MY VISION OF WELLNESS FROM THE BEGINNING HAS BEEN TO BE APPROACHABLE AND INCLUSIVE,” SAYS HOLISTIC NUTRITION AND LIFESTYLE COACH DAPHNE JAVITCH, FOUNDER OF THE CULT WELLNESS SITE DOING WELL. “I don’t live in Santa Monica Canyon, I don’t meditate for an hour every morning and then do a tea ceremony,” the designer-turned-healer continues. “I admire all that but it’s not my reality. I ride the subway and I go to work/social dinners where there’s bread and booze, so my whole approach has been very integrative. Let’s do this incrementally because improvement is what matters more than anything.” Since winning her own battle with endometriosis, Javitch has earned a fan following thanks to her refreshing approach to the wellness world. (See: honest accounts of trading in beloved cigarettes for lemon water and a witty Instagram feed of glossy fashion editorials and iconic movie scenes with captions expounding on eating placentas and medicinal baths.) We caught up with the mama-to-be (she’s due next month!) to talk following and not following food-combining, nourishing herself while expecting and her baby shower menu that continues to make us drool.
Photos by Ryan Petrus
How do you feel your approach to wellness has changed since becoming pregnant? Has your philosophy towards nourishing yourself changed?
Let’s just say, pregnancy has been a humbling experience. The first six weeks, I thought, “I got this! I am a health goddess who loves vegetables and green juices and I don’t even feel nauseous!” Then at week seven it hit me like a ton of bricks. From week seven to fifteen, I was debilitatingly sick. I had to let go of my health ideals and really become a listener. I surrendered to whatever I could eat and all I could eat was bagels with cream cheese. Which is most of the food groups I don’t usually eat. My approach to nourishing myself from that moment forward was first and foremost, I have to do what I have to do to get through the day. Very slowly I was able to hold down citrus fruits and gradually I wanted more cold fresh things. Eventually I could eat a salad again but at 9 months pregnant, there are still things I’m nervous to eat. We used to do a sautéed kale with garlic at dinner but I’m still too afraid to smell the garlic.
Do you feel being pregnant changed the way you treat your own body?
I think when there is another person involved we are much kinder and more forgiving and by default we transfer that kindness and forgiveness to ourselves. In honor of my baby, I am calmer and less uptight. I’ve eaten carbonara pasta five times throughout this pregnancy, which is again, practically ten categories of food I don’t eat on a regular basis, but I just go with it.
I think that for me, when I was pregnant, the biggest “mind fuck” was, I had to let go of all my wellness values that I thought defined me. You think you have everything in control. But that’s the first step of motherhood. It teaches you that you are not in control of everything.
A lot of being pregnant feels like preparation for parenthood. When you’re pregnant and you need to eat, it’s not, you need to eat in 45 minutes, it’s you need to eat NOW. It’s like being an infant, you need to sleep now, you have to go to the bathroom and you have to go right now! So in some aspects pregnancy is a step towards understanding these small primal people. For example, I admit that in the past I have been kind of “judge-y” about kids who are super picky eaters. Ones who only eat croissants or white pasta. Going through intense morning sickness I realized, wow that’s not a choice or a character flaw, it’s biological repulsion. Thank god I went through that because otherwise I may have been forcing my kid to eat whole roasted Branzino.
So now that you are well into your third trimester, have you nailed down a certain routine?
Yes, I am a big routine person. I’m a Taurus. I’m a nutritionist and I preach routine. I’m also a student of Gil Jacobs and I’m really into the idea that repetition heals. Weekdays I follow a set routine but I’m pretty fluid on the weekends when life is more social and less planned. A wellness pro is not perfect all the time but can course-correct quickly. I don’t think routine is sustainable when it’s restrictive or exclusive, the trick is to be able to change lanes gracefully when life calls for it but to promptly return to the routine after the occasional indulgence.
Ok so, take us through a day in the life?
Pre-pregnancy I made all my own juices and lunches (my husband cooks most of our dinners). I used to practice intermittent fasting having juices and liquids until lunch but pregnant I do fruit for breakfast. A light, fresh morning still feels good to me. I drink lots of water with lemon upon waking and have a granny smith apple and a ripe banana. I make a cortado. Usually I make my own nut milk for it but lately I’m a lazy pregnant person so I use a coconut creamer. I check in via email with my clients and then leave the house to go workout. For exercise, I do Ballet Beautiful, Pilates and meet with a personal trainer once a week. I move my body everyday before heading back home for client sessions. On my way home I stop by East Village Organic for a fresh green juice. My custom recipe is cucumber, celery, fennel, green apple and lime. Sometimes a little ginger or cilantro. It’s a very soothing, healing juice. Right now I just want gentle juices nothing too activating. I also grab their INCREDIBLE organic vegan soup of the day for later. If I need a late morning snack, I love the raw almonds or cashews from High Vibe. After a few client sessions, I have my lunch. I heat up the hearty soup and prepare a large green salad. Pregnant, I prefer simple crunchy leaves like romaine or butter lettuce rather than the more planty ones like watercress or dandelion. I add tomato, avocado, cucumber, celery, radish and sometimes cilantro, basil or mint. After lunch, I finish up my sessions and/or dedicate some time to reading or listening to wellness related podcasts. My go-to afternoon snacks are olives, a second green juice, dark chocolate, these peanut butter cups, seaweed snacks, kale chips or herbal teas. This time of year I also love oven-roasted chestnuts, they’re so cozy and nourishing. If I’m feeling extra hungry I may opt for a second version of lunch instead of a snack. For dinner, Pali, my husband, usually roasts a fish which he serves with lots of sautéed greens or cooked veggies and we always have another green salad or some evenings we’ll do a plant based dish for dinner like a macro-plate with wild rice or grains paired with steamed veggies and seared yucca.
