By Nicole Berrie
Photography by Libby Gray
TO CALL HANNAH BRONFMAN THE POSTER GIRL FOR ALL THINGS FIT IS AN UNDERSTATEMENT. Homegirl walks the inclined walk. The founder of the salon-booking app Beautified has escaped nearly all the trappings of the archetypal Manhattan ingenue, eschewing vodka sodas and cigarettes for green smoothies and early morning sweat sessions. But she has a life. “I’m not a saint,” the Bard grad maintains as she serves us a raw chocolate snack, which she made last night. “But I’ve always had a healthy lifestyle.” Indeed, Bronfman who also moonlights as a DJ, has cemented her status as New York “fit” girl, using social media as a personal food and fitness diary where she posts everything from her daily workouts (Pilates and interval training at the gym) to healthy home-cooked meals (chia seed bowls and poached salmon for dinner). “Any night that I don’t have something to do I’m cooking,” says Bronfman from her downtown apartment (which she shares with DJ Brendan Fallis) where Drake quietly blares on the stereo. “Right now I’m really into plating. I’m such a freak though. I’ll literally pause after every second and take photos to put on Instagram.” Still when she’s not documenting her cooking travails, she’s hard at work expanding Beautified’s reach, which is currently active in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco and has plans to expand to DC, Dallas and Miami. “It’s all moving pretty fast,” mused Bronfman. We raided Bronfman’s treasure-packed kitchen (think: bee pollen, almond butter and goat’s milk) where she baked mind-blowingly decadent gluten-free cinnabons (yes, cinnabons!) and revealed her own health regimen, new obsession with the land of Oz and why Instagram rules her life, even in the bath.
You’ve recently become so vocal about cooking and nutrition. Have you always been into food?
It all started in my early twenties when I left school. I had a lot of time to explore. I got excited about food. My dad was a big meat eater growing up but I was raised vegetarian until I was 17 when I had rabbit for the first time. I thought it was delicious. My mom was allergic to animal products. I didn’t get an allergic reaction so I decided I was going to devote myself to expanding my palate. There’s no reason I should be limiting myself.
Was there a moment in your twenties when you really wanted to up your health game?
I got bad skin when I was going through a bad breakup and I wanted to blame it on stress but then it just didn’t get better. I started to explore the wellness space and I met this woman who turned my whole world upside down. Her name is Tracy Piper. She is like mother earth. She told me to stop eating dairy, gluten and sugar. I was like, “I don’t eat any of that shit anyway!” And she was like, “I bet you do, make me a food diary.” And I did. It just made me really aware of what I was putting in my body.
What else did you learn from meeting with Tracy Piper?
I found out that I have something called leaky gut, which I know, doesn’t sound cute. But if you’re eating well and still breaking out, it’s probably because you have leaky gut. It’s when your intestine has holes in it due to wheat. Instead of all the toxins flushing out the way they’re supposed to, some of them fall through the cracks and when the toxins fall into the bloodstream, they get recycled into your body and come out through your skin. That to me was like, whoa.
How did you begin to heal yourself?
I started to repair my gut. I took these powders and shakes. Probiotics, flax oil would go in my smoothies but all of that information opened up a whole new world.
Did that turn you onto other diets or eating plans?
I’ve tried every diet there is. Not for a weight standpoint but for feeling good. I work out all the time so I need energy. I run a business so if I’m not mentally there, everything is going to fall apart. You know when people talk about food comas? It’s because certain foods make you feel lethargic. My sister wanted to lose weight and she was feeling lethargic. She’s an actress and wanted to get her life on track and was looking to me for motivation, which helped me on that whole course for a while until I really started to love it.
What about things like the blood type diet and Paleo, do you play with those regimens?
The blood type diet didn’t work for me. I’m A positive, which is actually abnormal for African Americans. I was asleep everyday. I need protein and grains, which is why I don’t think I could go Paleo.
When did you get the cooking itch?
At Bard, we would have these dinner parties every week. Everyone lives in a house so everyone would take turns hosting a dinner party every week but you’d always have to bring something.
Do you have a go-to recipe that you always like to cook?
I’m still in my exploratory phase. Quick and easy is quinoa with steamed veggies and some sort of Asian sauce. I made summer rolls the other night, which were awesome. My girlfriends were over and we used cabbage, avocado and peppers and I got a rotisserie chicken to put inside too.
What do you like to cook with Brendan?
We recently made zucchini pasta, so you just mandolin the zucchini and you eat it raw but then we made this amazing turkey marinara sauce because we wanted something high in protein and we had all this oregano in the garden. We put the noodles on the plate, made a little eggshell and put the sauce in the middle.
Do you believe in eating mostly raw?
