Mindy Kaling Has Really Good Wellness Advice–Here’s What She Swears by for a Healthy Life

You probably know her best as the pop culture-obsessed Kelly Kapoor in The Office or the hopeless romantic Mindy in her eponymous hit show The Mindy Project, but what you might not know is that Mindy Kaling was born Vera Mindy Chokalingam and was the sole female writer for the first season of The Office. And ICYWW what she’s been up to since her days at Dunder Mifflin, she’s been hard at work building a media empire with her very own production company, shows Never Have I Ever and The Sex Lives of College Girls, three books, and co-writing Legally Blonde 3—all while maintaining her infectious smile, raising two kids as a single mom, and keeping up her wellness routine. So, what’s her secret to juggling it all? After getting to know Mindy through countless interviews (seriously, ask us anything about her), we uncovered seven values she lives. Hint: They only further prove the point that she’s the BFF everyone wants to have.

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Work out because it makes you feel good 

If there was one takeaway, we got from reading up on Mindy and her workout regimen, it’s that her MO is focusing on movement that brings her joy. Whether that’s Pilates or PLATE FIT (think: lunges, dips, planks on a vibrating device), she’s a self-proclaimed group fitness junkie who is first in line to try the latest “it” workout. But her tried-and-true forms of exercise? Running on the tread, stretching, and walking. “Surprising the body with lots of different things I think is good, particularly for my body… I’ve been mixing it up and knowing that if a workout doesn’t necessarily make me soak my clothes with sweat, it still was a good workout… It does not have to be punished,” Mindy told People. “The endorphins that I get from working out center me. I’m kind of an anxious person and it makes me feel centered and makes me more focused. And I have some of my best creative ideas when I’m working out.” I think we can all agree on that. 

It wasn’t always sunshine and rainbows when it came to Mindy’s relationship with her body and exercise. Because she didn’t fit the mold of what a “healthy” body should look like, she put herself through grueling workouts and hid her enthusiasm for being active. “I used to look at fitness as, like, it’s not successful unless you look a certain way at the end of it, and I’m never going to look a certain way,” she said in an interview with Byrdie. “I used to think there was no point if I wasn’t running for 45 minutes five times a week and then doing an hour of lifting. But the point is that I feel so much better mentally if I’m in better cardiovascular health.” The moral of the story is? Any sort of movement gets a gold star, and the best form of exercise is the one that you find the most fun and will stick with. 

Drink up first thing in the morning 

When it comes to hydration goals, Mindy is queen. In her interview with Byrdie, she said she drinks an “enormous amount of water with lemon” as soon as she gets up. She admittedly does it against her will but keeps up the ritual every morning as a pick-me-up (she doesn’t drink caffeine). And her H2O routine continues with 100 ounces of water throughout the day (if math isn’t your strong suit, like me, that’s equal to 12.5 cups). 

Since coffee and matcha are off the table, Mindy also reaches for a green smoothie, created by celeb nutritionist Kimberly Snyder, in the AM. Mindy’s take on it, or her so-called “cheat version,” calls for lemon, apple, romaine, celery, spinach, banana, frozen pineapples, and coconut water. Mindy told Marie Claire that regardless of what she eats the rest of the day, she knows she got in a healthy dose of fruits and veggies to start her day.

Keep your skin in check

Sure, Mindy has her green concoction partly to thank for the glowing complexion she wears so well, but she also credits her beauty product line-up: Dr. Lara Devgan’s Vitamin C+B+E Ferulic Serum, Joanna Vargas’ Daily Hydrating Cream, and Daily Green Hyaluronic Acid Serum, and Supergoop!’s Unseen Sunscreen.

There’s no denying that we at The BeautyLeeBar dig a good drugstore find, and Mindy is no different. She keeps Cetaphil in her skincare arsenal to cleanse her oily and acne-prone skin (who would have thought?). Chalking her good skin up to not wearing makeup every day, Mindy shared that she feels the most confident with just foundation, strong liner, lots of mascara, and blush. Her favorite part of her whole low-key process? Washing off a day of makeup. “I find it very meditative to take it all off. It feels like self-care,” she told WhoWhatWear. As beauties who take their bra and “face” off as soon as we get home, we feel her. 

