MWH Q&A WITH BONBERI FOUNDER, NICOLE BERRIE

I can't go a day without creeping on Nicole Berrie's Instagram (@Bonberi). I know I'm not the only one creeping, read my Q&A with this mom, major queen in the kitchen, and my friend (our boys are little buddies too!) below and also click here for an exclusively shared recipe. 

As an incredibly involved mom running her own business, who still finds time to to get her Tracy Anderson workouts in, have awesome style, and make insanely beautiful, healthy meals for your family - you truly seem to have mastered the art of balance. What advice would you give a mother who is trying to make it all work and not totally freak out? 

 Since becoming a mom balance has truly taken on new meaning. Naturally I have always been a person of extremes but motherhood has forced me to operate more in "neutral" mode, which to me means being flexible and knowing that your plans may get torpedoed and that's ok. Launching your own business is extra tricky with making your own work hours. I try to devote the bulk of my week days to work ensuring I always am there for good mornings and bedtime stories. On weekends, everything stops and it's 1000% mommy time. Of course that all changes when there's a cold or tummy ache. I just tell myself everything will still be there when I'm back. 

I always get inspired after watching your Instagram Stories because you are so creative, use different ingredients, and overall make some of the most delicious looking dishes. I look forward to everything you make. Where do you draw inspiration for the meals you make for you, your family and Bonberi? 

I would say my biggest inspiration are my tastebuds. I love food and exploring international cuisines. My mother is Korean and my father is Russian-American so we grew up with many different types of foods and palates--kimchi and pastrami on rye! That instilled in me a love of discovering new spices, methods of cooking and traditional dishes. For our meals, every day, I wake up and listen to my instincts. What am I craving? Do I want something warm and nourishing? Something fresh and hydrating? Then I hit up the farmer's market and health food store to see what's available to me to make the dish I'm craving a reality. To me, dishes taste best when I'm using ingredients that are in season so I will usually tailor everything to what's local and most fresh. Hopefully my husband and son are on board with what I got cooking that day ha. 

Bonberi focuses on eating well and living a healthy lifestyle. Can you describe a bit about your wellness journey that brought you to where you are today? 

My father was a Type 2 diabetic, so I was exposed to the power that diet has on our bodies for better and for worse. I saw how much he thrived when he ate foods that truly nourished him but did not fully internalize the connection since in high school and college I battled with my own eating issues, which included bulimia. For me, I equated food with love and sought fulfillment in bingeing and then purging. In my mid-twenties I finally addressed those issues when I worked with my spiritual mentor Gabrielle Bernstein. When I began to heal my soul, I naturally was drawn to foods that were equally healing. During the same time I met Gil Jacobs, a colonic therapist and detox guru who taught me the power of food combining, juicing, eliminating and raw, alkaline foods. Learning these principles was invaluable because it allowed me to get creative with my love of cooking and food but within a set of rules that allowed my body to also thrive. I'm so grateful to have learned how to not only heal my body but also my spirit, since they are inextricably linked.

You have a large and growing social media following - what is one of the most important messages you hope your followers receive from your work? 

That eating healthy or leading a detoxifying lifestyle does not have to be limiting or stringent. I can only hope to provide a little inspiration on how following an alkaline, plant based, food combining lifestyle can also mean indulging in your inner foodie, chef and hostess with the mostess. There is joy in living clean!
 
Your website highlights the "Mind," what are some ways that you practice mindfulness in your daily routine? 
 

Each morning I log into my Gabrielle Bernstein Spirit Junkie app which gives a positive affirmation a day. Usually it's exactly what I need to hear at that moment. I make it my mantra for the day. I also try to do a five minute guided morning mediation to take inventory of how I am feeling, any anxieties that may pop up or have been carried over from yesterday and breathe in light, positivity and courage to take on the coming day. I end it by asking the universe, "What will you have me do? What will you have me say? Who will you have me meet?" When I get out of my own way is when I truly feel the most grounded and calm, which of course, is not always easy.  If I am experiencing any anxious moments throughout the day, I breathe in deeply, in love, out fear and continue to do that until I feel more grounded. 
 
What's your advice for anyone reading this who wants to run their own wellness business one day? 

For myself, healing myself within was the first step. It did not occur to me to serve others until I felt I was living my truth and highest self. The serving part came later. My advice would be to tap inwards first and ask yourself what truly nourishes you and brings you personal joy and do it everyday. When you are living in your own truth and light, people will naturally want to have some of what you got! 

Photo by Sasha Israel

Photo by Sasha Israel