Chenling Zhang: VCLEANSE Co-founder and CO-CEO
Tian Mayimin: VCLEANSE Co-founder and CO-CEO
When Beyonce turned to the Master Cleanse Diet to help her drop a reported twenty pounds in less than two weeks for her role in the movie Dreamgirls, the Master Cleanse became one of the most famous and efficient diets. The Master Cleanse, also known as the Lemonade Detox Diet, is a modified juice fast recipe created by Stanley Burroughs in the 1940’s. Yeah, it’s that old! The Master Cleanse has gained more popularity as a weight-loss diet, but it must be noted that it is not meant as a permanent diet, and its main goal is not weight loss. It is in fact a FAST – a juice fast – and as with all juice fasts, the main purpose is to clean the body.
Juice cleanses are now sweeping the globe. In China, the industry leader is VCLEANSE, which was founded three years ago by two Chinese Harvard graduates. We got to sit down with these young entrepreneurs to learn just how they did it and to find out if a juice detox really can work for our bodies. This is what they had to say.
First, could you give us a little introduction to VCLEANSE? When did you two start it?
We started VCLEANSE in April 2012 in Shanghai. VCLEANSE is a healthy foods and lifestyle company dedicated to making delicious foods that help you renew, rejuvenate and reach your health goals, whether this be to shed a few pounds, improve diet and eating habits, increase nutrient intake, or deepen transformations. We currently offer cold-pressed juices, juice cleanses, nut milks, hot infusions and soups and have retail locations in Shanghai and Beijing, with delivery available in almost nineteen cities all over China!
I’m curious. How did you two meet, and what made you come up with this idea?
Chenling: We met while we were studying at Harvard. Tian and I shared a mutual group of friends through a student organization called Harvard Project for Asian and International Relations (HPAIR). We knew of each other but were not close friends. I worked at Morgan Stanley New York and Audax Group after graduation. Tian attended Harvard Law School and practiced law at the firm of WilmerHale in Washington, D.C. after receiving her J.D. But, later she realized that she wanted to do business, so she contacted me for advice. I always knew that I wanted to do a startup and needed a good partner who could complement my personality and skillset. She actually moved into my apartment and slept on my couch. We would talk every day for a month. We decided to form a partnership and quit our jobs, with no projects or funding. We thought we could work together to create something great.
While we were selecting projects, we decided that we wanted to pursue something that would do good and do well at the same time. We’d both had good personal experiences with juice cleanses in the U.S. Before we started the business, we also consulted with various medical experts and professors to ensure the subject we were about to take on was meaningful, not just a temporary cult. What we decided to do was to create a lifestyle business that promotes a plant-based diet. The juice cleanse is just our entry product, and soon we will launch snacks and meals that follow our principles.
Neither of you majored in this industry. Why should people trust your products, and how do you convince them to use your products in the very beginning?
In the beginning, we asked all the professors in the States that we could find – just trying to get to the truth behind juice cleansing. The answer became very clear to us: It's always good and beneficial for your body if you have a large amount of fresh vegetables and fruit every day. Over time, we have built a team of experts that consists of nutritionists, TCM experts, detox specialist and food science researchers. The two of us put most of our time and money into product research and development and our production facility. When we first started, our first kitchen was a thirty-square-meter shop in downtown Shanghai, six square meters of which was cold storage space with a controlled temperature of four to six degrees Celsius. So even if it was so small, we wanted to make sure we did the juice processing procedure that followed the U.S. standards.
Our first customer was introduced to us through a friend. She is an expat based in Shanghai. She’d tried cold-pressed juices in the U.S. and was in the process of transforming her lifestyle. We had no bottles, so we had to use plastic containers from Ikea, and we had no delivery services, but instead her driver came in and picked up from us. Despite all that, she loved our products very much and introduced us to everyone around. By word of mouth, we started our business. However in a year, we decided to use an invitation-only policy; only people who were referred to us directly could purchase from us. We wanted to make sure that we perfected packaging, delivery, suppliers and all sorts of operations-related issues before we officially launched in June 2013 at our first public event with Lululemon.
How did the market respond after you launched your products?
