As the year draws to a close, it can be difficult not to get too carried away and feel the pressure to get everything done. We catch up with Saffron Soul author and turmeric lover Mira Manek about how she stays rooted and balanced on the daily in mind, body and soul.
Hi Mira. We would love you to tell us little about the story and dreams behind your beautiful cookbook Saffron Soul and how you discovered your love for cooking.
I grew up eating delicious Indian food cooked by my mother, grandmother and aunts, wholesome nourishing Gujarati curries and daal, and then suddenly as a teenager I was sucked in by the granola and low fat yoghurt fads, overdoing the ‘healthy’ snacks and eating very little that was real and fresh, thinking of oil as the absolute enemy. I realised many years later that I had it all wrong (ludicrously wrong), I started eating good homemade food again, my body and tummy felt much better, and so I went about changing this perception of Indian food and making it homemade and healthy again. I started creating a whole new array of Indian-inspired recipes, full of flavour, lightly spiced and nourishing andthat’s how Saffron Soul came about!
How do you find your daily source of golden balance?
Turmeric milk or ‘hardar doodh’ as we called it was our winter remedy growing up. We didn’t necessarily turn to it for a comforting warming drink, so now that it’s become the new hot chocolate, the new thing people sip on as a delicious treat, I’ve started drinking it a lot more and absolutely love it. It’s rather like yoga I guess! I love the way brands like Wunder Workshop have taken turmeric and made so much more from it, making Indians like me eat and drink a lot more of it (even though we’ve always used it in our curries and dishes).
How important is self-care to you, and do you often implement it into your regular rituals?
Self care, for me, is taking a yin yoga or kundalini yoga class, taking a sound bath, getting a massage, ending the day with a long steam, things that nourish my soul, bring calmness and make my body feel ready for a delicious sleep. I usually manage one of these things every week, but don’t have regularity in what I do when, partly because I love trying new classes and events and so like to mix it up!
Share with us a quote that gives you daily inspiration.
I wish I had one quote that I carried in my mind daily, but I actually don’t! I do, however, listen to Alan Watts a few nights a week while I’m going to sleep. His philosophy and the way he speaks is very relatable and it all just makes so much sense.
We know nourishment from the inside out is fundamental to you. How do you practice this every day?
Nourishment to the body through the food I eat, always a good balance of greens and trying to constantly tame that sweet tooth I’ve always had, trying not to succumb to snack pressure all day long. And nourishment to the mind and soul through moments of pause and prayer and breath at the start and end of the day (on most days!)
What are some of your favourite ways to wind down?
Cooking and then eating what I cook, which I surprisingly don’t do every single day, especially recently as I’ve been out so much. Watching a series. Listening to Alan Watts. I would say reading as I do love reading, but I’ve not done much of it recently! So this is a good reminder to get stuck in a book again.
Ingredients-wise, what are your three non-negotiables in the kitchen?
Turmeric, cinnamon, almond milk (there’s definitely loads more!)
Now tell us, do you have a guilty pleasure?
Dark chocolate – if you put a slab in front of me, it’ll all be gone, especially with nuts and a good coffee.
What is your favourite way to use turmeric, be it in your beauty regime or recipes?
I usually start my day with turmeric, cinnamon, apple cider vinegar and a little grated ginger stirred in hot water.
Coffee or turmeric latte?
I literally love both!