Today I’m excited to introduce you to my second guest in in the Women In Wellness Series: Davida Kugelmass. In case you missed the first, you can read Emma’s story here. Then come right back because you won’t want to miss this one!
For those of you who don’t know Davida, she’s the talented blogger behind The Healthy Maven. She’s also Canadian, and while we never got a chance to meet when we both lived in southern Ontario, I’ve been a huge fan of hers for years now. I’ve found her realness, honesty and real talk to be so refreshing, especially during this age of filtered and Photoshopped highlight reels on social media. She’s introduced me to so many new ideas and perspectives through her own writing, as well as through the guests she interviews on her podcast, but more on that in a moment. Let’s start from the beginning.
1. Tell us a bit about your background. What inspired you to start The Healthy Maven in 2013?
My story, as I’ve discovered, is not unlike many other young women’s. I’m originally from Toronto, Canada and was raised in an amazing family and had a pretty idyllic childhood. However, as I got older and tried to figure out who I was and what I wanted in life, I felt my confidence slipping and much of my energy became focused on my body and trying to manipulate it into looking a certain way. While, I certainly wouldn’t want anyone else to go through this experience, I know that I’m not alone in struggling with my body image and am truly grateful for the health and wellness world it helped me to discover.
Over the course of the past 10 years, I have experienced all sides of the spectrum, from disordered eating to binge eating to finding a balance in the middle. My journey to self-discovery helped me to improve my skills in the kitchen, find techniques for managing my stress and anxiety and perhaps most importantly, introducing me to an incredible community of young women who consistently remind me how not alone I am in my struggles. So much has happened along the way and I’m thrilled that I’ve been able to share this journey with my readers and gain insight from their journeys as they have from mine.
I always tell people I started THM for two reasons. 1) Because I have a passion for health and wellness and wanted a space where I could explore this world and share my journey along the way and 2) Because I really hated my job and needed a creative outlet outside my 9-to-5!
2. With your initial career as a research assistant, then working in hospitals in Toronto, and now as a full-time blogger, you’ve seen what we consider ‘health and wellness’ from many different angles. You’ve also spoken a lot recently about how your perspective on health has evolved. Can you talk a bit about this, and what you consider to be your definition of healthy today?
My understanding of health is constantly evolving, and I think that’s a testament to the fact that health truly does change as our bodies change and get older. When I was in my early 20s, I complicated health with “skinny”. As I got older I realized that while I physically looked thin, it was not a reflection of my overall health, and in particular, my mental health.
My definition of health today is much more holistic than it used to be. It includes my physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health. It includes salads and green juice, but also cookies and wine. It also includes yoga and pilates and a much deeper understanding of movement from a place of love, rather than hate. I think the greatest evolution has been truly accepting and understanding that health looks so different on everyone. And beyond that, health looks so different throughout your lifetime. What I believe is most important is that health should be something that is incorporated into your life, not the centre of your life. It’s not about doing everything, but about doing that things that make you feel great and comfortable in your own skin.
3. Myself and anyone who’s read your blog know that you’ve got some mad skills in the kitchen. Would you like to share a few of your favourite recipes?
Absolutely! I love to cook, but as I’ve gotten older, I definitely have found I prefer spending less time in the kitchen, so anything that is quick and easy is key. Here are some favourites:
4. You’ve lived in NYC and Toronto, and now San Francisco. I know you’re also an avid traveler. Would you be able to share 3 of your top tips for staying healthy while away from home?
Most of my readers know I can barely sit still, so I’m all about travelling and new experiences. Here are my top 3 tips for staying healthy while travelling:
1. Snacks! I don’t go anywhere without snacks. Sometimes they’re homemade, or if I’m in a rush you’ll find me with snacks like protein bars, trail mix or jerky.
2. My Pocket Farmacy from Saje Wellness. I’m a huge fan of essential oils and particularly Saje Essential oils. I don’t go anywhere without my pocket farmacy, which I use for everything from hand sanitizer to sleeping aids.
3. An open mind. One of the best parts about travelling is how much the experiences expand your perspective and help you to grow. People always ask how to maintain your routine while travelling and I always tell them, don’t! The point is not to recreate your daily experience at home. Sure, aim to get some veggies in and move your body, but mostly let your mind be stimulated and feed your soul with new experiences.
5. I’m an avid podcast listener and have loved every single one of your That’s So Maven podcast episodes. Your conversations are so real and so honest, and I love having you with me (in a virtual sense) while I’m creating things in my kitchen! What are 3 of the biggest learnings or most impactful takeaways you’ve had while interviewing your guests?
This is a hard one! I feel like I’ve learned so much from every guest, but here are the three that really stand out:
1. Episode 6 with Natasha Adamo – “You don’t have to be healed to help others”: I sometimes struggle with the idea that I’m not “ready” to share or talk about something because I don’t have it all figured out. This episode helped me to realize that sometimes what we need to move froward and heal is to share and talk about these experiences and in the process help others move forward as well.
2. Episode 12 with Megan Bruneau – We talked a lot about the wellness industry and some of the negative effects social media is having on our perception of wellness. I think it was eye opening for me and while I certainly love the wellness community, I do want to maintain an awareness of the importance of accessibility and not making people feel like they are inherently “unwell” simply because they don’t have the access or resources that I or other members of the wellness community have.
3. Episode 28 with Sophie Gray – I just love Sophie’s self-awareness and the impact she is leaving on the world. Her story is powerful and I think it’s one that anyone who preaches health and wellness should listen to.
6. If readers want to find out more about you, check out your recipes, and catch up on episodes of That’s So Maven, where should they go?
Absolutely! I’d love to have you stop by. You can check out the blog where I share recipes, health and wellness tips and my journey to figuring it all out. You can also subscribe to my podcast, That’s So Maven, where I interview “mavens” and shakers in the health and wellness community. Or follow me on social here: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.
Thanks so much to Davida for sharing glimpse into her world with us. Friends, be sure to check Davida out your social channels of choice, and again, I highly recommend following her blog and podcast because this girl inspires me daily!
In the third and final part of the Women In Wellness Mini Series, you’ll meet my friend Mandy. I can’t wait to share her story with you, and if you’d like to leave some questions or comments for Davida on what resonated with you in this post, feel free to do so in the comments below.