Lee From America Is the Keep-It-Real Voice Wellness Needs Right Now

Photo: Lee From America

Welcome to Next Gen of Wellness, our spotlight of the nine up-and-coming icons you need to know about *right now*.  Here, healthy-living guru Lee Tilghman (AKA Lee From America) shares her mindfulness tips, nutrition advice, and routine-simplifying hacks. 

Everyone's all about masking at the moment—but leave it to Lee Tilghman, founder of the Lee From America lifestyle empire, to take that trend and go to an unexpected place. As in: your armpits. As she demonstrated on Instagram, a little underarm TLC is just the thing you're missing in your life to reputedly banish odor and reduce sweating. (Who knew?)

For her growing audience of fans, this disarmingly (and hilariously) honest tip shows exactly what makes her so special. The Los Angeles-based recipe developer has become a leading voice in wellness because she doesn't just showcase her "highlight reel." She shares everything from her struggles with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) to post-breakup healing—and isn't afraid to make fun of herself in the process.

So what does she keep in her kitchen cabinet these days? And what does she see for the future of wellness? Read on to find out.

1. How did you get into wellness, and what's
 your personal mission in the wellness space?

I got into wellness because not only did I grow up with it, but I faced a health crisis when at 25 when I was diagnosed with PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome). Everything changed in a matter of months. My old vibrant self was gone. I was gaining weight, struggling with acne, food intolerances, male pattern hair growth, mood swings, depression, anxiety, loss of periods, and extreme fatigue so bad I couldn't even get out of bed. This diagnosis was a big wake-up call: No longer was I messing around. Before PCOS I was black or white with health: I'd be healthy for six months then binge for six months. I decided to take my health into my own hands and really begin the journey. I had to face a lot of my own blockages to get to where I am. I had to make new friends. go to therapy. pick up an extra job waiting tables so I could afford a yoga membership. but it was all so worth it because I'm learning so much about myself.

2. Why do you think people have started prioritizing wellness in the last few years?

People are realizing that they can't really depend on a lot of the systems set in place for health anymore. I think it is directly correlated to consumerist, band-aid approach that America seems to have with just about everything. From five-minute abs to a magic pill that will help you sleep, we've lost sight of reality. Wellness, at least to me, is about realizing that you hold the power of your health in your own hands, much more than you thought. It's extremely empowering when you think about it.

Wellness, at least to me, is about realizing that you hold the power of your health in your own hands, much more than you thought. It's extremely empowering when you think about it.

Next Gen of Wellness: Lee Tilghman
Photo: Instagram/@leefromamerica

3. What does a typical day look like for you? How do you stay productive?

I love mornings. Always have, always will. I naturally wake up around 5:30 or 6 a.m., drink a big cup of water. Then I head to a early rooster workout class, come home, and then work starts. I make matcha, post on Instagram, answer DMs and post on stories. I talk about whatever is on my mind that day. I answer emails then work on my blog. On Tuesdays I schedule all my meetings and calls so the other work days I can stay focused and undisturbed.

I stay productive because I stick as close to a 9-to-5 as possible. I give myself weekends. I still work a little bit on weekends but I try to really give myself time offline. My first year working for myself I burned myself out and worked 24/7 and didn't know how to turn it off. I think I'm much more productive now that I have set work boundaries for myself. It's hard sometimes when you are a business owner and love what you do, though.

4. What are a few of your favorite wellness essentials?

1. Matcha. not sure where I'd be without it...probably asleep.
2. A gym membership because moving is so important to me.
3. A big 20-ounce S'well bottle to drink water from.
4. Sleep.
5. Access to healthy food, which I know is a privilege in and of itself. Everything else wellness is just optional for me, and I can live without.

5. What do you think the future holds for wellness as a movement?

It's moving from just a hobby or interest, to a lifestyle, to a spiritual thing. I can see people turning to wellness more and more because they themselves have seen and felt the direct correlation between how they treat their bodies and the way they see life. How you feel in your body has a lot to do with your outlook and experience. I'm excited to see where it goes.

Ready to take wellness and self-care a bit deeper? Here's how.  And when in doubt, head outside: Here's why hitting the ground barefoot could be the health boost you're looking for.

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