Q&A with Sonja Dahlgren of Well and Vibrant
You've built Well and Vibrant into an amazing blog and community - how you start it and how did it begin to gain traction?
It actually started with my first blog dagmarskitchen.se back in 2011. When I started Dagmar's Kitchen, it was a creative outlet for me, where I got to play with produce and ingredients + styling and photography to create recipes and food photography. And when I got more and more into "healthy" foods, the blog turned into an experimental place where I had fun with alternatives to refined sugar, healthier flour options (GF + paleo baking etc.) and, even if I've never completely cut out meat or fish/seafood from my diet, the recipes were always plant based (although not always 100% vegetarian).
Well And Vibrant was born early last year (2017) when I had the diagnosis fibroids. I was told my only options were to get on the pill, hormone spiral and/or to have a TCRE. I thought about it for a while, did more research and decided that none of that was for me. It just didn't feel right. I wanted to find out if there were other ways to minimize the symptoms and feel more balanced. I found Alisa Vitti and Woman Code and it changed everything. Suddenly there was someone talking about the possibility to stabilize hormones and minimize both PMS and heavy/painful periods, and naturally shrink fibroids - with food and lifestyle changes. Shortly after that I decided to start blogging over at my main website and to change my Instagram name to @wellandvibrant and start focusing on hormonal balancing foods and to help other women find balance through food- and lifestyle choices.
Your food is always so colorful and beautifully styled. What are some food styling tips you would give to beginners?
Thank you! My best tips are to use the best produce available (preferably local and seasonal) and use the natural colors of the food to make your food and photos pop. Fresh herbs, salts, seeds etc. are also always helpful to add texture and interest to a dish!
Walk us through your favorite morning routine.
On weekdays it is almost always the same since I have a family: Me and my husband wake up at 6.45. I brush my teeth and get dressed to walk the dog - we walk fast, so it’s always workout clothes! I then wake my kids up, and once they’re ready we have breakfast together. I only have coffee in the mornings, and the first cup is sooo good! I love to have some kind of sandwich with my coffee, and my favorite is homemade seed bread (recipe on my site) or swedish crisp bread with avocado and dukkah. After brekkie the kids take their bikes to school, my husband goes to work and I take our dog Leia out for a long walk. Once back home I either hit the gym for a weight lifting session, or start working (all depending on my deadlines for the day/week).
You have such a gorgeous, healthy glow. Can you walk us through your green skincare routine and your current favorite products.
Oh, I love green skincare! And when I was diagnosed with fibroids, I immediately started transitioning to natural products, and in a few weeks I had thrown all the toxic products out and replaced them with natural and non-toxic products. I love the Swedish brand Maria Åkerberg for my body - they have lovely oils, body lotions etc. and is locally produced in Varberg just south of Gothenburg. I also love to use products like sugars and salts from my pantry to make body scrubs. For my face I currently use Juice Beauty Stem Cellular moisturizer and eye treatment. For make-up I absolutely love RMS Beauty - their coconut oil based products are perfect for aging skin (I turn 45 this summer) since they make your skin look soft and vibrant!
Your work is always so creative. I look at your feed and always feel like I'm seeing something new. Where do you get your inspiration?
Since I work from home for the most part (but sometimes on location too of course), I really need to get out every now and then to see something ”new”. It can be as simple as having lunch with a friend in the city, or shopping for flowers/plants. But I think I get inspired the most when travelling and being away from home for a while. Of course I also get very inspired by the work of others! Some of my favorites are: @kaleintheclouds@leefromamerica@alison__wu@wellnesswithcourtnie@veggiekins@lexiborr - to name a few!
What is your favorite Well and Vibrant recipe?
I think it has to be my seed bread! It is a very versatile recipe, both seeds and the sorghum flour can be swapped for almost any other seeds/gluten free flour. I often eat it for breakfast, but it’s also perfect for a fast lunch filled with hummus and greens. You can find it on my site http://www.sonjadahlgren.com/blog/2017/12/8/my-go-to-gluten-free-seed-and-sorghum-bread
What are your intentions for the year? What does the future of Well and Vibrant look like?
My intentions for the year is to find time and inspiration to write more lifestyle/wellness articles for the blog. And I’m thinking of switching back to Swedish on the blog (not on IG) because I think there is too little information in for Swedish women on how to shrink fibroids and to find balance with food.
Is there anything else you would like to highlight about your work or would like people to know about you?
On my IG it may seem like I never eat or do anything ”unhealthy”, which is definitely not true! When it comes to food I follow a rough 80/20 rule: 80 percent of my time I eat healthy and clean food, and for 20 percent I eat and drink whatever I fancy, in moderation of course. But I do love a few drinks (red wine and champagne!) and a few other indulgences like pizza, candy and potato chips on the weekend! But I always try to sneak in some kind of workout or dog walk whether it’s a weekday or the weekend - because I LOVE to move my body!
Best wishes, Sonja