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Become The Person Who Once Inspired You

Mira Manek

Chai By Mira

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Become The Person Who Once Inspired You

Mira Manek

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Chai By Mira

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Mira Manek Chai By Mira
Full transcript here

About Mira Manek

The BAE HQ welcomes Mira Manek, founder of Chai By Mira, author and wellness expert.

Mira has had a varied career and followed what she loves. Initially, she was a travel writer before publishing her own cookbook. Her second book was all about her own story and passion for wellness.

Along the way she started a cafe and her own chai brand! She also has built up a large and loyal social media following.

If you want to follow your passions then this is one you'll want to listen to.

Mira Manek

Chai By Mira

Saffron Soul

Prajna

Show Notes

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Mira Manek Full Transcript

Mira Manek: [00:00:00] Having been through a very lonely period of my life living abroad, I did what made me happy every single day. It's rituals that can help you have a better day, have a better life, a better week, as well as rituals that can lift you out of a very dark time. If you stick to those things, when it comes to the harder times in life, it's those things that will allow you to ride that wave.

A little bit more smoothly and come out the other side, you know, the emails I've got from this, the people that reached out to me on DMS or whatever it is. It's just amazing to see the impact that the book has on people, which I haven't announced yet.

Amardeep Parmar: Welcome to the BAE HQ podcast. where we inspire, connect, and guide the next generation of British Asian entrepreneurs. Today we have with us Mira Manek, who's the founder of Chai by Mira, an author, and a wellness expert. How are you doing today, Mira? 

Mira Manek: Really  good. Thank you for having me. 

Amardeep Parmar: You do so many different things and you've had quite a varied career.When you were growing [00:01:00] up, what did you want to be? What did you think you were going to end up as?

Mira Manek: I think I always said artist and then writer at some point. And so I manifested one of them, the writer part. I do love art. Um, and I guess in many ways. The creative arts is what I'm in. 

Amardeep Parmar: Did you ever like get encouraged to do that when you were young or what was that kind of environment like?Were you pushed towards doing something more formal, professional? Like how did that?

Mira Manek: I was really into anything artsy. So I was, I played the sitar for many years. I could have pursued that if I wanted to. I had quite an alternative dad who was okay with me doing different things and exposed me to a lot more than I guess the average Indian parent does.

Mira Manek:So I did sitar. I played sitar. I also dabbled in some Indian dance. I did Gathak sometimes on and off, and I also loved writing and I also loved art. So I did all those things and I was quite good or generally okay in every subject. [00:02:00] I wasn't sure what to do. I did end up doing economics, politics and international studies at university when I should have maybe done English.

Mira Manek:And then after that, I did a postgraduate in journalism at London School of Journalism, after which I then became a travel journalist and writer. And the writing part manifested much later because I wrote two novels. I never published them. Then I did my cookbook and then the book on IY radar. And then I've just written my third, which will be coming out next year, which I haven't announced yet.

Mira Manek:And yeah, I do, I just love writing. Writing is how I connect with my own self. I guess. It's a way to heal, I guess. It's a way to express and untangle all the thoughts in my mind.

Amardeep Parmar: With the stuff you did with, um, your latest book, right? Can you tell the audience who maybe haven't read it yet? What is that about?

Mira Manek: The one that I have here. Okay. So Prajna, which is the title Pragya, um, Ayurvedic rituals for happiness. It really delves into my own story, first of all. And secondly, it's rituals that can help you have a better day, have better life, a better week. As [00:03:00] well as rituals that can lift you out of a very dark time.

Mira Manek:So the book came about because I guess having been through a really long divorce and a very lonely period of my life, living abroad, I didn't call these things rituals, but I did what what made me happy every single day. And then I packaged it, packaged it in a book, calling it rituals or practices or whatever you want to call it, things you do every day.

Mira Manek:But if you stick to certain things, On a daily basis, they don't have to be the same all the time and they don't have to be daily. They can be weekly, but if you stick to those things, when it comes to the harder times in life, it's those things that will allow you to ride that wave a little bit more smoothly and come out the other side a little better.

Amardeep Parmar: You  mentioned there about being lonely when you're abroad as well. Can you explain a bit more about that because I think a lot of people sometimes feel lonely, but they don't have, they wouldn't want to say that out loud. So they feel it inside their selves, but they're not sure how to deal with it. And you said you had the [00:04:00] rituals that helped you through that, but can you explain a bit of the logic of if you were feeling lonely abroad, what kept you abroad?

Mira Manek: I was married abroad. I was living between Dubai, Uganda, traveling a lot. I was in India a lot. I was also working as a travel journalist, so it worked out for me quite fine. I did enjoy the time. I also then worked as a editor of the first ever yoga magazine in the Middle East. I enjoyed all of it, but being lonely, I guess I didn't really have any friends abroad.

Mira Manek:I was, my one foot was here. One foot was there, where I was literally all over the place. I didn't even know where I was going to be, let alone somebody else. I didn't have friends in these places really. And I was, and family a little bit here and there, like, I didn't really have anyone to turn to generally.

Mira Manek:And when it came to the harder, and also, sorry, I forgot to mention, I didn't really live with my husband a lot. So we were like, all the way apart, and initially it was all fine for me, I didn't really mind it, and then it got to a stage where I think I crumbled because it was just hard to cope with, I didn't know what was happening in my [00:05:00] life, ever.

Amardeep Parmar: And now you're like fully based in the UK most of the time. 

Mira Manek: Yeah, as of 10 years ago, well 9 years ago. 

Amardeep Parmar: And what'sbehind that decision of, obviously you said you enjoy the travel and you enjoy going to all the different places. 

Mira Manek: I still love travelling, I travel a lot, um, but my base has always been London.

Mira Manek: I was born here, brought up here. My entire family and the extended family are all here. I love going to India. I can't do one year without India and I have to go, but I don't have enough. I don't necessarily need to live abroad. I just like going to these places. With a sense of knowing what I'm doing.

Mira Manek: Like I know India very well now, like different parts, obviously, I don't know the whole of India very well, but I know what I want to do. And I know when I go to, I don't go to Dubai very often, but I know if I land Dubai, I know where to go and what to do. If I land in New York, I know what, you know, I like the idea of going somewhere and being able to carry on my life and meet people that I know and go for yoga class and go for this class.

Mira Manek: And I love combining classes and things, wellness trips into my. holiday. So I'm [00:06:00] about to go to a retreat on Sunday, um, which I've been invited to in Italy, which looks fantastic. So I'm going to be there for four days. Um, so I do do that, that sort of thing as well. 

Amardeep Parmar: Yeah. I think  it's interesting cause. So with what I do as well, technically I could work from wherever I wanted in the world and people often ask me like, why don't you be a nomad?

A mardeep Parmar: Why don't you just work from wherever? But it's like I said, it's kind of nice to have a base too. 

Mira Manek:Oh, I love that. Yeah. 

Amardeep Parmar:  Cause everybody I know is here and yes, I've got friends in other parts of the world, but they're still home to me here. And I think it really depends on what phase you are in life, right?

Amardeep Parmar: Like when you were younger before and you did like living abroad, whereas now I kind of like the idea of like, I can stay here most of the time and I do trips every now and again. But sometimes I think the idea of like always traveling can be glorified because it is nice to have that base and it really depends on your personality.

Mira Manek:  It's nice to have your feet on the ground. And I think I didn't have them on the ground for a very long time. Um, and while I have a very peripatetic, is that the right word? Spirit. I do feel that I really, really need a base and this is my base, you [00:07:00] know, my, my parents, my grandparents, my uncles, my aunts, everyone is here, my sister, my brother.

