In 2009, Nipa Asharam was at the peak of her career, as Vice President of Marketing at Star TV. There was nowhere else to go but upwards. It was at that exact moment, she quit her high-flying job. “I was doing really well, but I was in an unhappy place. I had a leaky gut, insomnia, 18 hours of migraine… I would overanalyse everything, and was just fed up of this lifestyle,” she shares. Nipa thus began her journey with just one goal in mind – to improve her health. A year, endless questions, 300 videos and about 50 books later, Nipa went from being a corporate climber to a health and life coach. Today, she’s the founder of Eat. Breathe. Smile – a platform that helps people and corporates achieve holistic wellness through performance driven tools. She’s also a TEDX speaker.
“Throughout this journey, I realised there are so many things I was doing wrong. I decided to chuck terms like calories, weighing scale, ‘is this fattening?’ and blanket diet plans from the internet out of my life. I felt like more and more people needed to know and understand this. That’s how Eat. Breathe. Smile started,” she smiles.
As a health, fitness and wellness coach, we ask her about the one challenge she keeps facing. Nipa replies, “I feel that tons of people who look for a better life don’t realise that without health there is no life. You can have all the organic food in the world, but if the very basis of your overall wellness is not in place, it’s no good.” So, how does she tackle this? “The primary foods for a good life are career, relationships, state of mind and workout. The secondary food is nutrition. If I feel that the primary foods are not in place, I use my life coach tools to push people to get that in place before moving on to the nutrition bit.” Nipa, through her work, aims to explore the very core of what defines human decision-making. She explains, “A fundamental issue I see with a lot of people I encounter is that they don’t know why they do what they do. Be it the most accomplished CEO in the world or a housewife or an entrepreneur. What are the needs in your life that influence all your decisions? Once you are aware of that you understand why you even do the most basic things in the day. Everything from that social media post to the kind of guy you date – the “why?” forms the core of your behaviour. In the health space, many people want to ape others. No one asks why they feel or think this way, why they’re consuming something, what they’re consuming, where did they get it from? So, there’s no depth to what true wellness is. We need to be present in every moment.” Unfortunately, this problem extends to mental health too. Nipa suggests, “If you want to be physically healthy, you need to acknowledge the relationship between your body and mind. Gut health – a key factor in weight loss and fitness is directly linked to mental well-being. 70% of serotonin – a feel-good hormone and mood regulator – is made in the gut. If your gut is not healthy, it’s going to aggravate your anxiety, depression and lack of focus.” According to Nipa, the most ignored advice is the actually the one that’s simplest and most effective, “I see people do everything diligently diet-wise. But they never want to follow mindfulness routines like breathing exercises. Glowing skin, great hair, fit body – mindful breathing is the core of this. All that carbon dioxide is just hanging around in your system, but you’re doing nothing to get rid of it! Everyone’s obsessed with immediate tangible results!”
How does mindfulness – an important basis of everything that she practices and advises – define her skincare routine? She replies, “Everything in my life revolves around gut health which is influenced by food, breathing and emotions. If you haven’t managed your stress, you’re going to have wrinkles and dull skin, no matter what. We need to objectively analyse how much percent of our day we’re actually feeling good – is it 20%, 30% or 40%. Then, we need to figure out the “why?’ and work from there. Building my emotional health took the longest time in my life, but it has helped me be free of extra routines.”
Did you know that we lose maximum water in our sleep? Thus, our first task should be to hydrate. Nipa starts her day with 4 hot glasses of water, each mixed with a superfood. “I brush my teeth before sleep every night. When I wake up, I have a tablespoon of ghee first thing, before brushing. I finish my water therapies before breakfast – starting with chia and flax seeds, followed by my Superherbs, then Super Radiance and lastly, Matcha tea. I also have green juice made completely out of water-rich foods.” But, that’s not all – Nipa has 500 ml hot water before every meal to improve digestion! While we’re on this subject, Nipa shares an interesting insight, “We’re conditioned to associate food with emotions – that’s how we end up eating a lot. We eat if we’re tired, bored, stressed, sad… But, most of our energy and stress-relief comes from water, breathing and sunlight. You drink enough water, do breathing exercises twice a day and soak up sunlight for 10 minutes between 11 am and 1 pm every day. You’ll never emotional-eat again.”
We ask her about “Superherbs” and “Super Radiance” – products created by Nipa herself. She explains, “Superherbs contains 7 Ayurvedic herbs – Aamla, Ginger Root, Ashwagandha, Shatavari, Pipramul, Gokou and Galo. This is my parents’ creation. They’ve been consuming it for the past 25 years. You mix a teaspoon of it in hot water and have it post dinner. It completely cleans your system of all toxins. And if your system is clean, your skin is clean. It also helps restore hormonal balance, digestive health and immunity. Super Radiance, on the other hand, contains Spirulina, Brahmi, Ashwagandha, Turmeric Powder, Black Pepper, Jeera and Cinnamon. These herbs can not only improve bodily functions, but also improve mental well-being. Thus, making you glow inside out!” Both, Superherbs and Super-Radiance contain ingredients carefully selected and measured, so that they’re proportionate, safe, effective and improve each other’s effectiveness.
In closing, we ask her what advice she’d give her younger self. Nipa muses, “Listen to your body. Forget ‘be positive’, be real instead. Start accepting what your body is telling you. There’s no shame in seeking help to solve your physical, emotional and mental health. And of course, fix a nightly routine, fix your gut health and focus on your bio-individuality!”