7 day juice fast

My husband and I will start a juice fast for 7 days, which is about our new project.

My husband had a restaurant for about 8 months and he could see what restaurant life was. He was shocked at all the food additives that existed and he got the insight that a restaurant is all about making money and doesn’t care about our health. So, they take the low quality cheap meat and vegetables, load it with food additives to look, smell and taste nice.

This was against his and my values! I was more than happy that he sold the restaurant, because I was against it from the beginning as I know that it is hard for a restaurant to keep high quality and still make money.

Our new project is about healthy, natural food. We are reading books and watching a lot of documentaries about healthy food and maintaining a strong healthy body. Later, we will give trainings in these health matters and we are looking for farmers in China to cooperate with us to sell organic food.

Our body is the most important thing we have. When we don’t keep it healthy, we can’t do anything anymore. Money can’t buy health, but you can buy good healthy foods. Many people, Chinese and Westerners, go to fast food places and don’t’ think twice about what they are putting in their mouth.

With this fast I want to see how I will change over these 7 days. We have been eating unhealthy for a few months now, because of the restaurant, because of being too busy to cook at home. And I can feel it: my skin has pimples, I have less energy and my mood is not so good. Last year, I was jumping out of bed at 6am to do exercise. Now I stumble out of bed after 8am and need more coffee to just wake up and start my day. This is not who I am.

I am taking control over my life again by taking care of my body and giving it the food it really needs. I see so many people around me that are unaware of what they are doing and we want to teach people, Chinese and foreigners, here in China and abroad about why we shouldn’t eat at restaurants and what a healthy diet really looks like!

Boating on the sea during a typhoon

Again an item I can check off my bucket list, although this one was definitely not on it in the first place. But, being married to Eric, I could have known this would end up on my list…

So, what happened? Eric got an inflatable boat and knew about an island 4km off the coast of Shenzhen. His plan was to row to the island and camp there for 1 night. We had a lot of stuff with us: tent, water and snacks, fishing net,…

After 1 hour on the sea, the weather changed and it started to rain. Not much, just a shower and so we continued, even though for the half hour it rained, we couldn’t see any land anymore. The second rain shower lasted a bit longer and we had to scoop water out of the boat. The waves got a bit higher. But again, we continued, as we were halfway and we thought we could reach it in just one more hour.

After that, 1 paddle broke and the waves started to get higher. All of a sudden, the heavens broke and it started pouring rain. The waves became scary high and it rained a lot. We had to keep on scooping more water out of the boat. The rain didn’t stop for 2 to 3 hours. We saw a container ship and started waving our paddles. Eric’s phone didn’t work because of water damage and I didn’t bring mine, just because I thought it might be damaged.

The ship was not far from us, but didn’t pick us up. After what seemed like a lifetime, the rain started to pour down less and we started to see the contours of mountains. After a while, we could see land clearly again. I started to get courage again and started paddling like crazy towards land, afraid that another shower would come and we wouldn’t see it again.

After 2 more hours, we were closer to land and it started to rain heavily again. The waves started to build up in strength and we were again at the mercy of the sea. We were being put closer and closer to land. At that point, we had to make sure that our boat wouldn’t be thrown onto rocks. We started to keep the paddle in our hand to use if a rock would be too close to us, but it was useless. We were going up and down on the waves and had no control over the direction.

In the end, we went closer and closer to land. Eric got out of the boat to try to steer it a bit, but the sea was too wild. A few minutes later, a big wave swept under the boat and I flew out of it and was thrown on the rocks. The last I saw was Eric being caught between a big rock and the boat. I started shouting as I didn’t see him the first minute. He came out of the water and I could feel my own body: my knees and hand were hurt, but not too bad.

We got all of our stuff by wonder, because the waves were smacking on the rocks. We packed everything and we had to walk another 3 km over rocks, through water, mud and a small forest back to our car.

Eric’s comment: we wanted to eat free fish, but we almost got eaten by fish!

Yeah, I guess that is going to be my life story with him. He already thinks of trying to do it by kayak next time.

My Chinese driver’s license

I have been living in China for 9 years now, but didn’t feel the need to drive a car here. I lived in Yangshuo for more than 6 years and went around by bicycle because of the beautiful environment there and because it was so small that I never had to cycle very long.

Since 2015, I live in Shenzhen. The public transportation is very convenient, so I didn’t feel like getting it there either. But, my husband has a car and he felt it would be nice that I would have my Chinese driver’s license.

I have my Belgian license and… it seemed I got very lucky. Belgians are one of the few nationalities that don’t need to do the test. I just had to get my Belgian driver’s license translated into Chinese by a recognized translation bureau and had to get all the papers of my visa etc…

Since March this year, I finally got my Chinese driver’s license and my husband immediately got me into the traffic. There was no first trying to get used to the car. The next day I got my license, he told me to drive and I had to take place behind the wheel and drive into the hectic Shenzhen traffic. It went much better than I thought. But, I had to have eyes everywhere. Cars are coming from all directions, changing lanes all the time and buses or trucks don’t care, they just drive into your lane, so I have to stop and let them go through first.

