For many, buzzy lifestyle terms like ‘clean eating’ can come across as both intimidating and downright unappealing, but there’s one Hong Kong mum who’s making healthy living look and taste better than ever.
Picking the right food for your body can be tricky, just ask any health-conscious consumer. The many so-called ‘healthy’ items piled high on supermarket shelves can actually be chock-full of additives, preservatives, flavourings, and other distinctly unhealthy things. Recognising this urgent need for healthy food options that are both tasty and additive-free, and spurred on by her family’s personal battles with various health issues, mother-of-two Catherine Wang took it upon herself to fill this gap with her own homemade snack business, Nature’s Twist. She hopes her delicious concoctions will convince sceptical Hong Kongers that eating healthy doesn’t have to mean sacrificing on taste, giving them a solid reason to finally forgo all that unhealthy junk food.
Like many Hong Kong dwellers, Catherine previously led a hectic work life pursuing a career in the finance sector. After many years in the industry, she came to realise that her job had slowly begun to consume her. “My job in finance was highly demanding, and it had taken a toll on me. So after my first child was born, I decided to give it up in order to take better care of myself and my family,” she explains. Soon after she gave birth to her second child, Catherine was then diagnosed with a serious autoimmune disease, just before discovering that her son was plagued with a variety of food intolerances. “That was a dark period in my life. Everything was so overwhelming because I had no idea what to do. Imagine seeing all those ingredients in your pantry just suddenly turn into poisons.”
In an attempt to overhaul her family’s diet, Catherine looked to local food markets for solutions and was struck by the fact that products branded as ‘organic’ and ‘natural’ were often loaded with unwanted things like artificial sweeteners, preservatives, or nutrition-deficient fillers like white rice flour and refined sugar. “When I started to pay attention to what’s really written on the nutrition label, I quickly discovered that the ingredients were actually nothing like what I’d want to include in my children’s daily meal plan, regardless of whether they have food intolerances or not.”
That was her turning point and, despite having no culinary experience or a background in nutrition, she took matters into her own hands. She spent hour upon hour researching and seeking guidance from her homeopathic doctor and, after much experimentation, debuted her homemade snack collection. The response from family and friends was overwhelmingly positive, and this prompted her to turn her homemade goodies into a real business.
In January 2018, Nature’s Twist was born. With a focus on delicious, good-for-you snacks made out of top-quality ingredients sourced from around the globe, the homemade goodies have already proved to be a hit. At the moment, they offer 7 natural superfood treats, all of which are made fresh, in-house in Kowloon Bay. From their raw cacao bites to her delicious pumpkin seed cookies, each of Catherine’s products is completely vegan and additive-free, nutrient-packed, and most importantly, mouth-watering good. She has quickly gained fans thanks to word of mouth, and Nature’s Twist can now be found on the shelves of Just Green, one of Hong Kong’s largest organic convenience stores.
The main rationale behind this business derives from Catherine’s concern for the health of the future generation. “Kids in my generation grew up eating proper fresh food. However, with the ever-growing number of fast food joints and vibrant dine-out culture in our city, the younger generation now consumes far more highly processed foods than we ever did, and that will undoubtedly have a negative long-term impact on their health. Maybe you don’t see it immediately, but it is there,” she explains. And, having experienced a prolonged battle with health issues herself, Catherine knows all-too-well that having a healthy mind and body starts from within. “I notice that a lot of Hong Kong people don’t seem to really pay much attention to what they put into their own body and into their kids’ bodies. Through Nature’s Twist, I want to inspire others to start making healthier choices. For a lot of locals, eating healthy feels like nothing more than a chore,” she laughs. “I definitely don’t see it that way. Healthy food can and should be something you enjoy and crave. Otherwise, eating healthy will only end up being a short-term solution.”
Playing her part in the opposite of a short fix is what spurs her on, even when growing a business doesn’t seem the easiest of rides. “What I see nowadays is a significant increase in the number of people with food-related health problems such as diabetes. But these are all preventable,” she urges.“Seeing people enjoying my creations, and knowing that I am doing something to help others live better by eating better, however small the step may seem, is rewarding enough to keep me going.”