The Three Most Important Changes In My Wellness Journey

akansha-agrawal-fitness-blogger

akansha-agrawal-fitness-blogger

I’ve learned a lot about myself ever since I started my health & wellness journey five years ago. Five years ago fitness, nutrition, and mental health were not top of mind. My overall well-being was not a priority.

Luckily, the tables have turned but the changes have not easy nor straightforward.

When I first started exploring the realm of fitness, I discovered influencers in bodybuilding who would lift heavy, count their macros, and “cut” for a few weeks after “bulking” for a few months. I briefly fell into that trap and was told to try competing in a bikini competition (yeah no thanks).

Another example is I when I tried to steer towards a vegan diet: I added more soy-based proteins to help supplement my diet (yikes) and never really felt satisfied. It took me a while to realize that it’s okay to eat (good quality) meat and I should eat what my body craves.

These are just a couple of examples of things that didn’t work for me in the end (but hey it may work for others!). Here are three things that do work:

Meditating: Yes again, I know. How cliche right? But guess what guys, even 5 – 10 minutes of breathing, sitting, and doing nothing has helped me so much with my stress and anxiety. Whenever I fall off from meditation I feel my anxiety creeping back again.

Working with a nutritionist: I didn’t start seeing a nutritionist for what most people would think — losing weight. I actually consulted a nutritionist when my digestive issues became too much to bear. My nutritionist Mary Vance has helped my heal my gut (almost!) and has helped me see nutrition in a different light. I promise to post on this topic soon because there is so much to be said here!

Finding fitness buddies: Having friends or people you can workout with has been life-changer! When I first started I’d almost always workout alone for two reasons: 1. I didn’t know many other people who made it a priority (clearly I wasn’t looking hard enough) and 2. I was afraid others would judge me. Once I got over that fear, my life was changed. I started training with Fleet Feet for half marathons, met girls from the Tone It Up Bay Area community and was also more willing to try different kinds of group fitness classes with friends.

So obviously, this is what works for me and those “a-ha” moments may be different for others. Regardless, I do think there are certain take-aways for all:

-Try meditating with Headspace. It’s only 10 minutes long!
-Pay attention to what you eating. Does it make you feel good? Are you eating mindfully, eating whole foods? A nutritionist can be expensive but if you want some basic guidelines on nutrition, the Tone It Up Nutrition Plan is a good start.
– Find a local running group (Lululemon has one, or check out The November Project), or try different group fitness classes with friends. It’s always easier with a buddy :).

It’s like something finally clicked in my mind when I started doing each one of the three things I mentioned above. I’d love to know what works for you in your own wellness journey.

This Saffron Tea Could Be The Next Golden Milk (Recipe)

saffron tea almond milk

I don’t consider myself to be a food blogger (there are tons out there that are much more skilled than I am) but I do find happiness in creating simple, no-BS recipes every once in a while. Plus I get a lot of requests to share more recipes!

While I was in India earlier this year I went to a yoga studio in Mumbai called The Yoga House. Attached to the yoga studio, there was a really cute café which served American classics —like a PB&J — to traditional Indian food with a healthy spin (think quinoa upma).

I saw that they had saffron tea on their menu and I was intrigued because I had never heard of anything like it before! I was surprised how good yet simple it was. Plus I felt like a queen drinking it because saffron ain’t cheap.

I recreated the original recipe and also added my own twist by making one with almond milk and honey. I loved the creaminess of the second one!

Move over turmeric, there’s a new golden milk in town.

The New Golden Milk (i.e. Saffron Tea with Almond Milk):

Serving size: one

  • 4 oz water
  • 4 oz Califia Farms Almond Milk, original (it adds the perfect amount of sweetness)
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • Pinch of saffron
  • 1 tsp sliced almonds
  • 1 tsp of honey (optional)

mortar-pestle

Instructions:

Boil water in a saucepan. Crush cardamom pods with a mortar and pestle (other option is to wrap cardamom pods in a paper towel and crush it with a glass jar if you don’t have a mortar and pestle) and add to the saucepan. Let it boil for a minute or so and then add the almond milk.

Add saffron strands then turn the heat to low and let it simmer for 10-15 minutes. Place the almonds at the bottom of the tea up and pour in the tea. Stir in honey if desired. Enjoy!

Alternative recipe: follow the same instructions but omit the almond milk to create the original saffron tea I tried at The Yoga House in Mumbai.

saffron-tea

Health benefits: Saffron is known to have anti-oxidants

The hardest part of these recipes is making sure you have saffron because it’s not something everyone have lying around in their spice cabinet. Luckily, you can find it easily at any Indian grocery store or even on Amazon.

Like this recipe? Well then I’m sure you’d also like try this one for a raw turmeric latte!

This herbal saffron tea with almond milk and honey may be replacing your turmeric lattes, aka golden milk

My Thoughts on the Turmeric Latte

turmeric-latte

turmeric-latte
photo credit: Kruti Shah

If you’re South Asian, it’s likely that you’ve seen this article (or a version of it) on the turmeric latte. The turmeric latte is a fancy name for what we’ve been drinking since childhood, haldi ka doodh.

I’ve had a handful of friends & family share this article with me because they know it’s very relevant to this blog.

My thoughts on it? Eh. It makes me shake my head a little but not much more than that.

Some points are a little frustrating, like how Irene Arango tells us how we should make turmeric milk (with cold pressed turmeric juice apparently). Turmeric milk is a something mothers & grandmothers have been preaching to us as long as we can remember and I feel a little uncomfortable being told how to make it by someone who didn’t grow up with it. Ya feel me?

But, in the end, I don’t think it’s worth making a fuss because we have probably taken other health trends for granted.

For example, quinoa was a staple grain in the Andean region for over 3,000 years. Kombucha has been around Asian culture since the ancient times. Matcha is a type of tea used in traditional Japanese tea ceremonies.

Let’s face it, Western culture is influenced by so many people of different backgrounds, I’m sure we’ve benefitted from the mix of different cultures it in someway without realizing. Frankly, I enjoy being able to order a Matcha Green Tea Latte from Starbucks.

I mean in the end, I think it’s ironic (oh heey Alanis Morrissette) that something we used to hate as kids is now so trendy. I spoke to another South Asian health & wellness influencer, Kruti Shah (who also took the amazing picture up top), to see what she thought and she said “Personally I think it’s so funny how it’s trendy but I’m glad a lot of people are seeing the benefits of turmeric & how great it is for the body.”

We can only be optimistic that these health trends will bring awareness to tips and tricks that have been around other cultures for centuries. Trends in health & wellness can be great as they bring us different ways to treat our mind & body. But let’s make sure to look at these trends with a critical eye.

Thoughts? Opinions? Would love to hear what others have to say.

P.S. If you like posts like these, I would be super duper happy if you can subscribe to the to the blog! Promise I won’t spam you 🙂

The turmeric latte is a new wellness trend but it's been around in Indian culture for ages. As a South Asian wellness blogger, here are my thoughts on it.