Though we’d been exploring the theme of food and healing separately for years in our own careers and personal lives, the Agni we’re building today began to take tangible form when we (Astrid and Mir) met in March of 2019.
I (Astrid) grew up in a house where there was a home remedy for everything. If I got a cold my mom would prepare soup — hot, hydrating, and easy to digest. If I was congested, she’d have me lean over a steaming bowl of water with eucalyptus essential oil in it with a towel over my head and tell me to breathe slowly and deeply for 5 minutes. If I sprained an ankle or broke a bone, she’d pay close attention to my diet to make sure I was getting enough nutrients to help that ligament or bone rebuild.
I always found it really comforting to know that if something happened to me, I could look inward and ask myself, what do I have at my disposal? How should I change my behavior? What can I do before I even get on the doctor's schedule to start feeling better?
Partially because of my upbringing, partially due to my innate belief that health is so important, I sought a career that enabled me to support people’s health. But after a couple of jobs in the healthcare field, I found myself frustrated that the system wasn’t set up to offer the education and empowerment I’d loved as a child.
Years of reflection, reading the latest research, and conversations with doctors later, I ultimately came upon the idea of creating foods with the help of medical experts that are accessible, effective, and taste really good. The memory I had of growing up using things from my own kitchen and home to support my health resurfaced as a desire to help others experience the same.
I (Mir) have struggled with chronic health ailments all my life.
The two symptoms that had the biggest impact on me almost daily were my skin conditions (severe cracking, eczema, hives, etc.) and environmental allergies (usually in the form of intense days of sneezing).
I’d tried most types of medicine and doctors throughout my life — allergy shots from traditional allergists, natural remedies from homeopaths, steroid cream from dermatologists, etc. — but my mom would always tell me to pay more attention to the food on my plate. I finally validated through significant self-experimentation that my diet truly and consistently had the biggest impact on alleviating my symptoms. Amazingly, the relief came without side effects. But it was also the toughest remedy to get right. I faced conflicting information, high ingredient costs, limited craveable options (I have a major sweet tooth), and little time to do all the research and food prep on my own.
Before Agni, I was a barista by weekend and a food business consultant by week, supporting CPG and restaurant founders across the globe to effectively scale their businesses. Through these two roles and my own health journey, I saw the power of food to bring people together, to build strong communities, and to bring strength and joy to individuals. I’ve felt food transform from something that’s frustrating and confusing (e.g. feeling addicted to cookie dough and bread, and feeling like everything I enjoyed eating was bad for me) to something unbelievable empowering (e.g. still feeling lots of love for cookie dough and bread with a healthier relationship to them and understanding of them, and believing that things I enjoy can offer wonderful nourishment!). My dream is for Agni to be a player on every person’s team — whether you’re struggling through debilitating stomach pain, severe allergies, postpartum recovery, or just want to live a healthier and more vibrant life.
Though my symptoms have significantly reduced over the past years, I’m still working through many of them and know there will always be more to learn. I can’t wait for us to tap into all the knowledge out there and find ways to bring it to you in the form of delicious and craveable treats.
When a mutual friend introduced us in 2019, things clicked immediately. It was like a really good first date where you’re finishing each other’s sentences and don’t want the conversation to end. Thankfully, it hasn’t! We’re still talking every single day, striving to build our dream of a world where everyone can access foods that nourish them during important life moments. A world where we can all live more vibrant and nourished lives.