Meet Musavi, the Kenyan fitness foodie who started blogging about her weight loss journey and it blossomed into a food fitness blog with a healthy twist. she talks fitness, loving food and managing to have a healthy meal without limiting yourself to what you can eat.
Why did you choose to venture into food fitness even though it’s a field that is not so popular in Kenya?
I started my blog as a way to document my own weight loss journey and it eventually turned into a food blog with a healthy twist. My biggest weakness when it comes to weight loss has always been what I eat. I found out that no matter how hard I worked out (5 days a week and I run 7 days a week), My eating habits were keeping me from reaching my fitness goals. I LOVE food and not eating was not an option. So I decided to instead put a healthy twist to the things I love. I started sharing these recipes and before I knew it a food blog was formed. I also have some not-so-healthy treats on my blog. This is because I believe that just because one is trying to lose weight and live a healthier life, does not mean that we cannot indulge every once in a very long time.
Many people just work out without minding what they eat, is there a reason why eating healthy is key to losing weight?
There is a saying that “you can’t outwork a bad diet”. I know this from personal experience. You are more likely to lose weight eating a clean diet than eating whatever you want and working out (IMHO). If you read any Weightloss expert, they will tell you that Weightloss and fitness is 80% what you eat and 20% working out. In order to burn off the calories you consume by eating badly, you would have to stay in the gym all day.
If one wants to lose weight without working out, what meals should they eat and which ones should they avoid?
I always encourage everyone to try and work out. Because it is not just about losing weight, but also about getting fit. Working out doesn’t have to be about spending hours in the gym. Just by walking, taking the stairs or skipping rope in your living room is better than nothing. However, if working out is completely out of the question, then going low carb is the solution.
This means that your meals should consist of mostly protein and vegetables. Therefore salads with lean meats (i.e. chicken or fish) are your friend. You should avoid anything made from white flour such as chapatti, bread, mandazi, pasta etc. Also stay away from anything that has too much sugar such as soda, fruit juices, and some tropical fruits such as pineapple and pawpaw. Limit your fruit intake to berries, apples, avocado, peaches etc.
If you are going to introduce carbs into your diet, make sure they are high in fiber such as beans, lentils, wholemeal bread.
Has this always been your dream, have you always wanted to do this?
My dreams have changed over the years. When I was in primary school I wanted to be a judge because I loved watching Judge Judy. I studied political science and then International relations because I wanted to be a lawyer and a diplomat. But the common thread throughout all my different dreams has always been my love for food and my love for cooking. I have also always wanted to run a full marathon and that is what got me into fitness. This blog has allowed me to combine my two great loves, food and fitness and it is an unexpected dream come true.
You have quite a number of followers, does this put pressure on you to do more and more every time.
There is a certain pressure when you feel like you should always have new content and grow your audience. However, as I have grown, I realize that the people who follow you do so because they are interested in what you have already done. In the beginning, I would post anything because I thought I just needed content. As a result, I lost the purpose of my blog which was to share healthy recipes and ended us posting recipes that weren’t well thought out. Now I take my time to make sure that whatever I post, is in line with my mission and goal which is to make healthier versions of the foods we all love.
You at times use oatmeal which has wheat while making your smoothies, isn’t one supposed to avoid anything with wheat while keeping fit.
I think there is a misconception that wheat makes you fat.The problem isn’t wheat in of itself. The problem is that most wheat products we consume are made from refined wheat, which has been stripped of nutritional value and is over processed. To add to this, most of the products made with wheat are then loaded with sugar and fats. Think of the cakes, bread, chapatis and mandazi. All these products are loaded with sugar and some then fried in lots of oil.
I love oats because they are high in fiber and are also gluten free. They are also very versatile and I use them to make pancakes, muffins, cookies etc. The benefit of eating foods high in fiber especially when trying to lose weight is that fiber takes longer to digest and therefore stays longer in your stomach. This is good because you stay fuller for longer and are less tempted to have extra calories in between meals in terms of snacking.
I add oats to my smoothies because I want to make sure that my smoothie is a complete meal and that it will fill me up until my next meal. An added bonus is that oats make smoothies creamier and more enjoyable. An important thing to note is that I put very little oats in my smoothies. Never more than a quarter of a cup which adds about 75 calories to your smoothie.
What are the health benefits of your recipe’s to a pregnant or breastfeeding mom who is trying not to gain a lot of baby fat and also one who is trying to lose it fast
I get this question a lot from new mothers. My response is always that I try to ensure that my recipes are made using fresh and wholesome ingredients. I try to make sure that I have a balanced recipe that has enough carbs, proteins, and micronutrients. It is not so much about calories but feeding your body what it needs. Starving yourself will lead to quick results but the weight will almost always come back when you start eating again.
My advice to pregnant and new mums is not to put pressure on themselves to lose weight. Your body is doing an incredible thing of giving new life. Nourish it and the weight will come off in due time.
For someone who is working out, do you recommend they have the smoothie before or after their workout session
I always workout on an empty stomach because I do “fasted cardio/workout”. A fasted workout is a workout you do on an empty stomach. The reason behind this is that your body then has to work hard and access your reserve energy (fat) to burn off during your workouts.
Therefore, I always have my smoothie immediately after my workout. The smoothie then refuels you and works on rebuilding the muscles you worked.
Do you have any regrets choosing to be a fitness food blogger
So far I have not had any regrets because I believe it makes me accountable in my own fitness journey. Having people who read my blog and follow my weight loss journey is a great motivation. I will admit that sometimes I feel a bit of pressure because everyone expects you to look like a fitness model, but I remind myself that this is my journey and I will take it in my own way.
Unlike the Western world, many ladies in Kenya faithfully avoid working out and staying healthy. What advice would you give to them?
I think the trend in Kenya is changing and most ladies want to lead a healthier life. We have realized that it is not just about looking good, but living longer and passing on these habits to our children. As a new mom, I know that my child will be better off because I have developed better eating habits that will pass on to them.
What Nutritional value do the smoothies add to one’s body?
I always say smoothies and soups are the best way to add a lot of nutrition in a single meal. The great thing about these two is that you can add a variety of ingredients and it will still taste great. Smoothies are great because they ensure that you get your daily dose of fruit and vegetable without even thinking about it. However, You also have to be careful because the calories and carbohydrates in a smoothie can add up. The trick is to always measure everything before adding it to your smoothie and calculate the total calories you are drinking.
Smoothies are also great because you can add superfoods to increase the nutritional value. Adding Chia seeds and flax seeds add extra protein and fiber to your diet.
When did you realize that you wanted to be a full-time blogger?
I am not yet a full-time blogger but that is definitely my goal for 2017. I love that blogging allows you to work at your own pace and also to constantly push yourself to be creative. It also doesn’t hurt to work for yourself.
Mango and Mint Smoothie Bowl
For this smoothie you will need…
-1 Large Mango
– Fresh Mint
– Flax Seeds
– 1/2 Banana
– 1/4 cup on oats
* you can skip the oats if you are watching your carbs
Mix everything in a blender and top it off with some oats, chia seeds and fruit. I used Strawberries and Kiwi to top off my smoothie
Visit Musavi’s blog http://www.thekenyanfitnessfoodie.com/