Hannah Bronfman shares her wellness wisdom in ‘Do What Feels Good’

Hannah Bronfman shares her wellness wisdom in ‘Do What Feels Good’
"It's all about starting small."

“It’s all about starting small.”

Hannah Bronfman is a self-described guinea pig when it comes to wellness. From adaptogenic herbs to facial cupping to the latest studio workouts, the DJ and founder of the healthy, beauty and fitness website HBFIT is game for it all.

“I’ve been in the wellness world now for the last 10 years, and I’ve just learned and amassed so much information from different experts and going on my own health journey,” Bronfman, 31, said. 

In her new book, “Do What Feels Good,” out now, Bronfman shares what she’s learned, with chapters that address body image, recipes for homemade tonics and nut milks, DIY masks and tips on establishing a routine to find what works for you.

The book is 10 years in the making.
The book is 10 years in the making. Photo Credit: Harper Wave

“There’s so many things that people are talking about in the world of wellness that it can be overwhelming to figure out what the one thing is you want to try,” Bronfman said. “It’s all about starting small, so that way you can really see if that type of change is affecting you in a positive way.”

amNewYork spoke with the Manhattanite about her own wellness journey.

Did it take a while to figure out what worked for you?

Absolutely. Anything that you try takes at least two months to even see a result. I’ve tried many things over the last 10 years. A lot of them have worked and a lot of them have not. And that’s weeding out all the things that are just trendy fads and things that actually don’t work, and really understanding that to see changes in yourself takes months and even years. It’s a really patient road.

On that journey, what kinds of resources have you found tend to be the most helpful for you?

Definitely different types of functional doctors, homeopaths, nutritionists, different facialists, holistic acupuncturists, colon therapists, trainers. It’s a lot.

What kind of steps do you find helpful to find someone that you trust that’s reputable?

I think it depends on what you’re looking to implement. Let’s just use acupuncture, for instance. I think it’s really important to get recommendations through friends. I don’t think it’s always a good idea to just search on Google, like, “acupuncturist NYC.” Let’s say you have a friend who’s really into this type of stuff, or your mom’s friend, something like that — ask around, get a few different recommendations. Find out where they’re located, find out what their ethos is all about, what they’re mostly known for, and then see if it’s right for you. Let’s say you narrow it down to two: I would go see each of them and then figure out what course of action you like better from each person, how you felt after each session and make an executive decision. You really do have to do the homework. You can’t just trust anyone out here. The world of wellness has also blown up in the last seven years and you can’t really trust everyone.

You’ve been in this for the past decade. For people who haven’t been following you, what has made you a trustworthy source for recommendations or advice in this world?

For me, my audience really trusts me. I don’t sugar-coat things. I really speak my truth with experiences that I have, whether good or bad. I’ve talked a lot about things I’ve overcome, whether it’s leaky gut or bad skin, and the things that have worked for me. There are a lot of people out there who talk about products, who are getting paid to talk about those products. I’m very transparent. I only talk about things that are truly in my routine, things that I actually do on a daily basis that I see results from. I have a bit more of a holistic approach to wellness than a lot of people. I’m not an obsessive or extremist. I’m practical, I’m realistic. And I prioritize. And I think a lot of people also follow me because they have a hard time prioritizing and time management.

What are you focused on now, health-wise?

Some of my personal goals this year are to have a more anti-inflammatory diet. I have a bunch of recipes in the book that are on the same par as “The Plant Paradox” by Dr. [Steven R.] Gundry. But I’m really going to try to cut out foods with lectins in them. Coming off of holiday eating and traveling, I want to do a nice reset without going overboard. I’m not one to go on a juice cleanse. Something like a lectin-free diet seems very easy and practical for me to implement.  

What are some of your go-tos right now in your routine?  

I’m a big sucker for facial tools. And right now I’ve been loving a facial cup — if you know what cupping is, what people do on their backs, it’s a cup like that that people do on their face. It’s really about moving some of that fluid that gets stuck in your face. It’s a really good depuffing tool, which I’ve been loving. I do it every morning and every night.

Eggplant parm, one of the recipes featured in "Do What Feels Good."
Eggplant parm, one of the recipes featured in "Do What Feels Good." Photo Credit: Eve Abeler

A healthified eggplant Parmesan

"The approach that I was taking for the book specifically was turning these more known comfort foods and healthifying them,” Bronfman says about the recipes in “Do What Feels Good.” That includes a gluten-free eggplant Parmesan, inspired by one the author had on a date with her now-husband at Lil’ Frankies in the East Village.

Serves 4

  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 large eggplant
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup ground almonds
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 3 cups tomato sauce
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease a baking sheet with the oil and set aside.

2. Remove the stem end from the eggplant and slice the eggplant into 1/2-in. rounds. Salt them thoroughly and set on a clean kitchen towel. Leave for 15-20 minutes to draw out the moisture.

3. Meanwhile, whisk the eggs in a small bowl or pie dish and set aside

4. In another bowl or pie dish, whisk together the almonds, Parmesan cheese, basil, paprika, garlic and oregano. Set aside.

5. Brush the salt from the eggplant and press the slices with a towel to draw out an excess moisture.

6. Dip the eggplant slices in the egg mixture, then in the almond mixture and transfer to a baking sheet.

7. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, then turn carefully, and continue to bake until golden brown and crispy.

8. Spoon the tomato sauce onto the baking sheet (around and on top of the eggplant) and top each round with the mozzarella cheese.

9. Return to the oven and bake for 5 to 10 minutes, until the sauce is hot, and the cheese has melted. Serve immediately.

From the book “Do What Feels Good: Recipes, Remedies and Routines to Treat Your Body Right.” Copyright © by Hannah Bronfman. Published on Jan. 8, 2019 by Harper Wave, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. Reprinted by permission.


Hannah Bronfman celebrates the release of "Do What Feels Good" with a book signing and conversation with Nicole Bonberi on Wednesday from 6-8 p.m. at Bonberi Bodega | 384 Bleecker St. | RSVP at callie@bonberi.com

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