HealthNut Nutrition founder Nikole Goncalves on eating well without obsessing about it
Nikole Goncalves is the “HealthNut” behind HealthNut Nutrition, a health and wellness company that started with a simple YouTube channel. She’s currently based out of Toronto, but the impetus to launch her own business came six years ago, when she was backpacking through Australia with her husband Matt. I spoke with her about her upcoming cookbook, The HealthNut Cookbook, and how she balances healthy living without feeling deprived of food she loves.
Why did you start HealthNut Nutrition?
I started HealthNut Nutrition as a way to document my wellness journey and stay motivated along the way, while inspiring and connecting with other like-minded people around the world. I wasn’t always the green smoothie drinking, salad chomping, avocado loving girl I am today – I used to skip breakfast and drink coffee until noon; I was a sugar addict, stress case and a workaholic. All of these things, and many more, were negatively affecting both my physical and mental health, and I knew.
What I didn’t realize is that HealthNut would grow into such an amazing worldwide community. I officially left my nine to five corporate marketing job in January 2017 to pursue my dream of writing my very first cookbook, while inspiring others to live an active, balanced and healthy lifestyle by showing how easy and delicious it can be!
What are your tips for eating right without obsessing about it?
For me, balance in all aspects of life is key, but just like my work-life balance, sometimes the scale will tilt slightly more one way. That’s normal and just life.
I like to say it’s what you do most of the time and not all the time that really matters. When it comes to food, I live by the 80-20 rule. I eat healthy 80% of the time, while leaving room for sweets and life the other 20% of the time. I remind myself that depriving myself of one craving will only lead to several more.
I allow myself to eat the cookie, enjoy it mindfully, then move on without creating too much focus on what I can and “can’t” eat, because food shouldn’t be all about rules and dieting.
What are some recipes in your book that are great for someone who might only get to go grocery shopping once a week?
I get it, not everyone has the luxury of going to a nearby market on a daily basis to get their fresh produce. Even for me, life gets busy and I’m lucky if I make it to the store once or twice a week to stock up.
I like to grab kitchen staples with a longer shelf life to have on hand, so I can easily whip up some of my go-to meals. My Easy Peasy Pesto Pasta, Chickpea Curry in a Hurry, or Quickie Turkey Chili all use a mixture of pantry staples like pasta, beans, and frozen vegetables.
Having three to five go-to, easy meals on the back burner (no pun intended) that you can whip up last minute, and know you probably have everything you need already stocked, can come in very handy during busy weeks.
For someone reading this article, and wanting to take the first step away from their office desk and towards their home kitchen to start their own health business, what would be your advice?
It took me years to make the leap, and when I finally did it was a bit of a rocky start, but now looking back it was the best decision I ever made. That being said, don’t feel rushed to leave your full-time job, as it’s probably what is funding your side hustle.
At times, it can look like everyone is making the leap when you’re eager to do the same, but just remember you are on your own path and timeline, so don’t get distracted or discouraged by someone else’s.
I would recommend using your main income to help fund and grow your side hustle until you reach a point that you feel financially secure to make the decision comfortably.
Last question: Burgers or cheesecake?
That’s easy, cheesecake all the way!