I don’t think you don’t need to eat totally raw. Eating raw actually isn’t that great for me but doing things like having raw zucchini while keeping something normal is a delicious way to do it.
Do you drink?
Yes, I still like to go out! My drink is tequila on the rocks with lime.
How do you balancing the drinking with going out at night?
I’ve been making tonics recently in the morning. I put in lemon, lime, olive oil, ginger, garlic, tumeric, and salt, put it in the blender and drink it. I feel like it kickstarts everything. Sometimes it’s really rough. I also try to take a shot of chlorophyll every night. Not in the morning because it makes your mouth green.
When you’re DJing, is it hard to keep up with your healthy lifestyle?
I’m really lucky that I’m able to DJ corporate events because they keep it in the hours of 6pm-10pm. I’m not playing at one in the morning. I’m lucky if I’m playing at cocktail hour, then I can come home and either make dinner or go out and be in bed by midnight. I try for midnight but lately I’m just up on Instagram. Everyone I follow has a crazy food situation and they’re ALL Australian. I don’t know what is going on over there. I mean the types of bods that are coming out of there. I wish that more Americans had Australian mentalities of health.
Take us through a day in Hannah’s life.
I wake up and make a tonic first and then I go to the gym. And then I get home and I make a smoothie. Then I’ll drink some tea from Tiny Tea. I’m not a coffee drinker but actually Tracy makes a coffee substitute and I randomly brought it to work the other day. It’s so good. Then I go to work. I work two blocks from Souen so I’ll either order from Souen and get a piece of salmon or Westville and get a piece of salmon. I’m into salmon. Then I’ll have more tea or I’ll bring some popcorn to the office with me and snack on it or I’ll have some avocado. Dinner is usually a free for all. Maybe there is something I’m dying to make, like last week I was dying to make quinoa stuffed butternut squash. I roasted the butternut squash and made this quinoa pesto situation.
Do you have a favorite smoothie recipe?
I just discovered a really delicious green smoothie. Here’s the trick: you freeze your kale and spinach. So your spinach are like chips. I add a date, cinnamon and vanilla. There’s a lot of sugar in dates so I try not to put too many in and I feel like one does the trick. Also tumeric is the cure all. It’s the herb of the moment for me. I also put in ginger because tumeric is hard to digest without ginger. It’s good for my immune system and my overall circulation. I like to play around with the liquids, whether it’s Waiola coconut water or coconut milk. I learned you can make coconut milk by sautéing coconut butter and coconut water together. I also like to add flax seed oil and Billy’s makes a good infinity greens powder. Sometimes I sprinkle bee pollen and chia seeds on top just for the presentation.
How many days do you work out?
I like the say five times a week but there are days I can’t fit it in.
Do you have favorite fitness routines?
I like boxing. I like going to the gym and trying out new kettle bell workouts. I follow a lot of fitness people so I feel like I’m starting to understand better what to do at the gym when you’re alone. I feel like that’s a hard thing, if you don’t know what machine does what, it’s a little overwhelming. If you’re trying to slim down, you need to do cardio.
What’s your cardio workout?
10 minutes on the treadmill. I do 2 minutes of walking, 3 minutes of running and for the last 5 minutes I do sprints. So I do 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off, so it’s 10 sprints, at 10 MPH.
Are there utensils that you can’t live without?
I’ve been really into a mandolin recently. I love my zester, a nice wooden cutting board, a nice set of knives, and my Vitamix. That’s my number one, I can’t live without it, it changed my life. I use it maybe five times a day. Any sauces, I’m making in there. I have a really good easy go-to thai sauce that’s almond butter, honey, soy sauce and ponzu.
Being the designated “spa expert” of Beautified, you must have a ton of secrets for beauty and self-care. Would you share any secrets?
I do colonics when I feel like I’ve gotten into a rut. I don’t do that many hot things like saunas, infrareds or steams because I feel as though it takes the elasticity out of my skin. I’m not a fan. But recently, I was in Mexico and I did a cold plunge pool after I sat in the sauna for 10 minutes. I think the combination is really good for your circulation. I’m also really into lymphatic drainage. Your lymphs are where you sweat a lot, like your armpits. You can get it in the form of a massage, dry brush or have a machine, which feels like a suction. The way your lymphatic system works, it starts at the bottom of your right foot and goes up and around your body and down the left side. That’s why a lot of women get breast cancer in their left breast because it can’t drain properly. So I think lymphatic drainage is important.
What do you do to tune out and get balanced?
I love a good bath. My friend Chelsea just gave me this lavender oil, put a few drops in the bath with Epsom salts, because normally when I’m taking a bath it’s because I’m sore and Epsom salt really helps with that. Give me a magazine, Instagram and that’s calming to me.
FOR HANNAH’S RECIPE ON GLUTEN-FREE CINNABONS…