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Rosa Li is the founder and CEO of Wildwonder, a San Francisco-based wellness brand. Her first product—a line of sparkling beverages crafted for immune and gut health—is inspired by the herbal tonics her grandmother made for her while she was growing up. Combining ancient herbal wisdom with modern taste, Wildwonder creates healthy beverages you’ll actually want to drink.
Since Li is an expert in herbal health, we sat down with her to discuss her wellness routine, daily schedule, and tips for living a gut-healthy life.
Rosa Li’s Wellness Routine
Q: How do you start your day?
A: I start my day around 6:30 a.m. I’m trying to be more conscious of my screen time and media consumption these days, so I stay away from checking my phone or emails immediately after I wake up. This makes a huge difference in setting the right mood for the day because social media and emails can feel overwhelming. Having a calm morning and starting the day in the right mental state keep me focused and better prepare me to tackle the day’s challenges.
Right after I wake up, I like to do 15 minutes of stretching and meditation. Then I always start my morning by hydrating. I like to drink a glass of lemon water for an extra dose of vitamin C. I’m definitely a caffeine person, so after hydrating, I’ll make myself a cup of coffee or a matcha latte. Matcha is a Japanese green tea that offers seven times the antioxidants as regular tea. It also contains l-theanine, which is calming, so you get steady energy instead of the jitters and crash you get from coffee. But not all matcha is created equal. I recommend any ceremonial-grade matcha for drinking because it’s the highest quality matcha and it has a stronger umami taste.
Breakfast is the most important meal for me and a big part of my wellness routine because it helps me wake up and gives me the energy I need to have a productive workday. It can be as simple as a banana if I’m running behind, but some days I like to splurge and make a full breakfast.
After eating, I spend about 30 minutes reading newsletters to catch up on world events and industry news before tackling my emails.
Q: What does a normal workday look like?
A: Since we have a small and scrappy team, my day varies a lot. From making sales calls and checking on my customers to overseeing product development and building new partnerships, I’m always on the go. The one thing I tend to forget in the chaos of building a business is hydration. I don’t really enjoy plain water and always gravitate toward interesting flavors, so I always keep a half dozen bottles of Wildwonder in the fridge to keep me hydrated and my gut happy.
Q: How do you like to wrap up your day?
A: Dinner is something I look forward to every day. I’m an avid foodie, and I love going out to eat with my friends while exploring new restaurants. The pandemic has obviously altered my way of life, so I’ve been exploring new recipes. Surprisingly, cooking has proven to be quite therapeutic for me. I usually stir fry something simple, with a balanced portion of veggies, protein, and carbs. I’ve been loving the Ottolenghi SIMPLE cookbook, which has great plant-based recipes with amazing flavors. I’ve also been ordering takeout from local restaurants and small businesses—especially ethnic restaurants. Independent restaurants are playing an important role in bridging cultures, but unfortunately, they are hurt the most by the pandemic.
After dinner, I like to end my night by listening to Audible or a podcast. My favorites are How I Built This, Unfinished Biz, Acquired, Taste Radio, and Invest Like the Best.
Q: How has your routine changed in the last few months?
A: Now that we’re all working from home, work and personal life are more intertwined, so it’s easy to get wrapped up in work. So, I’m mindful of finding my own “balance” and taking time for self-care.
Since our diet makes one of the biggest impacts on our immune systems and overall wellness, I’m a big believer in “food as medicine.” My grandmother used to brew all of these herbal tonics for me while I was growing up—if you never smelled or tasted Eastern herbal medicine, you missed out on a character-building experience—and it inspired me to create Wildwonder because they were good for me, but they didn’t taste great. I don’t believe you need to sacrifice taste for health, so I’m always trying to find new ways to incorporate ancient herbal wisdom into modern recipes.
With flu season coming up, it’s more important than ever to eat nutritious and beneficial foods. Turmeric and ginger are definitely staples for me. They’re some of the most nutrient-rich plants on the planet, plus they have potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. I find ways to incorporate them into my diet every single day, and luckily, I think they’re delicious!
Q: What’s one tip you would give to a reader looking to support their immunity or gut health?
A: Take care of your gut! Over 70 percent of our immune system is in our gut, and more research is proving that our gut makeup is intimately linked to our neuro-pathways. It’s often referred to as our “second brain” because our gut microbiome affects all aspects of our health, starting with our immunity and extending to our mood, weight, and brain function. The most important thing you can do to support your gut health is to eat a diverse diet that includes fiber-rich foods (prebiotic) and good gut bacteria (probiotics). Prebiotics are essentially food for our gut bacteria, so it’s important to consume both pre- and probiotics for the most benefits. Whole grains, green vegetables, alliums, and fermented foods such as yogurt and kimchi are a great place to start. Oh, and make sure you incorporate some Wildwonder!
Wildwonder is a beverage company with a full line of drinks formulated to support your gut microbiome. The company is on a mission to create wonders in everyday life and is committed to donating 5 percent of its profits to causes that empower women and marginalized communities.
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