When you’re not doing a home-cooked meal, who makes the cleanest delivery/takeout?
We mostly order from Siggy’s. I get the wild salmon with kale and broccoli. I have also been craving the Avocado Salad from Souen- it’s an enormous plate of crunchy lettuces, shaved beets, steamed veggies and an entire avocado. Sometimes I add shrimp. Then again, some nights I order carbonara from Bar Primi and other nights I need to Postmates Erin McKenna’s gluten-free vegan chocolate chip cookies and a chocolate dipped donut. That’s just how it is.
What about self care stuff while you have been pregnant? Do you get messages do you take baths?
I still skin brush everyday but I’m using an older, softer dry brush since my pregnant skin is a little tender. Hot baths are my cure-all. And I LOVE a massage from my friend Kumi Sawyers at Sky Ting. She is a healing goddess.
Do you believe in clean beauty?
I do but I think it’s totally fine to use some active ingredients too as long as most of the stuff you put on and in your body is clean and natural. I use a lot of my facialist Joanna Vargas’ natural products because they smell so good and my skin loves them. I had to wait a while to get a facial while pregnant because I got intense rosacea from the initial hormones and Joanna advised I wait it out. On Sundays, I do an Eminence mask and soak in the tub. And I always oil up big time after bathing. love the 1970s packaging of Mother’s Special Blend which is almond oil, coconut oil, shea butter and vitamin E. I mix that with Desert Essence organic unscented lotion so it all spreads and absorbs more easily.
Both of us are students of Gil Jacobs. What is one of the most important things you’ve learned in your own healing process?
What haven’t I learned from Gil? He’s a master teacher. Colonics were a big part of my healing journey with stage four endometriosis. I had a lot of congestion, inflammation and compression in the abdomen so combined with a healing lifestyle, colonics alleviated a lot of that pressure and helped encourage flow in my body. Thats my big thing: flow through the body. Digestive, circulatory, lymphatic, emotional and energetic flow are crucial to healing. As Gil says, “stagnation equals disease” and “accumulation equals aging.” For me, colonics are part of my protocol and spending that hour with Gil is also a huge part of my healing journey and education. Some occasions I wake up and am like, “I don’t want to get a colonic,” because it’s not always the most exciting, pleasurable experience, but my husband always insists I go. Because no matter what after I lay there with Gil for 45 min, I feel better physically, emotionally and energetically.
How has your practice changed during this time of your life?
I got back into colonics deep into my pregnancy, well after my baby was established and there was no risk of it affecting him and his experience in any way. I would never advise anyone to get a colonic who didn’t have a very consistent ongoing protocol of colonics before they were pregnant. Gil is a trustworthy friend and teacher to me and it’s not right for everyone, pregnant or not. I am speaking only for myself. Pregnancy increased the pressure in my lower body so it feels amazing to move matter through and out. Sometimes the only thing that alleviates my internal pressure is going to the bathroom. A colonic is just a more thorough experience of that. There are so many things I can’t do pregnant, which is such a bummer. I used to love infrared saunas, I don’t jump on the rebounder, no Russian Baths or cold plunge, and I haven’t gone running recently because that just feels counter intuitive. So maintaining some parts of my personal practice has been really helpful.
You follow food combining. How has that helped your own flow and digestion?
I don’t know anyone who hasn’t seen a positive result from food combining. A lot of it has to do with simplicity. Modern day food can be overly complicated which taxes the body. Let’s say you go out to a restaurant and have an octopus appetizer, then a burrata pasta with sausage and a fruit tart for dessert. That’s so many different categories of food plus sauces and sugars and oils. All that excess information causes the body to overwork which means less time for healing, regenerating and rejuvenating. One of the big things with food combining is that it simplifies the way we eat. People often see positive results with vegan, Paleo or vegetarian lifestyles because by eliminating certain food groups you’re doing a version of food combining. For me, a mostly well-combined diet has been a game changer in terms of experiencing relief from Endometriosis symptoms.
What basic tenants do you teach your clients?
I teach a simple, straightforward approach to cellular health that’s also social and sustainable. I use the principles of food combining to optimize digestion, assimilation and elimination which helps my clients achieve their ideal weight, maintain healthy energy levels and optimize healing potential. I include and review a number of cellular health tools that support the nutritional aspect of my program while providing daily support and resources throughout. I focus on guiding clients into a healing lifestyle that’s sustainable beyond the time we work together. The most basic tenants of which are: improvement and consistency. Perhaps most of all, I help clients quiet all the noise so they’re able to hear and listen to what truly works for them. Wellness is not one size fits all.
Lets talk about the menu at your baby shower. The spread looked magnificent! What did you request on the menu?
My outrageous, creative and brilliant friend Laila Gohar did the food. She served raw unpeeled carrots that literally had soil on them! They were quite intimidating but so pretty. Thankfully, I also requested some basic hearty sourdough toasts with butter and jam. I got She Wolf bread from the farmers market and the three loaves were so dense I had to take an Uber home! We served lots of chopped veggies, fruits, toasts with ricotta, honey & thyme, frittatas with kale, and Fine & Raw dark chocolate. It was all so yummy but also hilarious because you could just see people pondering, is this a decoration or should I try to put this in my mouth?
At your shower, all the guests set an intention for your baby. What is your own intention for becoming a mew mom?
I’m going to cry. You’re asking a 9-month pregnant woman! My wish and my prayer is to allow this person to be my teacher. My mantra is: allow more, control less. I want to be present and to find the balance between guiding and also being guided by. So for me, it’s about relaxing, getting out of my head and connecting more to my heart. These are the things I have been working on as an adult and I hope to evolve as a mother.