Today, the Ata Plus team polished off three bags of chips and some nasi lemak. We made sure to eat the cucumbers in the nasi lemak, because that’s the most veggie we’ve gotten all week. And hey, no judgement – today’s society is mostly employed in jobs that require we sit at a computer for eight hours, and snacking is bound to happen. And in a food haven like Malaysia, well, our motto ends up being ‘what up, karipap’.
And while it’s amazing that technology’s advances let us make big decisions and contain situations from the comfort of our ergonomic desk chairs, it’s also important to take care of our bodies as well as our businesses.
As Malaysians, we are willing to spend money on gym memberships and group fitness classes – but often undo the good work carried out during yoga or weight-lifting by indulging in heavy, rich food. Malaysia is slated to be the country with the highest number of patients enduring kidney failure from diabetes by 2030 if our current unhealthy lifestyles continue. We have the highest obesity rate in ASEAN, which comes as no surprise when you look at what we eat. Trendy food website Serious Eats’ article on Malaysian food includes boasts on how we can put away “six meals a day” and it’s all things like roti canai, nasi lemak and fried chicken. CiliSos said it best in an awesome article comparing the prices of mamak and hawker fare with quinoa, chia and kale; pointing out that small lifestyle changes can make the biggest difference.
There seems to be a perception that ‘healthy’ food is limited to groceries that will break the bank, like imported berries, quinoa and fancy granola. But this is a myth, and one start-up is out to shatter this illusion and teach Malaysians that healthy doesn’t mean having to spend half your salary on food you’ve only seen in fancy magazines.
We also have an issue with sedentary lifestyles: a whopping 86% of Malaysians spend over six hours a day sitting at desks and exercise less than three times a week. Half also admitted to eating lunch at their desks.
Enter PurelyB, a health and wellness portal that not only provides you with recipes and healthy eating guides, providing lovingly curated services and carefully chosen products to fit a healthy lifestyle, especially for young families dealing with the demands of work and children as well as those who find themselves spending more time at the office than anywhere else. PurelyB also places a timely, much-needed emphasis on mental wellness and mindfulness, discussing tricky topics such as anxiety and depression with a frankness that is both refreshing and inspirational.
Helmed by a team of wonder women from fitness and nutrition backgrounds, PurelyB manages to create an eating experience that doesn’t sacrifice flavour for health. It also runs exclusive and well-researched articles that are accessible to readers of any fitness level – it’s not just about diet or hitting the gym, but also about learning good new habits and making these changes sustainable even in the busiest of lifestyles.
PurelyB works with nutritionists, herbalists, doctors and chefs to ensure that it only sells safe products that are natural and paraben-free. It also boasts a restaurant directory, which you can sort by health considerations (vegan, gluten-free, etc) and type of eatery (from juice bars to chilled out cafes or sit-down restaurants). All this is in service of just helping busy career folk or young families balance the strains of work and other obligations with taking care of themselves where it matters – because once your health declines, everything else is bound to follow.
And what makes the portal so unique is its Asian-based approach – most of the health websites out there cater to the Western market. PurelyB is customised to fit our fresh produce, our work cultures, our family values, even our bad food habits. With loads of free content, customised holistic health and wellness programmes with coaching from experts and an extensive library of videos; PurelyB aims to improve overall quality of life from the body and mind outwards while also allowing people to learn on their own time.
Last year, PurelyB managed to raise seed funding of about RM2.1mil (USD500,000) from 500 Startups, Brunsfield Ventures and an angel investor which is no mean feat.
PurelyB, which is available in English and Chinese, has also expanded to a regional presence, particularly after their acquisition of yoga portal Stretch City, popular in Hong Kong, Singapore and Shanghai.
And it’s no wonder that everyone is jumping on this train: according to The Star, in 2015, the company was selected as “one of online daily technology news service Red Herring International’s Top 100 Startups in Asia as well as one of 20 Malaysian startups for the US-based Stanford Technology Ventures Programme”.
A focus on health and wellness is a global trend – look at the popularity of fitness-related platforms, apps and portals such as Fitbit, Runtastic, Foodzy. Consumers are no longer limited to just Weight Watchers and WebMD, where we get to feel bad about what we eat and self-diagnose some dire health condition after spending three hours binge-watching House of Cards. It is estimated that the wellness economy – worth $3.7tril in 2015 – has not been curtailed by the world’s uncertain economy but instead spread to all walks of life instead of being limited to just the yuppie market. And 2017/18 will see the market grow, with 1.7 billion people benefiting from at least one m-health app.
In Malaysia, there are gaps in the health and wellness industries – there’s a tendency to quack science, to word-of-mouth taking precedence over actual science and data. Even children are not immune, with studies saying that bad eating habits were partly due to poor parenting practices; and it doesn’t help that sugar is just so goshdarn cheap here!
So with adults who go to the gym but gorge on fried mee hoon after and children who will opt for that sugary drink at lunchtime, PurelyB has its work cut out for it: filling the gap between holistic wellness and science, with innovative and creative original content to boot. Articles such as ‘Top 25 Tried-and-Tested Healthy and Delicious Meal Deliveries In KL‘ or recipes using everyday ingredients such as coconut, garlic, oats and even hibiscus and agar-agar.
Its easy-to-use interface makes it a strong contender in the world of wellness, with its popularity among a diverse audience from across Asia, Australia and even the US. Its convenience and ease-of-access gives people information they need for healthier lifestyles and fills a huge gap in the market.
So if you’d like to get on board with health and fitness, it’s a click away on PurelyB.com It may be easier to just have a roti canai and over-sweetened teh tarik after a long day: but let’s face it, this way, your body will thank you.
And just to sweeten the pot (with honey, not high fructose corn syrup), members get access to special discount and exclusive treats, as well as practical wellness and health tips delivered straight to your inbox. PurelyB will soon be kicking off its pre-launch campaign for members which will allow them to invest in PurelyB for exclusive rewards and first dibs at sharing in PurelyB’s successes as a thank you for their loyalty.
We’re not into cliches here at Ata Plus. But we definitely believe there’s truth to the saying ‘you are what you eat’. So we’re putting our support behind PurelyB. If you, too, want to get involved with this up and coming phenomenon, then stay tuned for their crowdfunding campaign launch on our platform.