As a self-taught cook, baker, food stylist, recipe developer and the writer of all the craveworthy recipes and beautiful content you'll find on Orchids + Sweet Tea, Shanika Graham-White (a.k.a @orchidsnsweettea_) is adding yet another title to her name: the newest member of #TeamNavitas!
We're so excited Shanika has joined the Navitas family as a featured Insider and we're honored to support her journey as she shares fun, delicious and memorable ways to make healthy living a simple and enjoyable process.
Now, onto the good stuff...we sat down with Shanika to find out what makes her so brilliant—both in and outside the kitchen. Keep reading for all the juicy details and be sure to follow @navitasorganics for her recipes, tips and more!
Team Navitas: Shanika, we're just so excited to welcome you to the Navitas family! Can you tell us a bit about how you came up with your alias and how you got started in recipe development?
Shanika: Thanks so much! I'm just as excited and can't wait to share my passion for plant-based superfoods with you all. Well, in case you haven’t guessed, I love orchids as well as sweet tea, hence the name. Not only are orchids a beautiful flower, but they also represent love, luxury, beauty and strength—all of which I hope my blog represents. As for sweet tea—I’m a true Southern girl at heart, therefore, how could I not incorporate such a staple?
While I don’t come from a line of cooks or anything, one of the main ways that my family often came together growing up was through food, music and laughter, which inspired me to create a space that both uplifts and feeds those who choose to visit my little corner of the web.
Growing up, I often experimented in the kitchen by making things that I wanted to eat as opposed to the traditional Jamaican food that was often the main type of food created in my home. After attempting and successfully mastering simple things like pancakes, biscuits, chicken wings and other dishes, I realized at age 12 that I enjoyed experimenting in the kitchen and stretching my creativity.
Later in life, after having my own little family, I began experimenting even more and stumbled upon a real passion for creating foods, and thus Orchids + Sweet Tea was born. Before I knew it, a small audience of friends and family began to form and taking in process photos and creating a work of art with food became a consistent thing.
Team Navitas: Wow, that's a beautiful story, Shanika. We're so grateful you fell in love with creating in the way that you did, because we certainly enjoy seeing and tasting all of your exquisite masterpieces. So, with all the unique ingredients you were able to use in your cooking and baking over the years, how did you come to fall in love with organic, plant-based foods?
Shanika: Personally, after having my son in 2015, I realized just how much my body needed the best nutrients to get back in full shape from my delivery and the shock that it went through. For about a year or two Postpartum, my body struggled to get back to its best, which forced me to take my health and lifestyle more seriously. I began dealing with ovarian cysts, which would come and go each month, but were super painful. While doctors had no cure or treatment for it, I began researching ways to heal my body and that's when eating strictly organic, mostly dairy-free, and reducing gluten became a thing for me. Since then, I began incorporating my new ways of eating into my blog, my audience immediately connected and I've been doing it ever since.
Team Navitas: Thank you for being so honest and sharing your story. We're sure many women out there can relate. So, once you decided on this path, how did you find Navitas, specifically?
Shanika: Honestly, I found Navitas Organics while shopping online for my groceries (about 2-3 years ago), which is common for me at places like Amazon Fresh or Thrive Market. My husband is a HUGE lover of smoothies, therefore, I was in search of awesome smoothie blends/enhancers for our health and came across Navitas. After trying it, I literally fell in love with how easy it was to incorporate and the different types that were available, which individually, provided various amounts of health benefits. Haven't parted since! Haha.
Team Navitas: Okay, we're dying to know—what are the Navitas superfoods you just can't live without?
Shanika: Cacao Powder, Chia Seeds, Essential Superfood Blends, Turmeric Powder, and Cacao Nibs. I love each of these products because they are so easy to incorporate in many dishes and they have such amazing health benefits!
Team Navitas: Great picks! And we just love seeing all your delicious recipes with each of these superfood ingredients. Speaking of recipes, do you have any favorites?
Shanika: With so many possibilities, it's always hard to narrow it down, but if I really had to choose, I would pick these go-tos that I make regularly:
Vegan Tuscan Kale Chickpea Soup
Vegan Superfood Breakfast Cookies
Healthy Blueberry Oatmeal Breakfast Bread
Maple Walnut + Pecan Encrusted Salmon Salad
Team Navitas: We're seriously drooling now. Before we run to the kitchen to start making each and every one of these recipes, can you share a little sneak peak of what's next for you?
Shanika: When it comes to Orchids + Sweet Tea, my goal is to continue to inspire others to feel not only comfortable in the kitchen, but to also realize that eating healthy doesn't mean that it's not delicious. With that being said, I hope to write my first cookbook and be able to be in the homes of those who enjoy my style of cooking/baking. Furthermore, I hope to have my own bakery in NYC so that people can have a place to enjoy my staple recipes in real life!
Hungry for more? Follow @orchidsnsweettea_ for her recipes, tips, tricks, and special offer just for fans!