Mira Manek: So I do need this space and I do love it. And I don't travel. I know I do travel, but I don't travel extensively anymore. My work doesn't really allow me to do that. And I don't really want to, I can just go for like two, three weeks, if that, otherwise a week here and there. 

Amardeep Parmar: I think for me, Waban is before the pandemic. When I was doing my old job, I used to go to maybe 10 countries a year. So I, I started racking up the numbers and I was like scratching my map off. But since I've worked for myself, I do go sometimes, but I didn't feel as much of a need to. And I think that's kind of transitioned for me in some ways 'cause I'm really enjoying what I'm doing.

Amardeep Parmar: And I feel like you've reinvented yourself a few times. Like in your journey from, and I you're expert, different topics as well. How did that go for you? Because I know sometimes people can feel trapped in, they get good at one thing and they don't want to explore other areas. Where she's consistent, like she picked new areas to explore where it's the yoga or the travel or the Ayurveda.

Mira Manek: I would say that it's really good to have a niche. It's good to have something that you're like focused on because you can excel in that. [00:08:00] I've just not been one of those people. I kind of wish I had that in me because maybe I would have expelled, excelled in one thing, but. I equally love the variety of things that I do.

Mira Manek:And the fact that no one day looks exactly the same. Um, writing I absolutely love, but that doesn't mean I'm going to do book after book after book. Like there's been a while since I've done Prajna. Um, and I've just written my third. So that there's, you know, a number of years between that, maybe about two to three years.

Mira Manek: And that, that in that time I built my business. I took the business online. I had a cafe before that. So the brand Chai by Mira is now online and where I work with lots of cafes, but it once existed and it started off as my own cafe. So I've learned a lot along the way, but it's all sort of happened to me in the sense that opportunities have come and I've done them as to what I really want to do with all this.

Mira Manek:I think I just need to grow it all now. And I don't want to stop the variety. I do still love writing and I want to write a book and, you know, books don't have money, but, but they establish you [00:09:00] in the field as an expert in something. Right. And I do love books. So I want to give back through books and this they're here to stay.

Mira Manek:In the future, there will be that book, but the magazines and all that will go. So I do like the fact that there is something there after I've gone.

Amardeep Parmar: Yeah. And I think a lot of people tend to make the mistake where they think books make a ton of money, especially people aren't in the industry. Right.Whereas I've done a few things in the ghost side, which you can't necessarily talk about, but you see like what actually happens behind the scenes. And like I said, the big thing about it is that permanence, because when I write a book, it'll be because I really want to put down my thoughts at that time.

Amardeep Parmar:And like that permanence that you can then let something into your soul, right? People are reading your book, they're going to understand so much about you. And it's also going to be cathartic for you when you write them, right? And you mentioned there about the cafe and then transitioning to Chai by Mira being online.

Amardeep Parmar: Can you talk us through that journey? Like why did it start as a physical cafe and then why are you now mainly focusing online? 

Mira Manek: So the space in Tri Yoga [00:10:00] Soho, I just used to go to Tri Yoga a lot. That was The time when I went to a lot of yoga classes and it just became available that cafe space and they offered it to me very, very overnight almost.

Mira Manek: And I made the decision sort of overnight and within two months, they gave me two months to open the cafe and I, I sort of launched it within, within two, three months without any idea of what the name would be or anything. In fact, initially it was going to be called Bimira. And then we just stuck the chai on as it were, and then it became a chai place.

Mira Manek:  So that had lots of different, you know, chai latte, then dirty chai, and then matcha chai and rose chai and this chai and that turmeric chai, all these different blends. And then we had kitchery and it was sort of an Ayurvedic cafe within the yoga studio, but also a standalone cafe. COVID shut it down. I could have then reopened it, but during COVID I took the business online because I had a lot of people messaging about

Mira Manek:  where to buy the chai spice mix. And then I realized that there's potential in this. And I created these blends, which in the cafe, we just blended them together. [00:11:00] But then I went about creating all these different brands, like chocolate chai and all these ones, and did the packaging and then just sold them online.

Mira Manek: And decided never to reopen the cafe. I mean, who knows in the future, it could potentially be something that will reopen. But for now, yeah, I don't want a cafe. I mean, it was amazing in terms of what I learned in terms of running a business and having a physical space, you know, the regulations, everything you have to go through, you know, Westminster city council getting signed, everything, but.

It's a lot, a lot of hassle. So going back to that, I'm not sure that I want to take the time that I have right now away from me. So 

Amardeep Parmar: me and my dad used to joke about this, we wanted to start a cafe and my mum was like really against it. And it's like you said, because there is so many things that people don't see like all behind the scenes of all the regulations and all of stuff, if you were to open a cafe again today, what would you do differently from what you did last time? 

Mira Manek: I guess it's just writing a business plan making sure that you're going to make the right amount of money from it. For me, it was quite easy at the time because [00:12:00] I, soho rents must be crazy.

Mira Manek:I mean they are crazy. Central London rents, but I wasn't paying rent. I was within a yoga studio and I was paying sort of a percentage to them. So it all depended, it worked out as rent in the end, but I didn't have those overheads that are normal. And also starting up, I didn't invest much into it. So in terms of what I do different, I don't think I would do anything different in hindsight in that cafe, because I actually didn't spend anything on it and I didn't have money to spend on it.

Mira Manek: If I was to launch a cafe now, I would need to make sure that it makes, , you know, a good amount of money within X number of months and obviously put money in because you have to, when you're launching a cafe, if it's not the kind of space that I was in, uh, so that's how I would do things differently, make a proper business plan, making sure it makes financial sense, but going back to the book, you were asking, you were saying that it's a cathartic process and it's, it's a really amazing thing to write a book, even though there's no money involved, people don't realize that it's very true that people don't realize that.

Mira Manek: And I think I even thought that, you know, it's a really successful thing to do, but I think it once was. [00:13:00] I think people used to get, you know, much better, better deals back in the day. Um, someone was telling me yesterday she used to get, and she's an authority in her field and she's done eight books.

Mira Manek:You know, she got for her first book deal, um, 80, 000 and now she's being offered five. That's not reflective of what she's done is reflective of what's happened to the industry. And that's the advance that you get. It's not like you only earn that much money, but the thing about books are that you know, the emails that I've got from this, the people that reached out to me on DMs or whatever it is, it's just amazing to see the impact that the book has on people.

Mira Manek: Recipes, of course, I, my first book was a cookbook and hopefully that will still, it still keeps on living on. People still make the recipes from that book and that's wonderful. But a book like this, which is, I guess, more in the field of self help, what else, Ayurveda, wellness, can help people. And continue to help people and it's really nice to see the impact that it has.

Amardeep Parmar: So in the online  space, right, people often go for the short form content because it's easier in a way, right? It's easy to make a [00:14:00] 15 second TikTok. It's easy to write tweet. But the difference is that sometimes get you attention. But if you really want to build trust, that's where a book comes in. Even a podcast, for example, people are willing to listen to us talk for half an hour.

Amardeep Parmar: They're going to get to know us better. They're going to hopefully like us a bit more. Hopefully. And then from there, it really builds that close relationship. And those are the people who are going to contact you. And you're going to be able to make a bigger difference in their lives because they trust you more.

Amardeep Parmar: And that's when I think that people are transitioning. A lot of people start maybe with a short form content, which is like an easy way to get in. But if you only build that trust to make an impact, that's where something like a book comes into play because I don't think many people have said, Oh, this tweet changed my life or this TikTok changed my life.

Amardeep Parmar: Whereas your book might've changed their life. And that's where the focus of it should be in some ways, like you said, you can make decent money from it. You can use it to get other opportunities in your business, but it's that impact you can make on people, which is so much deeper for a book. 

