Q&A SERIES: THE HEALTHY MAVEN, DAVIDA KUGELMASS
Happy Thursday, everyone! I’m back with my 5th (!!) Q&A Series interview post. I can’t believe we’re up to 5 amazing women so far! Are you guys loving these interviews? I hope they spark some inspiration in you. These women seriously inspire me.
I started following today’s guest, Davida of The Healthy Maven, many moons ago when she lived in Toronto and worked in a lab. I’ve always appreciated her quick wit and how down to earth she is, especially on her blog and in her YouTube videos. You guys will definitely appreciate Davida’s super chill, balanced approach to food and wellness, too.
Davida and her boyfriend also recently moved to San Francisco from Toronto, so I’m pretending to live through her gorgeous photos and West Coast adventures, too 😋
In case you’re visiting from Davida’s page, I wanted to quickly introduce myself. Hi, I’m Sam! A corporate-attorney-turned-entrepreneur, Certified Health Coach, and Owner of Hygge Wellness, a health coaching and corporate wellness consulting company that helps busy women through my signature 3-month private health coaching program. I also work with companies through corporate wellness and food + beverage consulting.
Without further delay, here’s Davida! You guys will love her!
Q: Hi, Davida! Thank you so much for joining me & my hygge tribe today. As you know, I’ve been a huge fan of yours for years & years, but for those that don’t know you already, please introduce yourself:
A: Thanks for having me, Sam! My brief introduction: My name is Davida and I am the creator behind The Healthy Maven, a health and wellness website, YouTube channel, and podcast dedicated to making healthy living easy and sustainable. My content is pretty diverse, ranging from recipes, to travel, to fitness with a focus on how to live healthfully, rather than living for your health. When I’m not in the kitchen, I am traveling, walking or hiking with my boyfriend and puppy or going to endless lengths for the perfect cup of coffee.
Q: I’m so glad to have you here! I’m with you on going to endless lengths to get the perfect cup of coffee. One day, we have to go get coffee together! So you’re an absolute rockstar on the blogging & healthy lifestyle scene. Tell us a little about what your typical day-to-day routine looks like these days:
A: I typically wake up when my body wants to, which is somewhere around 7:30-8:00 AM. I’m not an early-riser and while I’ve tried for years, my body just doesn’t like it. I like to start my days slow, with a cup of coffee, meditation and sometimes a quick yoga flow before I have my daily smoothie. Then I jump right in! I’m most productive in the morning so I usually try to tackle my inbox first thing along with any blog writing or video or podcast editing I need to do. Midday usually involves either photography or videography followed by a nice long walk with my puppy, Bodhi.
By now it’s around 4:00 PM and my brain is totally done! At this point I either workout or just relax and watch some TV or YouTube videos before cooking dinner. I always end my days with a cup of tea, a sweet treat and some more relaxation either with TV or reading. But truly, everyday looks different!
Q: I love how intuitive and gentle your day is, even though you get a lot of work done! You are so successful with The Healthy Maven and seem to be having SO much fun with your business, but even exciting things can be super stressful. You even moved from Canada to San Francisco recently! What do you do to blow off steam and manage your stress in a healthy way?
A: For me, walking has always been my therapy. Putting in my headphones and listening to music or a podcast and just walking always helps me blow off steam. I’ve also learned to not put so much pressure on myself to be working all the time. Setting boundaries where I don’t work evenings and weekends has created more structure in my life so I know when to be “on” and when to be “off”.
Q: That is so important to our day-to-day health! So what’s the hardest part of being an online entrepreneur & what do you do to cope with it?:
A: For the first couple of years it was definitely the pressure of the “hustle culture” that made my job more stressful than it needed to be. Now that I have a more formal schedule, I don’t struggle so much with this anymore, but I certainly still have my challenges! These days I struggle most with accepting that bigger isn’t always better. As I see so many other bloggers around me growing their businesses, it’s important for me to remember that what works for them may not work for me. Easier said than done though!
