As spring moves in and the sun begins filling our days with more and more light, we perch with Leaves of Trees founder, Dr. Roohi Qureshi on her Toronto rooftop.
We learn what she'd wish for if she could wish for anything, the importance of plants in her environment and the Moroccan meal she keeps coming back to.
Roohi, thank you so much for taking the time to connect with us and welcome us into your home. Leaves of Trees has been a long-time friend of HH, keeping our skin expertly nourished with argan-rich lotions made with ingredients ethically sourced from a woman’s cooperative in Morocco. Today, we’re imagining ourselves in a sun-soaked room as we dive into your day-to-day and dream into the future.
HH: As the founder of Leaves of Trees, we imagine your days are pleasantly filled. We’d love to know, what do you look forward to when you walk in the door and what routines you turn to take care of yourself?
ROOHI: I’m a bit of an introvert so when I walk in the door I look forward to some quiet alone time. I really need some unstructured time every day to relax and think about things in order to decompress and feel refreshed.
My most important self-care activity is prayer. As a Muslim, I have to pray five times every day, at set times. The first prayer is at dawn so this is my first activity every day and it helps me to start every day in a state of relaxed focus. My last activity every day is also prayer and this provides me with an opportunity for reflection and helps me to let go of the day.
Naps are also a big part of my self-care. I wake up very early every morning so my energy and attention really dip in the early afternoon. I usually have a short nap at that time to recover.
I also try to exercise every day - in order to keep it sustainable I do this at home and keep the session very short. I like to do 15 minutes of GMB Elements every day to maintain my strength, flexibility and balance. I like it because the program is structured like a play session, it's so fun.
HH: The things that fill our homes speak to our past experiences, offer glimpses into our aspirations and lend comfort in either their design or use. Can you share three objects in your home that speak to these qualities?
ROOHI: Cire Trudon's candle Abd el Kader - I love this candle’s comforting mint tea scent and its hand-blown glass vessel.
My TUNIQ prayer rug is special to me because I love the design, as well as the company’s ethics. It is made of raw wool from free-range flocks dyed with natural vegetable dyes. The rugs are woven by hand by North African artisans on traditional looms. They have created their own supply chain so that they are in full control of production from end-to-end, raw fiber to finished product, and they share profits with all the artisans involved.
As for aspirational, I will say my gymnastic rings. I am trying to improve my strength by doing bodyweight exercises so that I can do more exercises on my gymnastic rings.
HH: We’re so lucky to see the flowers start blooming again. Honestly, every year it’s a miracle when the trees start budding and the birds start singing again. We’re curious, what aspects of nature bring you inspiration? How do you connect with the earth and keep yourself grounded while living in a big city like Toronto?
ROOHI: Being in nature makes me feel great, so I like to surround myself with lots of houseplants. I’m also currently growing cucumbers, tomatoes, greens and herbs indoors, hydroponically.
When the weather is nice, I like to have my morning coffee outside on my fire escape, where I can hear the birds singing and enjoy my container garden. I am also lucky that Plant Society is in my neighbourhood so I stop by there regularly for some pseudo-forest bathing.
HH: Here at Health Hut, we often find ourselves in conversations about last night’s dinner, today’s lunch and what snacks we're sharing with friends over the weekend. We’d love to know one of your most memorable eating experiences. Where were you, who were you with and what did you eat?
ROOHI: I really enjoy food, but I don’t really eat out very often, I usually just cook at home. I like to try new recipes and challenge myself to try to not generate food waste. I have a worm composter in my kitchen so I feed my vegetable scraps to the worms to avoid throwing them in the garbage. I use the worm casting to fertilize my plants - so it's a win-win.
I feel that food doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive to be enjoyable. One memorable eating experience that comes to mind is eating at cheap roadside barbecue restaurants in Morocco with a couple of friends some years ago when we were sourcing raw materials for Leaves of Trees. You buy raw fresh meat from a butcher’s stall and then you take it to the stall next door and they grill it for you over some charcoal and serve it to you with some bread and olives. It’s so simple, but honestly it's one of my very favourite things to eat.
HH: Let’s imagine you have one wish and absolutely anything is possible. What are you wishing for?
ROOHI: I wish that everyone could experience inner peace.
SHOP ROOHI'S HH PICKS:
- Leaves of Trees Argan Oil Hand and Body Lotion, Chajara
- Leaves of Trees Argan Oil Hand and Body Lotion, Lavender
- Tata Harper Hydrating Floral Mask
- Leslieville Market Mulberry Silk Eye Mask
- Living Libations Copper Tongue Cleaner