Embrace self-care

Her face-washing habit walks, a solid bubble bath and Selling Sunset are just a few things Mindy calls self-care. “I used to be very conscious of the term self-care because I was worried it seemed self-indulgent,” she says. “But in the last couple of years, I’ve started to embrace it. It doesn’t have to be a big thing, and it’s the simplest things that have such a unique power to elevate your mood,” she elaborated to Real Simple.

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With the little downtime Mindy has, you might also find her in the kitchen whipping up and sharing a meal of coconut curries with vegetables with her loved ones. And the long-time foodie in her will take her me-time in the form of having dinner out with friends any day. But the foundation of self-care for Mindy comes down to a few small and ordinary hacks she let us in on in her interview with Forbes: hitting the hay at 10 p.m., leaving her phone in another room when she goes to bed, preventing the endless scrolling on IG, getting quality shuteye, and taking her probiotic. Because sometimes keeping it simple is best. 

Don’t underestimate manifestation

There’s no denying Mindy works hard to get what she wants, but even A-list celebs like her use manifestation to set goals. Mindy’s go-to practice. Vision boards. At first skeptical of their efficacy, she now considers them “a nice mix of creativity and reflection.” 

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In her one-on-one with Vogue, she explained her experience creating vision boards: “…in the last month of the year, three of the things I had put on there came true—and they were three big ones—and I remember thinking, ‘Oh my gosh, it was that damn vision board.’ I just had to be patient. And I thought that was a really good lesson because when you put up a vision board it’s not like asking Santa for things. So, one of the things I have on the new one is patience, because last time, I took it down. This year, I’m going to try not to do that.” Excuse us while we go gather all of our magazines and make a trip to Office Depot.

In the same vein, Mindy swears by practicing gratitude to put her in the right headspace. On any given morning, you’ll find her sitting cross-legged, saying what she’s thankful for aloud. “There’s something about having to say it that makes it real,” she expressed.

Practice body acceptance

Mindy doesn’t let not looking a certain way stand in the way of her love of style and getting dressed up. One quick scroll through Mindy’s IG and you’ll see it’s a collage of colorful, lust-worthy dresses and matching sets. Rather than being confined by societal pressures, she embraces self-awareness and body positivity (you go, girl!). “I’ve always steered away from light-colored jeans or white denim because I’ve never felt comfortable wearing light colors on the bottom half of my body, I think a lot of women feel this way. I’ve decided to commit that when it gets to the dead of summer, I’m going to wear white jeans,” she told Forbes

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Like most of us, body acceptance hasn’t come easily or naturally for Mindy. She confessed to Shape that she once held herself to restrictive eating habits the weeks before award shows and fashion events but has since bid them adieu. “I love to eat at restaurants, I love to eat home cooking, and I don’t like restricting my diet. And [now] I’m like, as long as I’m getting enough nutrients and feeling like my heart and my lungs are getting exercise, I don’t beat myself up about that.” Mic drop. 

Be unapologetically you

Mindy has made a name for herself as a multi-hyphenate and bringing fictional characters to life on screen. But off-screen, she stays true to herself and makes it a point to bring her most authentic self forward. Case in point: Her snapshots of being a mom and laugh-out-loud memes on IG. In her recent exclusive with People, she articulated how she keeps it real while still striving to grow: “There’s this Maya Angelou quote that’s like, ‘Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.’ So, to me, that’s what I’ve just been doing.”

When Mindy spoke to Byrdie, she recalled feeling repressed and uncomfortable in her skin as a young adult, a far cry from the mindset of the actresses on her two shows Never Have I Ever and The Sex Lives of College Girls. “Every day, I am struck by how brave and authentic the young women I’m working with are… They are courageous activists and not ashamed of being that way. They love their bodies, and they’re still quirky.” Taking a cue from Mindy and her counterparts, why not be your unique, beautiful self? There’s no one else like you—flaws, insecurities, and all. When you find yourself lost or lacking self-confidence, remember the piece of advice Mindy’s late mother left her: “Always be your own best friend.” 

