Each week we profile a different Canadian Food Blogger who is part of the FBC community. This week we meet Gloria, the BC based dietitian behind Health Castle who has found multiple ways to diversify and go global with books, a vegan food product brand and two YouTube channels in different languages!
Name: Gloria Tsang
Blog name: HealthCastle
Where were you born? Hong Kong
Where are you living now? Port Moody, BC
Why did you start your blog?
I started writing about cancer and nutrition initially, when my father was diagnosed with cancer. I took a leave of absence during his treatment so I could help take care and drive him to the BC Cancer Agency for his daily radiation treatment. While patients were receiving treatment, family members would wait in a designated area. When other families heard that I graduated from UBC Dietetics, they came together and asked me for tips on making comfort food to tackle radiation side effects.
As this went on for weeks, I noticed a pattern from all of the questions. Other families were experiencing and dealing with similar issues and challenges as mine were. So I categorized and documented common diet challenges and published them on a Geocities site (it was like a blogspot-equivalent in the 90s). A year later I borrowed an html coding book from my piano student and have hosted HealthCastle on my own since.
How did you decide on your blog name?
At the time I was really sad and worried about my dad, and I felt that I need a castle of a sort so my dad could stay safe inside.
What do you blog about?
Initially, all content was cancer and diet related. Over time, things slowly evolved into a more comprehensive health and nutrition platform.
Is your blog your business, your hobby or something in between?
I started HealthCastle as a hobby in 97, and turned into full time in 2005 when ad revenue could support both my husband and I. As I later ventured into writing books and newspaper columns, creating video content, working with brands, and even starting a food brand and an export business, blogging now once again is a hobby.
What’s your biggest challenge as a blogger?
The biggest challenge of being a content creator is that my work is often performed alone (or with my husband). Sometimes I feel that there’s a lack of feedback. Hence I have relied heavily on the feedback given by my viewers/readers.
In addition, I feel that I don’t have enough time. As my work also regularly appear in Hong Kong and China as well, I also manage multiple social media accounts (an English YouTube channel and a Chinese channel, an English FB page and a Chinese page etc), there’s just not enough time in a day to do this properly.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned as a blogger?
I have learned not to overly obsess about tweaking. I used to spend so much time studying how to write a FB post vs a Twitter post, how to create an image for Instagram vs Pinterest, which hashtags were better, combing thru stats to compare the best time to post, etc, and at the end I felt that I wasted too much energy on studying & tweaking social media posts. I should be CREATING instead. And so I stopped looking at stats, and focused on content creation instead. I suddenly gained so much time back.
What has been your biggest success as a blogger so far?
I think I was proud of being able to keep myself moving and create opportunities to advance my work. After a few years of full-time blogging, I knew I needed to do more to keep myself challenged. I have since published 6 books in 3 countries, and launched a vegan food brand (Simply Zero) and exported food products to Asia.
Every new adventure I started was new to me at the time, and it was nerve-wrecking to say the least. But at the end, I am glad I pushed myself thru.
Share a couple of your favourite food blogs to read. Why do you like them?
I love watching videos that are very different from mine and I can learn new video technique from them - these are my favorites:
- haegreendal - This Korean creator makes beautiful home and food videos that speak to a modern housewife.
- Josh Weissman - As I create food that mostly appeal to women, I love watching this creator making men food 🙂
- Despite most of their videos not having English subtitles, I love watching videos created by this Japanese store. They actually sell home decor, kitchen and organization tools. But instead of hard-selling, they create short-story-movie-style videos, like this video on making miso soup.
Favourite food - care to share a recipe or a restaurant destination?
The food I eat almost everyday is….. tofu! I’m sorry, as this may sound really boring. For lunch and dinner, I mostly either cube tofu to sauté, or slice to bake. When I get some fresh bagels, I will make tofu cream cheese this way:
What are you working on next for your blog?
I’m working on exporting a second product (and more) to Asia, and launching a product in Canada. I’m also working on creating more video content.
What makes your blog unique?
My work is all about enjoying whole foods with minimal processing
How do you cultivate a sense of community around your blog?
I don’t cultivate a community around my blog, I cultivate a community around my healthy eating ideas. As I still have active, published books in Hong Kong & China, I host offline events on a regular basis in Hong Kong. I also started a FB group to encourage my supporters to be an ambassador for the healthy eating ideas in hopes that they could also spread the knowledge they have learnt from me.
What part of the FBC site do you find most useful?
I actually love the Facebook group the most; I feel a sense of belonging there and I can always learn from others.
Connect with Gloria and Health Castle on Social Media