over the course of six years, found that 17 percent of young women and 26.8 percent of male students had internet addictions. Likewise, a 2015 report by the NonCommunicable Diseases (NCD) Watch outlined


internet addiction as a growing concern. The NCD cited serious negative effects on family, relationships, social development, mental health, finances and academics - not to mention physical issues such as eyestrain, headaches and poor sleep. Dr. Quratulain Zaidi, a clinical psychologist who specializes in family psychology and internet addiction at her Hong Kong clinic MindNLife, has worked with many families - adults and kids alike - who show signs of internet addiction. “The hardest thing is to get some bankers, business owners and CEOs to actually recognize that it’s playing a part in their anxiety and stress

? levels”, say Dr. Zaidi. “It’s very hard for them to admit that they can’t pull away”. Back in 2013 Dr. Zaidi says she was partially guilty of this as well. She would regularly find herself answering emails at all hours, and “working” on her laptop - when really she was spending more time browsing Amazon, skimming Facebook or reading a psychology article. “It wasn’t productive work-wise. Being focused on the task at hand is more important than being logged on”, she says. “I took email off my phone so that I had to do it on my laptop so it’s not available constantly anymore”. Dr. Zaidi initiated new rituals with her family as well. “I have a 9-year-old, a teenage daughter and my husband finds it a challenge to put his phone down too”, she says. “We go on digital diets - we started in 2013 because I was so fed up with everyone being on their phones all the time”.

Am I Addicted? Run through this 10-point questionnaire. If you find yourself agreeing to four or more of these statements, you need to revisit your relationship with technology. •

Do you stay online longer than you expected more and more often?

Do you ignore and avoid other work or activities to spend more time onscreen?

Do you often check messages or emails before doing something else you need to do, even delaying meals?

Do you frequently get annoyed or irritable if someone bothers you when you are trying to do something online or on your phone?

Do you prefer to spend time with people online or through messaging rather than being with them face to face?

Do you think a lot about when you can get back online when you are offline?

Do you argue with, or feel criticised by friends, partners or family about the amount of time you spend online?

Do you get excited, anticipating when you can next get online, and also thinking about what you will do?

Do you prefer on-screen activities now to going out and doing something else?

Do you hide, or become defensive about what you do online?

Courtesy of Dr. Quratulain Zaidi


Cover Story

Entrepreneur Charlz Ng, CEO and Director of event planning specialists Hybrid Group, is no stranger to the constant pull to be plugged in. “I’m definitely attached to my phone and technology”, he admits. “Our business is a people business; we need to connect with people, keep up with them, be active on social media and respond to questions”. He says that works demands are a common problem among his contemporaries. “But what is so important that it can’t wait until you go back to the office?” He wonders. “Here in Hong Kong we are all workaholics, whereas people in Europe are happy to go offline and stop working. It’s a totally different mentality”. A trip to Europe is actually where Ng got the idea for OffGrid, a digital detox event that debuted in 2015 and is returning again this summer. About 30 people camped out on Lantau Island, ditched their phones for the weekend and spent their time doing yoga, Muay Thai, meditation and dance classes. “When I was in Switzerland on a trip with my parents, we were at dinner and everyone in my family had their phones on the table and were absorbed in Whatsapp or posting photos to social media”, he recalls. “I looked around and no one else was on their phone. That’s how the idea came about”. OffGrid is all about letting go of technology and putting your phone away - literally handing it over - for a weekend. “I got a few heart-touching messages afterward from people saying they felt like they had a 10-day holiday, even though it was only two days”. But why does it take such a concerted effort to put down the screens? Zaidi says there are all kinds of psychological reasons we’re so attached to technology. For some, she says


no phones allowed: OffGrid participants check their devices in at the door.

it’s the fear of missing out, of falling behind on news articles or viral YouTube videos. But, she says, “Information overload increases your anxiety, and being at the receiving end of constant information isn’t helpful”. Others find the online space open and inviting, where people can be themselves and overcome social anxiety. Unsurprisingly, social media has its own special place in the world of technology addiction, as validation from Facebook likes or Instagram followers can impact a sense of identity and self-worth.

Cover Story

It’s bad for your health, too! In addition to your mental health, excessive screen time can also tax your body, leading to... BACK AND NECK PROBLEMS Poor posture associated with long hours logged at a computer can lead to back and neck pain down the line. “Text Neck” is also becoming a problem; bending your head down to peer at your screen increases pressure on your cervical spine. VISION ISSUES Excessive screen time is leading to an increase in near-sightedness, not to mention dry eyes, headaches and light sensitivity. Be sure to look away from your screen regularly. DISRUPTED SLEEP Studies have shown that staring at the blue light of a phone or laptop screen can make it harder to fall asleep and mess with your body clock. Apps like fl.ux can automatically warm the colour tone of your screen in the evening - or better yet, put down your phone altogether a couple of hours before bed. (source:

Digital Toolbox Before you unplug for good, try out these lifesaving apps that will actually help you minimise your tech time. MOMENTS: This app is both awesome and awful at the same time. When you log on, it keeps track of the cumulative time you and your family have spent on your phones. You can also set daily limits to keep yourself in check should you need some boundaries. HEADSPACE: A digital meditation specialist, Headspace is a beautifully designed app that walks you through the basics of meditation as well as more advanced practices. Use it to clear your head, find some clarity or simply to help you fall asleep at night.

Increasingly, many people use technology as an escape mechanism. “There are a lot of people here who are quite lonely, especially the expat moms who come here with their husbands and suddenly find themselves at a loss and with too much time on their hands”, says Dr. Zaidi. “For someone who is really unhappy, has social anxiety or is slightly depressed, these online platforms give them a form of escape”. Others turn to technology to avoid responsibilities, whether it’s a crying baby or an uncomfortable conversation. “It becomes problematic when there’s lack of communication between couples, or parents and children, because they are so dependent or absorbed in their screens”, she adds. Technology is of course a remarkable tool, but Dr Zaidi warns against letting it become your life. “There are so many opportunities in real life”, she says. “You don't need to spend it looking at a screen”.



Gut Instinct Always wanted to give fermenting a go, but don’t know your SCOBY from your elbow? Shan Shan Feng gets the lowdown on fermented drinks.

What is Fermenting? Fermentation is the process by which sugar and starches are broken down into alcohol and acids by microorganisms such as bacteria and yeast. What you’re left with is a drink (or food) that contains probiotics: beneficial, gut-friendly bacteria that help us maintain a healthy digestive system. Yoghurt is the most common food containing a live culture, but in recent years kombucha (made from sugar and tea) and kefir (a fermented milk or sugared water drink made with kefir grains) have also become popular.

