One Woman's Wellness Journey - Stephanie Watanabe

One of our core beliefs at Provenance is there is no one right diet for everyone which is why we offer omnivore, plant-based, grain-free, paleo, and vegetarian choices on our weekly menu. Not only do we all have different tastes and preferences, but our bodies are different. Each of us have our own struggles and are in different stages on our individual wellness journey.

Meet Stephanie Watanabe - recent New York transplant by way of California, customer experience consultant, owner of the brand new restaurant Coast and Valley, and long-time Provenance client. From working with a naturopath to uncovering chronic issues, she shares a peek inside her wellness journey and the small tweaks she’s made in her routine to achieve better health.

Where did your wellness journey start? Was there a turning point in your life when you knew you had to start prioritizing your health?

My wellness journey started fairly young - I grew up as a teenager with a host of different health “discomforts" that continued into my early twenties. Looking back I recognize now that my diet contributed to almost all of those issues. But since I’m curious by nature, I always found ways to heal myself and learn about my conditions. I know self-diagnosis has a bad rap, but in the late 90’s that was my main tool - curiosity. It helped me figure out what was going on with me and my body and to advocate for myself with practitioners. I have always been very much intrigued by alternative modalities of healing. Back in the late 90’s there wasn’t as big an emphasis on health and wellness, so I had to figure things out on my own. I started with yoga, meditation and seeing a naturopath. And made my way to a variety of other healing modalities throughout the years. It wasn’t until my late thirties, when I was finally diagnosed with endometriosis, after years of trying to get to the root cause of many imbalances, that I realized I needed to make my own wellbeing my #1 priority. It’s still a struggle, but I’m so much better at it now than I was even a few years ago.

Looking back, what advice would you give your younger self?

Remember to love yourself as much as you love others. It definitely took a long time to learn this and to feel comfortable in my own skin.

How important a role does nutrition play in your life?

As someone who LOVES food (and owns a wine bar), this is a big question. I so value the role that healthy eating plays in my life - and as someone with a chronic health issue, it is super important for me to prioritize that. But I also don’t believe in taking it to extremes. There are many days where I eat cleaner than others, especially as a new business owner. And I try not to get down on myself or throw in the towel. I’m a bit of an all-or-nothing person by nature, so this way of thinking has taken some getting used to. :)

Why do you choose to eat regularly with Provenance?

Knowing that I have clean, healthy meals - that help support my body in being balanced and nourished - without having to think about it is everything. Because my time has been super limited, convenience is a big factor. But also, the meals taste delicious, so that’s a big factor too. As a foodie and restaurant owner myself, I am very particular about food. I even travel just for the food. And I’ve tried a lot of companies like this, but Provenance by far has the best tasting dishes!

You recently moved to NYC to start your dream business - a wine bar in Greenpoint, Brooklyn called Coast to Valley. When did you decide to take the leap? What was the hardest part of getting started?

My partner Eric and I had been cooking up the idea for a California-focused wine bar and eatery for many years. We wanted to create a space that feels warm, inviting and serves every single wine by the glass and offers delicious small plates inspired by the California ethos of market-driven, locally sourced ingredients. I also had been wanting to live in NYC for many years, so we decided to take the leap in 2016 and make it happen. Honestly the hardest part of getting started was overcoming the inertia to just stay put in our comfort zone. Neither one of us has opened a food and beverage establishment before, so there has been a huge learning curve. It’s been eye-opening and humbling (in the best possible way) to feel like a beginner again.

What is the one thing you miss most about the Golden State?

It’s a tie - between the fresh produce and of course, my amazing friends and family. I feel like anyone who has lived in California and moved away will understand. There’s really nothing like going to the farmers markets in California. And I met some of the most incredible people in my almost 20 years living there. It’s truly golden.

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As a new small business owner, your day to day routine must change frequently. Can you share a bit about what part of your routine helps keep you grounded? What is your go-to for stress relief?

The ever changing nature of the work is what I love most about owning a business, but it also makes adhering to a routine very challenging. One of my most precious possessions is a Buddhist altar that I inherited when my beloved grandmother passed. She brought it with her from Japan, and it is worn, weathered and incredibly special. I have it in my bedroom with photos of loved ones, assorted crystals, incense - and I make sure, no matter how busy I am, that I spend a few minutes morning and evening in silence at the altar. It immediately helps ground me and reconnect me to my roots. There’s something so comforting about this simple practice.