It’s the beginning of the year… New Years Resolutions abound and one thing’s for sure, 98% of you folks have at least one of the following on your list (my list is endless..) .
NEED TO GIVE UP CHOCOLATE/ COFFEE/ CARBS
NEED TO LIVE STRONG AND LIVE HEALTHY
NEED TO HAVE MORE… (you fill in the blanks )
NEED TO LOSE WEIGHT BEFORE I LOSE MY MIND…. etc etc.. I will stop here for fear of divulging too many of my insecurities on said blog post!
So despite my daily Asthanga practice whilst on holiday I still managed to pack on the extra XXX
ounces pounds kilos tons sob sob.
So not only am I hitting the treadmill harder than ever before, I decided that I also need to kick start my New Year with a well deserved cleanse and hunted down my favourite Punch Detox, gal pals, Ann and Angela.
This weeks GLAMAMAMA MONDAYS gets juicy with Ann Cha and Angela Cheng Matsuzawa.
Ann Cha and Angela Cheng Matsuzawa (photo: HKTATLER)
GR: How did Punch Detox come about?
Ann: After having children, we were both desperate for a healthy jumpstart. We joined a two-week intensive detox and yoga program and were thrilled by how amazing we looked and felt afterwards. We became literally obsessed by the subject and enrolled in nutrition classes at HKU, devoured books, checked out documentaries such as “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead”, consulted with detox experts and experimented on our own bodies and close friends’.
Angela: We then held our own 10-day program including yoga (Thank you Leah Kim www.leahkim.com ) and pilates (Thank you Tracy So) and while people loved it, we knew that the 3-day juice cleanse component was exactly what HK people with busy schedules and high standards were looking for. We got our banker, yoga teacher and doctor friends to try, and over 200 cleanses later, Punch Detox was born.
Angela with Leah Kim
GR: How long have you known each other? How has it been working with your friend? Pray tell all the good, bad and the juicy!! What are your roles?
A&A united on Oxfam Trailwalker
Ann: We’ve known each other since we were 16! It’s been amazing to create something with someone whom you trust and share common objectives and goals. We both had diverse life experiences and have also shared many experiences together (in a book club together, kids’ playdates and school committees together, did the Oxfam Trailwalker together. When you’ve limped 100km next to someone, you know what they’re really like deep down inside). When we started this, we were in a similar stage in life. It just really worked out perfectly.
Angela with her husband Masaaki and their twin boys
Ann with her husband Ben, and their 3 children
Angela: If I remember correctly I met Ann through her ex-boyfriend. haha. And funny enough, her husband stood me up on a blind date ages ago as well. Small world! We balance each other out I think. I’m more outgoing, talk more…I have this odd sense of humor. She’s more serious and stable. I love my vino…(especially vintages from my own birthday) and Ann – doesn’t really drink anything except for juice and water. We both love our arugula and don’t eat that much meat though….that’s the common ground.
Ann: Definitely. And because of our different backgrounds, I focus more on the juice development and Angela looks at the marketing side of things – the concepts, the ideas etc. Of course, we come together to work on branding and what not. In fact our name is a good example of how we work. Angela came up with Punch Detox. And I came up with our tagline – The Punch You Know You Need.
We also motivate each other. I don’t think I’d be able to start a business all by myself at this stage in life. When I get an email from Angela late at night, I think, “Oh no. if she’s working, I’d better work too!”
Angela: Balance – yes. It’s rare when we are both crazy, wanting to conquer the world, overly pessimistic and overly positive. Between the 2 of us – we can get a good balance.
Angela finds her balance on the mat
GR: In order to make Punch Detox a viable business what steps did you have to take?
Ann: We actually did not intend to make Punch Detox into a business at all! We just did this for ourselves and friends. Learning more about nutrition is great for raising healthy kids. Remember, we were obsessed with this, so we got certified at Hong Kong U for Nutrition, we developed all kinds of formula, we drank all kinds of potions and made close friends and family taste different concoctions over a day, 3 days, 6 days etc. We were religious about getting feedback and tweaking everything about our program to make it as perfect as possible. And it was not until we started getting requests from people whom we did not know at all (we couldn’t even trace where they got our emails from) that we knew we had to make this official.