Mira Manek: Yeah. I mean, when I was, uh, living in Dubai and even before that, I used to go to these literary festivals and I used to be so wowed by authors.

Mira Manek:  I just was. [00:15:00] was in awe of authors. And that was in the day and age where you couldn't necessarily reach out to them on Instagram or tag them on something. I mean, those are not the days of Instagram. I think those are the days of Twitter. But regardless, you couldn't just reach out to them. So it was almost like, Oh, I met this person.

Mira Manek: And you'd go and take a photo with them. You wouldn't be posting it, but you just take a photo of them like, Oh my God, this person's amazing. And I just used to go and listen to these people, these authors speak and be surrounded sort of by them. When I, that was the time when I was also had written two novels, which I hadn't published.

Mira Manek: I always had this dream of publishing books. And then when I published, obviously the world's become smaller, Instagram started, and it's much more accessible for people to reach me or me to reach other people. And it sort of brings the level a bit. closer or down a notch. Like I used to look up to these people and I still do, but it's like, I'm on par with them.

Mira Manek: Not just because I'm an author, but because everything's reachable on Instagram now. Um, but it is sort of achieving a dream because I always used to look at writers and authors and think, Oh my God, I just, I'm in awe of them and I want to become one. 

Amardeep Parmar: So [00:16:00] you've  mentioned your two unpublished novels a few times now. So people might be thinking this, I'm going to ask it. Are they ever going to be released? 

Mira Manek: Well, I haven't worked on them in the last five or seven years. I will at some point, I do want to go back into creative writing and story writing. And I think in my third book, I have actually done a lot of that travel story writing as well, which is really nice.

Mira Manek: And I've loved doing it. I probably will go back to it. I just don't know which novel or whether there's another whole new novel that will be coming out, whether it's those stories or not. I don't know. There's definitely something in that because I think with all the experiences I've had, I do want to write something.

Amardeep Parmar: Yeah. Cause I think fiction and nonfiction book writing is very different to each other. The way even getting a proposal, getting a book deal for a fiction person versus a nonfiction is totally different because nonfiction is so much based in your credibility and your authority and who you're gonna sell it to. How many followers do you have? Whereas the fiction side is a bit more based on what's your story?How interesting is it? 

Mira Manek: Uh, um, Can you create the [00:17:00] story with your writing? 

Amardeep Parmar: Yeah. And with the book, so how much, like, if we look at your years so far, how much of your time do you think has been spent on the different projects? Where did your time go?

Mira Manek:That's a really interesting question. I would say Chai by Mira

Mira Manek:probably takes up about 25 percent of my time. My book, because I've only just been writing it this year. So I guess the whole summer has gone in that. Since July, I've been writing it. So maybe about just since July, probably about 50 percent of my time and otherwise. I also consult. So I also, I'm a health coach and I'm going to bring that whole thing online soon because right now I've just been doing it word of mouth, people I know, and that takes up about 10%, but hopefully that will be more soon because I've been, I'm going to be working from a space and my own wellness.

Mira Manek:I just think I focus on my own health and wellness a lot. And I go to go to a few conferences here and there, and I do want to expand my own knowledge about health and wellness but f you're in the wellness world, it's because you love [00:18:00] it and you focus on it yourself. So going to the gym and all of that for me has been almost a project because I'm, feel like I'm getting better and better every day in terms of my own health.

Amardeep Parmar: I think that bit's so important because especially if you're advising other people, it's kind of living what you preach as well, right? If you're telling other people to look after themselves. You've got to look after yourself as well. And it's quite hard sometimes to be very ambitious and you've got all these different plans to actually make time to take care of yourself.

Mira Manek: I  completely forgot one thing, which is a massive, massive project, whatever Instagram, Instagram collaborations, working with brands. All of that takes a bit of time as well. 

Amardeep Parmar: So you said the opportunity has obviously come to you. So is it no standard week or is it, do you try to put things into certain days? Or how do you block things?

Mira Manek: Yeah, no, I do have certain mornings I focus on sort of reaching out to cafes and restaurants so that we can get the try into different. Cafes and restaurants. So it's just cold calling, emailing. So I spend a certain chunk of time Mira Manek: doing that. The book writing has been very consolidated within a couple of months because that's when it happened.

Mira Manek: So no, I don't have a set time. However, I do focus [00:19:00] on Chai by Mira and certain days. 

Amardeep Parmar: So with Chai by Mira, how did that all come about? Like you obviously, you're doing the cafe. But then now thinking as a separate brand and online, what's behind that? 

Mira Manek: So the  blend itself, the original tri spice blend that we still use to this day, came about way before the cafe, because I was selling energy balls and this cocoa fudge that I used to make to various cafes, who then

Mira Manek: we're interested in a tri spice mix, but at the time it was just a masala mix without the sugar. When I went for one of the meetings with one of the cafes, the lady said, well, can you mix the sugar into this so that we can just use it ready made? And that's when the idea came about. And when I was mixing the sugar, we use coconut sugar into it.

Mira Manek:It changed the blend completely. You couldn't keep the same blend. So my, it took a lot of trials with me, my mother, my grandmother to actually come up with the final blend, like a bit of black pepper here and there, you know, minus a bit of white pepper, minus some nutmeg, add some cardamom. You know, we added in and [00:20:00] changed a lot when we put the sugar into it, such that we came up with a blend.

Mira Manek: The various other blends in the cafe just came about because I was like, Oh, we should have a chocolate chai. Let's add cocoa into it. We should have this chai, rose chai, let's get the rose syrup. So that's how those blends came about. And during lockdown, I just started creating those, but rather than mixing them and saying, it's a teaspoon here and there, I came up with the actual formulas.

Amardeep Parmar: Yeah. And then in terms of. The idea now, ‘cause obviously you're single online, but you're also trying to get into cafes at the same time. And what's the kind of long term vision for like where you want to get Chai by Mira to? 

Mira Manek: The long term vision would be to create a brand that is being used by various cafes, restaurants, hotels worldwide.

Amardeep Parmar: So at the moment, it's a UK based, so you want to expand globally. Just looking at all these different things you're doing, right? You said focusing on wellness, you're focusing on the chai and Instagram and the book writing. What do you think you enjoy the most or is it all of them? Do you have one which like, that's what you look forward to?

Mira Manek: I do love the filming that I do. I work with [00:21:00] brands and I do it on my own Instagram. I do love the filming element. I do also really like helping people and really making, seeing the result. So I want to continue with that. I do really enjoy that because it, it's sort of direct impact then. And I love writing.

Mira Manek:I don't think I love. Any one of those, any more than the other, I love all of those equally. So I'm not sure that I, and I do love creating recipes. I just love the variety of things that I do. So even though I say that it's nice to find a niche and it's great to find a niche because you can focus on that, I would say my whole niche is basically food and wellness.And within that, I dabble in everything, food, wellness, and writing. 

Amardeep Parmar: I think it's two different types of people, right? Sometimes people really love to have a niche and they're very focused people and they like to keep doing the same thing over and over again. Whereas there's other people like you who do different things that are related to each other and each one makes the other thing better.Is there anything that you haven't tried yet that you do want to try in the future?

Mira Manek: I think I'd like to write that novel one day based on some truths. I [00:22:00] do love creating writing, and I think I wanna go into a hole and write that. No, I don't think there's anything else. I mean, I would like to continue in health and wellness and inspire and help more people through everything that I do.

Amardeep Parmar: And obviously one of the backbones of this is how bigger following you've created on Instagram and other platforms. How do you think you're able to build that platform? Like, how do you think you resonate with people? What do you think is about how you do things that attracts people? 

Mira Manek: I think authenticity is important, putting out things that are real.