Make Your Own Kombucha Jacqueline Renee Cohen offers regular fermenting classes as part of her healthy living site, She teaches us how to make our own kombucha.

YOU WILL NEED: • A 1.5-2 litre glass jar • One-litre bottles for storing your kombucha once made • A plastic funnel • A thin cotton or muslin cloth with an elastic band • 1 litre of boiled filtered water • Two teaspoons or one teabag of black, white, or green tea

• four tablespoons of sweetener (i.e. coconut sugar, organic cane sugar or a combination of both) • Kombucha to use as a starter - you need 100ml per litre; at least 10 percent of the final amount (use unflavoured regular kombucha) • A SCOBY (see right)

The ratio is 1 litre of filtered water : 2 teaspoons of tea : 4 tablespoons of sugar : 100ml starter



What the heck is a SCOBY? INSTRUCTIONS: 1. Brew the tea. Cool until lukewarm, then add your sweetener and mix well. 2. Once the tea is cool, put it in your glass fermenting jar and add the starter (at least 10 percent) 3. Gently place your SCOBY on top, and then cover with the cloth secured with an elastic band to keep bugs away. 4. Place the kombucha to ferment on a solid shelf that does not move or shake. 5. Taste after seven to 10 days. It should be ever so slightly sour and possibly a bit effervescent. If it still tastes sweet, leave it for another day and keep tasting each day until it reaches a flavour you like. 6. When it’s done, gently remove the SCOBY and set at least 10 percent of this batch of kombucha aside to use as starter for the next batch. 7. Pour the remaining kombucha into bottles (using the funnel) and refrigerate to enjoy.


SCOBY stands for Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast. It feeds on sugar and tea and looks like a large flat gelatinous mushroom. It can can be smooth or bumpy and vary from white to brown depending on the type of tea used. The SCOBY is known as a “mother” and will produce daughter SCOBYs that multiply on top on the kombucha. If you don’t have a SCOBY, you’ll need to make your own.

YOU WILL NEED: • One bottle of raw plain (unflavoured) kombucha • Sweetened tea: one litre of boiled filtered water to two teaspoons or a tea bag of black, white or green tea, plus four tablespoons of sweetener (such as cane or coconut sugar)

INSTRUCTIONS: 1. Make 250ml of sweetened tea as per the recipe to the left. 2. Let the tea cool to room temperature and put in a glass jar. Add the kombucha so you have 40-50 percent kombucha and 50-60 percent sweet tea. 3. Cover with a cloth and secure with an elastic band. Let it sit for a few weeks, and watch your SCOBY develop. 4. 4. Once developed, use this new SCOBY and the kombucha you have just made as the “starter” for your next batch of kombucha.

SCOBY mushroom by Lukas Ching

Give your kombucha a kick by infusing it with natural flavours. Try these blends: • Lovin’ Lemon: Mix with freshly-squeezed lemon juice and stick a stalk of lemongrass in the bottle • Berry ‘Bucha: Blend with berries and a squeeze of lemon • Spice is Nice: Half-fill a bottle with kombucha and then top it up with your favourite herbal tea • Ginger Zing: Blend with a lot of ginger and serve straight or with sparkling water



Make your Own Kefir We speak to Louise Kane Buckley of Loula Natural (www.loulanatural. com) for a step-by-step guide on how to make our own kefir, as well as some tips for first-timers.


• A plastic bowl

• two tablespoons of kefir grains (milk or water, depending on the type of kefir you’re making)

• A thin cotton or muslin cloth with an elastic band

• Optional: fruits and spices to flavor your kefir.

• One or two large glass jars • A plastic sieve or strainer

• One litre of liquid (milk, coconut milk, sugar water, coconut water or diluted juice)

INSTRUCTIONS: 1. Pour one litre of liquid into your glass jar, add the kefir grains and stir. 2. Cover the top with a cloth and secure it with an elastic band. 3. Leave in a warm place for 12-24 hours (20-48 hours in winter or when making water kefir) - this is the first fermentation. During this period, stir periodically (especially with coconut milk and almond milk) and taste occasionally. It will be done when it tastes slightly sour. 4. When you like the taste, shake the grains vigorously (the more you agitate the grains, the thicker the mixture) and then strain the kefir

grains with a plastic sieve/strainer. 5. Pour the kefir into the second glass jar. You can drink it now, or add some flavor to it with a second fermentation. Add your ingredients to the kefir, close the cap of the jar or cover with cloth and let it ferment for 12-24 hours in a warm place until you like the taste. Try lemon, honey, ginger and turmeric, for example. 6. Once you’re satisfied with the taste, put in the fridge - this stops the fermentation process.

Tips & Tricks • Use plastic utensils instead of metal; the metal may corrode due to the acidity of the kefir. • The longer you leave it to ferment, the more acidic it will taste. If it’s too acidic, you can dilute it with some liquid. • The hotter and more humid the environment, the faster the fermentation. • You can reuse the grains by keeping them in the fridge. • Personalize it! Add berries, turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, and cacao nibs, for example. Remember to have fun and find something you like. • Have confidence in yourself; it’s hard to go wrong with fermented drinks. 24


Sounds too much like hard work? Just get these readyto-drink blends instead. TABOOCHA


This local kombucha brewery uses organic Chinese tea and raw cane sugar to produce a range of fun and delicious flavours. Try the lime basil black tea or the soon-to -launch pineapple turmeric green tea. $38-42. Available in health food stores citywide, including Just Green, Green Common and Spicebox Organics.

Green Vitamin’s organic red rooibos tea kombucha is rich in minerals, nutrients and bioactive compounds. Other flavours available.

$650 for a pack of six. Available online and in selected retail stores.

QUO KEFIR BELIVERS Coconut kefir and probiotic yogurts made right here in Hong Kong and delivered to your door. Monthly gut health plans available.

GENIE JUICERY Genie Juicery’s Cocobiotic ginger beer kefir is made from coconut kefir mixed with fresh ginger and pear. It’s a raw, light, refreshing beverage. $42. Available in store and online at Genie Juicery. Shop 2096B, Podium Level 2, IFC Mall, Central, 2803-0369,

ANYTHING BUT SALADS Made with naturally fermented organic chai masala tulsi tea and organic coconut sugar, ABS’s chai masala kombucha has a slightly tart taste. From $55. Available online and in store at Anything But Salads, Shop B, G/F, 14 Tai Ping Shan St., Sheung Wan, 2858-6666, 25


Deliver Us Don’t have time to scour the city for healthy pantry essentials? These organic and health-conscious online platforms can send their goods straight to your door.

