March Book Club: Why Hannah Bronfman Wants You to ‘Do What Feels Good’
This is part of our series Book Club, where we bring you monthly recommendations for new books by our favorite authors.
My number one beef with the wellness world is when its main principles get overtaken by trendiness. The latest “healthy” meal plan, the new “superfood,” the next “must-have” ingredient. What all the fanfare around the trends won’t tell you is that no one thing works for everyone. What’s actually key to your best, most holistic health, is learning to listen to yourself.
That’s why when I spoke with Hannah Bronfman, founder of HBFIT and author of the new book Do What Feels Good, I felt like I’d discovered a kindred spirit. We spent a good chunk of our conversation discussing the fact that if you can’t tune into yourself and what your body, mind and spirit needs, you’ll never find a wellness trend that works for you.
“I’ve spent the last 10 years immersed in the wellness world,” she says. “I’ve met so many experts, gained so much knowledge. That’s why this book isn’t a meal plan or a how-to guide; it’s not a workout book. [Wellness] is really about trying to tune into yourself, and [my book] is just offering a few key pieces that can help you do that.”
Hannah, who’s a true influencer and gained her audience through DJing in NYC and in being a self-appointed guinea pig to many a new workout phenomenon, says her whole world changed when she started listening to her body. Growing up in the ballet world and watching her grandmother lose a battle with anorexia, Hannah decided that she’d be part of a new generation that nurtured and cared for their bodies, instead of trying to fit them into a one-size-fits-all mold.
And that’s what Do What Feels Good was born out of. Hannah’s personal health journey informed all of the book, which she says starts at the basics, and includes personal anecdotes followed by practical tips. It’s full of the habits she’s cultivated, like not drinking anything for 30 minutes before or after she eats, and her daily bath routine, including eight of her favorite recipes to create life-changing bath time. “Baths actually calm your nervous system down,” she says, “so there’s a reason they’re great stress relief.”
Hannah’s 5 Tips to Do What Feels Good + Treat Your Body Right
Hannah’s book is filled with tips and tricks that range from daily rituals to weekly indulgences. But her favorite tips for treating your body right? None of them require buying anything new, concocting anything in your kitchen or planning super far ahead.
- Get eight hours of sleep per night. “This is so important, every night. The key is consistency.”
- Start a breathing practice. “Every night, and (I try to do it) every morning, I take 10 deep breaths. I inhale for five, hold for five, exhale for five, and hold for five again. At night, I’m usually asleep before I finish all 10.”
- Grab some lotion and give yourself a massage. “I carry hand sanitizer and lotion with me everywhere, so whenever I have a spare minute, I sanitize my hands and then give myself a massage. hand massage, neck massage, foot massage. Whatever I have time for.”
- Listen to your body when it comes to working out. “I work out when I can, but I check in with myself every day to see what I actually need. Some mornings, I need sleep. Some mornings, I need a workout. But I don’t feel bad about whatever I need that day.”
- Pay attention to how you talk to yourself. “Wellness starts with how you talk to yourself. Take care of yourself throughout the day, and give yourself the compassion, not judgment, you deserve.”
Hannah’s Recipe for the World’s Easiest Almond Cookies
Makes 12 to 16 cookies
Shared from her book, Hannah says her almond cookies are a “major crowd pleaser.” The proof? “These little cookies were everyone’s favorite at our photo shoot,” she says. “They disappeared from the set minutes after we’d finished shooting them! They’re light and crispy and just sweet enough. They’re the perfect treat to bring to a party or a picnic, as they hold up well for traveling.”
- 1/3 cup rosemary simple syrup (requires 1/2 cup of maple syrup and fresh rosemary)
- 2 cups finely ground blanched almond flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- Finely grated zest of 1 orange
- 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup sliced almonds
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
- Make the rosemary simple syrup: Simmer 1/2 cup of maple syrup with 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary over low heat for 10 to 15 minutes. Strain and let cool.
- Whisk the almond flour and baking powder together in a large bowl.
- Add the cooled syrup, orange zest and vanilla extract and stir until a sticky dough has formed.
- Drop rounded tablespoons of the dough onto the prepared cookie sheets, spacing them 1 to 2 inches apart.
- Sprinkle the top of each cookie with the sliced almonds.
- Bake for 11 to 12 minutes. Cool before serving.
From the book DO WHAT FEELS GOOD. Copyright © 2019 by Hannah Bronfman. Published on January 8, 2019, by Harper Wave, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. Reprinted by permission.