April 04, 2017
Throughout our #AMTDetox series, whether we’ve been talking about running with Iffley Road or skincare routines with Balance Me, the focus has always come back to work/ life balance and how to maintain a peaceful equilibrium in our lives. Now that we are fully into the joys of spring, it feels only right to conclude our series with a conversation all about balance and boosting well being.
Artefact is a new design of bespoke food supplements, created by doctors that began with a decade of medical-humanitarian assignments in war zones, where its founders came into close contact with indigenous and resourceful people with a great understanding of adaptogenic plants. Today we talk to Tristan Cheong about the story behind Artefact and the possible benefits of adaptogens.
After working on a series of humanitarian projects in places like India and Bangladesh, Tristan Cheong has spent almost 10 years with diverse humanitarian organisations. Specialising in war zones and highly turbulent areas like Somalia and Iraq, he has also worked in African countries helping to tackle extreme famine and poverty.
“You can’t just go there for 2-3 weeks,” he tells me, “because you can’t accomplish anything. You have to go to a certain place and get used to the environment and talk to the people. What is the political situation? What can you do? Where do you get your resources? It takes about 2 weeks just to plan how you are going to operate there and 8 weeks before you can actually implement an idea.”
“We were working with people in diverse countries,” he continues, “and because we were involved with different NGOs we eventually ran out of money and resources. In the end we had to rely on the local people to tell us what to do and where to find water that we could help to purify. People would tell us stories about how their fathers or grandfathers used to use different roots or plants to get their vitamins and, after a few months, we saw results. These people have a lot of resources available, but they don’t have the access because it’s too dangerous or they don’t have the tools or they are too weak. We helped them to utilise the resources they already had. It’s not medicine. It doesn’t heal them, but these plants help to improve their basic strength and stability. That’s how we came to Artefact.”
While hunting for plants, Tristan gained first-hand experience of adaptogens and the harsh environments that they grow in. Like with the metals we work with for our collections here at Alice Made This, you have to understand the properties, limits and versatility of the raw materials you are working with in order to design honest and refined products.
“I wanted to launch something that people were familiar with,” Tristan continues. “For the first Artefact product we have used Maca root from Peru and Goji berries from China. The Goji berries balance your entire body and your metabolism. They have a way of improving your immune system and getting your body to the strength where it can fight. Maca is the complimentary ingredient that boosts your strength and helps with your stability.”
Artefact’s aim is less to offer a supplement purely for deficiencies and more to provide stability and strength to complement our modern, stressful lives. Effects including the general improvement of physical, sexual, and mental health have been reported and Tristan uses adaptogens to maintain his own work/ life balance.
“100 years ago we might have needed supplements to live a healthy life,” he concludes, “but nowadays you can get everything in the supermarket. The thing about adaptogens though, is that they have properties that normal ingredients don’t have. Adaptogens are a complimentary factor to all of that the healthy eating and exercise that we do. They create a balancing base.”
“Life is too fast paced, with too many demands and people want a lot. I see the pressures of life and the impact it can have physically and emotionally, whether you are young or old. Peer pressure at schools right through to the complications of old age. We need to take a step back, look after ourselves and rebalance.”
Throughout our #AMTDetox series we have tried to promote just that. Over the last few months we have explored different methods and different brands that encourage us to slow down, take some time out and unwind. We hope you have found these conversations as inspiring as we have.
Learn more about Artefact here.