Jou Sun Offering fresh produce and kitchen cupboard staples alike, Jou Sun specialises in local meats and veggies from organic farms that have been specially selected for quality. Also for sale are goods from social enterprises and small local businesses, so you can be sure that what you order is helping to support the local community. Best sellers include the local hormone-free pork and chicken and veggie boxes. Be sure to check out the snacks, condiments and more - there are thousands of products to choose from. There’s a minimum $250 order fee for free delivery to most of Hong Kong Island ($650 for the Southside and Kowloon; New Territories people are out of luck for now). Order by noon for same-day delivery. If you live higher than the third floor of a walkup, an additional fee applies.

One Vegan Shop For an impressive range of vegan-friendly food and lifestyle products, any budding herbivore needs to check out One Vegan Shop. It has a store in Yuen Long, but if that’s a bit far, you can avail yourself of its plantbased produce online. There’s a huge selection of milk alternatives, baking supplies, dairy-free cheese, meat substitutes, snacks and more - a hugely helpful resource for vegans, food allergy sufferers and health fanatics alike. Delivery is free for orders of $300 or more, but there are a few far-flung spots they won’t go to; check the website for details. 26

Homegrown F oods Though originally known for its Chinese and western vegetable subscription boxes. Homegrown Foods has expanded its offerings recently to include meat, skincare and nuts and snacks, all from farmers who adopt sustainable, organic practices. New to the store are organic dried fruits and nuts from Afghanistan raisins, almonds, walnuts - perfect for making your own trail mix, or just buy theirs at $98. You’ll also find E.C.O. free-range eggs ($38 for six), locally sourced hormone-free meats, as well as starches, vinegars and other kitchen essentials. Free delivery for purchases over $458; otherwise a $100 delivery fee applies.


Eat F resh Specialising in organic products, Eat Fresh divides its extensive online store into three categories: Fruits and Vegetables, Kitchen Pantry, and Health and Living. In addition to purchasing your organic greens individually (Chinese and western veg are both well represented), you can also opt for a subscription for varying needs, from juicing to baby weaning. In the Pantry section you’ll find wine, tea, chocolate, jam, milk, and even niche items such as goji juice and apricot kernel butter; while under Living there’s organic skincare, insect repellent, bath and body products and organic tanning products. Delivery takes place on Tuesdays and Fridays and delivery fees apply if you place an order below a set minimum; check the website for more details.

Honestbee A newly launched shopping concierge service, Singapore startup Honestbee has just launched in Hong Kong, with plans to roll out in more cities across Asia this year. It partners with stores all over the city - including City Super, Marks & Spencer, The Fresh Grower, Fusion by Park N Shop, Anything But Salads and Great Food Hall, to name just a few - to pick up groceries and deliver them to your door within a pre-arranged one-hour window on the same day - all for a $25 concierge fee (minimum order $250 for free delivery). Right now it covers locations all along the blue MTR line from Kennedy Town to Causeway Bay, plus Happy Valley and Mid-Levels.

Kinoa A French organic supermarket, Kinoa has health-conscious kitchen and home essentials galore, from jam, honey, pasta and cereals to cosmetics, skincare and home cleaning products. Best sellers include tender-grained Bolivian quinoa, ready meals such as ravioli and ratatouille, and French green lentils. If you’re looking for chemical-free soaps and shampoos, Kinoa has a great selection at a fantastic price - $156 for a litre of olive oil-based organic shampoo and soap from Douce Nature. Minimum spend required to qualify for free delivery, which is available in Hong Kong Island, Kowloon and Discovery Bay.

Nutri Alley A new online store catering specifically for people with allergies, Nutri Alley carefully sources each of its products - from snacks, condiments and drinks to day-to-day groceries - and provides a handy key so shoppers know at a glance when an item is suitable for them. The goods are categorized into nut-, dairy-, egg- and caffeine-free, and it’s also noted if they’re kosher or vegan. Jou Sun


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SUNDAY PANCAKES By Francesca Duck, Coconutandwhat

These pancakes are vegan, gluten-free, low-GI and packed with healthy fats, minerals and protein. It’s an indulgent superfood breakfast! Makes four large pancakes

INGREDIENTS: • ¼ cup coconut flour • ¼ cup almond flour • ¼ cup gluten-free oat flour or fine oat flour • ¼ cup coconut sugar • ¼ cup vegan protein powder (optional)

• Pinch of salt, baking powder, xantham gum and cinnamon • 100ml chia egg (chia seeds soaked in water) • 100ml almond milk • 30ml vegan butter / coconut butter, melted

• Coconut oil (for cooking • Sliced Bananas, berries, almonds and walnuts, to serve

METHOD: 1. Place all of the dry ingredients into a large bowl and combine. 2. Add the wet ingredients into the dry and mix well. The batter should be smooth but thick. 3. Add some coconut oil to a non-stick pan. Once a little heated, add the batter using a

ladle and fry until golden brown. Flip it and do the same to the other side. 4. Top with sliced banana, berries, nuts and a good sprinkle of cinnamon.


PREP TIME: 10 Minutes

COOKING TIME: 3-5 Minutes per pancake




Floatation Therapy at Zero Gravity Floatation Spa

THE BUZZ: Achieve ultimate relaxation right in the heart of Happy Valley in Zero Gravity’s space-age floatation tanks. Suitable for most people, including athletes, pregnant women and the elderly, floating is said to relieve stress, improve circulation, help with post-workout muscle recovery and even reduce blood pressure. With just an hour in the tank reportedly broadly equivalent to around four hours’ sleep, could pod life be the solution to harried Hongkongers’ stress-fest lifestyles? THE PROCEDURE: Entering the private tank room, you shower before donning foam earplugs and entering the floatation tank. You can go swimsuit or birthday suit, depending on how you’re most comfortable. Each tank contains 800 litres of UV-filtered, body-temperature water, primed with 500 kilos of Epsom salts to give you extra buoyancy, making floating completely effortless. First-timers or claustrophobes can choose to keep the tank open and twinkly coloured lights switched on, or else switch off and close the lid for the total immersion experience. You’re encouraged to empty your mind of all thoughts, concentrating only on your breathing until your session is finished and you’re brought gently back to reality with music. BEST BIT: Even with the earplugs in, the complete silence was unexpected and very welcome. Ditto the sense of weightlessness, which was quite unlike anything we’d ever experienced before (having neither visited the Dead Sea nor outer space). After five or so minutes of bobbing about in the 30

