Meet Insiya, a writer, traveller, yogi, Ayurvedic practitioner and blissologist.
I met Insiya on a retreat that she was leading with her husband, yogi Eoin Finn, in Mexico.
Insiya and Eoin (along with their little one, Ananda) travel constantly and I’m always inspired by their healthy and delicious life!
How do you define how you eat? (e.g. paleo, veg, vegan, omnivore, plant based, etc.)
As a family, we are definitely omnivores. We eat mostly a plant based diet – e.g. I make nut mylks etc. when we are at home and often when we travel as well, to use as a base in smoothies or over grain porridges, but Eoin does love his dairy as well and he will eat organic cheese etc. I tend to eat goat cheese and feed that to our son Ananda. In general, if we eat meat or fish, we are particular about where and how it is sourced. We eat pasture-fed meat and wild fish, which is bountiful where we live on the west coast, so we are fortunate. I tend to ascribe by Michael Pollan’s mantra: Eat mostly plants, eat organic and local and don’t eat too much. It also fits into my Ayurvedic leanings, which really was the oldest, sustainable food philosophy on the planet as it advocates eating simply, not too much and locally as well.
How long have you been health conscious?
I would say I have been health conscious since I was a child. And I attribute this to my parents who made fresh juices everyday, my mother who was game at trying any recipe I asked her to conjure up, like a non – fried version of samosas = she steamed them instead – and a lack of processed foods. I grew up in Bombay, India at a time, when there was one brand of cereal available in the stores and we ate freshly roasted flatbread – rotis- made of freshly ground whole grain flours. I began exploring vegetarianism when I was a teenager and also loved substituting rich ingredients for healthier options when I baked sweet treats. E.g. I devised a brownie recipe with no sugar, butter or eggs which everyone loved. I guess I always wanted to eat delicious things without guilt. I also think I had a lot of energy – and still do – I need to move to be happy. And so I ran, played tennis, was a gymnast, swam etc. etc. as a child and today yoga, running, the dailey method and similar workouts and surfing keep me happy.
What motivates you to be healthy/do this for yourself?
I feel like I have so much to accomplish in my life and I need to stay healthy in order to do the things I want to do and love to do. I am also fortunate that one of the things I do for a living is teach yoga and Ayurveda – this came about because I wanted to share the things that make me happy and that fuel me with positivity and joy. It’s a win win. I need to be healthy and positive in order to inspire others to embrace this lifestyle, so I don’t have an excuse not to be healthy!
How do you wake up in the morning? (rituals, music you listen to, etc.)
I love waking up slowly – not always possible with a 3 year old child – but on the days I do get a headstart on him, I awake early, light a candle and take just even a minute of silence and stillness. I wash my face, brush my teeth, scrape my tongue and drink a glass of warm water with lemon. I also love to do a few morning stretches, perhaps a few sun salutations before I make a pot of tea and then take a moment to organize my day, usually jotting things down in my daily planner – I have an iphone, but I still like putting pen on paper.
Describe a day in the life of you.
It’s a cliché, but true. No day is the same. But I try to maintain a rhythm even when we are in a new corner of the world, mostly because of our son, but also because I need a schedule in order to be productive and focused. I awake early, usually by 6 a.m. I get a run or short yoga practice in, before my breakfast, but often after I have fed Ananda breakfast. Then Eoin will watch ananda for say 40 minutes while I dash out for a run or hide in a bedroom and get a short practice. Then, a filling breakfast – which could be a green smoothie and some spelt toast with cashew butter, or perhaps a poached egg on quinoa with greens, a shower and then Ananda and I get outside for a walk/ playtime or some sort of an exploration, if we are in city, perhaps a visit to a museum etc. or to see a friend with little ones for a playdate. If it a day for his “playcare” then I drop him off and then sequester myself in a café and get on top of emails and work on my blog as well as any pending articles that I have due that month and make a few phone calls that are work related.
The afternoons usually involve a short nap for Ananda, during which time, I either catch up on home chores, organizing, cleaning etc.; errands if he is napping in his stroller and we are out; and/ or squeeze in a longer yoga practice if I didn’t get one in the early morning, or get some study time in for an online Ayurveda course I am taking right now. In the evenings, we have a family dinner, then early bedtime for Ananda after which Eoin and I get to catch up on our day and work a little bit more before our bedtime which is around 10 p.m.!