We have grown primarily through word of mouth. We are really grateful for our customers who appreciate our products and share our products with their friends.
Were there any difficult times for you two?
Sure, any meaningful partnership will go through challenging moments. We have built up a lot of trust between us and have figured out a series of rules and principles that govern our relationship. For example, one of the rules is family comes first. Whoever has a family commitment, the other person has to support it.
It has now been almost three years since VCLEANSE was founded. We have to say you girls have done a great job. How many users do you have now? What are their professions?
We do have a large base of customers, and we love our customers. They mostly have very discerning taste, care about their health, and are willing to invest in high quality lifestyle products. Typical customers would be a mother of two young children who’s trying to take care of the healthy eating of her family, or a professional executive in her late 30’s who’s trying to stay in good shape amidst all her intense professional and personal challenges. Our customers are usually high demanding, but at the same time, once you win over their trust, they are loyal and willing to come back. They are pushing us to get better and better.
There are more and more cleanse and detox companies these days. The number is growing fast. For juice cleanses, there are quite a few choices, such as Juice Queen, Juice Up, Hey Juice, Fresh, I.Juice, Beauty Juice, In Juice Cleanse, Love Juice, Drink Clean… How do you view the competition?
We aren’t worried about competitors. Watch your competitors but never follow them. Fair competition is good for consumers to compare and make the right choice, which will eventually be good for us. Healthy lifestyle is definitely a fast growing sector that will attract a lot of capital and smart people. We are very happy that we are in this business. What we need to do is to make ourselves a better company by offering the best products and services.
Since you are in this business, you must get to drink juice every day. What’s so special about your juice? Can’t people just make their own at home?
Sure. People could make juices at home, but ours is different in the following categories:
1. Technology: Cold press technology. We use a cold-press juicer that uses high pressure to extract juice, so the temperature during juicing remains low, and very little oxygen gets in during the process of juicing – instead of blades or centrifugal technology, it is a hydraulic press. Nutrients stay fresh and are well-kept for up to seventy-two hours. If you make the juices at home, you must drink them within twenty minutes of preparation; otherwise, the juices will turn brown and get oxidized.
2. Production Process: A team of pressers work in the cold storage unit wearing thick coats to make the fresh juice. We make sure the juicing takes place under four degrees Celsius to be in compliance with the U.S. juicing process. In addition, we have a rigorous washing and cleaning process.
3. Recipes: To make delicious and healthy juices is not easy. You want to make sure it is tasty but at the same time the sugar level and glycemic index level is low. Our recipes are created to produce deliciously healthy juices
4. Ingredients: It is hard to get high quality fruits, vegetables and nuts in China. We grow as many of the vegetables as possible ourselves using organic farming methods (but we have not been certified, so we don’t call ourselves “organic”) under the guidance of an organic farming expert. We use mostly high quality and imported fruits and nuts. They are usually hard to secure and very expensive in China.
5. Convenience: We did the math before. It would take a full-time ayi to do all the shopping, washing, juicing and cleaning work to make six juices and nut milks a day. We offer the convenience that the urban crowd needs.
Chenling, especially for you, you have lost so much weight since the first time we met. That was maybe seven or eight months ago. Now look at those abs. How much weight have you lost? What’s your secret?
I went through several stages of body transformation myself. The first stage was when I was introduced to juicing. I was still in the U.S. I found that I couldn’t fit into my largest pair of jeans, and I got panicked. I found a juice cleanse, and it helped me kick-start my own health regime. When I started VCLEANSE, I started drinking juices and switched to a plant-based diet primarily. It helped me further lose some weight. The third stage was to prepare for my wedding day. I went on a three-week rigid routine where I did mostly cleanses and went running for 6-8km every day, coupled with weight training. My waist went from 68cm in the first gown fitting to 61cm in the final gown fitting. And I have continued to stick to a fairly clean eating routine and exercise routine. Specifically:
1. Diet: Juicing almost two days, coupled with raw nuts and healthy fiber crackers
2. Exercise: Running almost daily for 6-8km; if not running then weight training with my trainer twice a week
3. The result is clean and deep ma jia xian!!!
How many places do you deliver to in China now?