dark, we began to zone out - much the same as when having a really good massage - and fell into a semi-doze. When the hour was up, we hopped back into the shower feeling pretty serene. Another benefit of magnesium-rich Epsom salts is their skin-improving properties, so there were no wrinkly prune fingers, even after an hour of soaking. WORST BIT: Foolishly scratching an itch in the corner of our eye, just as we were drifting off. Water that salty stings like you wouldn’t believe, so do use the provided spray bottle of fresh water and washcloth if you feel the need to wipe your face mid-float. Avoid shaving for at least eight hours beforehand for the same reason. WHAT ELSE? The spa also carries a small range of complementary health and wellness products and has collected some very interesting research about the benefits of both floating and magnesium on health and wellbeing. Packages are available and can be split between friends. THE COST: $1,200 for 90 minutes or $990 for 60 minutes. 29 Sing Woo Rd., Happy Valley, 2180 9192,

R E A D E R’S D E A L ! Liv readers get 25 percent off their first single float throughout March 2016. Quote “Liv Magazine” when booking to redeem.



Tiny plastic microbeads are a common ingredient in face and body scrubs - but they’re also wreaking havoc on the environment. The beads are so small they cannot be filtered by water treatment facilities and so find their way into the ocean, where they’re ingested by marine life and contribute to plastic pollution that can never be cleaned up. Local NGO Plastic Free Seas is running a pettion until the end of March to put pressure on the SAR government into following the US and banning microbeads in skincare products. Make sure to scrutinise your scrub for ingredients like polyethylene. Meanwhile, here are two great plasticfree alternatives to try.

Tourmaline-charged Exfoliating Cleanser by Aveda

With Aveda’s commitment to environmental protection and use of natural extracts, you can safely bet that this product is as earth-friendly as they come. This creamy daily cleanser contains jojoba beads (made from a natural wax), which gently exfoliate without scratching the surface of the skin. $360.

Micro Magic Microdermabrasion Treatment by Bliss

For a serious exfoliating experience, this intensive once- or twice-weekly treatment by Bliss contains volcanic pumice to effectively remove dead skin cells and grime, encourage cell renewal and improve skin texture. It’s also infused with aloe and vitamin E to moisturise and protect the skin. We love it! $520. Both products are available at Lab Concept, 93 Queensway, Admiralty, 2113-0136 (Aveda) and 2118-3966 (Bliss) Sign the petition at


Adventure cycle company Mad Dogs offers its clients once-ina-lifetime road cycling challenges through Asia that certainly aren’t for the faint-hearted. Zoe Bellhomme hops in the saddle for a serious cycling adventure.


even years ago, Humphrey Wilson was a typical British graduate working his way up the corporate ladder. But when the urge to do something completely different struck, he packed his bags and cycled solo from Buckingham Palace in London to Government House, Hong Kong. The trip was an eye-opener. Though he had little cycling experience and was pushed to his mental and physical limits on the 10-month journey, he found the people he encountered on the way warmed towards him and that he managed to explore parts of the world that were otherwise inaccessible. When he made it to Hong Kong, he decided to make cycling adventures his new career.



The original Mad Dogs Challenge was from Hong Kong to Hanoi in 2013 with a group of Humphrey's friends. It was so successful he began researching a full series of rides between various far-flung and exotic Asian destinations, the idea being to leave participants with a fantastic life achievement to be proud of.

The Kaiping Dash

Last year my boyfriend and I decided to undertake a Mad Dog Challenge, but with precious little annual leave our only option was The Kaiping Dash, a one-day, 155-kilometre ride from the Macau/China border town of Zhuhai to the heritage town of Kaiping in Guangdong. We took the ferry to Zhuhai on the Friday night after work and joined our group of about 14 other riders at a basic hotel for a pre-ride briefing at around 9pm. While we had rented a bike computer from Mad Dogs, Humphrey believes it is important for everyone to familiarise themselves with the route, so we spent time going through some of the potential dangers of the ride and where we might make a wrong turn.

An Early Start

The next morning we woke up slightly blearyeyed at 5am and headed down for a carb-fueled breakfast set up for us outside the hotel. At 6am the klaxon sounded and we began navigating our way out of Zhuhai on bikes supplied by Mad Dogs and onto the main road. The route was pretty flat with only the occasional bridge or slight hill to challenge the quads. But for every climb we knew that we would be rewarded with a few minutes of easy freewheeling on the other side. Humphrey and his team followed in a van and met riders at set intervals with an array of calorific snacks and drinks. Comprehensive support is provided on every trip but there is a strict “no nannying” policy so that people really feel like they’re on their own adventure. You are encouraged to have the appropriate bike tools on you just in case you get into difficulty and support isn’t available straight away.



By 11.30am we’d been cycling for almost six hours and I was ravenous. I couldn’t have been happier to see big bowls of rice and vegetables laid out for us at the lunch stop. We ate frantically because for some of us it was going to be a challenge to finish before sunset, which is widely considered to be the goal on any Mad Dog Challenge. While still relatively flat, the last 70-odd kilometers felt arduous and exhausting in equal measure. Thankfully I’d be cycling in a small cluster of other riders so they spurred me to keep going albeit at a much slower pace than before. Once you hit Kaiping, there’s still 10 more kilometres to go before you reach the finishing point in Chikanzhen. When I finally crossed the makeshift finish line (Humphrey had set one up for us) I can only compare the feeling to when I completed my first triathlon: relief. With that said I did feel as though I’d accomplished something

pretty impressive for an unseasoned cyclist and I couldn’t wait to delve into a mountain of carbs! Knowing what I know now, would I do it again, but for a seven-day challenge this time? You bet I would! I’ve already signed up for the eight-day Hanoi to Bangkok challenge in October. I probably should start some training…

Looking for Something Less Scary?

For the (slightly) less adventurous, Mad Dogs has just launched a “Half Mad Dog” with a daily distance of 75-100 kilometres. “The Half Mad Dog from Pu’er in Yunnan Province to Luang Prabang in Laos is one of the most beautiful cycling routes in Asia. The distance is half that of a full Mad Dog, however on this occasion, the mountains add a new dimension to the ride”, says Humphrey. He is also looking at new destinations for Half Mad Dogs, including Japan, Vietnam and Sri Lanka.