They don't have to be, Oh, this is my life today. And this is my life tomorrow. ‘Cause I don't really share much about what's actually going on in my life, but authenticity in terms of what you put out, there's what you do. So the things like recipes that I put out there are things that I eat. And also for me, it's like, if I am going to put something complicated out there, am I going to be really making that complicated thing

Mira Manek: myself, not really. So I like putting very simple things that maybe people do already do or they've not thought of. Just because I think simple wins for me, it's thi, things that don't take [00:23:00] time and yet are very healthy. Little tips that I can share that can help people, like putting seeds in hot water and drinking them, or the stretches or things that you can do every single day.

Mira Manek:And it's just a quick reminder for people to go back to their meditative space and take a moment to have a cup of chai or whatever it is. So I think authenticity is key as in keeping it real and do you practice what you preach that probably compel or draws people and yeah, putting the real version of yourself onto camera 

Amardeep Parmar: And is there a tip like you've shared recently that you think would really benefit the people listening now?

Mira Manek:So there are many tips, but in my book, one of the things I've spoken about is. Having gaps between meals. And that's what Ayurveda says, so not over snacking. And I think that's something that I got wrong for so many years of my life. And I literally created a lot of digestion issues. I already had, um, IBS and it just exacerbated that issue by having too many snacks in the day.

Mira Manek: And I think I went with that whole, um, I was [00:24:00] consumed by the whole eat little, but often, which we, when we were growing up, that was what Magazines and people were telling us, you know, have snacks during the day, don't have proper meals and have low fat things. And that's basically what I went on. I did lots of diets and I really screwed my stomach up a little bit.

 Mira Manek:So that's one thing that I wish I had not done. I wish I had actually stuck to meal times and not kidded myself. Because I think when you snack, you don't even know what you're eating half the time. And secondly, not having gaps between meals. means your digestive fire, which is what in Ayurveda is called the Agni, doesn't have time to resuscitate itself or, or ignite itself again.

Mira Manek: So by giving yourself a break, you're giving your digestive system a break and you're allowing for that digestive fire to ignite again and be ready for that next meal. And the other thing I would say is before a meal time, try and sit down and just have a pause, because sometimes we don't realize we're in a stress state.

Mira Manek:It doesn't mean you're stressed about [00:25:00] something's going on in your life. You may just be stressed because you've been running around a lot, but if you just pause before your meal and take a few deep breaths, then you arrive in the present moment and you're able to digest your food more better. Because if you're still in the stress state, i.

Mira Manek: e. what we call in health as the sympathetic nervous system, then you have other hormones at play. And your body is working on other things rather than the digestion of the food. Whereas if you actually just come to the table, breathe, take a few deep breaths, arrive into the present moment, and maybe you have to say that grace, maybe that's why, you know, so many cultures have this moment of grace because you thank the Lord or thank the divine that you have this food.

Mira Manek: Say a quick prayer of gratitude, but you also give yourself that pause to arrive into the present moment. And then if you eat, then you'll digest your food better. 

Amardeep Parmar: So I feel guilty right now because on the way here, I grabbed a chocolate bar.

Mira Manek: I do that all the time. I snack. Look, I snack a lot, but I just [00:26:00] minimize my snacking a bit more now. I'm a lot more conscious of it. So maybe just conscious snacking. 

Amardeep Parmar: Yeah,  I definitely don't do that every day.

Mira Manek: I do that every day. I do snack. No, I definitely snack and I do need snacks sometimes. And sometimes I will skip a meal and like, I sometimes don't have breakfast, but that's okay. You also have to go with what your body needs.

Mira Manek:If you're feeling a bit full in the morning and you're feeling like you want food, then don't eat the food. That's okay. And you can have a little bit of snack. What I'm talking about is having a big meal and then having three

Mira Manek: snacks in between, just because I don't know, a little bit of yogurt, then a little bit of this, a few nuts, and then a little chocolate.

Mira Manek:And I do that. And I think that's where. I, why I'm saying it because I've done that so much in my life and realize that actually what you're doing in that moment is not giving your system a break, but also you're spiking your sugar level every two minutes, which is terrible because the energy then goes down.

Mira Manek:The minute that sugar level goes down, drops your energy will drop. You'll feel deflated. 

Amardeep Parmar: And I think  it's really important when you said that as well, because It's a struggle that you have still, right? And it's something which you said is being more conscious about it, where you're not trying to be perfect.

Amardeep Parmar:[00:27:00] And if you try to be perfect, then as soon as you do something once wrong, then, okay, what's the point anymore, right? But if you can be conscious about it and still try and do your best all the time, that's where things can really come into play. 

Mira Manek: Absolutely. And I, I think when you start off with food issues, I think my whole career and food and wellness all began really with my own developing a very bad relationship with food over my sort of, since I was 18, since I started putting on a lot of weight, 16, 18, and that continued, continued, continued.

Mira Manek: And yes, I've healed a lot of that and I've gone back to normality as it were. However, it only takes a little trigger to go back to it. It only takes a little, you know, rough patch in life to go back a little bit. I've never gone back to it, but you do still have days where you're like, Oh my God, I feeling a bit bloated and fat and I need to not eat today.

Mira Manek: And I, I don't not eat. I really can't not eat because I genuinely love food, but it's that whole thing of my mind is focused on [00:28:00] the next thing I'm eating or am I going to the gym enough? And that sort of mindset can be triggered very easily. So it's about being aware and conscious and knowing what you need to do.

Mira Manek: And that's where rituals come in, the breath work, because that centers you, that grounds you, the waking up and smiling, just a quick smile, smile. of gratitude and saying a few things you're grateful for and just thanking Mira Manek: the Lord, thanking the divine, thanking whatever the universe for what you do have.

Mira Manek:And those little rituals can serve as reminders to what is important and to not going backwards.

Amardeep Parmar: So I love the thing you said there but we’re going to move on to quick fire rounds. 

Mira Manek: Okay.

Amardeep Parmar: Okay. So the first one is, who are three people you'd like to shout out and show your appreciation for?

Mira Manek: So one is my sister, Meenal Sachdev, M E E N A L S A C H D E V, um, @ Meenal Sachdev. She's a councilor, a local councilor. She's in politics, but also she works. Her charity works on sex trafficking and modern [00:29:00] slavery. Second one is Planet Parle.

I think he's awesome. I have done a bit of work with him. He is great at Garba. So we've been doing Garba recently at Navratri time. And he's got a new play out and I just love everything he stands for. And is someone I'm actually seeing today. It's her birthday is Sonal Thakrar Yoga. She is a lawyer in the daytime, but she also has trained in yoga.

And so she teaches yoga, but also she, she does sand bowl meditation. So she has her own crystal bowls and she does sessions, sand bowl sessions. 

Amardeep Parmar: Perfect. So make sure you follow them everybody. So next question is, what could people listening right now, who want to get in contact with you, what should they reach out about?How could you potentially help them? 

Mira Manek: So I'm also a, so I'm a health coach and I'm about to take that whole thing online. Right now it's all word of mouth, um, and I'll be working from a practice in London, um, to help people achieve their own health goals in variety of different ways using E F T, which I've trained in [00:30:00] breathwork and um, nutrition.

Mira Manek: Also, my books will help them. My first book is a Cookbook, Saffron Soul. My second book is a book on Ayurveda and rituals called Pranja. 

Amardeep Parmar: And then on the flip side, what's you need help for right now? What could somebody reach out to you about where they could potentially help you achieve your goals? 

Mira Manek: Admin website, uh, potentially starting a podcast.

Mira Manek:  I'd love to start a podcast. I have no idea how to go about it. It's helping me take my whole business to the next level. 

Amardeep Parmar: Perfect. So it's been so nice to chat to you today. Have you got any final words to the audience?