How do you typically eat in a day?
I eat some fruit early in the morning, before a run or yoga practice, then a more substantial breakfast right after. It could be a green smoothie – just lots of fresh organic veggies, a little bit of fruit, depending on what is in season and either coconut water or home made almond milk as a base. I tend not to use protein powders as I prefer simple ingredients; or it may be whole grains with either tempeh or eggs and greens. This breakfast is typically later in the morning at around 10 a.m., so I eat a light lunch, usually just a light soup or warm salad. In the afternoon I may have some tea and a light snack with Ananda and then dinner is a sit down meal, but again not heavy. We often do a pureed veggie soup, say leek and carrot, then maybe wild fish and greens and for dessert, maybe it’s a homemade fruit sorbet with cashew cream if it’s a special night. Or just baked apples or a piece of dark chocolate and some lavender mint tea. We love to eat but stick to whole, simple and very fresh foods when at home and when we travel!!!
What’s the HEALTHIEST thing you do each day?
Take the time to slow down for even five minutes and get quiet and present i.e. meditate so I can breathe more deeply, feel like I’m cleaning out my mental dust bunnies and renewing myself. Sometimes, my meditation happens during my yoga practice and sometimes during a run, but I need that time to zone out to then zone back in.
What’s your favourite ‘superfood,’ the food that gives you the biggest sense of well being and energy?
I would say it is definitely green veggies like kale, fresh spinach, dandelion greens etc.
What’s the most DELICIOUS thing you do for yourself? For example, how do you treat yourself? How do you indulge?
I love massages, Ayurvedic massages, deep tissue and the swedana or ayurvedic steam. Vida Spa in Vancouver has the best Ayurvedic massages, an indulgence but so rewarding once in a while!
What’s your chosen physical activity? Why do you do it?
Running because it’s one of my favourite ways to be outside and explore a new place, plus I stop thinking. Yoga because it connects me to the miracle of our body and breath and offers such a beautiful, sustaining peace and surfing because I love to be in the ocean. I also love trying new workouts and fitness activities because I love to move for the pure joy of moving and learning new things is always inspiring.
Who inspires you?
The Dalai Lama, David Suzuki, Arianna Huffington and Arundhati Roy an activist and author from India.
Can you share one of your favourite (healthy) go-to recipes?
Breakfast quinoa porridge:
This is a lightly spiced, warming and filling breakfast. The quinoa offers protein, the soaking time as well as the spices make the porridge more digestible and not heavy on your system. Plus it is delicious and easy once you get into the rhythm of pre-rinsing and soaking the grains the night before.
1 cup quinoa (white or black): rinsed and soaked overnight
1 tbsp ghee (or coconut oil if you are vegan)
1/4 tsp dried ginger
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
2-3 pods Cardamom – lightly crushed, or 1/4 t ground
1 pinch sea salt or Himalayan salt
1 cup fresh almond milk
½ cup slivered almonds
½ cup currants, raisins, dried apricots or figs
Diced apples or pears with a pinch of cinnamon
Toasted Sesame Seeds
- Begin by rinsing the quinoa well in a sieve or colander and then soak it overnight or at least for an hour in two cups of filtered water. Rinse once again before cooking. Quinoa has a natural bitter coating of saponins, which dissolve when quinoa is rinsed – so you won’t get a soapy taste when it is cooked. The easiest way is to rinse it in a mesh strainer with cool water running.
- In the morning, Melt the ghee in a sauce pan over medium heat, Add the spices and sauté for 1 minute.
- Add the quinoa and stir well to coat the grains completely.
- Slowly add 1 cup of water and stir. Then stir in 3/4 cup almond milk, maintaining a low boil.
- Stir, cover and reduce the heat to low.
After about ten minutes (or less – it will cook faster as it was previously soaked).
Thank you, Insiya, for sharing your beautiful life!
Giveaway Deadline Extended!
Note: I’ve extended the deadline for the contest I’m running with Lauren Kurtz! You now have until Monday, April 28 at 4pm to enter to win one of two Suki products. Natural beauty rules! Here’s how to enter. xo