Can I Really Do This?

Humphrey adds: “While all Mad Dog Challenges are designed to test you, my experience is that anyone who is relatively fit should be able to manage one. If you sign up to more than a day or a weekend ride I would recommend that you do some training for three months leading up to it”.

UPCOMING TRIPS Apr 23: The “Kaiping Dash” from Zuhai to Kaiping Apr 30-May 3: Macau to Guilin Jun 5-11: Tokyo to Sapporo Jun 13-17: Hokkaido Half Mad Dog (Sapporo-Wakkanai) Oct 8-14: Hong Kong to Hanoi Oct 22-29: Hanoi to Bangkok Nov 20-26: Yunnan Half Mad Dog (Pu'er-Luang Prabang) Nov 5-85: Taipei to Kenting Dec (TBC) Angkor Wat to Phnom Penh For more information and to book, visit 34

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What else would you expect in Germany? Fast, flat and full of history, the Berlin Marathon is a race that should be on every runners bucket list. Things are already running smoothly when you arrive at the Race Expo, as number and pre-ordered kit are ready to be collected at one of the world’s largest buildings. Saturday provides a unique chance to witness something you’ll only see in Berlin: the In-Line Skating Marathon. That’s right! It’s truly a site to behold. At first I thought it might be a good laugh and I could witness a few spills. As it turns out, it is one of the highlights of the weekend as the athletes race by at amazing speeds and closely resemble a “Tour de France” peloton on skates. Potsdamer Platz is the best vantage point for spectators.

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The Marathon start is ideally located in the Berlin’s Tiergarten, allowing for easy access to start zones from a variety of different city entry points. It also gives you the chance to warm up if you’re on the serious side of Marathon crazy. The course is flat and very wide, so be careful to stick to the “blue line” as much as possible. Berlin is a great place to run a PB (personal best), but err too far from the shortest route and you can cover a lot of extra metres. My advice is to follow the blue line.

1. Prepare well and take advantage of the fast course for a new Personal Best. Plenty of World Records have been run here in recent years.

There’s history all along the race route, pace your run well and you can enjoy it all, but nothing will top the feeling you get with 600 metres to go when you take a sharp left and see the Brandenburg Gates. The crowd and music kick in and so do the goose bumps. Best of all, you can have a free beer in your hand minutes after the race! What a way to kick start Oktoberfest!

2. Do a leisurely bike ride post Marathon and visit some of Berlin’s historic sites.This is a great way to flush out your tired legs after a race. 3. Monkey Bar on top of 25 Hours Hotel is a cool place to have a “few” post race drinks and compare “war” stories. So why not beat your personal best, and run Berlin Marathon this September? Flight Centre Active Travel can help get you across the line. Earlybird runner package cost from HK$7,639*, and includes guaranteed entry to Berlin Marathon 2016, 3 nights’ accommodation at Maritim proArte Hotel Berlin with daily breakfast, pre-marathon dinner, post-race drinks, and Active Travel merchandise.

For any more informations, call + 852 2830 2818 | email | visit Terms & conditions apply, visit our website for full details. Written quote must be presented prior to booking. *Travel restrictions and conditions apply. Prices are per person in HKD, exclude taxes & subject to availability, and only applicable when two people are travelling together. Prices are correct at time of print and subject to change without notice. Flight Centre (Hong Kong) Limited trading as Flight Centre.Travel Agent licence no. 350062



TRAVEL WELL with Gayatri Bhaumik

PROFESSIONAL HELP This April, the Maldives’ Anantara Kihavah Villas is offering guests the chance to create a healthier lifestyle with the help of natural health consultant Toby Maguire. From April 13-28, guests will be able to book sessions with Maguire to help bring their mind and body back into balance through his combination of eastern wellness concepts and holistic healing therapies. Oneon-one sessions range from 60-minute qigong and meditation (US$160/HK$1,250) to a comprehensive 180-minute weight loss analysis or de-stress package (US$520/HK$4,050). Also available are auricular acupuncture, hypnotherapy and life coaching (all US$220/HK$1,715 for 60 minutes). Guests will also start their days with healthy breakfasts and nutritious juices, plus healthy cooking classes and Japanese detox recipes.

ESCAPE TO ESSAOURIA This April, head to Essouria, Morocco with Sole Yoga Holidays for a relaxing, active retreat in a captivating city. Running April 4-10, the Magical Morocco Yoga Retreat at the boutique riad [traditional Moroccan house] Dar L’Oussia is built around twice-daily 90-minute Ashtanga Flow yoga sessions, with plenty of time in the afternoon to enjoy the hotel spa, shop the nearby souks, explore the ancient fishing port or just relax by the sea. Highlights of the trip include a 30-minute Hammam treatment and massage at the hotel spa, and a one-hour camel ride along the scenic beach. During the trip, guests will be whisked off on a one-day retreat to a private villa where they’ll enjoy some pool time, a yoga session and a traditional barbecue lunch. Rounding out the experience are daily Moroccan and European-inspired breakfast and dinner at the riad. From €1,350 (HK$11,740) for double occupancy, including round-trip airport transfers in Marrakech.



RUN FOR IT Looking for a serious challenge? Australia’s Buffalo Stampede trail running weekend is a great chance to test your physical and mental limits. Held in Bright, Victoria on April 8-10, the Buffalo Stampede is a full weekend of marathons through the Australian bush.There are three major events: the 75k UltraSky Marathon, the 45k Sky Marathon, and the 26k Sky 26’er. Feeling hardcore? Combine all of three and conquer the Grand Slam King of the Mountain Challenge. If you’re new to trail running, there’s also the Vertical Sky12, a tough (but relatively short) race that takes runners to an elevation of 1,106 metres over 12.5 kilometres. Kids can get in on the action, too, with the shorter 1.5k and 4.5k Kids SkySprints. Entry fees start at AU$75 (HK$415).

SPA BLISS Flight Centre is giving spa fanatics the chance to enjoy a luxury spa escape at Fusion Maia, a boutique resort in Da Nang, Vietnam. At this bolthole on picturesque My Khe Beach, guests will enjoy a minimum of two treatments a day at the tranquil Maia Spa, a pampering haven set amidst lush tropical gardens, as well as complimentary activities like meditation, yoga and wellness workshops through the property’s Natural Living Program. The Fusion Maia Spa Package includes flights, four nights’ in a pool villa, transfers, breakfast and your choice of welcome amenity: fresh fruit, truffles, cookies or a healthy raw food treat. When they’re not being pampered at the spa, guests can also jump on the complimentary shuttle bus to explore Hoi An, where they’ll also have access to Fusion Café Hoi An and the use of bicycles. From $10,359 per person through July 31.