It took us one whole year to find our kitchen space. We had no idea how hard it would be to get a space that would fit all the licensing requirements for a food factory. I remember going from one industrial building to another when I was 9 months pregnant with child #3–from Chai Wan, to Kwun Tong, to Wong Chug Hang, and finally, Aberdeen–and the agent had to ask me if I was OK after every stop. At one point, I wanted to give up and just open a cafe and do all production from there (cafe licenses are a lot less stringent)…
Angela: But you know Ann… she never does anything half-assed. So 2 hours after her hormonal breakdown, she got a proper kitchen consultant working for us. About 8 months after that, we got ourselves a fully licensed kitchen. We are very proud of that.
GR: What were the biggest challenges to your business?
Ann: Truthfully—for 2 years, our challenge was fulfilling demand. We have chosen to use the world’s best juice press, but it also happens to the most inefficient juice extraction process imaginable. So we’ve unfortunately had to turn away quite a few people.
Angela: Ah yes…the Norwalk.
Once we set up our juice kitchen and trained up the staff, we thought we would have more time. Maybe it’s our business school training, [Ann has an MBA from Columbia Business School and Angela an MBA from Harvard Business School] we were our biggest challenge. More time spent on Punch, less time spent on our family. So it’s up to us to find the balance between expanding Punch Detox at the right pace that’s good for us, our family and our fans.
Ann with Joe Cross
GR: At what point in your business did you realise that you had a winning formula?
Angela: Thanks Sharie for the compliment! We just love that all these new people are trying us out and our existing customers come back regularly to detox or order the Punches to supplement their daily regimens. It’s really flattering.
Punch Detox for us is not about building a brand or a business; it’s really about the customers. We knew that we had something good going on when some of our clients stop needing to take medication after our cleanse, others can skip their daily lattes in the morning, some get compliments on their complexion (in person and even on Skype) and some just keep coming back with their friends, husbands, moms and family.
Ann: Ben and I went to this dinner and 12 out of the 12 people at the dinner table have been “Punched.” That was very exciting.
It’s hard to sell not eating for 3 days. But when someone you know rave about how Punch Detox gave them a feeling of being clean and they use that feeling to jumpstart a better lifestyle – that’s priceless.
Angela also shares a love of sailing
GR: You both have families and young children, so how do you balance your time?
Ann: Honestly, it has not been easy. I feel like I’ve had to give up all “me” time during the past couple of years. Juggling three kids under the age of 4, a husband, a household and a new business was not a walk in the park. There have been points when I wanted to give up, but it’s really the positive feedback that we get from customers that keeps me going. I get so pumped up when I know that our juices are benefiting people in so many ways. Fortunately, we are now at a stage where things are beginning to run quite smoothly, so work has been quite flexible. I usually work when the kids are at school or late at night when my hubby is out of town.
Angela: Yes – There’s Ann and there’s Crazy Ann. Sometimes she wants to quit and other times she wants to open up in Thailand and have another kid. But isn’t that why it’s so fun?
We are the definition of “flexi hours,” but that also just means that we sleep less.
Angela with her twins
GR: Do you think its possible for women/ moms to have it all? Family, work, life and love? Is it different for you versus your moms?
Angela: My mother had me when she was 24. I had my twins when I was 33. So yeah, it’s harder for us. We may have more educational degrees but our “adult” lives also started later than our parents, so I feel that we have to pack in more at the same time. Having said that, I am a believer that a good mom is a happy mom, a good wife is a happy wife. So prioritize your life in a way that makes you happy.
Ann: My mom, all 5 of her sisters, and my mother in law have been my role models. They’ve worked all their lives and have managed to raise amazing families. It is possible for women to have it all, but it requires a job that allows for flexibility and a supportive husband and family. Ben’s really proud that I’m the “juice lady,” and my kids understand when I tell them “Mommy has to go juicing today.”
Ann’s son Casper loves Citrus Punch
GR: Have you always been health conscious? Was it difficult for you to jump of the healthy lifestyle bandwagon in a city with so much temptation?
Angela: No. I still have nightmares about eating WhiteCastle burgers in KoreaTown with Masaaki in New York. Scary. The yoga and detox program after the kids really changed the way I looked at food. To maintain good health, you really need to be responsible about what you put into your body. Sure, everyone makes an exception every now and then, but it’s what you do most of the time that matters.
Ann: I’ve always been into food and cooking, so I’ve been pretty in tune with nutrition since I was young. I do have a sweet tooth though. But my motto is “Everything in moderation.”
