Marissa Parry on her PurelyB duties, health advice and a coyo recipe
Inspiring wellbeing goals
Tell us what your job as Health & Wellness Director at PurelyB entails.
As part of the co-founding team, my expertise is in fitness and nutrition. Although I have several roles, I namely oversee our health programmes, of which I co-designed 21-Day Kickstart to A Healthy Lifestyle. I also conduct talks and workshops—be it an intimate group or a big corporate setting—create content for the site and social media, vet through vendors for our online marketplace (launching in May) and assist with marketing and business development.
What's your advice to people who wish (or need) to juggle a busy yet healthy lifestyle?
Life is busy for everyone. Whether we're a parent, working or not, or both, our plates are full. But there is always time if you make time. All it takes is 30 minutes a day and that is less than three per cent of your time on a daily basis. People spend an average of two hours on social networks (up to six hours online even!) so it just takes prioritising what is important to you—and health should be at the top of that list. I personally exercise in the morning so I know I have done it and nothing can get in the way to disrupt it; versus scheduling a weekend evening. Morning is also the time I feel most motivated.
What are some of your own health/ wellness goals?
It's so important to have goals in all aspects of our life. Without them, you tend to just go through life a little aimlessly. Goals make me a lot more efficient. Otherwise, I'll just plateau—especially when it comes to fitness. This year, I'm working on some body weight movements, a strict pull-up (I can now do three, aiming for five), handstand push-ups, rope climbing and free-standing handstand (i.e no wall support).
When it comes to health and wellness, who or what motivates you?
Choosing to be in this industry motivates me. If I want to inspire people, I need them to believe in me, which means I need to practise what I 'preach'. I need to be a role model and show people that there is balance in our busy lives. Of course, my family also motivates me. My husband is extremely fit and well, I have to keep up! In fact, we motivate each other and we want our children to see what we do and aspire to do even more.
Which fitness enthusiasts do you follow on Instagram?
I find mothers who look amazing to be inspirational. But I take everything on social media with a pinch of salt. If there's one thing I have learnt not to do, it's to compare myself to others; which is what I encourage others as well. We are all individuals and our bodies react differently. The only person you should compare yourself to is yourself—be better than the person you were yesterday.
What is your workout routine like and how often do you exercise?
I aim for four days a week and I do a mix of circuit training, gym (lifting weights) and yoga. Circuit training is an awesome full body workout and I enjoy the variety as it keeps me from getting bored. As for lifting weights, I cannot stress how important it is and how beneficial it is for everyone. Yoga, on the other hand, is great for lengthening the muscles from the intense workouts and it helps you to focus on breathing and gives your mind a bit of a time out.
Say, a working adult hasn't had enough sleep and has a tired body and mind, which would you recommend: Sleep or stick to the workout routine?
Sometimes we are just exhausted and our body needs to rest. There is no point pushing it as it can do more harm than good. However, if this becomes something regular, then we need to relook at our lifestyle and make a change to get enough sleep so that the body and mind can be well rested and be ready for the next day.
People just don't realize how important sleep is and how the lack of it can affect us in so many ways: Weight gain, less productive, moody and an increase chance of falling sick. We must aim to get seven to eight hours of sleep a day.
What is a common misconception that Malaysians usually have about healthy living?
That they have to give up everything—no more nasi lemak, teh tarik, rendang, etc. Also, a lot of people think that giving up rice is the answer to weight loss. These are all far from the truth. When it comes to eating, the first thing they need to understand is that it's all about balance. We can't give up on all of those foods because it's part of our culture—and we shouldn't have to.
What we do need to do is limit the portions, frequency and learn to make some modifications. For example, less condensed milk in drinks, eat a smaller portion of sambal with your nasi lemak—or better yet, make a healthier version at home. Live by the 80/20 rule: Be good 80% of the time and not so good for the rest of the 20%.
There is always time if you make time. All it takes is 30 minutes a day and that is less than three per cent of your time on a daily basis.
What are your guilty food pleasures?
As mentioned, I'm all about the 80/20 rule; so I spread my guilty pleasures... There's always good quality dark chocolate in the fridge. But I do often make raw desserts or buy them (I'm so happy that we have more choices these days!). They basically satisfy that sweet craving but without the guilt as they provide a lot of nutrients because they're made with ingredients such as dates, nuts, coconut oil and fruits.
Smoothie bowls seem to be a recent food trend in KL. What's your take on them?
They're one of my favourites! Just be sure to get the right ratios if you don't want your blood sugar levels to skyrocket. If your smoothie bowl is made up of just fruit and topped with more fruit, you'll be getting way too much sugar. When making the base, look at adding things like avocado, coconut milk, or spinach—you need some good fats or vegetable carbs to balance out the simple sugars from the fruits. For the toppings, try adding nuts, seeds, buckwheat, grated coconut or toasted oats.
You recently Instagrammed a photo of coyo. Tell us more about coyo and maybe throw in an easy recipe for us to try?
Coyo is delicious! Unfortunately, it's next to impossible to find in Malaysia because of the price. It's expensive even in Australia but Bali has some yummy coyo. Here's a recipe you can follow:
500ml coconut milk
1 tbsp tapioca flour
4 probiotic capsules
1. Add ½ cup of coconut milk and the tapioca flour to the pot. Whish until the flour is dissolved.
2. Add the remaining coconut milk and warm on the stove to medium heat until the milk begins to simmer. Stir the milk occasionally and allow the milk to simmer for a couple of minutes. The milk will begin to thicken.
3. Let the milk cool down until it reaches 115F (46C). You will need a thermometer if you intend to make yoghurt regularly. You can also do a heat test with your finger—if you can stick your finger in the milk for 10 seconds then it is about the right temperature.
4. Pour in the probiotics and give it a good whisk.
5. Transfer the milk to a thermos and let it culture for 6-8 hours. You can leave it for longer if you prefer a more sour taste.
6. Pour the set yoghurt into a container and refrigerate. It can keep up to a week.