Besides Shanghai, Beijing, Tianjin, Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Hebei provinces, now we just opened nineteen more major cities in China with delivery available.
You two are very young and ambitious. What’s the future plan for VCLEANSE?
We want to be known as the Apple for healthy lifestyle products. We want to create extraordinarily delicious, beautiful and healthy foods. These three things usually don’t exist together in the same sentence, but we believe we can make foods that meet these three categories together at the same time. We will launch our healthy snacks and healthy foods product lines later this year. In the future, we hope to expand beyond just China and bring our amazing products to the world.
If you are interested in booking a cleanse course, go to their website: www.vcleanse.com. Beginners should start with a three-day course and be aware of the pre- and post-fast preparation needed. You don’t want to give your body a shock. Always begin and end a fast properly.
For the 12th consecutive year, the Expat Show Shanghai is back for the delight of families.
Expatriates or locals, the Expat Show Shanghai will meet all your daily needs.
Shanghai is a cosmopolitan city, the whole world is represented here. However, creating your network, meeting new people, or simply keeping up to date with new businesses (services and products) can sometimes be complicated by the vastness of this city.
That's why the three days Expat Show brings together in one place everything you need. Thus, foodies will find their happiness within the "Food & Beverage Area" created in partnership with Sherpa's ; various tastings organised will fulfil wine, beer, and cocktail lovers dreams; families will not be left behind with stands dedicated to tourism, education, health but also to investment and finance.
Activities for young and adult visitors will be organized inside a dedicated space, and a relaxation area awaits all visitors for moments of exchange over a drink or a coffee.
The members of the associations (non-profit, charities, Chambers of Commerce...) will also be there to present their activities and why not, soon, count you among their members.
GET TOGETHER COCKTAIL
This year, a big new feature!
The Expat Show is pleased to invite you to its "Get Together Cocktail".
In the Shanghai Exhibition Center, you are expected on Saturday, September 21st, from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. on the Relaxing Area.
Wine, spirits and cocktails tasting with appetizers provided by our sponsors, will be an opportunity to share a pleasant moment.
Participation is free of charge and our generous sponsors have prepared many gifts for you. Come and try your luck! Games, trips, gifts are to be won!
SEE YOU ON SEPTEMBER 20TH AT 10AM!
This year the Mid-Autumn Festival, or Moon Festival, falls on September 13th. This is the 2nd most important festival in China, after the Chinese New Year/Spring Festival blow out extravaganza. The Mid-Autumn Festival is a harvest festival that coincides with the autumnal equinox and marks the end of the summer harvest season, and its date varies from year to year because the Chinese can’t seem to let go of the Lunar Calendar. Of course, they’ve seen silverware too, but Jerry Seinfeld already did that bit.
Like everything else here, the history of the Mid-Autumn Festival dates all the way back, 3,000 years, to the Shang Dynasty, when the powerful sorcerer Lo Pan broke the curse of immortality by marrying a girl with green eyes…no, wait, that was the plot to Big Trouble in Little China. Here’s the real one, according to legend (or, Wikipedia, if you want to be a jerk about it):
“Chang'e and her husband Houyi were immortals living in heaven. One day, the ten sons of the Jade Emperor transformed into ten suns and scorched the Earth. Having failed to order his sons to stop ruining the Earth, the Jade Emperor summoned Houyi for help. Houyi, using his legendary archery skills, shot down nine of the sons, but spared one son (who conveniently became the Sun). The Jade Emperor was obviously not pleased with Houyi's solution to save the Earth as it involved Houyi murdering nine of his sons. As punishment, the Jade Emperor banished Houyi and Chang'e to live as mere mortals on Earth.
Seeing how miserable Chang'e felt over her loss of immortality, Houyi decided to go on a long, perilous quest to find the pill of immortality so that the couple could become immortal again. At the end of his quest he met the Queen Mother of the West who agreed to give him the pill, but warned him that each person needs only half the pill to become immortal.
