WHEN I FIRST MET NEDA she was at Cipriani in New York City eating a cucumber salad, ahi tuna, & enjoying a few Nedi Martinis ( we’ll get to the recipe, don’t worry ). It was so random- we ran into each other after following each other on Instagram. Instantly we became fast friends. Sure, she’s BEAUTIFUL! But she’s also really fucking cool too.
Recently Neda flew out to Create & Cultivate in LA and we met up for drinks ( again, Nedi Martinis- which got me loose! HA ) and talked all things blogging. I have been wanting to introduce you guys for a while so I’m super stoked she’s finally on the blog. Also, I was on her blog, Healthy with Nedi, last week- so when you’re done with this interview head over to Neda’s blog to read my interview & stalk her tips.
This interview is a GOOD ONE, so sit back, relax, & maybe even make yourself a martini. I mean, it’s fitting for this interview? Alright, alright meet Neda:
+ TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOU & YOUR BACKGROUND IN WELLNESS.
Neda Varbanova: Hello everyone! My name is Neda Varbanova and I created Healthy With Nedi three years ago as I platform where I can share healthy recipes, nutrition & wellness tips, travel guides, and all the things I love and believe in with my community.
I am a certified health coach through IIN, have a certificate in culinary nutrition from the Natural Gourmet Institute and in the last semester of my master degree in Food Studies at NYU.
+ GG CRACKERS! OUR MUTUAL LOVE- WHY DO YOU LOVE THEM?
NV: YES! We did bond over our love for GG’s ( YOU KNOW I LOVE GG CRACKERS )! Well first of all, they really are the shit. Not only are they super filling, but really beneficial in so many ways. Fiber speeds up the metabolism, flushes out toxins from the body and you will never ever have a constipation problem.
I will always be so grateful to my dear friend, Tanya Zuckerbrot ( she was on TSC podcast, listen here! ), for introducing me to them many years ago and they have been a part of my daily diet ever since.
+ WHAT’S A DAY IN THE LIFE OF EATING? I WOULD LOVE TO SEE THREE DAYS OF EXACTLY WHAT YOU EAT.
NV: You know, I am so happy that you asked me to give an example of three days so all of your readers can see how versatile and satisfying my diet is. During the week I usually start my day with a workout, followed by a bowl of berries, but if it is a weekend I might skip the gym and dive straight into pancakes or cauliflower muffins. I love being in the kitchen & the weekends really give me the opportunity for recipe testing and being more creative with my meals.
breakfast: 1 cup of raspberries
lunch: arugula salad with mushrooms, goat cheese, grilled chicken, avocado, & juice of 1 lemon as dressing. I usually order from Sweetgreen.
snack: sliced bell pepper with 2 tbsp hummus
breakfast: pumpkin pancakes
lunch: miso soup, small green salad with ginger dressing on side, salmon sashimi and a spicy tuna roll without rice, wrapped in cucumber ( naruto style ).
snack: 4 GG crackers with a mixture of 1 egg, feta cheese & mozzarella cheese. I top the crackers with this mixture and bake in oven for 10 minutes on 350F.
dinner: grilled branzino with a side of steamed spinach and garlic
breakfast: cauliflower muffins
lunch: tuna tartar with arugula salad and a side of lentils from my favorite restaurant, Amaranth!
snack: Rawrev’s chocolate chip bar. I am not a big fan of protein bars, but this one is so delicious and it’s vegan, gluten-free, has 11g of protein, 13g of fiber & only 6g net carbs!
dinner: cauliflower rice sushi
+ WHAT’S YOUR WORKOUT SCHEDULE- YOUR BODY IS BANGING.
NV: Thank you! I workout 5 days a week and do a variety of exercises. 3 days I usually train with my trainer and we focus on strength training to build more muscle with 3-5 HIIT sprints at the end of the workout. The other 2 days, I either go to Pilates, boxing or do a quick 28 minute BBG workout in my gym.
+ SKINNY SECRET?
NV: Chilies! I love everything and anything spicy. Chili peppers rev up the metabolism and help you burn fat, so sprinkle a little on your meals to see the benefits.