A Health Expert’s Guide to the Healthiest Ways to Drink Alcohol

If there were a cardinal rule in wellness next to “Do what works best for you,” it would be “Everything in moderation.” If you have been following BeautyLeeBar, you know we’re not about restricting any foods or labeling them as “good” or “bad.” And alcohol is no exception. We’re not ones to pass up happy hour or popping champagne, but there is one caveat (sorry to be the bearer of bad news): You can have too much of a good thing. Having too many margaritas poolside or mimosas at brunch can leave you with more than just a bad hangover—your long-term health can pay the price. But wait, there’s good news: we tapped into the expertise of health pros to get their healthy ways to drink alcohol, so we can imbibe sans guilt.  

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What is considered drinking in moderation?

Finding a happy medium is not as hard as you may think. Jordan Dorn, a holistic nutritionist and cofounder of Zuma Nutrition, broke it down: “Keep track of how much you are drinking, know your limit, and know when to stop.” Reiterating Dorn’s sentiment, we each have our cut-off number, which varies depending on our biological sex, age, health, and body composition. While doctors typically recommend one drink a day for us ladies, tune in to your body. Is it giving you cues that you’ve had enough after knocking back two cocktails? You know your body best, and a healthy relationship with alcohol looks different for everyone. So instead of limiting or shaming yourself for what you drink, practice a mindfulness-based approach to drinking. The next time you pour yourself a nightcap, try savoring it and the experience. 

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How to drink smarter:

Eat before you sip

Do yourself (and your body) a favor and build a plate of nutritious fare before saying “Cheers!” “Alcohol enters the bloodstream through the stomach and small intestine,” explained Dorn. “If your stomach is empty when you start drinking, the alcohol will enter your bloodstream more quickly. So, by eating before your first drink, and even while you are drinking, you can reduce the amount of alcohol that enters your system.” We know, nothing sounds better than washing down French fries and wings with your drink of choice, but most bar eats are laden with sodium, driving you to drink more. Instead, nourish the body with healthy fats (think: guac or hummus with veggies) while you drink, helping you stay full and satisfied. 

Other good-for-you pairings for your go-to cocktail? “Choose healthy food options such as whole grains, protein, and fiber before consuming alcohol,” suggested Rebecca Reilly, DNP, FNP-C, a family medicine nurse practitioner at TiaDr. Lana Butner, a board-certified naturopathic doctor and licensed acupuncturist encouraged noshing on water-rich foods. Think watermelon, pineapple, peaches, citrus fruits, celery, and cucumbers. The best part? Controlling the all-too-familiar hangover the next morning. 

Pace yourself with water 

We will give you the benefit of the doubt and assume drinking a healthy dose of H20 is already part of your daily routine (you’re welcome). So, when you’re enjoying your mojito, keep up your water intake by ensuring a tall glass of it is within reach, and keep ’em coming. “As a diuretic, alcohol causes the body to lose water much quicker than other fluids do,” warned Dr. Butner. “Drink lots of water or eat water-rich foods before, during, and after drinking to prevent dehydration.” It can not hurt to have your Hydro Flask nearby, which can help slow your roll. “To combat dehydration and limit your alcohol intake, start the happy hour with a big glass of water and continue to drink plain or sparkling water between drinks,” agreed Reilly. 

After diving into a drink or two, you may want to stock up on some coconut water to restore lost electrolytes. “Coconut water is great for rehydration after drinking as it has alkalizing properties, meaning it helps bring your body’s pH from acidic to neutral (our body prefers a neutral pH as this is closer to homeostasis, which is what we are constantly striving for),” said Dr. Butner. If that means getting ahead of the dreaded morning after, we are all for it. 

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Opt for healthier drinks 

PSA: Not all alcohol is created equal. There are not-so-great-for-you bevies, and then there are the notoriously mixed drinks high in sugar that might make you feel worse than alcohol alone (looking at you, Piña Colada). But don’t worry, our experts have dished out a few drinks with their stamp of approval. “Choose mixers that aren’t high in sugar, such as club soda or sparkling water,” Reilly recommended. “Red or white wine is another good option because wine has the health benefit of antioxidants and takes longer to drink.” To top it off, Reilly green-lit some ingredients for a healthy libation: fresh lime juice, fresh lemon juice, club soda, agave, jalapeno, and ice.

