Discover more from Things That Make My Heart Sing by Melissa Hemsley
In conversation with Katia & her mushrooms
And a recipe for speedy noodle soup
This month I’m welcoming Katia Narain Phillips to the newsletter. Katia is the founder of Phyto Nectars and co-author of three internationally best-selling books, including Self-Care for the Real World. Her mission is to help as many people feel the best version of themselves through what they eat and drink, which is why I love her so much as we’re all about feel good food around here!
In addition to our chat, Katia has also kindly shared an exclusive discount for Phyto Nectars which you can find below, as well as a speedy recipe from me, inspired by Katia’s fave comfort meal.
You and what you do in a nutshell?
I’m Katia Narain Phillips, published co-author of best-selling book Self Care for the Real World and founder of Phyto Nectars, a plant and mushroom supplement brand. I have always been into wellness and taking care of people. Helping them feel their best either through, massage or food. After closing my health food café during covid, I decided I wanted to create a brand that could help people and reach a wider audience then the café.
What makes you feel your best?
I feel my best when I am doing things to stay in my body, and keep my nervous system calm…If I don’t take care of that I can go a bit numb. Things that help me to stay in my parasympathetic nervous system are cold swimming, being in nature, attending to my garden or being creative.
Please share some of your feel good tips?
Do small things that make you feel good on a regular basis and be consistent…That is the key to sustaining your self-care. I like to start my morning with a warm drink. I use my product I AM RESILIENT. It reduces inflammation, wakes up the digestive system and increases energy. Then I try and swim and walk in nature. In the evening, I must change from my outdoor clothes to my indoor when I get home from work. This helps me to separate work and home. After I make the kids dinner, I like to have my I AM RESTED which was designed to calm the nervous system and help with deeper sleep.
What’s your favourite season?
Spring/summer. I feel my energy and mood totally shift with the longer days and warmer weather.
What do you like to cook? Or what’s the ingredient you couldn’t live without or best sums you up?
I love garlic and salt. Those two together can transform any dish… I can’t cook without them.
Your fave comfort meal
Ramen, I was born and raised in Hong Kong, so if I’m poorly I want noodle soup or jook or any south east Asian food.
What’s your afternoon pick me up?
I don’t drink coffee so I have my I AM FOCUSED which tastes like hot chocolate. It has Lion’s Mane and cordyceps so helps when I am having a concentration dip and having that 3 o’clock slump.
A ‘chore’ you find satisfying and relaxing?
Cleaning, when my house is messy, it stresses my mind out, so I like things neat and tidy and it gives me great satisfaction to clean…I know weird, but I do love it.
Tell us about a small business you love
I really love this brand of chocolate called Diana’s chocolates, she lovingly makes them in north London by hand, they are dairy free and inspired by her mixed heritage. It has very few ingredients and is 55% chocolate, the almond is my favourite.
Your special place - UK? / rest of the planet?
Hampstead Heath ladies pond. I also just discovered a gorgeous place called Fritton Lake in Norfolk where they have a pond to swim in, walks, outdoor pool. The land is beautiful and after 2 days there, I felt like I was on holiday for a week.
Katia has kindly offered all subscribers to Things That Make My Heart Sing 20% off at Phyto Nectars with the exclusive code MELH20. Enjoy!
In case you missed my other conversations with people I love, here are a few from the archive: Donna Lancaster, Kimberley Wilson, Estée Lalonde, Dr Rupy, Emily Scott. Keep your eyes peeled for more conversations to come.
Speedy noodle broth
A speedy recipe from me, inspired by Katia’s love of mushrooms and her fave comfort food. She’s right, noodle soup really is comfort in a bowl.
Feeds 2, takes 15 minutes
2 tbsp coconut oil
Small bunch of spring onions, thinly sliced
Thumb of ginger, finely chopped or grated
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped or grated
600ml broth or veg stock
Dash of tamari and toasted sesame oil
2 bunches of your favourite noodles
2 large handfuls of greens, such as kale, spinach, pak choi or cabbage
Chilli flakes, fresh chilli or chilli oil
Heat the oil in a large pan, once melted add the mushrooms and fry over a medium-high heat for about 5 minutes until softened. Add the spring onions, ginger, garlic and chilli flakes, fry for a minute or so until fragrant then add the broth. Bring up to the boil then drop in the noodles and cook according to the timings on the packet. A few minutes before the noodles are ready, drop in the greens to cook until just wilted and tender (depending on the type of noodle you’re using, you may need to add the greens at the same time as the noodles). Season to taste with a dash of tamari and toasted sesame oil then ladle into deep bowls. Serve with any of the suggested toppings.