In Hong Kong, most of the people associate the word “dietitian” with weight-loss, obesity, or the “Three-hypers” (hypertension, hyperglycemia, hyperlipidemia), diet-control etc… In short, you only go to a dietitian when you are diagnosed with a serious health issue. Green Monday registered dietitian Celia has helped a number of patients control their diets before, but she gradually realized that this is not a sustainable solution. Instead of finding a remedy when the disease has already developed, it is more important to educate the public on a healthy, balanced diet as a preventive measure. In this regard, plant-based foods play a significant role.
“Plant-based diet has long been under-estimated in nutrition education,” Celia remarks that nutrition studies in Hong Kong are not allocating sufficient resources to talk about plant-based diet. “The courses would discuss various Fad Diets such as keto-diet and intermittent fasting while neglecting the importance of plant-based diet.” She joined the Green Monday team in 2013 and immediately realized the perfect alignment between plant-based diet and healthy eating – high fibre, low saturated fat, high protein etc., all these requirements can be fulfilled by a plant-based diet. Needless to say, plant-based diet is also very effective in the prevention and control of common urban diseases (e.g. diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol etc.). In view of this, Celia vowed to promote the benefits of plant-based eating.
When Celia was working in the public hospital, she started with a passion to help patients resolve health problem, but that eventually turned into a disappointment. “Many of them would only come for once. It’s basically impossible to change their eating habits in that single consultation session. Moreover, most of them only came because they had problems with their health. They saw my suggestions or meal plans as a one-time ‘medicine’, which was honestly quite frustrating.”
Nevertheless, disappointment did not stop Celia from pursuing her passion, it actually consolidated her goal – to dedicate herself to plant-based diet education and promotion and to share her knowledge of nutrition to everyone. In the past, she represented Green Monday as a registered dietitian to hold workshops in schools and public occasions. In 2018, Celia successfully led the team to develop an all-in-one website – a platform that combines smart data analysis, nutritional information, and e-commerce. She transformed into a behind-the-scenes dietitian to help the public choose their food smartly.
“I hope this can be a platform where even those with completely zero nutrition knowledge can find foods that are suitable for them.”
“Not everyone can read nutritional labels correctly. People might be misled by the marketing slogans on the packages. That’s why me and my team spent half a year collecting the nutritional data of each product to analyze and compare them – which one is ‘low sugar’, which one is ‘low fat’ or ‘low calories’, which one is ‘high calcium’… So that consumers can understand at first sight. On our platform, you can even set your own health target. For example, if you want to control blood pressure and cholesterol, the system will filter the low sodium, low saturated fat, no trans fat food for you automatically.” Celia also had unexpected results in this process. “I never thought Bark Thins dark chocolates were high in iron. It turns out that the nuts, quinoa and dark chocolate help to boost up the iron content. The Gardein Ultimate Beefless Ground also proves to be an all-rounded health food.” Celia hopes this website can help consumers personalize their plant-based food choices. Instead of going to a dietitian to salvage your health, why not learn to choose smartly, eat wisely, and be your own dietitian?