Mira Manek: It's been great chatting to you today, Amar, and thank you for inviting me. I loved our conversation.

Amardeep Parmar: Thank you for listening to the BAE of HQ podcast today. In our mission to inspire, connect and guide the next generation of British Asian entrepreneurs, it would mean so much to us if you could subscribe to our channel, leave a review and share this with your friends.

Mira Manek: [00:00:00] Having been through a very lonely period of my life living abroad, I did what made me happy every single day. It's rituals that can help you have a better day, have a better life, a better week, as well as rituals that can lift you out of a very dark time. If you stick to those things, when it comes to the harder times in life, it's those things that will allow you to ride that wave.

A little bit more smoothly and come out the other side, you know, the emails I've got from this, the people that reached out to me on DMS or whatever it is. It's just amazing to see the impact that the book has on people, which I haven't announced yet.

Amardeep Parmar: Welcome to the BAE HQ podcast. where we inspire, connect, and guide the next generation of British Asian entrepreneurs. Today we have with us Mira Manek, who's the founder of Chai by Mira, an author, and a wellness expert. How are you doing today, Mira? 

Mira Manek: Really  good. Thank you for having me. 

Amardeep Parmar: You do so many different things and you've had quite a varied career.When you were growing [00:01:00] up, what did you want to be? What did you think you were going to end up as?

Mira Manek: I think I always said artist and then writer at some point. And so I manifested one of them, the writer part. I do love art. Um, and I guess in many ways. The creative arts is what I'm in. 

Amardeep Parmar: Did you ever like get encouraged to do that when you were young or what was that kind of environment like?Were you pushed towards doing something more formal, professional? Like how did that?

Mira Manek: I was really into anything artsy. So I was, I played the sitar for many years. I could have pursued that if I wanted to. I had quite an alternative dad who was okay with me doing different things and exposed me to a lot more than I guess the average Indian parent does.

Mira Manek:So I did sitar. I played sitar. I also dabbled in some Indian dance. I did Gathak sometimes on and off, and I also loved writing and I also loved art. So I did all those things and I was quite good or generally okay in every subject. [00:02:00] I wasn't sure what to do. I did end up doing economics, politics and international studies at university when I should have maybe done English.

Mira Manek:And then after that, I did a postgraduate in journalism at London School of Journalism, after which I then became a travel journalist and writer. And the writing part manifested much later because I wrote two novels. I never published them. Then I did my cookbook and then the book on IY radar. And then I've just written my third, which will be coming out next year, which I haven't announced yet.

Mira Manek:And yeah, I do, I just love writing. Writing is how I connect with my own self. I guess. It's a way to heal, I guess. It's a way to express and untangle all the thoughts in my mind.

Amardeep Parmar: With the stuff you did with, um, your latest book, right? Can you tell the audience who maybe haven't read it yet? What is that about?

Mira Manek: The one that I have here. Okay. So Prajna, which is the title Pragya, um, Ayurvedic rituals for happiness. It really delves into my own story, first of all. And secondly, it's rituals that can help you have a better day, have better life, a better week. As [00:03:00] well as rituals that can lift you out of a very dark time.

Mira Manek:So the book came about because I guess having been through a really long divorce and a very lonely period of my life, living abroad, I didn't call these things rituals, but I did what what made me happy every single day. And then I packaged it, packaged it in a book, calling it rituals or practices or whatever you want to call it, things you do every day.

Mira Manek:But if you stick to certain things, On a daily basis, they don't have to be the same all the time and they don't have to be daily. They can be weekly, but if you stick to those things, when it comes to the harder times in life, it's those things that will allow you to ride that wave a little bit more smoothly and come out the other side a little better.

Amardeep Parmar: You  mentioned there about being lonely when you're abroad as well. Can you explain a bit more about that because I think a lot of people sometimes feel lonely, but they don't have, they wouldn't want to say that out loud. So they feel it inside their selves, but they're not sure how to deal with it. And you said you had the [00:04:00] rituals that helped you through that, but can you explain a bit of the logic of if you were feeling lonely abroad, what kept you abroad?

Mira Manek: I was married abroad. I was living between Dubai, Uganda, traveling a lot. I was in India a lot. I was also working as a travel journalist, so it worked out for me quite fine. I did enjoy the time. I also then worked as a editor of the first ever yoga magazine in the Middle East. I enjoyed all of it, but being lonely, I guess I didn't really have any friends abroad.

Mira Manek:I was, my one foot was here. One foot was there, where I was literally all over the place. I didn't even know where I was going to be, let alone somebody else. I didn't have friends in these places really. And I was, and family a little bit here and there, like, I didn't really have anyone to turn to generally.

Mira Manek:And when it came to the harder, and also, sorry, I forgot to mention, I didn't really live with my husband a lot. So we were like, all the way apart, and initially it was all fine for me, I didn't really mind it, and then it got to a stage where I think I crumbled because it was just hard to cope with, I didn't know what was happening in my [00:05:00] life, ever.

Amardeep Parmar: And now you're like fully based in the UK most of the time. 

Mira Manek: Yeah, as of 10 years ago, well 9 years ago. 

Amardeep Parmar: And what'sbehind that decision of, obviously you said you enjoy the travel and you enjoy going to all the different places. 

Mira Manek: I still love travelling, I travel a lot, um, but my base has always been London.

Mira Manek: I was born here, brought up here. My entire family and the extended family are all here. I love going to India. I can't do one year without India and I have to go, but I don't have enough. I don't necessarily need to live abroad. I just like going to these places. With a sense of knowing what I'm doing.

Mira Manek: Like I know India very well now, like different parts, obviously, I don't know the whole of India very well, but I know what I want to do. And I know when I go to, I don't go to Dubai very often, but I know if I land Dubai, I know where to go and what to do. If I land in New York, I know what, you know, I like the idea of going somewhere and being able to carry on my life and meet people that I know and go for yoga class and go for this class.

Mira Manek: And I love combining classes and things, wellness trips into my. holiday. So I'm [00:06:00] about to go to a retreat on Sunday, um, which I've been invited to in Italy, which looks fantastic. So I'm going to be there for four days. Um, so I do do that, that sort of thing as well. 

Amardeep Parmar: Yeah. I think  it's interesting cause. So with what I do as well, technically I could work from wherever I wanted in the world and people often ask me like, why don't you be a nomad?

A mardeep Parmar: Why don't you just work from wherever? But it's like I said, it's kind of nice to have a base too. 

Mira Manek:Oh, I love that. Yeah. 

Amardeep Parmar:  Cause everybody I know is here and yes, I've got friends in other parts of the world, but they're still home to me here. And I think it really depends on what phase you are in life, right?

Amardeep Parmar: Like when you were younger before and you did like living abroad, whereas now I kind of like the idea of like, I can stay here most of the time and I do trips every now and again. But sometimes I think the idea of like always traveling can be glorified because it is nice to have that base and it really depends on your personality.

Mira Manek:  It's nice to have your feet on the ground. And I think I didn't have them on the ground for a very long time. Um, and while I have a very peripatetic, is that the right word? Spirit. I do feel that I really, really need a base and this is my base, you [00:07:00] know, my, my parents, my grandparents, my uncles, my aunts, everyone is here, my sister, my brother.

Mira Manek: So I do need this space and I do love it. And I don't travel. I know I do travel, but I don't travel extensively anymore. My work doesn't really allow me to do that. And I don't really want to, I can just go for like two, three weeks, if that, otherwise a week here and there. 

Amardeep Parmar: I think for me, Waban is before the pandemic. When I was doing my old job, I used to go to maybe 10 countries a year. So I, I started racking up the numbers and I was like scratching my map off. But since I've worked for myself, I do go sometimes, but I didn't feel as much of a need to. And I think that's kind of transitioned for me in some ways 'cause I'm really enjoying what I'm doing.

