Native Highlight: How Instagram @thishanabee used food to overcome adversity

Native Highlight: @thishanabee

This Native Highlight was truly remarkable. Hana Brannigan, the owner of the amazing Instagram account (@thishanabee), knows firsthand the power of food and the community around it. She was able to overcome anorexia through reaching others all over the world that experienced the same struggle with a common interest: building a community to help others through sharing amazing pictures of food. It's that drive to help others that has rocketed @thishanabee to one of the best LA food Instagrams to follow. 

Check out Hana's amazing story and find out her favorite spots in LA.

The Inspiration Behind The Account

I actually started it as a recovery account. 4 years ago, I was deep into anorexia and I felt like I had nowhere to turn since no one in my “real life” was going through what I was going through. That’s when I turned to Instagram because there were people all over the world that I could connect with that understood my struggles. The community helped me to recover and so I just want to give back to the community that saved my life. I now love to share different unique eateries and (hopefully) motivational posts.

We started the Native Highlights with a goal to show amazing stories from locals in your city. They post mouthwatering food pics and help you discover things to do in your city, but it's the stories that make them so unique. Hana's story of battling through anorexia, having the courage to seek help, and finding a community to lean on is exactly the type of stories that inspired us. Food has an amazing way of bringing people together, and inspiring a community set on helping each other get through the same struggles they've faced. 

Instagram is a powerful platform for connecting with others, and there are some really creative foodie accounts like @thishanabee to help you explore LA!

Why the LA food scene?

I think it’s just fun to explore and share these unique eateries. It’s definitely a creative and experimental time for food right now!

Growing up in OC, Hana told us that the food scene was pretty generic. It wasn't until recently that it took off. LA is always at the forefront of creativity and it flows into the unique food experiences. LA is doing away with the traditional mindset of heading to a restaurant strictly for the food. New restaurants are popping up focused on not only delivering amazing dishes, but also weaving in culture and creativity that creates lasting memories.

Staying in sync

I used to be on a synchronized swimming team in elementary school through high school! I was the person they threw up in the air since I was the shortest on the team, haha.

Sychronized swimming is a wild concept. As if a perfectly choreographed routine wasn't hard enough, you also have to avoid drowning at the same time!

... But I loved it all! The competitiveness, the “family” that I formed while on the team, etc. I learned so many life-applicable skills too. I miss it sometimes (except during the winter).

Hana is all about the idea of being part of a "family". Whether it's trying to create a family through @thishanabee or out in the pool, she loves the lessons she can learn from others. 

And for anyone that has ever had to get into a cold pool... they know the struggle of water sports in the winter.

Why @thishanabee is a must follow

... I just genuinely like sharing photos, being creative, and connecting with people form all around the world. People follow accounts because they genuinely like the content, it inspires them, and/or encourages them to explore. I post about food and also about my own journey through mental health issues and how I overcame that. If that sparks something in someone, then I would love to connect and I appreciate the follow greatly.

Hana is a huge believer in paying it forward. She's so grateful for the support she had and loves how she can use Instagram to channel her creativity. She hopes that through her posts she can tell the story of her journey through mental health issues and inspire others to seek ways to express their creativity. 

Just like those that help her, Hana is motivated to share amazing food and inspire others through @thishanabee.


Make sure to follow @thishanabee and subscribe to see more stories about LA Natives!

Pro Tip: 

It's simple, but packed with so much flavor. Get the hot sauce on the side -- and that's coming from a hot sauce addict.


2) The Loop Handcrafted Churros

9729 Bolsa Ave, Westminster, CA 92683

Pro Tip:

The combination of a warm churro + chilled soft serve is a heavenly combo. My favorite classic flavor is the Matcha Crunch.


3) Tabu Shabu (Costa Mesa)

333 E 17th St #19, Costa Mesa, CA 92627

Pro Tip 

It's bar-style seating and the place is decorated very hip. The meats are great quality and they offer delicious sides too. I love the spicy miso broth and chicken or wagyu short rib for the meats.


4) Cauldron Ice Cream

204 N Brand Blvd, Glendale, CA 91203

Pro Tip

Taking of photos of food can teach you self-control, but Cauldron ice cream is one of those places I can't stop eating once I've started. My favorite classic flavor is Earl Grey Lavender.


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