Who is drinking matcha? This month, we talked with Dr Pragya Agarwal. Pragya is a Creative Strategist, TEDx Speaker and Founder of a creative studio Hedge and Hog Prints and social enterprise The Art Tiffin, campaigning for creativity and mental health.
Talk us through a typical day?
I don't have a typical day as my twins are only two years old and so much depends on their mood! But, mostly we get up around 8 am bleary-eyed as they still like to get up two or three times during the night. They go to a lovely Montessori nursery at the moment for 3 days a week so those days are really precious to me, and I try and schedule most of my client meetings, any guest podcast recordings or any writing for these days. I write for Forbes and also do a lot of freelance writing for other brands and businesses and publications, such as Huffington Post, Guardian and Metro. I also design new products for my gift and subscription boxes. I am also a seller via my own websites and Not on the High Street so I try and pack and fulfil orders on these days. I am also organising a TEDx Women event, the first such event in the North of the country in December so a lot of time is now being taken up organising the event. When they are home, I try and fit work around them and when they are not clambouring over me and the laptop, trying to get into the studio to open all my inks and paints, or fighting with each other! I like spending time with them playing and reading. Then I try and work until late, until 1 or 2 am to catch up on the day's work. I am also a business mentor with Cherie Blair Foundation for Women, and so sometimes have client calls late at night because of time difference.
How has drinking matcha affected you?
I have felt healthier since drinking matcha. I was recently diagnosed with cancer, and I have been trying to be more healthy and this has really helped. I have read about the antioxidant properties of matcha and I love its taste too. It also helps me when I am feeling tired or bloated and also makes me feel energised and uplifted.
How do you drink your matcha?
I like drinking matcha tea and have also matcha powder in lattes. I use coconut milk or oatley with it and love the taste. I usually have one cup during the mid-afternoon slump. The first time I tried Matcha was in California a few summers ago, and since then I have become addicted to it. I love this Japanese bakery in Cambridge where my eldest is at University, and I have a weakness for their matcha cakes!
What are you focusing on right now?
Currently, I am undergoing some serious medical treatment so have had to take it easier than usual. However, I am focusing on launching my podcast and planning and organising the TEDx Women event in Liverpool on 7 December. We are currently looking for partners and sponsors to support the event to inspire the next generation of young women. I've also had a lot of demand recently for linocut printmaking workshops that I run from my own studio since my feature as 'Maker of the Month' in The Simple Things Magazine, and dates are filling up until Christmas.
And finally, because we all need a little inspiration sometimes, what's the most inspirational quote you have come across?
There are so many, but most recently, this struck a chord 'To live with hope in times that reward cynicism, and in some ways, call for cynicism, I think is a tremendous act of courage and resistance' - Maria Popova. With the current political climate, and the world in turmoil, I believe that we still have to hold on to hope and optimism, and our immense capacity for love and kindness.
Pragya drinks ceremonial grade matcha.