After a couple of weeks of me driving (my husband is taking it easy, he doesn’t want to drive anymore), he told me I had to use the speaker more often. He didn’t know the English word, so after a while, I understood what he wanted to say: I had to honk more.

Slowly, I am learning to get my way through the traffic. I honk, I change lanes many times, I go from the outmost left lane all over the other lanes to take an exit. I am starting to become a real Chinese person in traffic and I must say it, I enjoy it. There is a flow to it. Once I understand the rules of: buses and trucks have the most power and I can’t hesitate, I just have to keep moving, everything goes well.

I now realize how much I have missed driving a car. And it must be said: most drivers are honest. Just a couple of days ago, we had parked our car in a small parking lot. And someone hit our car from behind. We didn’t put our phone number visible at the windshield. We didn’t see the dent in our car. When we wanted to leave the parking lot, the guard told us that someone hit our car and they had the phone number of that person. We could phone him to get this settled in the best terms. This is also the honor code that people have in China, which I admire very much.

Married to a Chinese

A lot of people are surprised when they hear that I am married to a Chinese man. It is sometimes difficult, because of cultural and language differences, but any relationship is hard at times.

IMG_20150329_160215The main cultural difference we had before was privacy. I noticed and was surprised to see that Chinese don’t have a sense of privacy like we have. I sometimes like to be by myself, sit in the bedroom with a good book, not wanting to be disturbed by anyone, but my husband was surprised that I wanted to be in another room and thought I was angry. I didn’t understand how he doesn’t like personal space and that sometimes he left the door of the apartment open.

We had many small differences, but the best part is that we learn from each other! To be together with someone from another culture enriches life in many ways.

I already learned to live outside my comfort zone because I already lived in China for already 7 years before I met my husband, but he had to adapt to me too and he learned to go out of his comfort zone too. This is the most important in a relationship: to learn and adapt to each other. If you don’t do that, the relationship will fail.

At the beginning of our relationship, my husband resumed his life and did everything he did before, without asking me if I liked it. He just thought I was ok with it. We were arguing a lot and he learned that we can’t just keep on living our life like we are single. We need to learn what the other person likes and we need to learn how to live and do things together.

Communication is the most important. After each argument, we talked a lot on how we see life and how we feel. This brought us closer and closer and now, our relationship is stronger than ever. I can’t imagine my life without him anymore. Sometimes, I go back to Belgium without him, because he needs to stay in China for work and we miss each other immensely.

The other strong part in our relationship is that we share a lot of the same interests. We both like sports and love the outdoors. He also challenges me in ways I didn’t think I could do. I have started to run marathons and climb mountains because of him. These activities, especially trekking in the mountains with no one else to rely on but ourselves, have brought a bond that can’t be broken!

So, no matter if you have a relationship with someone from the same culture or from a different culture. The main things in any relationship around the world are trust, communication and similar interests.

 

photo shoot

A couple of weeks ago, my husband and I did a photo shoot for his sponsor Camel in their headquarters in Guangzhou.

I thought that it would be mainly my husband that they would take photos of, because after all, it is him that they sponsor, not me. But, as it turned out, I had to be in the pictures as well and it was all more professional than I thought. I thought we would just dress in some of their clothes, they would take a few photos and that was it.
Not according to them…

It took a whole day: from 9.30am till 6pm. They had a stylist who was doing our makeup and hair, we had to change into different clothes a lot and we had to put on some gear (e.g. climbing gear, backpack,…). I felt uncomfortable a couple of times. Like the time when the guy was doing my makeup and he said that I really didn’t put a lot of makeup on myself. He was surprised to see how little makeup I applied myself. I applied mascara and eye-shadow, which was already more than I did before and no, I don’t apply any foundation or BB cream now as the temperatures are still over 30 degrees and it would run down my face in 5min anyway.

While he was doing my makeup, some real models showed up: they would do the normal clothes line. I felt very conscious of myself. They were tall, slim and beautiful!! And most of all: they knew what they were doing. They did their thing and after just 1 hour they finished. As with us, they had to tell us over and over again where to look, what pose, do it more natural, not too natural, smile, don’t smile, look up, look down. It was exhausting! I know now that I am not a model and don’t even want to be one.

Another embarrassing moment was when 1 of the trousers were a bit too tight. The girl who dressed me (yes, I had my personal assistant who took me to the dressing room and helped me dress), said that they might be a bit too tight. Me, not wanting to admit that I do have big thighs, said it was fine. But, I had to wear them a couple of times and yes, I was very conscious on how tight they were. Time to go on a diet, I guess (although till this moment, I still haven’t started on this diet just yet, I will soon)!

All in all it was a nice experience and it might have been the only photo shoot I will ever do, so it was good to see that a model’s life can be quite hard and that it’s not so good for your self-confidence at times!

Rock climbing and life

The past couple of weeks I am really into rock climbing. I have been living in Yangshuo for more than 6 years, but never really did it. I just didn’t hang out with the climbers and I was focussing too much on Tai Chi.

