Ep. 48 Healing Through Culinary Alchemy, Mindfulness, and Self-Care with Chef and Entrepreneur Serena Poon

Happy #SeekTheJoy Tuesday!

On the podcast this week is Serena Poon - Le Corden Bleu Chef, successful entrepreneur, functional nutritionist, wellness coach, founder of Just Add Water, and TV host established in the culinary, health, and wellness community.

Image provided by Serena Poon

Image provided by Serena Poon

Doubling as a classically-trained chef and nutritionist to her clientele, Serena is known for curating healing and wellness programs using integrative health, holistic nutrition and culinary alchemy.

What began as a career in fine dining with an emphasis on specialized dietary needs, developed into a flourishing health and wellness lifestyle brand.

Serena is AMAZING and I was so excited to chat with her about all things healing through integrative health, culinary alchemy, wellness, self-love, and self-care.

On today’s episode we chat all about Serena’s healing journey, her passion for whole body and mind wellness, and how her life experiences led her down the path of culinary alchemy. We also chat about the importance of developing a gratitude and self-love practice, trusting our intuition, finding stillness through meditation, and how to make a habit and routine sustainable. We also chat about Serena’s mantra, joy in her life, her newest venture Just Add Water, and SO much more!

I see, know, and believe in the power of self-care and self-love and how that is absolutely fundamental to the physical aspects of nutrition, food, healing, and energy. It all matters for our optimal health and wellness, and health of the whole mind, body, and soul.
— Serena Poon
Image provided by Serena Poon

Image provided by Serena Poon

A Leading Chef to the Hollywood elite, Serena’s passion and career for curating healing and wellness programs using integrative health, holistic nutrition and culinary alchemy began long before she started creating contemporary meals, menus and nutritional goodness for the likes of Jerry Bruckheimer and Sean “P. Diddy” Combs. 

Over the years, Serena has established herself as a top high-profile personal chef and nutritional consultant in Los Angeles and has built a strong clientele strictly by referral. She’s expanded to include more than just culinary alchemy – she’s also a nutritionist, wellness expert, coach and counselor to her clients.

Serena’s driven devotion to focus on the importance of whole body and mind wellness is inspired by the profound effect cancer had on her family, with both her mother and father diagnosed within two years of each other.  Recognizing the impact food has on the mind, body and spirit, Serena welcomed a new path in her life and began her career as a Nutritionist and Chef with degrees from UC Berkeley and the esteemed Le Cordon Bleu.

Serena’s own health journey is inspiring and will stop you in your tracks. For years taking care of the people that she loves has been her passion and mantra. But that drive also put her in a place where she was sacrificing her own health. she was going so hard and burning herself out in an effort to help others. She knew something had to change, she couldn’t go on this way.

Serena shares the story behind why she almost died twice and how being her own advocate and practitioner ultimately saved her. Through food, nutrition, mindfulness and self-care, she applied her knowledge of culinary alchemy to her own health.

Plus her words on surrender, stillness, mindfulness, and self-love will inspire you and motivate you to bring more of all that good stuff into your life too.

As Serena shared in this week’s new episode, self-care is important and it’s a priority. It’s just as important as the food and nutrition that you put into your body.

So, what tools does Serena rely on to bring more self-love and self-care into her life? It all starts with her morning routine of lemon water, celery juice, and Just Add Water. Her affirmations, mantras, and gratitude list allows her to start the day grounded and excited. Serena not only writes down what she’s grateful for, but she also includes a list of things that she loves about herself. I LOVED this practice! The truth is it’s really hard for a lot of us to talk about what we love, admire, and appreciate about ourselves. It just can feel so . . . foreign (and weird). Serena encourages her clients to start with making a list of things their friends and family love about them. From there, you can work yourself up to including a list of things you love about yourself.

What I loved so much about this part of our conversation were the tips Serena shared to make a habit and routine sustainable and tangible. Yes it’s important to develop self-care routines and rituals, but it’s even more important to make sure that they stick.

Serena’s top tip? Start small and do a little bit at a time. If you overwhelm yourself it’s not going to be sustainable (umm been there, done that!) If the thought of starting a new practice feels like too much, start with one day with one thing on your list. Then, you can work yourself up to 3 days, then 5 days, then 7 days, etc. Before you know it - it’ll be something that you do every day! Do what you can, and don’t beat yourself up if you miss a day.

Joy is the health and happiness of myself and the people that I care about, and that comes in all forms.
— Serena Poon

Serena and I also had a really wonderful conversation about trusting our intuition and finding stillness through meditation. I know that meditation can feel intimidating to so many people, and it’s important to remember that there really isn’t one way to meditate. Any time that you take a moment to be still and quiet - that’s meditation.

The intuitive voice that we all have in us, that’s our guiding light. It’s about clearing the space and listening.
— Serena Poon

For Serena, it’s been really important to get in touch with her authentic inner voice and power. We all have the answers within, and as Serena shared - when you find the space and the time to be still, it’s amazing the information and the insight that has the power to come through.

Finding that stillness has been a key component of her self-care and self-love. Even more than that, all of her experiences have really simplified things and shifted her perspective on joy. I loved hearing Serena reflect on this - and how joy is really the health and happiness of herself and the people that she cares about. Joy can take on so many forms, and it’s about allowing yourself the opportunity to pay attention to and really take in that joy in your life.

As Serena shares, when you look at joy in that way, you’re really in a constant state of abundance.

Image provided by Serena Poon

Image provided by Serena Poon

Serena’s mission is to bring new methods of wellness and mindfulness to her clients and customers.

On this week’s episode Serena also shares with us the story of how her product, Just Add Water, came about. She originally created Just Add Water to provide her clients with nutrient-dense bioavailable superfoods designed to nourish, energize and balance their bodies throughout long, demanding days. When she was at Cannes Film Festival with some of her clients, she saw how frequent traveling, over-booked schedules, and the lack of proper daily nutritional self-care led to exhaustion, over-stressed adrenals, immune decline and unnecessary weight fluctuations. Knowing that balancing the body’s support system is key to an optimal healthy lifestyle, Serena made it her mission to create a conveniently packaged superfood supplement that not only gave the body energy with the proper combination of protein, amino acids, vitamins and minerals, but one that tasted great.

Serena used her culinary alchemy to create the vegan proprietary blend of yellow peas and sprouted grain protein, superfood fruit antioxidants, powerful super greens, prebiotics, probiotics, digestive enzymes and plant adaptogens. Just Add Water is carefully crafted with organic and natural products to be free of major food allergens, including dairy, gluten, wheat, rice, tree nuts and soy, and contains no genetically modified ingredients.

In this week’s new episode Serena also shares with us her mantra and how she’s been able to apply it to all aspects of her life. “No one is you, and that is your power” are the words that Serena lives by.

Serena is so insightful, kind, and I am just so happy that we’ve connected and that I’m able to bring you this conversation. She’s really on a mission to teach and empower others to live their best lives, heal themselves by connecting with their intuition, honoring their inner voice through love and compassion, and through self-care, nourishing foods, and mindfulness.

To learn more about Serena, visit her website serenaloves.com and you can find her on Instagram @chefserenapoon and on Twitter @chefserenapoon and you can find Just Add Water at justaddwaterinc.com and on Instagram @justaddwaterinc

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Sydney Weiss