Seasoned travel writer Gayatri Bhaumik contributes travel stories to publications such as Jetsetter, Buro 24/7 and The Loop, to name just a few. Send your travel news to, and follow her adventures at and on Instagram @gontheroad.




ach nd e a alls and he w rought ff go fe) ncin me (sa u o o rs re b bs a head fo u r e to ch arr ttle where Kate F i l r u s If yo - here’ fun. By r y e oth le rugb b tum


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INTEREST CLASSES Start them on the path to glory early by signing them up to Rugbees. Offering playbased classes for tots from walking up to five, Rugbees make the most of cool themes such as “Underwater Explorer” and “Fun On The Farm” to engage their little fly halves. Held at ten convenient Island and Kowloon locations, expect music, stories and rhythm games… oh and insanely cute little uniforms too. 38

Sport 4 Kids’ mini rugby programme has something to offer toddlers, tweens and everyone in-between. First-time trial classes are available to test-drive these fun rugby classes, and there are age-specific camps on offer to keep them from kicking their heels when school’s out for summer (or Easter, CNY, Christmas…). Sport 4 Kids also works in collaboration with a number of schools and kindergartens to offer extra-curricular sports programmes, so check to see what’s on offer with yours.


RUGBY CLUBS The Hong Kong Mini Rugby Football Union governs more than 20 clubs across the SAR, promoting the sport and offering events and activities for eggchasers of all ages. Junior matches take place every Sunday morning between September and April and players are also invited to take part in regular rugby festivals. Kids are accompanied to sessions by a parent, making this a great opportunity to bond over gum shields and shin pads. For more information on participating clubs and the role of the HKMRFU, visit mini-rugby. The city’s oldest and most successful club, Hong Kong Football Club hosts regular Sunday sessions throughout the playing season, come rain or shine, so make sure you pack an umbrella and sunscreen alongside your cleats. The season’s highlight has to be – what else? – The Sevens, when the young players gather to take part in a showcase alongside other local youth teams. For more information visit Winning the “best training location” competition hands-down is the South Lantau Buffaloes rugby club, who regularly gather for practice on Pui O Beach. Join them every Sunday morning

between 9.30-11.30am for mini rugby sessions for kids from four to 16. For more information see The Sai Kung Stingrays are an active and social club, offering coaching that begins at the age of four and continues up to late teens. The Stingrays are all about enjoying the game in a safe and responsible manner, with a strict code of conduct ensuring that everyone has a great time, but goes home in one piece. For more information on membership, visit The USRC Tigers meet at King’s Park in Ho Man Tin every week to kick up some serious mud. A club for the committed rugby enthusiast, plenty of Tiger alumni have made the cut on the international Sevens stage, making this a good spot for little Lomus to cut their teeth (and sharpen their claws). For more information on membership and fixtures, visit The Discovery Bay Pirates offer swashbuckling Mini, Youth and specific Girls’ rugby teams, gathering for training once or twice weekly (depending on age) at Siena Park or Tai Pak Beach. The Mini Pirates compete in a number of festivals and cups each year, and the season ends with a fun day, along with awards that include “Pirate of the Year”. Ooh-arrrgh. For more information visit

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: e n i l n w o E r u S o ERE y A n M Ru REF THO BY MUI G RU

efined by her expertise as a Hong Kong rugby referee, Mui Thomas - who suffers from a rare skin condition called Harlequin ichthyosis - blazes a trail for those with visible differences, both on and off the pitch.

What initially drew you towards becoming a rugby referee? I’ve never actually played rugby myself. When I first decided that I wanted to get involved at 16, my parents had to tell me that, although it was cool that I wanted to play, no one would want to tackle someone with my skin condition. Then someone - I think it was Steve Jones, Club Coaching Coordinator at the HKRU - suggested refereeing. I attended the course, which in turn led me to join the Hong Kong Society of Rugby Football Union Referees. I think what drew me ultimately towards refereeing was that it was something I could do without being judged on my appearance. Not once did I ever think that I would be where I am today. What have been your proudest moments participating in the sport? As an adult, my proudest moments have simply been in being a part of such a large and vibrant group of people, and getting the chance to referee the next generation of Hong Kong rugby players. And your greatest challenges? My greatest challenges of being a referee have not only been about my own performance, but also in how players and coaches would accept me as a female rugby referee who also happens to have a visible difference. I am lucky that I haven’t experienced any discrimination

Mui referees at rugby matches across Hong Kong

- Hong Kong has an incredibly supportive rugby community. When players, coaches or spectators meet me for the first time, they may be a bit shocked, but I’m happy to say that once the whistle blows, I’m judged only by my ability to referee a game. Which is how it should be for everyone. Is Hong Kong Rugby generally supportive of those with visible differences or additional needs? Hong Kong Rugby continues to pave the way in enabling everyone to be a part of the community, whether or not they have special needs. For example, the HKRU have been developing the game to allow hearing-impaired individuals to be a part of tag rugby; their outreach programme is one-of-a-kind. What are your playing commitments like? I referee all of the Mini Rugby festivals, working with the Under-12s crew. This is a brilliant training ground for rookie referees, as you get a lot of exposure to the Youth game before heading into the Colts league. Festivals run roughly once a month from November to March, and I usually get to work five Girls games and maybe a couple of Boys ones as well. It’s a long day of refereeing, but I love it. When I’m not refereeing the Minis festivals, you can often find me sitting with a clipboard scoring male Premiership games on a Saturday afternoon anywhere in Hong Kong. You’ll also find me doing extra duties at test matches, and I have also done Sevens weekend as well, which is of course the highlight of everybody’s rugby calendar! Most importantly of all: who will you be cheering for at this year’s Rugby Sevens? Since I’m born and bred in Hong Kong, I have a certain allegiance to the local squad… but, being part Welsh [Mui’s Dad is Welsh], I’ll have to say Wales! Find out more about Mui and her rugby career at 41


FIT FAM with Kate Farr

By the time this issue of Liv hits the stands, the big Hong Kong freeze should be a distant memory and we can all get back to our normal, post-thermal underwear life. Here’s a few things that are warming us up this month.