Amardeep Parmar: And I feel like you've reinvented yourself a few times. Like in your journey from, and I you're expert, different topics as well. How did that go for you? Because I know sometimes people can feel trapped in, they get good at one thing and they don't want to explore other areas. Where she's consistent, like she picked new areas to explore where it's the yoga or the travel or the Ayurveda.

Mira Manek: I would say that it's really good to have a niche. It's good to have something that you're like focused on because you can excel in that. [00:08:00] I've just not been one of those people. I kind of wish I had that in me because maybe I would have expelled, excelled in one thing, but. I equally love the variety of things that I do.

Mira Manek:And the fact that no one day looks exactly the same. Um, writing I absolutely love, but that doesn't mean I'm going to do book after book after book. Like there's been a while since I've done Prajna. Um, and I've just written my third. So that there's, you know, a number of years between that, maybe about two to three years.

Mira Manek: And that, that in that time I built my business. I took the business online. I had a cafe before that. So the brand Chai by Mira is now online and where I work with lots of cafes, but it once existed and it started off as my own cafe. So I've learned a lot along the way, but it's all sort of happened to me in the sense that opportunities have come and I've done them as to what I really want to do with all this.

Mira Manek:I think I just need to grow it all now. And I don't want to stop the variety. I do still love writing and I want to write a book and, you know, books don't have money, but, but they establish you [00:09:00] in the field as an expert in something. Right. And I do love books. So I want to give back through books and this they're here to stay.

Mira Manek:In the future, there will be that book, but the magazines and all that will go. So I do like the fact that there is something there after I've gone.

Amardeep Parmar: Yeah. And I think a lot of people tend to make the mistake where they think books make a ton of money, especially people aren't in the industry. Right.Whereas I've done a few things in the ghost side, which you can't necessarily talk about, but you see like what actually happens behind the scenes. And like I said, the big thing about it is that permanence, because when I write a book, it'll be because I really want to put down my thoughts at that time.

Amardeep Parmar:And like that permanence that you can then let something into your soul, right? People are reading your book, they're going to understand so much about you. And it's also going to be cathartic for you when you write them, right? And you mentioned there about the cafe and then transitioning to Chai by Mira being online.

Amardeep Parmar: Can you talk us through that journey? Like why did it start as a physical cafe and then why are you now mainly focusing online? 

Mira Manek: So the space in Tri Yoga [00:10:00] Soho, I just used to go to Tri Yoga a lot. That was The time when I went to a lot of yoga classes and it just became available that cafe space and they offered it to me very, very overnight almost.

Mira Manek: And I made the decision sort of overnight and within two months, they gave me two months to open the cafe and I, I sort of launched it within, within two, three months without any idea of what the name would be or anything. In fact, initially it was going to be called Bimira. And then we just stuck the chai on as it were, and then it became a chai place.

Mira Manek:  So that had lots of different, you know, chai latte, then dirty chai, and then matcha chai and rose chai and this chai and that turmeric chai, all these different blends. And then we had kitchery and it was sort of an Ayurvedic cafe within the yoga studio, but also a standalone cafe. COVID shut it down. I could have then reopened it, but during COVID I took the business online because I had a lot of people messaging about

Mira Manek:  where to buy the chai spice mix. And then I realized that there's potential in this. And I created these blends, which in the cafe, we just blended them together. [00:11:00] But then I went about creating all these different brands, like chocolate chai and all these ones, and did the packaging and then just sold them online.

Mira Manek: And decided never to reopen the cafe. I mean, who knows in the future, it could potentially be something that will reopen. But for now, yeah, I don't want a cafe. I mean, it was amazing in terms of what I learned in terms of running a business and having a physical space, you know, the regulations, everything you have to go through, you know, Westminster city council getting signed, everything, but.

It's a lot, a lot of hassle. So going back to that, I'm not sure that I want to take the time that I have right now away from me. So 

Amardeep Parmar: me and my dad used to joke about this, we wanted to start a cafe and my mum was like really against it. And it's like you said, because there is so many things that people don't see like all behind the scenes of all the regulations and all of stuff, if you were to open a cafe again today, what would you do differently from what you did last time? 

Mira Manek: I guess it's just writing a business plan making sure that you're going to make the right amount of money from it. For me, it was quite easy at the time because [00:12:00] I, soho rents must be crazy.

Mira Manek:I mean they are crazy. Central London rents, but I wasn't paying rent. I was within a yoga studio and I was paying sort of a percentage to them. So it all depended, it worked out as rent in the end, but I didn't have those overheads that are normal. And also starting up, I didn't invest much into it. So in terms of what I do different, I don't think I would do anything different in hindsight in that cafe, because I actually didn't spend anything on it and I didn't have money to spend on it.

Mira Manek: If I was to launch a cafe now, I would need to make sure that it makes, , you know, a good amount of money within X number of months and obviously put money in because you have to, when you're launching a cafe, if it's not the kind of space that I was in, uh, so that's how I would do things differently, make a proper business plan, making sure it makes financial sense, but going back to the book, you were asking, you were saying that it's a cathartic process and it's, it's a really amazing thing to write a book, even though there's no money involved, people don't realize that it's very true that people don't realize that.

Mira Manek: And I think I even thought that, you know, it's a really successful thing to do, but I think it once was. [00:13:00] I think people used to get, you know, much better, better deals back in the day. Um, someone was telling me yesterday she used to get, and she's an authority in her field and she's done eight books.

Mira Manek:You know, she got for her first book deal, um, 80, 000 and now she's being offered five. That's not reflective of what she's done is reflective of what's happened to the industry. And that's the advance that you get. It's not like you only earn that much money, but the thing about books are that you know, the emails that I've got from this, the people that reached out to me on DMs or whatever it is, it's just amazing to see the impact that the book has on people.

Mira Manek: Recipes, of course, I, my first book was a cookbook and hopefully that will still, it still keeps on living on. People still make the recipes from that book and that's wonderful. But a book like this, which is, I guess, more in the field of self help, what else, Ayurveda, wellness, can help people. And continue to help people and it's really nice to see the impact that it has.

Amardeep Parmar: So in the online  space, right, people often go for the short form content because it's easier in a way, right? It's easy to make a [00:14:00] 15 second TikTok. It's easy to write tweet. But the difference is that sometimes get you attention. But if you really want to build trust, that's where a book comes in. Even a podcast, for example, people are willing to listen to us talk for half an hour.

Amardeep Parmar: They're going to get to know us better. They're going to hopefully like us a bit more. Hopefully. And then from there, it really builds that close relationship. And those are the people who are going to contact you. And you're going to be able to make a bigger difference in their lives because they trust you more.

Amardeep Parmar: And that's when I think that people are transitioning. A lot of people start maybe with a short form content, which is like an easy way to get in. But if you only build that trust to make an impact, that's where something like a book comes into play because I don't think many people have said, Oh, this tweet changed my life or this TikTok changed my life.

Amardeep Parmar: Whereas your book might've changed their life. And that's where the focus of it should be in some ways, like you said, you can make decent money from it. You can use it to get other opportunities in your business, but it's that impact you can make on people, which is so much deeper for a book. 

Mira Manek: Yeah. I mean, when I was, uh, living in Dubai and even before that, I used to go to these literary festivals and I used to be so wowed by authors.

Mira Manek:  I just was. [00:15:00] was in awe of authors. And that was in the day and age where you couldn't necessarily reach out to them on Instagram or tag them on something. I mean, those are not the days of Instagram. I think those are the days of Twitter. But regardless, you couldn't just reach out to them. So it was almost like, Oh, I met this person.