Q: So, so true! I struggle with that now, too. I keep telling myself to “stay in my own lane”. Can you describe a typical day of eats for you & how you eat healthy on-the-go and/or when traveling?:
A: I recently started a YouTube video series answering this question, because people ask me this lot! I wanted to address it in video because the truth is, I eat differently every single day. The one consistent thing is that I usually start my day with a green smoothie, but a few months ago I went through a toast phase so I pretty much started everyday with toast! I eat A LOT of vegetables and a little bit of everything else. I genuinely feel best when I eat plenty of greens but also know that I’m not restricted if I want to eat something else. But for the most part, our house is full of organic veggies, local meat and seafood and energy balls…lots of energy balls!
Q: Such a healthy, balanced approach to food! I love it. That’s definitely what I encourage my readers to do through Hygge Wellness, too. I remember many years ago when you decided to leave your job as a research assistant in a lab to go full-time with The Healthy Maven. Can you tell us a bit about your decision to leave and how you got the courage to go out and follow your passion?:
A: When I think back on it, it felt less like a decision and more like the next step. As anyone who knew me back then could attest, my job made me completely miserable and when my contract was up, it didn’t feel right to re-sign for another year. At that point I was a year into the blog and had found so much passion and creative energy in it and knew that I had to see it through. I had no idea it would lead me to where I am now.
If you’ve followed my journey over the years, you know that when I left my full-time job, I also took on a part-time job working for a healthy food start-up. It was the perfect in-between buffer to bring in a small income, while I also tested the waters with blogging more formally. I always tell people to not put so much pressure on yourself to turn your passion into a business right away. It comes with some downsides too so it’s worth exploring it, while also not depending on it to pay your bills.
Q: That was such a smart, responsible approach! So what are biggest personal benefits or growth you’ve experienced since taking a leap and making such a big change in your life (starting/going FT with THM)?:
A: Oh man, there are so many things! I think the biggest thing is that I’ve come to learn that no good things come without a little (or a lot!) of fear. I get stuck in my own head a lot, but this journey has taught me that sometimes you can’t have all the answers and you just need to go with the flow.
Q: Yes, definitely! I learned that from The Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. So wise. I love that health and wellness seem to be trending in more of a self-care, intuitive, gentler direction. I know you’ve talked a lot about this on the blog, but how do you stay healthy and feeling well while also having a balanced approach to food and fitness?
A: It’s super important to me to live without rules. I don’t label my diet in any way or put pressure on myself to structure any routine around fitness. It’s also important to tune in to how you feel. I spent so many years of my life letting how I look dictate my actions and it never felt as fulfilling as I hoped it would. Allowing my feelings to guide my actions has helped me to start LIVING my life, rather than planning it.
Q: YES! And I think that’s the way wellness is trending, thankfully. Finally, tips for someone out there who wants to make a big change in his or her life and doesn’t know where to start:
A: As simple as it may seem, just do it! I’m a total perfectionist, and the first time I ever truly did something that was so far from perfect was when I started the blog. That simple decision completely changed the course of my life. Let go of what other people might think and do it for you. Along the way you’ll learn a thing or two to help you improve, but no one is perfect from day one.
Thank you so much, Davida! I hope you enjoyed Davida’s interview — because I did!
I hear from so many of you at various stages of different careers. But you all have one thing in common: wanting change. And that was the point of starting this Q&A series — to inspire you to make the change you’ve wanted to make. Whether you want to change your diet, fitness, career, relationship, or self-care routine, I want to inspire you to make moves.
I work privately with busy women wanting to get unstuck and live fully. If you want to learn more about health coaching or work together, schedule your free 50-minute coaching call (consult) with me today.
P.S. If you or someone you know would like to be featured as one of my Q&A series guests, please email me! I’d love to hear from you (or the person you know) if you’re following your passion or purpose in life, have made a change & taken a leap of faith, or are a bada$$ girl boss.
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