FOLK HEROES Cute baby shower gift alert! These adorable hand-turned wooden toys from online design store House of Folklore are made in the small Indian town of Channapatna, providing much-needed employment for the town’s women. Hand painted with non-toxic vegetable dyes, the finish is glossy, durable and safe for little fingers (and mouths) from six months and up to explore. Toy prices range from $30-$400. Buy online at

STRIKE A BALANCE If you’re pre- or post-partum and looking for a workout that works with, rather than against, your new, unpaid 24/7 job, check out Mom In Balance. Designed for those of us who are light on time (i.e. all of us), these open-air, female-only pregnancy, post-natal and general group workouts are all about maximising your fitness in the most efficient and supportive way. With classes taking place throughout the week at either Victoria Park or the Botanical Gardens, there’s bound to be a session to suit you. Alternatively, gather up five friends and arrange a private session at a location of your choice. Trial lessons are available for $150, with unlimited monthly packages available for $1,090-$1,190. Register at hongkong. 42

THE BIG STRETCH If you’re expecting a baby monkey in 2016 (let’s face it, aren’t they all baby monkeys?) and want to keep active throughout your pregnancy then Rumi Yoga Wear’s maternity leggings are for you. Made from supportive eco-friendly fabric that’s recycled from plastic bottles in a range of bright prints, you’ll be doing your bit for your bump and the planet as you strike a pose. Maternity leggings cost $700. Buy online at

Kate Farr is the co-founder of writing and editing agency Editors’ Ink ( She also blogs about Hong Kong family life at Accidental Tai-Tai ( Send your family health news to kate@



It’s referred to as the “common cold” of STDs, with almost 100 percent of adults contracting HPV, or Human Papilloma Virus, at some point in their lives. But considering its prevalence, many people are still in the dark about HPV and cervical health. We speak to Dr. Lucy Lord of Central Health about why cervical health is something that we should all be aware of.

HP-FREE Why is cervical health so important? It’s very important because cervical cancer, when well managed, is completely preventable. It’s the holy grail of cancer therapy: finally, a cancer that can be not just cured, but wholly prevented, by intervention. It would be such a shame if - because of a lack of proper education - women didn’t realise that they had the opportunity to completely rule out one cancer from blighting their life and their chances of reproduction. What are some common misconceptions when it comes to cervical cancer? Many people don’t realize that cervical cancer is a sexually transmitted disease. It’s almost entirely caused by the human papilloma virus [HPV]. If you’re sexually active, pretty much 100 percent of women will have HPV at some time in their life. Many strains will spontaneously clear up on their own. It’s the common cold of STDs. 44

So what exactly does HPV do in our body? HPV is of the wart virus type. They are oncogenic viruses, which means they combine with our DNA when they replicate in our cells, making it more likely that mistakes are made when cells divide. The increase in mutations leads to an increased risk of cervical cancer. How often should we go for a PAP smear? We normally advise having your first PAP smear [a test for precancerous cells on the cervix] within three to five years of first having intercourse. Any earlier than that and you’ll freak yourself out unnecessarily as you almost certainly will have contracted HPV. Regular PAP smears will give a good indication of whether you are at risk for cervical cancer. Unfortunately the tests are inherently inaccurate and may only pick up abnormalities 50 percent of the time. This is why we recommend a PAP smear and simultaneous HPV screen [a test that


Dr. Lucy Lord

detects the presence and type of HPV virus] to see whether you are high risk. It’s the same procedure for the patient although it is more expensive. However if both are negative you don’t need to have another PAP smear for three to five years. Why are these tests important? HPV testing helps us to identify people at risk and target them for closer surveillance. But if you’re HPV negative, it means you can have fewer PAP smears. This method is better at dividing the community into high- and low-risk. If everyone had a PAP and HPV test every three years, nobody should get invasive cancer, and any pre-cancerous changes should be detected in time to do a LEEP biopsy [using a wire loop to remove precancerous cells from the cervix]. That’s the best end to the prevention of invasive cancer - preventing it by doing the LEEP biopsy in time, meaning fewer hysterectomies or incurable cancers of the cervix.

Say we get our test back and it says that we’ve tested positive for HPV. Should we panic? This is when you should have a good relationship with your GP - they should be able to communicate well. When we get a virus positive, we tell our patients not to worry and that there is no sign of cancer, but we increase the frequency of the PAP smears until we can see that the virus has gone away. Most of the time they spontaneously clear themselves within six-18 months. So when is further action required? If your HPV test is positive and you’re also showing signs of precancerous changes from your PAP smear, we may advise you to have a biopsy. If the virus persists for more than 18 months, even if the pap smear is normal, we will do a biopsy. if you’ve had a persistence of the virus and you’ve had a biopsy with the presence of CIN-3 [a categorical criteria showing severely abnormal cells on the surface of the cervix], we will normally perform a LEEP biopsy. The reason being is that the next stage after CIN-3 is invasive cervical cancer, which is when the abnormal cells cross the basement membrane and become invasive.



• Cervical cancer is one of the top 10 cancer deaths for women in Hong Kong, despite it being almost completely preventable with regular screening • According to the Centre for Health Protection, 37 percent of women in Hong Kong have never had a PAP smear • Despite HPV’s prevalence, only 14 percent of Hong Kong women

believe it to be common in Hong Kong, and only 3 percent think they are likely to contract it (source: Hong Kong HPV Survey 2016) • Women should have a PAP smear and HPV screen three years after becoming sexually active. If both come back clear then you don’t need testing again for three years, or five years if you’re in a monogamous relationship.




Surprisingly healthy Mexican wraps and salads made with quality proteins and fresh guacamole.

Short for “nourishing gastronomy,” think seasonal produce, packed with goodness but beautifully plated for occasion dining. Hong Kong’s answer to Noma. 3/F, 1 Lyndhurst Terrace,

Outlets citywide, including 7 Lan Kwai

Central, 2871-9993,


Fong, Central, 2904-7855,

Posto Pubblico


Online food delivery platform and app, enabling delivery from some of Hong Kong’s best restaurants. Tons of healthy options.

Healthy Chicken

Serves consciously sourced produce and nutritionally balanced meals to go. 83 Wellington St., Central, 2489 0100,

Mano Cafe

Has a salad bar with plenty of high protein options and delicious Asian salad dressings. G/F, L. Place, 139

A hugely popular Italian-Americanstyle bar/restaurant in SoHo that prides itself on sourcing locally and responsibly. 28 Elgin St., Central, 25777160,

Queen’s Road Central, Sheung Wan, 2362-6997, www.cornerkitchencafe. com/mano-cafe.