Houyi brought the pill home and stored it in a case. He warned Chang'e not to open the case and then left home for a while. Like every other woman in the history of the world, she didn’t listen. She opened up the case and found the pill just as Houyi was returning home. Nervous Houyi would catch her fiddling with the pill, she swallows the whole thing like a stooge and starts to float into the sky because of the overdose. Although Houyi could have used his wicked archery skills to shoot her and tether her down, he couldn’t bear to do it and Chang'e kept on floating until she landed on the moon.
Although Chang’e missed her husband dearly, she wasn’t alone. She did have company of a jade rabbit that manufactured elixirs, and that of the lumberjack Wu Gang. The lumberjack offended the gods in his attempt to achieve immortality and was therefore banished to the moon. Wu Gang was allowed to leave the moon if he could cut down a tree that grew there. The problem was that each time he chopped it down; it would instantly grow back, effectively condemning him to live on the moon for eternity. Gods are tricky that way.”
So to commemorate this story, as well as the end of the harvest season, people throughout China gather their families together to catch up while eating moon cakes (discussed in more detail later) and pomelo. They also light lanterns to adorn their homes, temples, and even the sky. This last kind of lantern, called a, “sky lantern,” is really quite cool. They’re basically an ornate box kite that’s lit with a candle, but when they’re launched, after night fall, they make for a beautiful, candlelit sky. Add to this luminescence that of the full round moon and you’ve got yourself the makings of one festive evening. It’s also the perfect occasion to pull out your old Neil Young albums (namely Harvest and Harvest Moon) and rock out.
Alternate Uses for Moon Cakes:
Let’s face it; the moon cake is the fruitcake of China. No one actually wants them (other than for re-gifting purposes). They’re just the gift you give people to let them know how little you care for them. For the person on the receiving end, it’s really a slap in the face. The giver of said crap cakes gets to slide by on the kindness of the gesture, while you’ve got to work up a smile, and pretend to appreciate what is in essence, an empty, backhanded act of passive aggression. Giving someone moon cakes is the same as saying, “I’ve nothing but contempt for you, but I do plan on knocking you up for a favor in the next couple weeks, so try not to choke.” But all’s not lost because moon cakes can serve many other functions besides pissing all over the definition of cake. So as those decorative boxes of banality from all your condescending know-nothing colleagues at work pile up in your home, don’t think about how drunk you’re going to have to get to choke them all down. Get creative. Think like Martha Stewart, or just keep reading and use some of the ideas we’ve come up with. It’s a good thing.
Stabilize that wobbly chair or coffee table
One of the nice things about a cake that’s got the density of a brake pad is that it can endure a sizeable amount of force without breaking apart. That makes it one of the best materials to use to support that bothersome short leg on your table, chair, or bar stool. It also won’t scuff up your hardwood floors.
Serves as a fantastic replacement puck for ice or street hockey
Thanks to the moon cakes stout, cylindrical design, (It’s called, yeast, you a-holes! It’s what makes baked goods fluffy and delicious. Stop living in the past.), it has, not only the same shape as a standard ice hockey puck, but also, almost, the exact same dimensions. So here’s what you do. Take a box of these abominations and throw them in the freezer for a couple hours while you gather the gang for a good old fashion game of street hockey, or take them down to the skating rink at the MixC Mall and have at it.
Give to the needy
This is just to prove our point that these shit snacks are universally reviled. Go up to a homeless person asking for money and give them a box of these bastards instead, and see if you don’t get pegged in the back of the head with one as gratitude for your selfless gesture.
Protect yourself from stray dogs
It’s late and you’re stumbling out of the bar after a few too many with your buddies. Your senses are impaired, as is your sense of direction. You find yourself alone, walking down a dark street when you spot a mongrel dog that has shown an interest in you. You’re too drunk to outrun it, and it’s the only thing between you and your warm bed. What do you do? You pull out the moon cakes that some jackanapes forced on you and you force them right into the dog’s mouth. Like peanut butter on their nose, this should keep it occupied for at least 10 minutes, giving you plenty of time to make a staggering escape.
