Maya Duncan is an Irish food blogger who has gained a substantial following on social media. Maya runs the very successful dancingfoody.com which focuses on health, fitness and well-being.
Maya’s blog posts contain a range of content such as recipes, nutrition advice, interviews, fitness etc.. The Dancing Foody is unique as Maya is one of few teens who is invested in leading a healthy lifestyle as opposed to going out clubbing and eating McDonald’s. I am truly inspired by Maya’s knowledge on a range of topics and the balanced approach she has to food. Maya follows a mainly plant-based diet but ensures that she meets all of her nutritional needs and helps others to do the same.
I was delighted when Maya agreed to answer a few questions for me. We both have very similar philosophies in our health and wellbeing. I hope you enjoy!
- What sparked your initial interest in health?
I have danced from a young age and only just stopped recently because of a back surgery I had. I realised a little while ago that fuelling my body with whole, healthy and delicious foods is how I felt my best. By eating this way it would also help me be my strongest self in dance and going into and recovering from my back surgery. And you know what? It worked and continues to work it’s magic!
- You grew up in Hong Kong but are Australian and Irish. Which country’s cuisine do you enjoy the most and tend to eat more of?
I don’t think I have one preferred cuisine. I have always loved asian food like stir fry’s, curries, spicy veg and more. I am a huge fan of Middle-Eastern cooking (think hummus, falafel, pita etc.) But I also adore veggie burgers, sweet potato fries and more ‘western-y’ things too.
- If you could only eat one breakfast for the rest of your life what would it be?
I’m gonna have to say nice cream/ smoothie bowls. I love porridge but nothing can beat a big bowl of nice cream for me. Topped with everything of course (granola, fresh berries, energy balls, energy bars and more…..)
- You seem to be a very active person. What form of exercise do you most enjoy?
Since I was three I have been a dancer however I had to stop it for a while because of back surgery that I had last March. Maybe I will start it agin in the future but at the moment I am loving pilates, yoga and home workouts.
- How do you balance health and fitness with school and normal teenage life?
I find it easy due to the fact that I am so passionate about food and fitness. If times are getting manic, I make sure to have stuff prepped in the freezer and always have snacks made to grab and go. Another thing I do is bulk cook, so if I am cooking a dinner I will make a few portions to pop in the freezer and take them out when wanted.
- You recently published a blog post about your favourite cookbooks.Which of these is your absolute favourite?
I love so many cookbooks but at the moment I would have to say Roz Purcell’s Half Hour Hero. All the recipes are so simple and quick and you barely need any ingredients. Plus, they are all so DELICIOUS.
- What is a typical day in your diet like?
That depends whether I am in school or not. If I am, brekkie will normally be some porridge made with almond milk and cinnamon, topped with nut butter, berries and maybe some dark chocolate. Otherwise it will be a smoothie bowl (I love to save these for the weekend), avo and hummus on sourdough bread or homemade granola, berries and coconut yoghurt.
Lunch in school is usually a grain salad with quinoa or buckwheat, roasted veg, chickpeas, greens and hummus. Sometimes I will have a veggie wholemeal wrap with the same fillings.
For snacks (during and after school) and dessert I love making homemade banana bread (I have a killer recipe on my blog, if I may say so myself), energy balls, energy bars, apple and nut butter, or yoghurt bowls with coconut yoghurt, berries, granola and a homemade treat.
For dinner I might meal prep a veggie curry with brown rice over the weekend or veggie burgers and sweet potato chips with veg, stir fries, falafels, or whatever I am feeling.
- What are the top 5 ingredients that you always have in your kitchen?
The list for this could go on and on, I just love so many different foods.
My staples though would have to be nut butter (of course), chickpeas, bananas, sweet potatoes and a grain (buckwheat, quinoa, brown rice, oats etc).
- Which do you prefer:
Yoga or Pilates? Ahhhhhh this is such a tough one! I am going to be sneaky and say that for exercise, pilates and for relaxation and restoration, yoga.
Nut Butter or Chocolate? Nut butter. I do love dark chocolate but I don’t think anything can top some good almond or cashew butter for me (smooth all the way.) If I had a choice though I would say dark choccie dipped in nut butter (THE DREAM).
Oats or Smoothie Bowls?
I am going to go for smoothie bowls. I just love them too damn much. Oats have a special place in my heart but smoothie bowls just seal the deal for me.
Nobo or Loving Earth Chocolate? These questions are way too hard. I have a place for both in my life. If I had to choose though, I would say Loving Earth. The salted caramel is incredible.
Hummus or Falafel? This is too difficult, I can’t decide. Hmmm, I will go for hummus. Caramelised onion flavour to be specific. Falafel, I apologise for my behaviour!
- What is your top piece of advice for teens who want to lead a healthier lifestyle?
My biggest piece of advice is not to stress. Food is there to be enjoyed, life is for living. Keep it simple. Try your best to include plenty of plant based foods but there is always room for treats.
You can find Maya on her website dancingfoody.com , on Instagram @dancingfoody or on twitter @dancing_foody. I highly recommend taking a look at her content as it will more than likely spark your motivation to be a little healthier.
Until next time,