Ann at her graduation from the Institute of Culinary Education (NY)
GR: Has it been difficult to source the fruits and vegetables for your juices in HK?
Our juices are only as good as our ingredients. So we really care about what arrives at our kitchen. It has been difficult to get good quality local and organic produce in HK for all our ingredients, so inevitably, we have to order from Europe, Australia, New Zealand and America as well. We’ve tried local restaurant suppliers and farmers markets, but recently, we collaborated with Providence Family Farms, the only supplier of USDA, EU and JAS certified organic produce in the region that also delivers. Their produce gets to our kitchen fresh from the farm within 3 days…and they are absolutely beautiful. So beautiful, our staff refused to cut into them at first!
GR: What’s the difference between a juice press and a juicer?
Ann: You know when you order a fresh apple juice and by the time it reaches your hands, the juice is brown? Well, that juice was most probably extracted from a juice extractor with a centrifugal drum (i.e., not a juice press). A juice extractor cuts up the fruit or vegetable and spins it at high speed to separate the juice from the pulp. This process produces heat and oxidation, which means the nutrients (enzymes, vitamins and minerals) can be destroyed, and the juices cannot last more than twenty minutes. With a juice press, we put our fruit and veg into filter bags and put them into a hydraulic press to slowly squeeze out every drop of juice. The quality of the juice produced is superior in taste, look and nutritional value, and the slow process prevents oxygen from getting into the juice, so they stay fresh up to a week.
Angela: That’s why we say our juices are “living”, because the enzymes and nutrients are really alive.
GR: How many bottles do you churn out per detox?
Angela: Ah…Let’s just say that we have gone through at least 40,000 partially recycled PET bottles. Our new bottles will be made from 100% recycled PET.
GR: Most memorable testimonials you have ever received?
Angela: We get a lot of feedback from our clients. Some are funny and immediate, like “Couples who juice together stay together!” “The kick in the Citrus punch really tickles my balls.”
Others write us a few days or a week after their cleanse finishes and most of those are about how the cleanse helped them curb their bad eating habits. My favorite is the one about “feeling invincible in front of a table mini hot dogs at a kid’s party” and another one about how Saturday free tastings at City Super “had ZERO effect on [her]” despite “the [aroma of food cooking linger[ing] in the air” her words: “I wasn’t going out of my mind. It made me smile at the very moment i realized that My stomach was as self controlled as it could ever be. My body was satisfied with the nutrients it had from the juices i had consumed. Then i said to myself.. Wow, if i were on a self prescribed diet, id be a very grumpy supermarket shopper seeing all the food being given away to sample (base on past experiences).”
But most of all are the people who are able to get rid of bad habits or unwanted dependencies.
We have a client who has had a serious case of psoriases and has been on steroids for a very long time. Punch Detox really helped her clear things and ever since her first time she orders the Green Punch as supplements to help her “adopt as alkaline a diet as possible for the last 2 years.”
The lighter side of detoxing:
GR: Do you eat cake? If so, which is your favourite?
Ann: YES!!!!! Cheesecake is my favorite. The dense kind—the kind you stick a fork into it and the fork stands up straight. It reminds me of my childhood with my dad.And I do love cakes from Sevva.
Angela: OK, I do eat Apple Pie, but I also make exceptions for the Meringue cake at Cipriani’s
GR: Please impart 3 pieces of advice for the novice detoxer…
- Never too late to start
- You can do anything for 3 days
- It’s ok to cheat a little. Focus on what you are doing right!!!
GR: Where can I sign up for my Punch Detox?
Angela: It’s full.
Ann: Just kidding, Of course, at www.punchdetox.com . And if you sign up before January 20th, you will get a New Year’s discount of 15%. (code “Jan202013”).
Readers I hope these two ladies have inspired you! Sign up now and don’t forget the code!!
I’m starting my detox tomorrow! Seriously, I’m not just saying it… Stay tuned x GR
Punch Detox: A 3-day Punch juice cleanse is priced at HK$1,680 and contains 18 bottles of fresh juices in 6 flavors. There are 2 levels to choose from, depending on your lifestyle and goals. For those who are looking to supplement their diet with fresh juice can also order 6 bottles of a single flavor for HK$600. All prices include deliveries (except outlying islands)