Wellness is about a lot more than just what you eat. Rather, it’s about cultivating abundance in your everyday life. What I love most about Sapana Chandra, MS, CHC, of Real + Vibrant is that she, in addition to inspiring us with her unbelievably gorgeous eats, shows how to cultivate a holistic view of wellness and balance. “Wellness” means something different for everyone; it’s up to us to write our definition. Sapana talks in this interview about how she did just that through the lens of her own personal journey with Real + Vibrant. I know you’re going to love learning about her work and story as much as I did!
“Balance means continuing to revisit and invest time in all the important aspects of your life. To have a fulfilling and abundant life, I believe it's important to go beyond food. It's crucial to invest in relationships, family, career, spirituality, finances, environment, friendships, and physical activity as they all contribute to our overall wellbeing.”- Sapana
1.) What was your "aha" moment that inspired you to commit to a healthier lifestyle?
When I think back to my journey, I believe I had two "aha" moments. The first one happened after struggling with my health for many years. I started noticing a sudden decline in my migraines after I began cutting down on processed foods. After a decade of taking one prescription medication after another, this was the first time I was no longer relying on them to get through my days. This encouraged me to continue making more lifestyle changes beyond what was on my plate.
The second "aha" happened a few months later when my dad suffered a heart attack and was rushed into an emergency quadruple bypass. Thankfully, he survived. Helping him go through his recovery ignited a desire in me to help others. I soon enrolled in a health coaching program and started creating simple plant-powered recipes. That was the very beginning of Real + Vibrant (https://realandvibrant.com/).
2.) What does balance mean to you?
Balance means continuing to revisit and invest time in all the important aspects of your life. To have a fulfilling and abundant life, I believe it's important to go beyond food. It's crucial to invest in relationships, family, career, spirituality, finances, environment, friendships, and physical activity as they all contribute to our overall wellbeing. While I could pour all my focus in a project launch, it's not sustainable in the long run. Eventually, I'll need to make time for those other components.
Balance also means eating both for wellness and pure joy. It means having that pizza and ice cream on a Saturday night with my friends but also enjoying a salad filled with fresh greens and veggies.
3.) What does your current skincare routine look like? (products/ lots of details are appreciated)
I became diligent about my skincare routine when I was 21. I'm so glad because today I'm 39 and it's truly made a difference. I use sunscreen when I'm out and have a solid and sustainable morning and nighttime routine.
I recently transitioned to the Drunk Elephant skincare line and have been loving it! In the mornings, I rinse my face with water, followed by an eye cream, serum, moisturizer, and sun protection. At night, I rinse my face with a gentle cleanser, followed by an eye cream, serum, and a nourishing moisturizer or marula oil. I also use a gentle face exfoliator or mask once a week. I also wear minimal makeup and focus on using products with clean ingredients.
I did want to emphasize that no product can replace what you're putting inside your body. Staying hydrated with plenty of clean water and eating whole foods has had the biggest impact on my skin, especially as I grow older.
4.) What daily routines or rituals do you follow for your own wellbeing?
Following a morning routine creates a solid foundation for the rest of my day. After months of trying other people's successful morning habits, I realized a lot of those habits weren't helping me so I created a morning routine customized for me.
Making physical activity a priority has helped me with my energy and wellbeing, whether it's yoga or a barre class, a long walk, or an outdoor activity. I'm grateful to live in the PNW where there are many opportunities to explore the outdoors.
I no longer keep electronics in my bedroom -- no cell phone, TV, or any other electronic device (except for my Kindle when I want to read).
5.) What do you love most about yourself?
I've come to appreciate that I'm much stronger than I realized. Looking back, starting my own business a few years ago was the "easy" part, but sticking to it year after year despite the roller coaster of emotions, uncertainty, and stress was much harder than I imagined. While there have been moments when I wanted to give up, I'm glad I'm still here.
I believe that better health and wellness should be accessible to everyone and a big step towards that is eating real and vibrant food. I saw first-hand what it did to my own health and those closest to me, and I'm committed to continuing to help and support others make sustainable healthy changes in their own lives.
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