Mira Manek: And you'd go and take a photo with them. You wouldn't be posting it, but you just take a photo of them like, Oh my God, this person's amazing. And I just used to go and listen to these people, these authors speak and be surrounded sort of by them. When I, that was the time when I was also had written two novels, which I hadn't published.

Mira Manek: I always had this dream of publishing books. And then when I published, obviously the world's become smaller, Instagram started, and it's much more accessible for people to reach me or me to reach other people. And it sort of brings the level a bit. closer or down a notch. Like I used to look up to these people and I still do, but it's like, I'm on par with them.

Mira Manek: Not just because I'm an author, but because everything's reachable on Instagram now. Um, but it is sort of achieving a dream because I always used to look at writers and authors and think, Oh my God, I just, I'm in awe of them and I want to become one. 

Amardeep Parmar: So [00:16:00] you've  mentioned your two unpublished novels a few times now. So people might be thinking this, I'm going to ask it. Are they ever going to be released? 

Mira Manek: Well, I haven't worked on them in the last five or seven years. I will at some point, I do want to go back into creative writing and story writing. And I think in my third book, I have actually done a lot of that travel story writing as well, which is really nice.

Mira Manek: And I've loved doing it. I probably will go back to it. I just don't know which novel or whether there's another whole new novel that will be coming out, whether it's those stories or not. I don't know. There's definitely something in that because I think with all the experiences I've had, I do want to write something.

Amardeep Parmar: Yeah. Cause I think fiction and nonfiction book writing is very different to each other. The way even getting a proposal, getting a book deal for a fiction person versus a nonfiction is totally different because nonfiction is so much based in your credibility and your authority and who you're gonna sell it to. How many followers do you have? Whereas the fiction side is a bit more based on what's your story?How interesting is it? 

Mira Manek: Uh, um, Can you create the [00:17:00] story with your writing? 

Amardeep Parmar: Yeah. And with the book, so how much, like, if we look at your years so far, how much of your time do you think has been spent on the different projects? Where did your time go?

Mira Manek:That's a really interesting question. I would say Chai by Mira

Mira Manek:probably takes up about 25 percent of my time. My book, because I've only just been writing it this year. So I guess the whole summer has gone in that. Since July, I've been writing it. So maybe about just since July, probably about 50 percent of my time and otherwise. I also consult. So I also, I'm a health coach and I'm going to bring that whole thing online soon because right now I've just been doing it word of mouth, people I know, and that takes up about 10%, but hopefully that will be more soon because I've been, I'm going to be working from a space and my own wellness.

Mira Manek:I just think I focus on my own health and wellness a lot. And I go to go to a few conferences here and there, and I do want to expand my own knowledge about health and wellness but f you're in the wellness world, it's because you love [00:18:00] it and you focus on it yourself. So going to the gym and all of that for me has been almost a project because I'm, feel like I'm getting better and better every day in terms of my own health.

Amardeep Parmar: I think that bit's so important because especially if you're advising other people, it's kind of living what you preach as well, right? If you're telling other people to look after themselves. You've got to look after yourself as well. And it's quite hard sometimes to be very ambitious and you've got all these different plans to actually make time to take care of yourself.

Mira Manek: I  completely forgot one thing, which is a massive, massive project, whatever Instagram, Instagram collaborations, working with brands. All of that takes a bit of time as well. 

Amardeep Parmar: So you said the opportunity has obviously come to you. So is it no standard week or is it, do you try to put things into certain days? Or how do you block things?

Mira Manek: Yeah, no, I do have certain mornings I focus on sort of reaching out to cafes and restaurants so that we can get the try into different. Cafes and restaurants. So it's just cold calling, emailing. So I spend a certain chunk of time Mira Manek: doing that. The book writing has been very consolidated within a couple of months because that's when it happened.

Mira Manek: So no, I don't have a set time. However, I do focus [00:19:00] on Chai by Mira and certain days. 

Amardeep Parmar: So with Chai by Mira, how did that all come about? Like you obviously, you're doing the cafe. But then now thinking as a separate brand and online, what's behind that? 

Mira Manek: So the  blend itself, the original tri spice blend that we still use to this day, came about way before the cafe, because I was selling energy balls and this cocoa fudge that I used to make to various cafes, who then

Mira Manek: we're interested in a tri spice mix, but at the time it was just a masala mix without the sugar. When I went for one of the meetings with one of the cafes, the lady said, well, can you mix the sugar into this so that we can just use it ready made? And that's when the idea came about. And when I was mixing the sugar, we use coconut sugar into it.

Mira Manek:It changed the blend completely. You couldn't keep the same blend. So my, it took a lot of trials with me, my mother, my grandmother to actually come up with the final blend, like a bit of black pepper here and there, you know, minus a bit of white pepper, minus some nutmeg, add some cardamom. You know, we added in and [00:20:00] changed a lot when we put the sugar into it, such that we came up with a blend.

Mira Manek: The various other blends in the cafe just came about because I was like, Oh, we should have a chocolate chai. Let's add cocoa into it. We should have this chai, rose chai, let's get the rose syrup. So that's how those blends came about. And during lockdown, I just started creating those, but rather than mixing them and saying, it's a teaspoon here and there, I came up with the actual formulas.

Amardeep Parmar: Yeah. And then in terms of. The idea now, ‘cause obviously you're single online, but you're also trying to get into cafes at the same time. And what's the kind of long term vision for like where you want to get Chai by Mira to? 

Mira Manek: The long term vision would be to create a brand that is being used by various cafes, restaurants, hotels worldwide.

Amardeep Parmar: So at the moment, it's a UK based, so you want to expand globally. Just looking at all these different things you're doing, right? You said focusing on wellness, you're focusing on the chai and Instagram and the book writing. What do you think you enjoy the most or is it all of them? Do you have one which like, that's what you look forward to?

Mira Manek: I do love the filming that I do. I work with [00:21:00] brands and I do it on my own Instagram. I do love the filming element. I do also really like helping people and really making, seeing the result. So I want to continue with that. I do really enjoy that because it, it's sort of direct impact then. And I love writing.

Mira Manek:I don't think I love. Any one of those, any more than the other, I love all of those equally. So I'm not sure that I, and I do love creating recipes. I just love the variety of things that I do. So even though I say that it's nice to find a niche and it's great to find a niche because you can focus on that, I would say my whole niche is basically food and wellness.And within that, I dabble in everything, food, wellness, and writing. 

Amardeep Parmar: I think it's two different types of people, right? Sometimes people really love to have a niche and they're very focused people and they like to keep doing the same thing over and over again. Whereas there's other people like you who do different things that are related to each other and each one makes the other thing better.Is there anything that you haven't tried yet that you do want to try in the future?

Mira Manek: I think I'd like to write that novel one day based on some truths. I [00:22:00] do love creating writing, and I think I wanna go into a hole and write that. No, I don't think there's anything else. I mean, I would like to continue in health and wellness and inspire and help more people through everything that I do.

Amardeep Parmar: And obviously one of the backbones of this is how bigger following you've created on Instagram and other platforms. How do you think you're able to build that platform? Like, how do you think you resonate with people? What do you think is about how you do things that attracts people? 

Mira Manek: I think authenticity is important, putting out things that are real.

They don't have to be, Oh, this is my life today. And this is my life tomorrow. ‘Cause I don't really share much about what's actually going on in my life, but authenticity in terms of what you put out, there's what you do. So the things like recipes that I put out there are things that I eat. And also for me, it's like, if I am going to put something complicated out there, am I going to be really making that complicated thing

Mira Manek: myself, not really. So I like putting very simple things that maybe people do already do or they've not thought of. Just because I think simple wins for me, it's thi, things that don't take [00:23:00] time and yet are very healthy. Little tips that I can share that can help people, like putting seeds in hot water and drinking them, or the stretches or things that you can do every single day.