One more secret– I am all about replacing naughty foods with better alternatives.
My current obsession is linguine made from heart of palm! You are eating a vegetable that looks like pasta but without all the carbs and calories. I got these plant-based, all natural noodles from Amazon that only contain 1g of net carbs. I love that I can eat them without feeling bloated or worried that I had too many carbs for dinner.
+ YOU LOVE YOUR MARTINIS! GIVE US THE JUICY DETAILS.
NV: Yes, I definitely do love my Nedi Martinis. The trick is to keep cocktails as simple as possible & avoid sugary mixers. I drink almost EVERYDAY unless I am sick. Alcohol does not cause weight gain, sugary mixers do. So, I keep it simple with a vodka on the rocks, 3 lime wedges, & a splash of water. My boyfriend calls this ‘The Nedi Drink’- LOL. If I am feeling like a cocktail then my go-to is a vodka martini with muddled cucumber, mint, & a tiny splash of fresh lime juice.
This is my ultimate SKINNY MARTINI recipe. CHEERS!
+ YOU’RE GLOWING- WHAT ARE YOU BEAUTY TIPS? GIVE US 3!
NV: Thank you so much! I am sure you have heard this MANY times, but I always wash my make up off before going to bed. Even if I come home after a night of fun & too many Nedi Martinis, I still wake up with a clean, fresh face. My second beauty tip is micro-blading. It may sound scary to some people, but it is honestly THE BEST thing I EVER got done.
My eyebrows used to be super thin from tweezing & waxing to the point where I couldn’t leave the house without eyebrow liner. Now I never have to worry if one eyebrow is more filled than the other.
Lastly- less is more!! My boyfriend always prefers me with natural make up over a face full of contour, fake lashes, red lips…you get the point.
+ WHAT’S NEDI INTERVALS? WE NEED TO KNOW MORE!
NV: Intervals are so great and efficient for burning fat. I used to be a long distance runner in high school & continued running my heart out on the Treadmill for years after that. It is a great escape, but totally unnecessary. If you are trying to lose weight, the best way to do is with weight lifting and HIIT sprints. I usually start with a 3 minute jog, then increase my speed to a run for 2-3 minutes and then for the next 15 minutes I will do 30-40 sec sprint, 30-60 sec rest, & repeat.
+ WHAT ARE SOME TIPS TO TIGHTENING UP QUICKLY?
NV: Avoid eating carbs at night and try workout on an empty stomach. Carbs are a great source of energy & let’s be real- I love a good bolognese, but overeating them will do no good for the tummy. If you eat a bowl of pasta at night, chances are it will be stored as fat since you are going to sleep & can’t use it for energy.
My other tip is workout before breakfast. The idea of exercising with an empty stomach is that when you squeeze in a morning gym session before breakfast, your body burns fat faster as it uses stored fat for energy.
+ FAVORITE SNACKS?
NV: I love grilled zucchini with tzatziki. It is so Greek, but so yummy and super healthy. If I am on the go then I will make a GG sandwich with mustard, turkey, cheese and sliced cucumber or I top my GG’s with lutenitsa and a little bit of Bulgarian feta cheese. Lutenitsa is a roasted red pepper spread and used to be my FAVE growing up.
+ BEST ADVICE FOR SOMEONE WHO’S LOOKING TO CLEAN UP THEIR DIET? ALSO !! TELL US ABOUT YOUR EBOOK.
NV: Start out by eating simple. By this, I do not mean boring – just pick out fresh, clean ingredients. Focus on adding more fruits and vegetables into your diet and avoid greasy, fried foods. I love making substitutions and my motto is to eat your favorite guilty meal in a healthy way. Instead of having a greasy pizza, make a cauliflower crust pizza that will blow your mind & it will save you A TON of calories and carbs.
I also love doing a mini vegan detox by removing dairy and meat from my diet for a few days to let my digestive system reset. I created the 7 Day Vegan Detox to help people lose weight while detoxifying. It is super sustainable as it is only 7 days & everyone who tried it, absolutely loved it.
+ WHERE TO FIND YOU?
SHOP NEDI’S HEALTHY FAVORITES: