Conversations with Rita Haque – Certified Cognitive Behavioral Therapist (Part 3)
Updated: Jun 22
Hello everyone, this is Sonny Kwok, Founder of Yafot Wellness. I’m very excited to chat with Ms Rita Haque. She’s our latest addition to the Yafot Wellness team as our Wellness Coach & CBT Specialist. Today, we’re going to discuss on the necessities of a detox lifestyle and healthy dietary needs.
Detox & Dietary Needs
Sonny: How did you become an advocate for Health & Wellness?
Rita: My father told me one week before his passing “Next week I will be a millionaire, but I won’t be here to enjoy it”. I felt a knife going through my heart.
All his life, my dad worked hard and denied himself just to give us a comfortable life. He was disciplined in so many ways. However, a poor diet of fried food and no vegetables may have been his downfall and made him susceptible to colon cancer.
I vowed from that day on, more than twenty years ago, that I would make health integral to my life!
Three Years in London
For a period, my husband did his Masters in Law. I packed up my advertising career and moved to London with my family.
London opened the first door to the world of health. It started when I interviewed one of the models I worked with on a shoot for Avon. She revealed why she ate her own food that was hardly appetizing to look at. However, she glowed from the inside out and we could all feel her difference. Her secret? Macrobiotic food.
My Struggle with SAD & Foray into Macrobiotics
I discovered that I was suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) – a type of depression related to the change in seasons. I was affected by the constant, grey weather in London.
Since my experience with the model, I studied Macrobiotics in London for three months. I realized that food can be medicine. Our food choices directly influence our health.
Here’s what truly convinced me. I encountered a beautiful confident woman, with flawless glowing skin, bright eyes, smiling at me in the macrobiotic supermarket. However, I didn’t recognise her. This woman was the girl who sat next to me during the entire macrobiotics course. I could not believe my eyes!
That same person was always shrouded with a brown flannel shawl. She had spotted skin and was always bent with stomach discomfort. In three months, she had completely transformed beyond recognition. I believe that food can heal or hurt your body depending on your choices.
Sonny: Do you have a dietary principle you live by? What does your usual diet look like?
The 80/20 Rule
My health disciplines are simple. I live the 80/20 rule. 80% healthy. 20% I eat whatever I like.
I have a simple diet of loads of vegetables as they are alkaline. A smoothie in the morning with avocado, vegetables like baby spinach, and a handful nuts that I’ve soaked overnight. Usually almonds, walnuts or pumpkin seeds.
I keep a variety of six or seven nuts in the fridge and always soak them overnight before I dehydrate them to keep the crunch. Soaking nuts releases the enzyme inhibitors and aids digestion.
What difference does it make to me? I have loads of energy to go about my daily activities.
Preferred Choice of Meat
1. Choose fish over meat.
2. Look for grass fed beef
3. Only buy antibiotic free chicken
I avoid gluten in food made with wheat flour, barley. Gluten weakens me and upsets my equilibrium.
I’m always seen with a flask of water in a glass bottle or in a stainless-steel flask. The more I drink the more my skin glows! I try to drink at least 3 litres a day.
My choice exercise is dancing Latin Ballroom and Tango Argentina. Dancing fills my spirit and I think makes my organs jump for joy!
Sonny: You and I are huge fan of detox! Do share with us your passion for detox and why this so important?
Rita: I believe that our body is able to detox naturally. However, we are exposed to many toxins and chemicals.
This is evident in our home care products, the environment, what we put on our face and body, and the fast food we eat. We create a toxic build-up that allows disease to flourish.
This can be manifested in a variety of unpleasant symptoms – headaches, skin rashes, stress, tiredness, foggy thinking, irritability. If this persists, it can result in a serious health condition.
Supporting our liver to clear the toxic build-up regularly makes a huge difference in our health and energy levels. Our skin shows that remarkable difference! Your body truly deserves a regular detox.
My life was so stressful in the world of brand building that I used to take off once a year to a spa to detox my mind, body and spirit for seven days. I turn off my devices and enjoy staying quiet.
There are many ways to detox.
I’ve tried juicing, herbal remedies, colonics and coffee enemas. These days I detox with coffee enema with Wilsons’s light roasted organic coffee specially made for detox. I do this every other day at home.
I learnt a long time ago that it gives me boundless energy and clear skin. Whenever I eat meat, I make sure that I do a coffee enema the next day as it clears out any meat that could be sitting in my gut! This may sound gross, but a doctor once advised me to. I’ve never looked back since.
Sonny: As you would know, Singaporeans live a pretty hectic lifestyle. Can you share a few simple detox tips that Singaporeans can easily apply to their lives?
Rita: Even before biblical days, a detox or cleanse was practiced by many ancient cultures. What was practiced then, is still practiced today:
- Fasting is part of many religious traditions. Research shows that fasting for 24 hours can improve cardiovascular health
- Drink only water fast. (This must be supervised for longer than a day). I met a German fellow detox evangelist who advocates a one day fast a week.
- Drink only juices cleanse with vegetables and fruit or other liquids works well for one to three days. It’s difficult for the first day and gets better with each passing day. The effects are different for different people.
- Detox with herbs. These are gentle and the preferred way in modern society.
- A digital detox for one day. Stop using all your devices. You get time to do what you’ve neglected or put aside.
- Have real conversations with people you love and listen to them.
- Read a book.
- Do nothing.
If you start to get withdrawal symptoms and start reaching for any device, it only confirms that you’re addicted to your devices. You need to persist to give yourself a weekly digital detox.