@delicious_and_healthy_by_maya | "Only Accept the Collaborations Your Future Self Would be Proud Of"

Maja is a plant based food blogger and influencer who has crafted a clear direction of intent on Instagram; to promote sustainable recipes that spark the imagination. Her range of dishes and bright, colourful content has given her feed a vibrant aesthetic that stimulates her engaged following.

A love and a belief in what she produces ultimately fuels her collaborations and maintains a level of unwavering authenticity that continues to draw attention from foodies and collaborations alike.

How and why did you get into content creation?

I guess starting my Instagram account was the first step. Before that, I had absolutely no contact with any kind of content creation (besides experimenting in the kitchen and writing down recipes in my little book). My Instagram/blogging journey started three years ago, with no agenda whatsoever. I just wanted to share my passion for healthy and delicious food - Thus the name: Delicious and Healthy by Maya.

Before that time I had already been hosting cooking workshops and really enjoyed doing them because it felt amazing being able to influence lives - but I also felt that I wanted to do it on a larger scale. I wanted to share my passion for healthy food and healthy sustainable living and to motivate more people to try something different. My goal was to promote something new and uncomplicated to people's lives, through recipes that could potentially make them healthier and happier. I wanted to show that healthy food can be easy to prepare, delicious and exciting.

Back then I was taking my pictures with my iPhone camera and had no clue how to be, or become, a content creator - and becoming one wasn’t really on my agenda. It just kind of happened after I reached the magical 10k and I started to be approached by brands and agencies. I tried and pushed myself, and learned along the way. It was a journey of trial and error but I can say that on that journey I acquired a whole set of new skills in addition to recipe creating and cooking: food styling, photography and editing, writing and managing social media. It hasn’t been easy but it certainly was rewarding on so many levels. The most important thing I learned was that learning new skills and challenging yourself to go out of your comfort zone makes you grow as a person.

How did you get into healthy, plant-based recipes?

I have always been into healthy eating and living a healthy lifestyle, ever since my childhood. As a child, I was never fussed about eating sweets, and actually loved the “grown-up” food. I even used to gladly taste all the weird stuff my parents ate, like frog’s legs, caviar, all the seafood, even cabbage stews traditionally made in my home country. Our mother cooked simple Mediterranean dishes and that gave me a really good start with my own cooking. My own cooking journey started around the age of ten.

It was back then that I fell in love with everything about food, and especially healthy food. Although I always loved eating healthy, I decided to go plant-based during my pregnancy. I suffered from Hyperemesis, which is basically a terrible never-ending morning sickness that lasted three whole months. I had lost a lot of weight and later I found I just couldn’t tolerate meat, dairy or any other refined food until the end of my pregnancy, even after the birth. That’s when I discovered the macrobiotic way of eating, which helped me solve my problems with nausea and indigestion.

Intrigued, I sought out several macrobiotic cooking classes where I learned the basics of plant-based cooking. After that, I was ready to start my own plant-based recipe creation journey.

How do you decide what to share and what to keep private?

I much value my privacy and don’t really share much of it online. And whenever I do, I do it with an intent to educate, inspire or motivate. Most people don’t even know my age (which is 43) or that I have 18-year-old daughter. I sometimes mention her and my husband in my posts but don’t share much of our personal life, only the little glimpses I find amusing and inspiring.

Any tips and tricks you'd like to share with other creators?

Only accept the collaborations you know your future self would be proud of. And whenever you really love the brands you work with, be proactive, try and do a little extra free of charge. But also, know your own worth - never underestimate yourself because if you don’t appreciate what you do, no one else will.

Favourite place to travel?

The tropics, or anywhere warm with beautiful beaches and nature. On my bucket list are: Hawaii, French Polynesia, Phillipines, Bali. In Europe my favourite cities, I can’t wait to visit again, are Stockholm and Lisbon.

What camera and editing software do you use?

For taking pictures I use Canon 5D Mark II with 50mm f1,4 lens and for editing Adobe Lightroom. I used to edit in Camera Raw but ever since I started using Lightroom I totally fell in love with it for it is so much easier to use and I love creating presets that speed up all the edits. It used to take me ages to edit pictures for blog posts. Now I’m done in a fraction of time. Edit the first and apply on the rest. Easy peasy.

How would you describe your style?

Colourful, light and...happy.

Tell us something no one knows about you.

Not something nobody knows, maybe something my followers don’t know: my social awkwardness and anxiety of being photographed or filmed. Starting to take videos and pictures of myself and posting them on Instagram was a huge leap out of my comfort zone. But I pushed myself and now I can almost say that I’m comfortable in front of the camera (well, almost). And the social awkwardness... I feel out of place and weird at any kind of crowded social gatherings, especially parties. I don’t drink alcohol which probably makes it worse since people feel like they should encourage me to join them but I just don’t handle it well (I literally can get drunk after one drink). I always feel like I just wanna go home. But occasions like dinner parties up to say 10-15 people - I really love.

What’s been your favourite collaboration to date?

I have to say the recent one with Whalar and UN Take Your Seat for contributing to such an important campaign. And in the past, the one with IKEA on sustainability at home - in which I wrote about ways of saving energy and water in one’s home, and about reducing waste (especially food waste) through recycling and reusing. It felt amazing to have been a part of such a great project that potentially contributed to a great cause.

What made you fall in love with producing content?

Being able to create and share. It always gets me excited to create new recipes - especially when I veganize or transform unhealthy recipes into healthy and wholesome ones (especially desserts). Knowing that I can motivate and inspire my followers through creating, to eat healthily, to exercise, to make changes for the better and to invest in themselves in every way makes me happy.

People that inspire you on Instagram (or generally)?

There are so many stunning accounts on Instagram and it’s hard to mention just a few but I’ll pick a few foodie ones that I adore for the people behind them. Not just for being amazing recipe creators and photographers, are also kind souls and wonderful friends. Marisa @missmarzipancom, Bo @bos.kitchen, Nisha @rainbowplantlife, Amy @amylecreations Natalie @feastingonfruit, Bianca @biancazapatka, and Bea @bealubas.

If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self, what would it be?

Don’t be afraid to follow your dreams because you can do it.

Something you couldn't live without.

Chia pudding! But seriously, what's most important in life are my loved ones and my work.

What words sum up your job?

Sharing Healthy Delicious Life.

Follow Maja, and all her health inspired inspo, here.