NIU BODY #BOSSBABE Interview with Keren Chen

keren chen


Keren is not just a nutritionist - she strives to help people improve their health and fitness both internally and externally. Ever since she discovered her passion in nutrition and healthy living during her first year of university, she has been devoted to helping women who are motivated to improve their lives (She also makes the best kombucha in Toronto!). Check out her tips on how to uplift your mood and what made her the total #BOSSBABE she is today.

"My schedule is crazy - when you work for yourself you never really stop working. Because I have so many different hats to wear in my own company, it is very easy for work to consume my life.

1. Tell us about yourself! What does your schedule look like, and how do you spend your free time?
I work as a nutritionist, mostly doing one-on-one work with whoever wants to elevate their quality of life. For the most part I work with women and a big part of my job is empowering them to love their bodies and create a healthier relationship with food. What’s unfortunately quite common is a lot of people struggle with their body image and use food as a coping mechanism for their emotions, so I help a lot of women who go through that. In addition to that, I also work as a CrossFit instructor, and as a strength and conditioning coach. A lot of my fitness philosophy comes from functional fitness, fully believing in performance vs aesthetics, and training to be more resilient women rather than just looking good (not that there’s anything wrong with wanting that).

My schedule is crazy - when you work for yourself you never really stop working. Because I have so many different hats to wear in my own company, it is very easy for work to consume my life. Luckily I live in a lively downtown area, so there’s always activities that pull me out of my working mindset.

I love to spend my free time hanging out with friends, and I’m fortunate that my friends are also extremely health-oriented. We often work out, cook, try healthy restaurants, and go for walks. I also enjoy spending time with myself to recharge my batteries, whether it be spending time by the water or going for a bike ride.

keren chen

We love how passionate you are about food, nutrition, and healthy living - what inspired you to help others live a healthier lifestyle?
I’ve had a pretty tumultuous journey when it comes to health and fitness. I’ve done and tried so many different things that didn’t work for me, and I’m just starting to work through and realize what does work. Going through that journey, I wanted to make it simpler for other people out there. With the popularity of Instagram nowadays, having this platform makes sharing fitness and nutrition tips much more accessible. I hope to use my platforms to help others reach their goals in a more streamlined fashion.

I also want to make people feel they are not alone in their journey. When I was trying to figure out problems with my skin, digestion, and mental health, I felt like no one else was going through it. I want to make sure I use my voice to not only advocate for mental health and health and wellness, but also make people feel like they’re not the only ones going through struggles.

Has health and fitness always been a passion of yours since you were young?
Not at all! I hated team sports growing up - in high school I would use any excuse to get out of gym class because it was intimidating, especially trying out for teams. It wasn’t until I found a really strong community of people who are supportive, who didn’t judge me for my fitness level, who were encouraging. I found this community through CrossFit. It’s so encouraging knowing that even if I fail, they’re still going to be my friends.

The same thing happened for nutrition - I didn’t really become interested in it until my last year of high school, when I discovered I couldn’t just eat whatever I want anymore! Realizing that blemishes would show up on my face, or I would feel less energetic if I didn’t exercise, I started doing more research and experimentation. I became really involved in self-improvement.

niu body founder blog

You are a ball of energy! Do you have any tips for our readers who feel like they never have enough time in the day, or need more energy? 
When it comes to time, It’s important not to over-commit yourself, and to learn to say “no” or “not now” to certain things. Being a new entrepreneur, it’s very easy to feel you have to say yes to everything to please everyone and make connections right away, but it’s important to know it’s a life-long journey. In terms of energy, it all came in when I worked more on my digestion. I had always eaten quite well, but I don’t think I optimized my digestion enough for me to actually use the fuel that I was putting into my body. So it’s one thing to ingest foods high in nutrition, but if you’re not taking advantage of it by actually breaking it down, you’re not going to feel the benefits. Drinking and making kombucha was one of the biggest steps I took to heal my gut and improve my digestive system.

niu body founder blog

"You're not fat. Trying to be skinny won't fix anything."

What would you say to your 18-year-old self?
It was so prevalent in my friends around me and in myself as a result. I think it drove us to make a lot of decisions in our lives, use it as a deciding factor for things, when in fact it’s not that important.

Do you have any morning routines or evening rituals that help you stay balanced?
For me my morning routine is drinking kombucha and eating a really solid, healthy, whole-foods breakfast with lots of vegetables. Making time for myself to make this meal and enjoy it without feeling rushed - that’s how I take care of myself first and foremost.
For the evening rituals, having great sleep hygiene is important, so I like to sleep with my phone out of my bedroom and I set an analogue alarm clock. It just helps me completely disconnect and not think about what’s going to show up on my phone, and not have that temptation there.  

niu body founder blog

What's one skincare product you can't live without?
Argan oil. 100% organic, cold pressed, USDA approved argan oil. People in Morocco use it for their skin, hair, as a makeup remover. It’s super moisturizing, and naturally has Vitamin E’s. It’s awesome for people who are prone to sun exposure and sun damage. For me, I love being outdoors, so argan oil has been keeping my skin clear and nourished, especially during the summer.

KEREN NUTRITION: https://www.kerenchen.ca/
Instagram account: http://instagram.com/kombucha.mami

Interview conducted by Yuri Hirama


Leave a comment