Learning to Live Better

Posted on March 5, 2024

Many of us – particularly women with children – have asked ourselves the question when it comes to taking care of ourselves and our families: “Am I getting this right?”

Even if we logically know that sometimes we will get it right and sometimes we won’t, we can beat ourselves up, continuing the cycle of stress that takes a huge toll on our health and wellbeing and then wonder why – despite all the money we spend on supplements – still don’t feel as good as we should.

Karina Stewart, the co-founder of Kamalaya Wellness Sanctuary in Koh Samui, facilitated a workshop at Flex late last month, with a full house and plenty of participants eager to hear her special brand of healthy wisdom.

The result was a highly informative discussion that ‘cut through the crap’, as one client said, primarily as Karina came up with practical, easy solutions when it comes to healthy living.

“I didn’t come out of the workshop feeling overwhelmed by what I had to do…that I had a long shopping list and needed to completely restock my cupboard,” says participant and Flex client, Elizabeth.

“There are some challenges in Hong Kong and I have been wondering how to deal with them, so after the talk, the one thing I did was buy a water filter and an air purifier, which was information that I really needed. She was very practical, concise and non-judgmental and that really hit home for me.”

This sensible approach by Karina comes from her main message that we all need to take time to care for ourselves. Being well means getting the most from our lives, enjoying the time we have with our friends and families and giving them our best. To do this, we need to understand how to nurture our bodies and minds so we can deal with the various roles women now undertake.

But firstly, who is Karina?

She was born in Mexico to a mother who believed wholeheartedly in natural remedies, healthy, fresh food and emotional intelligence.

“She had a lot of common sense and was forward thinking,” says Karina of her mother. “We had all our immunizations of course, but if we were a little unwell, she took us to naturopaths. So – when it was time to work out what I really wanted to do with my life – I already had the foundations of the concept of natural healing and spirituality.”

Karina was naturally academic and graduated from Princeton University with a degree in cultural anthropology. In her early 20s, she was unsure of which path to take when she was introduced to a man named Ni Hua Ching, who introduced her to the concept of Taoism. In one day of speaking with him, she knew that taking on a degree in psychology at Stanford was not the next step. Instead, she studied to become a doctor of TCM.

She has since dedicated her entire working life to wellness, healing and the spiritual elements of life, exploring a myriad of different foods, exercise methods, relaxation and healing treatments and supplements to do just that (and not just for women. Her husband, John, is the co-founder of Kamalaya and the two of them have worked alongside each other for many years).

After the talk, Flex managed to steal a few minutes with this natural beauty to discover a few of her dietary and supplement tips:

Number 1 Choice for Nutrients is:

  1. Food source
  2. Powder supplements (Karina recommends buying from www.thehealthychef.com. They do ship to Hong Kong)
  3. Green Tea

How to Eat:

Breakfast is the MOST important meal to get right. “When you skip that, you set yourself up for hypoglycemia (low blood sugar, which will result in low energy and the urge to snack on sugar). It’s a good time for complex carbohydrates (quinoa, germinated oats) and protein. One of her favorite, filling and nutritional recipes is grated apple on germinated oats, mixed with sunflower and pumpkin seeds, ground flax seed, berries and hot water or nut milk. Or try a smoothie or a shake made with healthy fats (avocado or 1-2 tablespoons of coconut oil) and greens such as fresh kale, rocket, spinach – or use a green powder. Lunch is either protein (lentils) and salad, a vegetable curry, or sometimes, buckwheat pancakes. Dinner is often free range eggs made into an omelet with vegetables (double check they really are free range and not let out for just a couple of hours a day!) or fish and vegetables (go easy on fish because of the mercury content).

Cooking tips:

Coconut oil for cooking

Himalayan Pink Salt

Kimchi, Sauerkraut and Miso for Probiotics


Nuts and seeds – place pumpkin seeds on a baking tray in the oven and sprinkle on a little tamarind. “I also at a lot of green apples of red Fujis. I prefer to eat dinner early (before 9pm!)”


Yoga! “It stimulates the endocrine system, which regulate hormones.”



Flex regularly runs retreats in conjunction with Kamalaya. For more information, please tel: 2813 2212.

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