We chat to health and wellbeing guru Neda Varbanova about her Healthy with Nedi empire and so much more! We just love her!
We absolutely looove Healthy with Nedi! What gave you the inspiration to launch?
Thank you so much!! I started Healthy with Nedi because I wanted to share healthy yet at the same time flavorful recipes and show people they could still eat their favorite foods without sacrificing taste. I grew up in a household in which my mother prepared meals with nothing short of simple, wholesome ingredients. No matter how busy she was, she made sure the entire family had healthy options available, even if that meant a quick salad or soup.
When I first moved to the United States, I was shocked at the dietary differences. As silly as it may sound, I had never tried mac and cheese or even heard of a Hot Pocket prior to moving here. This complete culture shock influenced me to take initiative at my high school, where I helped develop the school’s first health club. I soon realized my passion was health and nutrition, and I continued my education in the field post-high school.
Afterward finishing my business and marketing degree, I felt like something was missing. I enrolled in the graduate program at NYU Steinhardt, earning a degree in food studies. I then went on to get certified in culinary nutrition from the Natural Gourmet Institute, and I became a health coach through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York.
What has been one of your best career highlights so far?
Honestly, getting to work with clients and helping them reach their goals is so fulfilling. Not only that but sharing my recipes with all of my IG followers and seeing how much they have helped many of them, feels so rewarding. Working with different brands and meeting other influencers through IG has been an incredible experience. We have an amazing loving and supporting community that I cherish so much.
I love Dr.Lipp’s original nipple balm because it is 100% natural and I am a huge believe of using clean beauty products. Our skin is our largest organ so it is important that we use products without harmful ingredients. I also love that this balm can literally be used in so many different ways than just the lips.
What has been your biggest challenge so far?
If you had told me 2 years ago that I would have been doing IGTV cooking videos I would not have believed you. Lol… I was so nervous to get in front of the camera but with practice I slowly started to feel more at ease with it.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Don’t be afraid of change. Growth cannot happen if you are constantly comfortable. It is important to step outside of your comfort zone, to learn new things and have new experiences.
What is an average day like for you?
My schedule is different day to day. Some days I wake up early, work out, shower, have breakfast, head to wholefoods and then to a client’s house for a private cooking session that usually takes 4-5 hours. It is a lot of fun as I love being in the kitchen. Other days, I see clients for one on one nutritional consultations or have meetings with brands, shoot cooking videos/ content, edit blog posts and work on recipe creation. No matter what it is, my schedule is usually full and I love being so productive.
Do you have any tips for balancing such a busy schedule?
Yes, working out in the morning helps me clear my head and I always go to bed with a meditation from the Calm app. Also – calendar is everything!
What do you do in your down time?
When I do have some time to myself I love to read novels. One of my favorite authors is Colleen Hoover. I discovered her a few months ago and have ordered most of her books. I also love to spend time in the kitchen, cooking yummy recipes with my mom and grandma. It always relaxes me and it’s a great bonding experience.
Which beauty products can you not live without?
I recently discovered Ilia Beauty SPF Tinted Serum and love it!
Can you tell us your best beauty tips?
Our skin is a reflection of our health, the nutrients, and the food we put inside our bodies. I make sure to eat a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables and avoid processed foods. I also drink plenty of water! I encourage all of my clients to aim for 2-3 liters per day. If the water tastes boring, add ginger, lemongrass, cucumber, lemon and mint for extra flavor. Always remove makeup before going to sleep so your pores don’t get clogged overnight and wear sunscreen daily!
What is next for Healthy with Nedi?
A lot has changed in the past year, and I am so proud of how far my brand has come. My vision includes a lot of product development. I’m working on many exciting projects, but the most important one at the moment is the Nedi Paleo Bagels. I posted a low-carb bagel recipe back in April 2019 without thinking much about it, and it did really well with engagement. People even asked if I would sell them! After months of researching, I am officially working on launching my own bagel product that I will sell throughout New York City (and hopefully nationwide).
If you could encourage others to make one lifestyle change today, what would it be?
Start your day with a grateful heart and try meditating for 10 minutes. It may sound boring to some, but there are fantastic guided meditations on the Calm app that can turn around your entire day. Our mental health is so important, and I find that if we don’t have that part of our life balanced, it is difficult to have anything else in check.