This year, the World Health Organization (WHO) is inspiring us to reimagine the world for a #HealthierTomorrow. The climate crisis is a health crisis but – with our daily choices, we can promote health and wellbeing. From reducing our greenhouse gas emissions and single-use plastics to reducing bio-waste pollution starting with just one cloth diaper a day to minimizing toxins in the home by switching to organic, natural personal care products, each choice can improve our collective health step by step.
Food inevitably plays an enormous role in our health and wellbeing. According to a study by New York University, the U.S. population is eating more processed foods than ever before. 57 percent of their food intake is ultra-processed foods¹ while the consumption of whole foods² has decreased from 32.7 percent (2001-2002) to 27.4 percent (2017-2018). There is mounting evidence that there is an association between poor diet quality, driven by ultra-processed foods, and chronic diseases.
While reaching for the frozen pizzas, salty snacks and breakfast cereals may be an efficient meal-fix, we chat with Cooking Teacher, Alix on why we should opt for healthy food choices for our family and how we can do so as modern parents with all the demands that parenting, life, and work bring.
Alix Delahaye, Cooking with Alix Founder
You’re a private chef and a cooking teacher. What inspired you to begin teaching kids and adults to cook?
I have always cooked as a hobby. I realised how much joy and balance it brought me and my family. I think cooking is a wonderful activity that teaches a lot but also brings people together. It’s a pride to share my French heritage here in Hong Kong, as well as replicating what my parents and grandparents did with me when I was as a kid. People cook a lot with their kids in France. Moving to Hong Kong, I realised that wasn’t so common and it gave me the inspiration to start my business and share my passion.
Why is it important to prepare healthy, whole foods for your family?
First because that’s what we enjoy, eating! Eating is one of life's most simple and daily pleasures. Also, I feel a responsibility towards my kids to raise them with the best food possible and teach them the basics of nutrition. Many people don’t cook anymore in modern society. I want my kids to see that cooking is easy and have a healthy relationship with food.
How do you find time to balance your work as a content creator, private chef, teacher, and being a Mom to two kids?
Well I don’t always balance well, but I’d say first of all that I’m extremely privileged to have between 2 and 3 nannies per day to help me with the kids and run the house. I understood that I am actually a better mom when I do things for myself and not spend the full day at home with my kids. I am more patient, more entertaining and more involved when the time spent with my kids is chosen, not imposed. I am usually quite good at organising things and balancing work, but family life has become my new challenge, sometimes successful sometimes harder. I am forever grateful to my nannies whom I trust fully and take many initiatives so that I can focus on my work when I needed it.
What influences you to make eco-conscious choices?
Just having a walk or a short hike in Hong Kong is enough to remind me why eco consciousness and sustainable behaviours are so crucial. Hong Kong is a beautiful place that’s suffocating under trashes, dumping and mass consumption of single use and over wrapped products. I once cried during a hike in Sai Kung Country Park, seeing that even so far there was so much trash everywhere. Henry, my oldest kid, already picks the trash he finds during our daily walks to throw them properly. That’s the kind of life ethic I try to teach them from the earliest age.
Why did you choose cloth diapering for your family and what impact has it made on your lives?
I chose cloth diapering for my second baby after realising the volume of waste and money disposable diapering was. I also became more aware that disposable diapers weren’t only dangerous for the planet, but could also hide harmful chemicals. I think meaningful choices like cloth diapering are a motivation to keep on improving on other aspects of your eco conscious journey. We started making other switches such as reusable wipes. You must start with something and you’ll hit more eco-conscious milestones along the way. Even my nannies got really into it and said it wasn’t that bad to wash the diapers. Every little step counts.
Finally, if you could turn back time and talk to your pre-Mom self, what would you tell her?
Pre-mom self, as much as I miss her free and careless mindset sometimes, was focused on things I don’t value so much anymore. I think having kids teaches you what real life priorities are. What being true to self means. They are like a mirror and they challenge you to be your own best when raising them. I am not referring to an idea of perfection, rather a path leading to personal development. I have learned a lot about myself since I became a mom and they made me change to become the person I am now - more open to the world, less selfish, able to step out of my comfort zone to launch a business and invent my own lifestyle. I would tell the pre-mom me that life is not restricted to the choices you’re given after graduating from college, which are basically a life of social reproduction with no place for self fulfilment.
Alix has shared with us a healthy and yummy BLW Vegetable Pancake Recipe for our little one to enjoy!