Nood Food

Salad bar to go, plus post-workout protein shakes and superfood snacks. Outlets citywide, including 2/F, Kinwick Centre, 32 Hollywood Rd., Central, 8199-8189,




One of Hong Kong’s original vegetarian, sustainable restaurants, recently relocated to a prime location on Hollywood Road. 108 Hollywood


A locavore Chinese restaurant in PMQ. Sources sustainable produce with as low a carbon footprint as possible. SG12-SG14, G/F, Block A, PMQ, 35 Aberdeen St., Central, 2858-8238,

Wild Thyme

Fast Slow Food Vegetarian cafe in Wellington Street known for its healthy flats and salad bar. Sister restaurant Mana! Raw is right across the street. 92 Wellington St., Central,

Rd., Sheung Wan,

Sustainable seafood in a lush Southside setting. Shop 303-304, 3/F,

Middle-eastern vegetarian. Think sharing plates of mezze, flatbreads and richly flavourful mains. Also does private events. 4/F, Lee Wai Commercial


The Pulse, 28 Beach Rd., Repulse Bay,

Building, 1-3 Hart Avenue, Tsim Sha Tsui,



The Ocean


Magic Season Organics

Has a certified organic farm in Qingyuan, China. Subscription boxes are very competitive. 6683-9119, www.


Online shopping platform with a huge selection of curated healthy foods, pre-packaged snacks and essentials. Also has beauty products. Free shipping throughout Hong Kong.


Free anonymous HIV testing service. Flat B, 3/F, Fu Lee Commercial Building, 14-20 Pilkem St., Jordan, 2394-6677,


One of Hong Kong’s first superfood stores. Find a huge selection of health foods, plus juicers, food dehydrators and other appliances for home use. Regularly holds workshops. 1F, V-Plus (Building), 68 -

Spicebox Organics

70 Wellington St., Central, 3904-1072,

Hong Kong’s USDA-certified health food store, offering pantry essentials for the organic chef, among other healthy treats. Outlets on Caine Road and Sai Ying Pun. Shop 1, Golden Valley

Mansion, 137 Caine Rd., Mid-Levels, 2559-9887,


Certified organic vegetables from Jiangxi province at a fantastic price. 5509-9869,

Evergreens Republic Green Vitamin

Wheatgrass specialist that sells vegetables and appliances, as well as its own line of healthy snacks, including kale chips, kefir, coconut yogurt, flax crackers and cocoroons. Shop for snacks at health food stores citywide; online shopping also available.

Aquaponic greenhouse in Lau Fau Shan offering a huge range of produce. 2472-0038,

Fresh Grower

Fresh veggies grown from volcanic soil in New Zealand. G/F, 223 Queen’s

Road East, Wan Chai, 2185-7825, www.


Midwife clinic in Hong Kong offering support for expectant mothers. Regular free talks and walk-in well baby clinics. 17/F Tak Woo House, Wo On Lane, 17-19 D’Aguilar St., Central, 2983 1558,

Alcoholics Anonymous

Meetings and support for anyone suffering addiction issues.

Hong Kong Eating Disorders Association

Provides a hotline and in-person support to people suffering from eating disorders. Also has advice for parents and caregivers.

Hong Kong Government Family Health Services

Free antenatal and postnatal checkups, infant health checks and vaccinations for HKID card holders. Cervical screenings $100. Find a centre near you at


MARKETPLACE Learn to nourish



• Affordable French-run spa conveniently located in Sai Ying Pun • Clean, stylish and cozy • Warm and welcoming staff • Prices start at $400 for a mani-pedi; $150 for waxing • Try a massage on our amazing waterbed heated at 37oC

Meet your Health coach


FIND US! G/F, Shop 9, 68 Second Street, Sai Ying Pun (Sai Ying Pun MTR Exit B2)

Make health your reality +853 54263142


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My destiny brought me to Hong Kong. I had no job, i had no family here. I didn’t really know anyone. There was nothing to bring me here; I just followed my intuition. My first feeling of Hong Kong was of the trees all over the city. The banyan trees coming out of the walls were stunning. Little did i know I would have a future with trees here [Bobsy has spent the last 18 years planting a forest on northern Lamma Island].

plough forward. This is my battle in Hong Kong and sometimes it feels like a very lonely battle. If I could have done something differently, perhaps I wouldn’t have opened Mana! Raw. It’s about three, four years ahead of its time and it’s been such a costly endeavour to create quality raw takeaway food for the masses. Having said that I only win or learn. And this has been a big lesson indeed.

I used to eat a lot of meat. I grew up in Beirut in Lebanon, and some of the best meats in the world are eaten there - chicken shawarmas, lamb shawarmas.

Sometimes what I like to do is absolutely nothing - just sitting there and trying to enter a space of nothingness, even if it’s for five, 10 minutes. It’s not an easy thing to do.

I became a vegetarian overnight 25 years ago, when I realised that the real cost of a hamburger at a fast food joint was not $20. If fair and just accountability was taken into account and a real economy was applied, the cost of a hamburger is well over $200.

A business should not exist purely to make profit for its shareholders. The paradigm of business should be expanded to include social wellbeing and ecological awareness.

I’d already started to think in terms of environmental awareness, and realised that I couldn’t go around planting trees and eating meat at the same time, one hand creating and the other hand destroying. It’s extremely difficult to reconcile business with ethics and i think it’s becoming more and more difficult as we develop and grow. The infrastructure is just not there, and the support is lacking.

I always strive to run a business that behaves like a charity; to do good by raising awareness or educating people. To behave like a charity, to serve like a charity, but generate profit. How to create a business that inspires people to become custodians of the planet, to be healthier and more rounded people? I think that’s been my motivation to bother. Running a business is not easy, so I’m driven by deeper stirrings.

Financially it’s become difficult to run a business on a sustainable level, being conscious, ethical and ecofriendly. But there is a way and we will continue to



One of the original pioneers of Hong Kong’s healthy eating scene, Bobsy founded Lamma’s Bookworm Cafe in 1997 and the recently-closed SoHo stalwart Life Cafe in 2004. He now serves health-conscious diners at two Mana! outlets on Wellington Street and one in Poho. He speaks to Liv Magazine about the difficulties of reconciling ethics with business. 50