Whip at motorists who don't obey the traffic laws
How many times have you been on your bike, or in a taxi, and you’ve almost been killed by some motorist who thinks the rules don’t apply to them? If you’ve been here a week it’s happened at least once. Don’t lie to us. Of course, you want to throw something at them, but all you have handy is your cell phone and/or wallet and, obviously, you can’t throw those. Moon cakes combine the heft of a billiard ball with the softness of a dessert you’d still pass on in a hostage situation. You make your point, no damage to the target’s car, but the message was received. Everyone wins.
Earmuffs in the winter
Get creative this winter and be the first one on your block to chase away the chills with some homemade, moon cake earmuffs. All you need is a needle, some decorative, elastic yarn, 2 moon cakes (one for each ear) and a microwave. Cut 5 lengths of yarn at a measure of one and half times the circumference of your head. Work the yarn through the moon cakes laterally (through the sides). Adjust the position of the cakes so that each one rests comfortably over each ear, with your lengths of yarn going around your head like a sweat band. When you’ve got them positioned how you like them, tie the ends of your yarn together to ensure a snug fit around your cabeza. When you’re ready to hit the town, throw your stylish new earmuffs in the microwave for 30 seconds and prepare to laugh derisively at Old Man Winter.
Haze the new guy
Like snake wine and unicycles, moon cakes serve no purpose. They do, however, work well for gags, especially when the new guy in your office starts getting a little too big for his britches. Knock him down a peg, and remind him of his place by challenging his manhood with a moon cake eating contest. Basically, you just tell him that it’s a rite of passage we’ve all gone through and if he can’t eat 10 moon cakes in 10 minutes, no one will respect him. Whether or not he finishes them is beside the point. The point is, no one else is going to eat these things and they’re starting to take up space.
And there you have it. Seven great ways to get rid of your moon cakes, when re-gifting is simply not an option, but by no means, are these the only ways. Get creative and think up some yourself. You like building models? Build yourself a 1/10 scale trebuchet and see how far you can wing them. Or give them to kids. They’ll put anything in their mouths. Happy Mid-Autumn Festival, everybody!
Qiantang River tidal bore is one the largest tidal bores in the world which reaches the most spectacular on the eighteenth day of the eight month on Chinese lunar calendar. To watch the 9-meter tidal waves, you can choose the best locations in Haining city, about 50 kilometers from Hangzhou.
2019 Qiantang River International Surfing Competition will be held from Sept.11th to 16th, during which the Qiantang River tides are surging frighteningly high in the year.
Opening ceremony (about 40 minutes)
Time: 3:30pm - 4:10pm, September 12th
Location: Qiantang Farm 钱唐农园 (江干区5号港路)
Qiantang River International Surfing Competition (4 days)
Time: September 13th - 16th (13th-15th: preliminaries, 16th: finals and closing ceremony).
Venue: Qianjiang No.9 Bridge to No.1 Bridge (Qiantang River Bridge) 钱江九桥至钱江一桥(钱塘江大桥)
Closing Ceremony Location: Qiantang Farm 钱唐农园 (江干区5号港路)
Teams: 9 teams (China, Australia, Spain, South Africa, Brazil, California, France, Indonesia and Puerto Rico)
Surfing Carnival (5 days)
Time: 10:30am - 4:30pm, September 12th - 16th
Location: Qiantang Farm 钱唐农园 (江干区5号港路)
What to expect: There will be four surf theme carnival activities: water rafting, surfing pool, surfing culture exhibition, surfing board teaching, as well as magical spider wall, frisbee, bowling and many other activities.
Qiantang Music Festival (1 day)
Time: 6:30pm - 8:30pm, Saturday, September 14th
Location: Garden Lawn at Qiantang Farm 钱唐农园大草坪 (江干区5号港路)
The referee of Qiantang River International Surfing Competition, Peter Towndend is the first World Surfing Champion and the former coach of China National Surfing Team.
Nine teams from home and abroad will surf on the so-called “Silver Tides” from Sept. 13th to 16th. World top surfers, Dean Morrison, Eneko Acero, Kyle McGeary and Made Garut Widiarta will participate in the event.
Dean Morrison, who is the champion of Australia and European Division of World Men's Shortboard Surfing Championship Tour. He is one of the most celebrated Australian surfers of the modern era, finishing a career best ninth in 2007. In the water Dean is a pocket dynamo, known for his compact, fluid style and sublime cutback. On land his humility and good nature ensure he is the kind of pro surfer who is approachable for people from all walks of life.