Mira Manek:And it's just a quick reminder for people to go back to their meditative space and take a moment to have a cup of chai or whatever it is. So I think authenticity is key as in keeping it real and do you practice what you preach that probably compel or draws people and yeah, putting the real version of yourself onto camera 

Amardeep Parmar: And is there a tip like you've shared recently that you think would really benefit the people listening now?

Mira Manek:So there are many tips, but in my book, one of the things I've spoken about is. Having gaps between meals. And that's what Ayurveda says, so not over snacking. And I think that's something that I got wrong for so many years of my life. And I literally created a lot of digestion issues. I already had, um, IBS and it just exacerbated that issue by having too many snacks in the day.

Mira Manek: And I think I went with that whole, um, I was [00:24:00] consumed by the whole eat little, but often, which we, when we were growing up, that was what Magazines and people were telling us, you know, have snacks during the day, don't have proper meals and have low fat things. And that's basically what I went on. I did lots of diets and I really screwed my stomach up a little bit.

 Mira Manek:So that's one thing that I wish I had not done. I wish I had actually stuck to meal times and not kidded myself. Because I think when you snack, you don't even know what you're eating half the time. And secondly, not having gaps between meals. means your digestive fire, which is what in Ayurveda is called the Agni, doesn't have time to resuscitate itself or, or ignite itself again.

Mira Manek: So by giving yourself a break, you're giving your digestive system a break and you're allowing for that digestive fire to ignite again and be ready for that next meal. And the other thing I would say is before a meal time, try and sit down and just have a pause, because sometimes we don't realize we're in a stress state.

Mira Manek:It doesn't mean you're stressed about [00:25:00] something's going on in your life. You may just be stressed because you've been running around a lot, but if you just pause before your meal and take a few deep breaths, then you arrive in the present moment and you're able to digest your food more better. Because if you're still in the stress state, i.

Mira Manek: e. what we call in health as the sympathetic nervous system, then you have other hormones at play. And your body is working on other things rather than the digestion of the food. Whereas if you actually just come to the table, breathe, take a few deep breaths, arrive into the present moment, and maybe you have to say that grace, maybe that's why, you know, so many cultures have this moment of grace because you thank the Lord or thank the divine that you have this food.

Mira Manek: Say a quick prayer of gratitude, but you also give yourself that pause to arrive into the present moment. And then if you eat, then you'll digest your food better. 

Amardeep Parmar: So I feel guilty right now because on the way here, I grabbed a chocolate bar.

Mira Manek: I do that all the time. I snack. Look, I snack a lot, but I just [00:26:00] minimize my snacking a bit more now. I'm a lot more conscious of it. So maybe just conscious snacking. 

Amardeep Parmar: Yeah,  I definitely don't do that every day.

Mira Manek: I do that every day. I do snack. No, I definitely snack and I do need snacks sometimes. And sometimes I will skip a meal and like, I sometimes don't have breakfast, but that's okay. You also have to go with what your body needs.

Mira Manek:If you're feeling a bit full in the morning and you're feeling like you want food, then don't eat the food. That's okay. And you can have a little bit of snack. What I'm talking about is having a big meal and then having three

Mira Manek: snacks in between, just because I don't know, a little bit of yogurt, then a little bit of this, a few nuts, and then a little chocolate.

Mira Manek:And I do that. And I think that's where. I, why I'm saying it because I've done that so much in my life and realize that actually what you're doing in that moment is not giving your system a break, but also you're spiking your sugar level every two minutes, which is terrible because the energy then goes down.

Mira Manek:The minute that sugar level goes down, drops your energy will drop. You'll feel deflated. 

Amardeep Parmar: And I think  it's really important when you said that as well, because It's a struggle that you have still, right? And it's something which you said is being more conscious about it, where you're not trying to be perfect.

Amardeep Parmar:[00:27:00] And if you try to be perfect, then as soon as you do something once wrong, then, okay, what's the point anymore, right? But if you can be conscious about it and still try and do your best all the time, that's where things can really come into play. 

Mira Manek: Absolutely. And I, I think when you start off with food issues, I think my whole career and food and wellness all began really with my own developing a very bad relationship with food over my sort of, since I was 18, since I started putting on a lot of weight, 16, 18, and that continued, continued, continued.

Mira Manek: And yes, I've healed a lot of that and I've gone back to normality as it were. However, it only takes a little trigger to go back to it. It only takes a little, you know, rough patch in life to go back a little bit. I've never gone back to it, but you do still have days where you're like, Oh my God, I feeling a bit bloated and fat and I need to not eat today.

Mira Manek: And I, I don't not eat. I really can't not eat because I genuinely love food, but it's that whole thing of my mind is focused on [00:28:00] the next thing I'm eating or am I going to the gym enough? And that sort of mindset can be triggered very easily. So it's about being aware and conscious and knowing what you need to do.

Mira Manek: And that's where rituals come in, the breath work, because that centers you, that grounds you, the waking up and smiling, just a quick smile, smile. of gratitude and saying a few things you're grateful for and just thanking Mira Manek: the Lord, thanking the divine, thanking whatever the universe for what you do have.

Mira Manek:And those little rituals can serve as reminders to what is important and to not going backwards.

Amardeep Parmar: So I love the thing you said there but we’re going to move on to quick fire rounds. 

Mira Manek: Okay.

Amardeep Parmar: Okay. So the first one is, who are three people you'd like to shout out and show your appreciation for?

Mira Manek: So one is my sister, Meenal Sachdev, M E E N A L S A C H D E V, um, @ Meenal Sachdev. She's a councilor, a local councilor. She's in politics, but also she works. Her charity works on sex trafficking and modern [00:29:00] slavery. Second one is Planet Parle.

I think he's awesome. I have done a bit of work with him. He is great at Garba. So we've been doing Garba recently at Navratri time. And he's got a new play out and I just love everything he stands for. And is someone I'm actually seeing today. It's her birthday is Sonal Thakrar Yoga. She is a lawyer in the daytime, but she also has trained in yoga.

And so she teaches yoga, but also she, she does sand bowl meditation. So she has her own crystal bowls and she does sessions, sand bowl sessions. 

Amardeep Parmar: Perfect. So make sure you follow them everybody. So next question is, what could people listening right now, who want to get in contact with you, what should they reach out about?How could you potentially help them? 

Mira Manek: So I'm also a, so I'm a health coach and I'm about to take that whole thing online. Right now it's all word of mouth, um, and I'll be working from a practice in London, um, to help people achieve their own health goals in variety of different ways using E F T, which I've trained in [00:30:00] breathwork and um, nutrition.

Mira Manek: Also, my books will help them. My first book is a Cookbook, Saffron Soul. My second book is a book on Ayurveda and rituals called Pranja. 

Amardeep Parmar: And then on the flip side, what's you need help for right now? What could somebody reach out to you about where they could potentially help you achieve your goals? 

Mira Manek: Admin website, uh, potentially starting a podcast.

Mira Manek:  I'd love to start a podcast. I have no idea how to go about it. It's helping me take my whole business to the next level. 

Amardeep Parmar: Perfect. So it's been so nice to chat to you today. Have you got any final words to the audience?

Mira Manek: It's been great chatting to you today, Amar, and thank you for inviting me. I loved our conversation.

Amardeep Parmar: Thank you for listening to the BAE of HQ podcast today. In our mission to inspire, connect and guide the next generation of British Asian entrepreneurs, it would mean so much to us if you could subscribe to our channel, leave a review and share this with your friends.

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