Wellness Wisdom : Claire Bostock Tang
Insights from our Wellness Experts.
Welcome to our interview series where we delve into the world of wellness and explore the tips and tricks from experts in the industry. Our goal is to bring you inspiring stories and practical advice to help you live a healthier, happier life.
From nutrition to exercise, stress management to mindfulness, we cover it all and provide you with the tools and inspiration to transform your lifestyle and achieve your wellness goals. So, get ready to be inspired and join us as we discover the secrets to a healthier life. First up is Claire Bostock Tang, Integrative Health Coach & Speaker and dear friend and consultant to Moringa Project.
1. Can you tell us about your background and how you became involved in the wellness industry?
Originally from Singapore, I started off my career in the banking industry but feeling unfulfilled and uninspired, I made a transition to the wellness industry way back in 2003. Having battled with eating disorders, depression, and anxiety for more than a decade I felt a calling to help girls struggling with eating disorders. I started as a yoga teacher and counsellor after completing my yoga teacher training with the Vivekenanda Yoga Institute and a Masters in Counselling Psychology from Monash University. I integrated yoga and counselling in my work with clients.
My wellness career brought me to Thailand where I managed and curated wellness programs and services for Asia’s largest health & lifestyle brand for more than a decade after which I became a wellness consultant and also set up Asia’s first specialist wellness travel agency.
As the years went by, I felt disconnected with my purpose, I was working too hard, running from one thing to another, struggling to balance work and life as a single mum. My body eventually caved in. I had numerous episodes of syncope, one of which sent me to the emergency room with 12 stitches to the back of my head, my hormones were out of whack and my adrenals were burnt out.
The pandemic and a move to Geneva, Switzerland forced me to slow down and take back control of my health, life and happiness. I realised how my life had been so unbalanced and I learnt to connect with myself, practise self-love and find happiness within.
I reflected on what I really wanted to do with the next chapter of my life and was motivated to become an integrative health coach with the Institute of Integrative Nutrition as I felt a need to expand on my skills to help others.
Older and wiser, having gone through the ups and downs of life and its emotions, I rediscovered my life’s purpose in coaching women and teens, find peace within themselves and their struggles. In 2022 I founded Elements, bespoke wellness, with the intention to empower women to take back control of their health and wellbeing.
2. What does wellness mean to you?
Wellness to me means a lifestyle in balance physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
- Like #2 my philosophy on healthy living is living a life of balance, self-love and gratitude. I incorporate it into my daily routine by, Grounding myself each day with a run and breathwork/meditation after each morning.
- Setting aside time doing something for myself each day be it going for a yoga or Pilates class or a massage or just lighting some candles in my bedroom at the end of each day and watching a movie or reading a book.
- Nourishing myself each day with foods good for my body like kombucha and yoghurt for my gut health.
- I keep a gratitude journal and each night before bed I write 3 things I am grateful for that happened during the day.
4. What are the biggest challenges you see people facing when it comes to maintaining a healthy lifestyle?
The biggest challenges I see especially in my clients are:
- They don’t know where to start as there is so much information out there.
- They set too many to dos for themselves that are unrealistic and difficult to achieve
- They follow trends rather than listen to what their body needs or likes to do
- They can’t keep the momentum going as maybe something they have tried doesn’t fit in to their lifestyle or their needs
- They might encounter emotional barriers to change for example certain bad lifestyle habits could have some emotional attachment to them which they are unwilling to let go of
- They lack accountability and a support system. For example, being surrounded by friends who don’t honour their intentions and keep egging them on to have that piece of cake or a partner or family that doesn’t appreciate his/her need to have some time to themselves
5. How do you approach nutrition and meal planning in your daily life?
I don’t follow any diet per se as I suffered from eating disorders for many years in my youth and don’t want to go down the route of following any particular diet or restriction as I wasted many precious years doing so.
I go for foods that I feel nourish my body and abstain from those that don’t serve my body well. This comes with being comfortable with your body and knowing what it needs. Am not a big fan of carbs or red meat as my body doesn’t react well to carbs and I have difficulty digesting red meat causing me gas and bloating. I try as much as possible to go for unprocessed foods, wild caught fish, avoid refined sugars, sweets. I eat seasonal and try as much as possible to eat the rainbow.
I am big advocate in gut health so I take a lot of gut friendly foods such as kombucha, yoghurt, tempeh and kimchi. Greek yoghurt with honey and walnuts are my go-to snack.
I don’t plan most meals unless it's meals involving the family but eat whatever I feel my body wants for that day. I am lucky to have a well-stocked kitchen and 3 grocers nearby so I can whip up whatever my body feels like.
6. Can you share some favourite exercises or physical activities for staying healthy and fit?
- I start my day with a run with my dog Lara every morning by the lake for about 5-6 km.
- I attend Yoga classes 1-2 times a week and I go for Pilates reformer classes 2- 3 times a week.
- I also walk wherever I can.
7. What role does mindfulness play in your overall wellness routine?
It plays a big part as it keeps me grounded and prevents me from being overwhelmed by emotions which sometimes can run wild.
I like to end off my morning runs with some breathwork and meditation and do it sometimes before bed too.
8.What advice would you give to someone just starting their wellness journey and looking to make positive changes in their life?
- Before you start, write down the reasons why you want to do this for yourself and what will happen if you don’t. Keep it somewhere close as a constant reminder to why you are embarking on this journey.
- If you want to set goals, make them small, specific, manageable and achievable . Start off with doing one simple thing in week 1 then slowly adding others. Explore, have fun and patience. There are so many wellness practices out there, not everything will suit you and don’t give up if it doesn’t. There is something for you and the beauty is in the process of finding what works for you.
- Find an accountability partner that will keep you accountable to the milestones/goals you have set.
- Celebrate achievements no matter how small it is.
- Allow yourself some setbacks. The key is getting back right on the path and not fall into the guilt trap.
- Make your intentions of embarking on a wellness journey known to your family and friends so that they can support you on this journey and maybe join you on their own person wellness journey too.
9. Any tips for staying motivated and on track with healthy habits?
Like above, but mostly find a habit that suits your lifestyle and your body not what the latest trend is or what everybody is doing.
If you fall off track don’t spend too much time beating yourself about it, try to identify what the challenge was and adapt if you need to.
10. What are small changes we can make to greatly increase our wellbeing?
3 small changes you can make:
- Breathe deeper. Set aside 3 mins each day to consciously work on making the exhales longer than the inhales.
- Move your body each day. It doesn’t need to be a run, doing yoga or dancing. It can just be walking the dog, dancing to your favourite music, just move your body as much as you can.
- Take care of your gut health as it impacts our emotions, moods, immunity and inflammation response: drink a bottle of kombucha each day or have some yoghurt in the mornings if not lactose intolerant.
In the living room, on my mat looking out to the garden.
12. The next holiday destination you are lusting over?
Maldives or South of France.
13. Which treatments do you swear by?
Tui Na and acupuncture are my go-to. Am a big fan of TCM.
14. Who inspires you when it comes to wellness and health?
My mum! She’s 75 but is fit, has loads of energy and is mobile and agile. She does yoga, Pilates and line dancing each week for her physical health, plays mahjong each Sunday to stimulate her brain and keeps her senses sharp and meditates each morning. She’s strong physically, mentally and emotionally.
15. How do you incorporate Moringa into your life?
I use it as part of my facecare routine and as I live in Switzerland which tends to be dry and cold, I use it in the cold winter months on dry spots over my body or apply it on cold rashes.