“I’VE ALWAYS BEEN SUPER MINDFUL OF MY HEALTH,” SAYS DESIGNER MISHA NONOO CURLED UP ON THE COUCH IN AN ASYMMETRICAL SWEATER OVER ATHLETIC LEGGINGS CRADLING A CUP OF CAFFEINE-FREE TEA ON A GLACIAL MANHATTAN AFTERNOON. “It was a joke when I was growing up. My mom said if I wasn’t into fashion, I would be into nutrition.” Though Nonoo ended up opting for the former vocation–and quite successfully at that (she recently trail-blazed the industry by going direct-to-consumer last year and airing her fashion show via Snapchat), the former London native has maintained her love of wellness in her personal life. When we caught up with the designer at MNDFL in Greenwich Village, she was on day two of a cleanse with her nutrition guru, Dr. Frank Lipman, which consisted of nixing gluten, sugar, dairy or alcohol. “I have had all his various tinctures and three liters of water already,” mused Nonoo, who already posessed that enviable detox glow. “I was hoping for a quick fix, but Dr. Lipman, you never get a quick fix.” Below, we caught up with the British expat who talked self-care, meditation and how she makes a mean healthy Shepherd’s Pie.
Photos by Sasha Israel
When did your fascination with health begin?
I read a book called Fast Food Nation, then I read The Omnivore’s Dilemma and learned about the food supply system and how damaged a lot of the animals are we are ingesting. Even the plants at this point have been genetically modified. I had this innate understanding that what you put into your body is what your body becomes. Not just the obvious physical standpoint but how your thoughts manifest themselves in your physiology. You really have to be mindful of how you treat your body and your health in general.
How would you describe your diet now?
I tend to eat a lot of fish and am plant-based.
Do you take any supplements?
Milk thistle and Metagenics probiotics. When I’m feeling sick, I take a shot of wheatgrass, followed by a shot of lemon juice, cayenne pepper and turmeric and thenI throw in some oil of oregano, it kills everything. I learned that in China. You put a little bit of tincture right at the base of your nostrils or under your tongue. It burns like hell but it kills everything.
How would you describe your self-care routine?
I’m very into all of it. I do Reiki healing in Williamsburg. I love acupuncture and rolfing. The manipulation of the fascia is so important. You hold all of your physical and emotional trauma through the fascia and it’s remarkable how having that manipulated helps you to overcome physical and emotional trauma. I also have lymphatic drainage massage once a week.
What’s your workout regimen?
I go to Modo Yoga and I used to go to Dancebody when I lived in Tribeca, which I loved. There’s a fascinating theory that people use dance as a form of getting rid of all of their demons through movement. My friend went to an ayahuasca retreat and she said that people would start to dance during the ceremony and it was to exercise the demons from their body. That’s the legend. I suppose in a way, being in your body and moving takes you out of your mind.
What is your meditation practice like?
I meditate two times a day. I do transcendental meditation. Being able to sit with a thought and trying to rest yourself in your body and mind is very powerful.
What is the biggest challenge when it comes to meditation?
I think you’re always too busy. People ask me, “How do you spend 40 minutes a day? Isn’t it a waste of time?” Those 40 minutes make me more efficient. The hardest is when you’re very stressed. When you meditate the problems are right in front of your face and you try to distance yourself. The thing they teach you in transcendental meditation is that that’s ok. That’s actually a part of the practice. Sometimes you’ll have an amazing practice and twenty minutes fly by. Sometimes you can’t distance yourself. It’s about being kind to yourself, don’t be so hard on yourself. This is just one way to exercise kindness. Trying to control your mind is not always so easy at all. But when you can harness your mind it’s remarkable.
How has meditation improved your life?
I’ve had incredible things come up during meditation like old memories and it’s triggered an understanding what has precipitated a certain type of behavior. It’s not like I have ideas for work that come to me because that’s not the point of meditation at all. I do also practice creative visualization. It’s improved it in focus, efficiency, time management, the way that I react to certain situations. There were times that I would have a temper or bit of a hothead, now I tend to be a bit more calmer. I’m like, OK, take a breath. It’s almost innate in my response, I’m a bit more kinder and calmer in how I respond to things that would otherwise annoy me.
Incorporate meditation in work?
For sure. A lot of things that annoy me are work related. Somebody isn’t on my schedule, there is another way to deal with things. There is a kinder way to deal with things than getting angry. Especially living in NY, it’s an angry city. There are taxi drivers beeping and people yelling at each other, so it’s very easy to ingest that. So it’s even more important to practice that calmer more conscious sense of self.
You have amazing skin. What’s your secret?
It’s really important that you drink tons of water and I don’t smoke. That and I recently just started using Fresh’s Vibrancy Mask, which is amazing.
What are your favorite foods?
I find traditional Lebanese food is very healthy. I was brought up on that food. When I moved to London, Ottolenghi was really hitting its stride. I love Israeli food as well. I like things that are very plant-based, fresh, if possible not even cooked. I love salads. Tabouleh is one of my favorite things in the world.
Do you cook?
I love to cook. My favorite thing to make is shepherd’s pie. It’s lamb mince with carrots and celery and onion and it’s better if you stew it the night before. Anything that is meat-based is better if it sits overnight. You marinate the meat in rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper. It’s typically done with potato but you can do it with cauliflower mash. That’s the healthy version.
What are your kitchen essentials?
A great olive oil; a Vitamix; and farm fresh organic eggs
You spent some of your childhood growing up in the Middle East, how did that influence your approach to health?
Growing up in the Middle East, people are very into hammams. If I have a Sunday where I’ve got a few hours, I love to go to Great Jones Spa or the Aire Baths and go to the steam or sauna. That to me is more important than putting on tons of face masks on a Sunday evening. It pretty much cures everything from a head cold to getting rid of any toxins. Just go and sweat it out.