Eneko Acero, one of the most important and influential surfers of Spain and Europe. At that time it was just him on a worldwide tour with surfers from all over the place but his hometown/country. Still today, Eneko is surfing in a daily basis, manages a team of an international brand and of course proudly holds the surname Acero, a surfing family you might heard of from him, his older brother Iker Acero or the charismatic Kepa Acero.
Kyle McGeary, Team (NSSA) champion surfer, he is an underground local surfer from Huntington Beach, California. "Never heard of Kyle? Then you probably don't surf the pier, because if you did, you'd see him hucking big rotators everyday."
Made Garut Widiarta, born and raised in Kuta he started surfing at the age of 9 at his home break Half Ways, Garut is one of the most recognizable Indonesian surfers in the world and he has received more high profile attention in the media than any Indonesian surfer since Rizal Tanjung. Is name is I Made Widiarta a.k.a Garut.
The top local surfers will also participate on behalf of Chinese National Surfing Team. Surfing in the Qiantang River has only been allowed since 2008. During the competition, surfers will follow the tidal bore in motorboats and jet skis, and then take turns riding the waves.
Surfing will be included in the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo. The inclusion has given a boost to the sport in China, where it remains relatively new.
Hangzhou government hopes the competition can further promote the sport among citizens, especially the youth.
The competition will be broadcast nationwide by China Central Television.
On Saturday, September 7th, 2019, Hangzhou International School held their Annual Welcome Back Barbecue and once again gathered the HIS community, parents, students and teachers, they had an opportunity to welcome the new families and to catch up with the old friends while enjoying themselves, the tasty food, and the activities provided.
MORE’s editor Loren was fortunately enough to be invited, while it was initially a little foreign to him—not having kids going to the school, not being a Binjiang-er—his years of being in Hangzhou felt like they finally paid off, and he bumped into a good cross-section of international folk he has known for a while now.
The food was predictably excellent, with burgers from returning favorite Slim’s one of the queues we had to try, but also present was the Indian faire from Pita’s and Tika’s and pizza from Angelo’s.
The kids had a great time too, with musical and dance performances, face painting and candy.
We had a great time talking to some new and returning teachers, eager to get the new school year fully underway, and had a great time talking about the crafts of teaching and parenting, as well as the sense of community that HIS brings to its families and faculty who come together from more than 50 nations to make events like this fun and engaging. We are looking forward to continue having a great school year!
Looking for fresh and imported products from a source you can trust? Why not take advantage of Epermarket’s new and improved delivery service (now upgraded from 3 days to 7 days a week)? When ordering online, you can pick all the high-quality items you love and have them delivered to your door at on a day that suits you!
If you’re not available at a specific time of the day when your order arrives, you can always select, “Leave my Order at the Door” option, so you can feel safe in the knowledge that your fresh and frozen items will be carefully stored for you in cooler and carton boxes upon your arrival.
Ordering online at Epermarket couldn’t be easier—they have a wide range of hard-to-find products to choose from. Did we mention they have over 5000 imported products as well? And all their fresh groceries are packed on the day they are delivered, so you can be assured of the best quality hand-picked items.
What else is new at Epermarket?
Their Wine Fair promotion! This exclusive wine sale is coming up and will include classic beverages from some of the finest wine regions in the world. From Chablis to Prosecco and Rosé, you can find over 100 wines to dive into and enjoy in the comfort of your home. These wines will be on sale from up to 40% off, starting from September 10th, so keep your eyes peeled for more at www.epermarket.com.
New to Epermarket? Simply scan the QR code to register and get 50RMB off your first order!
Offer is valid until Friday, the 13th September.
Find out more about other promotions when you visit their website Epermarket.com!
The idea behind Epermarket has always been simple: a place for internationals to buy the food they love, from a source they can trust. They place quality and safety first, with all products curated by professionals, all passionate about food and living a healthy life. Whether you are looking for fresh fruit and organic vegetables, pantry favorites or even home care products, Epermarket has everything you need.
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