Jennifer Wakumelo’s greatest passion lies in creating functional and beautiful solutions for small businesses and entrepreneurs online. Jennifer has been in healthcare for over a decade and started her first blog, Real Food to Heal, from the ground up in 2014. What started as a recipe blog has evolved into a blog that shares more of Jennifer’s family’s interests than just food. Jennifer says there is no room for dogmatic attitudes about diets when it comes to Real Food to Heal. You can learn more about Jennifer at jenniferwakumelo.com or realfoodtoheal.com.
Can you tell us about what motivated you to start Real Food to Heal?
Well actually I struggled with a lot of problems with my health for some time and after trying a bunch of different things and realizing it just wasn’t working I found the solution which is on my about page. I basically just changed my diet and changed my habits with my lifestyle and I was able to, you know, come to a much better health situation and a lot of my friends and family had questions about how I did that.
So rather than just telling the same old story every time I decided I should start a blog about it. And then share the healthy the recipes, the tips, and then, of course, that evolved into a more general lifestyle blog at this point where we just share how we live our lives and things we do and how we kind of maintain the balance and staying healthy.
What have been some of your favorite brand partnerships to-date?
I have had a lot of good brand partnerships. I have to say that – oh gosh. You, know I worked with a company way back when I first started working with you guys. It was a keto supplement I believe it was keto fx and at the time I had just started keto diet to try and see how they would work for me for where I was in life.
It was working really well but I was struggling with the keto flu which I’m not sure if you’re familiar with it’s basically you feel like you have the flu and it’s due to, you know, restricting carbs in such a short period of time. And that supplement was amazing and it was one of the first brand’s I felt like were just the most perfect timing for me to meet with them and I just couldn’t of found a better option. It helped the keto flu and I was able to create some content that I felt was really fitting and I really enjoyed the brand. They were great to work with.
What has been the weirdest request you have received from a brand?
I received an email request through my Instagram contact and they wanted me to post a blog post that was about something completely unrelated to my blog. I think it was a slots game for your android or something. And at first I thought it was spam because it was completely unrelated and the way they wrote it was “this would be perfect for you etc” and I was like uh I don’t know, but it was legitimate. I replied back and I was like “ well thank you for reaching out. I don’t know if this fits my content and I don’t know if my readers will appreciate me sending them this random blog post” but yeah I think that was probably the weirdest one.
What do you recommend for the busy family who struggles to cook healthy meals and is tempted to just eat out all the time? I’m asking for a friend.
I would recommend just a really quick planning session. We use an excel spreadsheet and we just write down like the meal we want to cook, the ingredients it will take, and kind of the amount of time it will take. I know that might sound a little complicated but basically when you list tall of that out you can see which ingredients are common. So when you go to the store you’ll purchase ingredients – let’s say you’re gonna make you are going to make chicken marinara with a side of broccoli and then the next night or a couple nights later you might want to have spaghetti you could just purchase a giant jar of healthier tomato sauce and then you don’t have to worry about not being able to make your meals that you set out. Also frozen vegetables in a steamer bag have been amazing for us.
There has been a lot of research that there is just as much nutrients in the flash frozen vegetables as the fresh and it’s so much easier to throw that bag in the microwave for five minutes and then add your seasoning than to chop your vegetables and figure out how you’re going to cook them. So far us I would say frozen vegetables steamable bags and meal planning. Even if it’s ten minute to write down okay I want to eat these seven meals for my dinners, the leftovers will be lunch, and I’ll do oatmeal every morning or something simple like that. And then you’re prepared when you go to the grocery store and you can make sure you have everything you need and you don’t get tempted. And then thirty minute meals. Max it out at thirty minutes don’t make anything that takes long than that.
Can you tell us a bit about the free seven-day health challenge you feature on your site and why someone would want to take it?
Yes, that’s actually a really good question. So I created that challenge with the idea that, basically exactly what you said, there are so many diets and so many people that advocate for certain diets but not every diet is right for every person. I believe there are certain things are right for every person and I listed those on the health challenge. As you probably noticed drinking enough water, getting up and moving, you know, cleaning out the junk food in your day, cutting down on the sugar those kinds of things are pretty straight forward and across the board regardless of what diet you’re following.
I don’t know of that many diets that, you know, would you to do any of those things, you know, drinking soda or restricting your water intact rather than increasing it. So we kind of came up with – my husband and I kind of came up with a list of things you could implement and start yourself into a healthier lifestyle rather than focusing on this is a diet I’m going to do, this is how I’m changing my lifestyle, little steps, and then after that seven days just repeat it, add to it, or launch yourself into an actual program you prefer. So simple steps kind of baseline for anyone to get started.
What is your favorite social media platform to post to? Do you prefer longform posts or visual-centric mediums?
Instagram is my absolute favorite and that is for the fact that I can do the visuals and the long text. And I feel that with Instagram you have the opportunity to be more creative and artistic with your posts. And then also relay messages and cross promote such as through stories or posting your content to Facebook or Twitter.
Instagram is basically my hub of where I do a lot of my work and then of course the blog as well. It’s pretty easy to take some Instagram posts and build a blog post out of that content because it’s kind of a snippet of what you want to say about the content and then you can build off of that.
Where do you see influencer marketing headed in the next five years or so?
Honestly, based on what we can look at in the last five years I think it’s definitely going to continue to dominate marketing and move into, you know, potentially the majority of what companies are going to use. I think we’ve already seen that with a lot of brands. We’ve seen some brands that primarily and almost exclusively use influencer marketing as opposed to traditional marketing and it can be really successful. So I think it’s just going to continue to, you know, move up