Dorn pointed out that drinking an organic red wine or beer (free of preservatives, added sugars, and pesticides) makes a difference from drinking a sugary cocktail. “When drinking, try to go for the highest quality alcoholic beverages you can get, as they will be less damaging to your health.” Another simple hack to keep in your back pocket: Stick with clear alcohol. “Dark liquor has a higher sugar content and contains byproducts that create impurities once fermentation occurs in the GI tract,” Dr. Butner explained. “With that being said, vodka and tequila are going to be better choices than rum, whiskey, and rye. These clearer alcohols may result in less severe hangover symptoms as well.” Sold.

Switch it up with non-alcoholic drinks 

Don’t knock it before you try it. One quick Google search of “non-alcoholic drink,” and you’ll see that booze-free refreshments are not only all the rage but also diverse and flavorful in their own right. “Mocktails are more popular than ever and provide an opportunity to avoid alcohol while enjoying a healthy, interesting beverage in a social setting,” said Reilly. “Ghia, for example, has created products that do not contain alcohol, caffeine, added sugars, and artificial flavors that can be used to make delicious mocktails.”

Whether you’re in the middle of Dry July or the forever D.D. (designated driver, ICYMI), going dry doesn’t stop at mocktails. From bubbly spirits to non-alcoholic beer and wine, take your pick. And we would be remiss if we didn’t mention the so-called “functional beverage” category that includes brands infusing their alcohol alternatives with ingredients like adaptogens, amino acids, plants, and CBD. The main takeaway? Saying “Bottoms up!” with booze-less varieties has never tasted better.

 

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Don’t forget supplements 

Strengthening your body with the help of some supplements when drinking is akin to loading up on Vitamin C and zinc when you feel like you’re coming down with something. “Take an activated methylated vitamin-B complex before drinking,” Dr. Butner suggested. “Methylated forms of vitamins are highly preferred as they are more easily absorbed and processed by the body than non-methylated forms. B vitamins are helpful to the liver’s detoxification process, so taking them before drinking can help your body better metabolize alcohol, thereby preventing any dreaded hangover symptoms. Taking B vitamins can also help prevent hang-xiety as B vitamins play a huge role in regulating the nervous system.” In the same vein, Dr. Butner also recommended adding N-acetyl cysteine, or NAC, and milk thistle to your supplement line-up before drinking, before bed, and the day after to boost the liver’s function in metabolizing alcohol.

Another go-to to have in your pre-drink’s arsenal? Activated charcoal. “Activated charcoal has shown to help bind toxins in the stomach that have not yet entered the bloodstream and, therefore, can help flush the alcohol out of the system more quickly,” said Dr. Butner. As always, before adding any new supplement to your routine, first, check with your doctor or nutritionist. While there’s no cure-all or magic pill to prevent a hangover, the naturally sourced remedy comes pretty close.

Zendaya Swears by 5 Wellness Hacks—And We Tried Them All

She continues to slay it on the red carpet and on top best-dressed lists while starring on the big and small screens. We all know her as the wild child aka Rue, who marches to the beat of her drum in Euphoriafor which she nabbed an Emmy Award, might we add. Of course, we are referring to none other than Zendaya Maree Stoermer Coleman (AKA Zendaya).

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Courtesy of Vogue, we took a deep dive into Zendaya’s life: a Disney star turned full-fledged celeb, singer, self-proclaimed workaholic, and (Virgo) perfectionist, Auntie Daya to her nieces, painter, homebody, and true-crime podcast junkie. Between her many talents and interests, leading role in Euphoria, and starring in cinematic roles, it left us wondering how she finds the time to stay healthy. Thanks to an interview with Cosmopolitan and various other sources, we got the inside scoop. Read on for five healthy habits Zendaya swears by and our experience taking a stab at them. 

1. Find a workout that’s fun for you

Let’s be real: We know all too well that if a workout doesn’t bring the fun factor, we’re not sticking with it, and Zendaya agrees (we knew we loved her!). In a YouTube interview with Justine Magazine, Zendaya confessed to being gym-averse, so she gets her workouts in by doing activities she loves dancing and choreography. When she does hit the gym, you better believe she’s making it entertaining. Case in point: Zendaya doing plank variations on a medicine ball and killer Pilates movements.