But, since I came back, I have a student who is a climber and I was teaching during Chinese Newyear. On the first day of Chinese Newyear, we had a barbecue on the countryside near a good climbing area. He had his climbing gear with him and some of his friends came to climb as well. It was a perfect day!! And, even though my arms felt pumped mid-way I finished the route, which I was so proud of.

From then on I loved it and went climbing every weekend. I went to places around Yangshuo I had never been before and I met some of the best people. The climbing community is something special! Everyone is very friendly, want to help you, encourage you on your climb and share everything. It is so laid back and being in nature, with birds singing around you, is just a magical feeling.

The other, more magnificent, feeling is the feeling of victory, of overcoming yourself. Rock climbing is a little about technique, but much more about overcoming fear, being confident in your strength and to overcome your mind.

I started with not so easy routes and went to more difficult ones too quickly. I always wanted to give up mid-way (a couple of times I really had to, because it was too difficult), but then my friends would encourage me to try one last time and all of a sudden I could finish the route. So, it’s not my lack of strength or my lack of technique (though if you look at my arms and knees, I do need to work on my technique: I have scratches and bruises everywhere). Mostly, it is in my head. My mind is telling me that I am not strong enough or I suddenly feel afraid of falling and that the rope won’t hold me and I will die.

This is why I want to do rock climbing more often, because it will not only make my body stronger, but most of all it makes my mind stronger. And a strong mind is good in everything you do. If I believe in my abilities, if I overcome whatever fear I might have, I will succeed more in life. I will succeed in other areas in my life as well: finance, relationship, career, health,… Because I take well-measured risks, because I learn to know how far my body and mind can go and I learn to be able to push my limits a little bit higher each time.

I want everyone to know that you can do more and handle more than you think! Whenever you have a difficulty, you can bounce back easier or have more courage to face it and go through! Never let difficulties put you down or give up on something! Know that life gives you some difficult paths to walk on, but that makes it more interesting sometimes and it will make you a stronger person who will have a lot of life experience and will know how to handle a lot of things. You won’t be afraid to live life to the fullest anymore…

But also bear in mind, that you have to take measured risks. To think that you can handle just anything, is foolish. You have to know your limits and if it’s just too difficult, than it means that you have to give up, it’s not the right path for you to walk on. Try a different direction.

Everyone has a different path to follow and everyone will know in the end what it was they had to learn and overcome in their life. But the way towards the end, the learning process, is far more interesting and far more challenging.

IMG_20150315_094135
This is what I have discovered while rock climbing. I gave up too easily all the time, I pitied myself sometimes for not having a good career, no money, not having a longlasting relationship. It is amazing that a kind of exercise made me realize so much about my life. Even though, rock climbing is laid back, you are also always aware of the feeling that, if something goes wrong, you lose your life. I think, this is what makes this sport so philosophical as well!

Exclusive Tai Ji retreat in Bali!!!

I will organize a Chen Tai Ji retreat in Bali from 18 May 2015 till 25 May 2015. This is mainly for beginners to give them some immersion in the world of Tai Ji and Qi Gong in a beautiful setting. So, they will be able to concentrate on Tai Ji during these 7 days, ask questions and practice by themselves. Places are limited! Please help me spread the word. If it’s popular, I will do this more often and invite more teachers – guest speakers to contribute.

This is the program:
18 May: welcome dinner

19 May: morning: 1 hour Qi Gong; breakfast; 2 hours Tai Ji – lunch
afternoon: 2 hours Tai Ji
evening: 15 minutes meditation + question round and share experiences

20 May: morning: 1 hour Qi Gong; breakfast; 2 hours Tai Ji – lunch
afternoon: 2 hours Tai Ji
evening: 15 minutes meditation + question round and share experiences

21 May: morning: 1 hour Qi Gong; breakfast; 2 hours Tai Ji – lunch
afternoon: guest speaker (someone who has been living many years in China, learned
Tai Ji, Qi Gong, acupuncture, Chinese medicine will give a lecture
evening: Balinese evening with dance and buffet

22 May: morning: 1 hour Qi Gong; breakfast; 2 hours Tai Ji – lunch
afternoon: 2 hours Tai Ji
evening: 15 minutes meditation + question round and share experiences

23 May: morning: 1 hour Qi Gong; breakfast; 2 hours Tai Ji – lunch
afternoon: free afternoon to do your own training or go into town and explore Ubud
evening: 15 minutes meditation + question round and share experiences

24 May: morning: 1 hour Qi Gong; breakfast; 2 hours Tai Ji – lunch
afternoon: 2 hours Tai Ji
evening: 15 minutes meditation + question round and share experiences

25 May: morning: 1 hour Qi Gong; breakfast; 2 hours Tai Ji – lunch
afternoon: last 2 hours of training
evening: free

The total cost is 1000 EUR, included a room in a very nice resort in Ubud, Bali, breakfast and lunch included, 1 welcome dinner, 1 Balinese evening, 1 spa treatment, guest speaker and all lessons + video of the form you learned.

If you or any people you know are interested, send me an email at: healthy-body-mind@outlook.com