Our experience: Until a few months ago, you could say we were gym rats, and lifting heavy weights was not our happy place. But we found that we had to continue digging deep to keep it up, and the motivation waned—it just wasn’t fun anymore. Taking a cue from Zendaya, we switched it up with some at-home workouts that deliver the perfect combo of sweat and joy (cycling and yoga classes FTW) and found our second wind. 

2. Discover what motivates you to exercise 

Believe it or not, celebrities sometimes need a little push to work out too. Zendaya shared her unconventional way of keeping herself accountable on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert: wearing various wigs she had collected from her red-carpet appearances and showing up to her gym as a different character. OK, so most of us don’t have wigs lying around, but you get the idea. Identify what helps you stay consistent with your workouts and get to it. Whether it’s a ride-or-die sweat buddy, your satisfying post-workout smoothie, or booking a non-refundable fitness class, use it to your advantage to work out on the reg.

Our experience: This was a no-brainer for us—there’s nothing like a new, flattering workout set to pull us away from a binge-watching marathon and get the body moving. While we can’t get a fresh ‘fit for every workout, we use the next must-have waiting in our shopping cart as an incentive (and, trust us, there are enough to keep me going for months). 

3. Practice body positivity 

A body positivity advocate through and through, Zendaya is all about self-love and being authentic. “There is no such thing as ugly—that’s a word that doesn’t enter my vocabulary,” she said in an interview with New You. “It’s important to find out who you are and love who you are … It’s very freeing when you’re just like, ‘Yo, I’m just going to do me!’” And she does just that—and with style, no less! Zendaya called out Modeliste Magazine for retouching her photos to make her hips and torso appear slimmer than IRL. The magazine later released the issue with the original, unedited images from her cover shoot (now that’s a happy ending if there ever was one). 

Our experience: TBH, we have a lot to learn from Zendaya. We still working on loving ourselves as we are and not chasing an idea of perfection, we have lingering in our heads every day. Our go-to practice? Catching ourselves when we are nit-picking our body and flipping the script by being grateful for what our body provides: the gift to exercise, a canvas for our latest fashion finds, and the ability to enjoy (mostly) all the delicious foods. 

4. Make your meals balanced and eat what you’re craving

Zendaya has been a vegetarian since she was 9 years old, and she gets creative about fitting veggies into her diet. Enter: the summer rice salad recipe she shared with Seventeen that is built around a healthy mix of fats, protein, vegetables, and carbohydrates. But don’t be fooled by the rice salad recipe—she’s also VIP status with Postmates (I am not exaggerating, just read Postmates’ blog). She admitted to Harper’s Bazaar that she doesn’t cook out of laziness and dislike for following directions (that’s the kind of relatable celeb we love!). “I can have anything I want; that’s the beauty of ordering food,” she said.

Our experience: Zendaya’s diet reminded us that it is all about balance. We tend to fall into the all-or-nothing trap, so we channeled our inner Zendaya, alongside the rice salads we made. We would rate it an 8/10 for flavor and ease and finish off our lunches with DEUX Cookie Dough (the latest obsession) or a couple of chocolate peanut butter cups. We are keeping Zendaya’s rice salad in our summer meal rotation, but when laziness strikes and the chopping of vegetables is just too much to wrap our head around, door dash it is—no guilt or shame here.   

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5. Opt for matcha over other caffeinated beverages

It’s no secret that The BeautyLeeBar beauties are obsessed with Starbucks, and it turns out Zendaya is too. Her go-to Starbucks order? A Venti iced matcha green tea latte with coconut milk. And that’s her only source of caffeine—she told Harper’s Bazaar that she goes sans coffee, soda, and energy drinks. Zendaya may be onto something: Matcha boosts your energy at a slower pace than coffee and contains L-theanine, an amino acid found in the green tea plant that can reduce stress.

Our experience: We will admit that we are a bit of a matcha snob, so we were hesitant to give what’s been dubbed “The Zendaya” a go. While it was too sweet for some of us and we usually take our matcha with Oat milk, we like the coconut twist and would order it again to appease a post-meal sugar craving. But if there’s one main takeaway from Zendaya and her workout and diet tried-and-true, it is to do what works for you.