“If you want to stand out in life, don’t be different; be the wynn’er you were destined to be,” proclaims lifestyle specialist and renaissance woman Maisha Wynn.
The Chicago native has turned personal tragedy and unexpected setbacks into her personal mission to help people live up to their truest potential and beyond by starting a lifestyle consulting firm called Live To Wynn. As a former size 20 who now maintains a size four through a plant-based diet and exercise, Maisha utilizes her personal experiences to promote triumph in life.
N’DIGO recently sat down with Wynn to learn more about her story and testimony.
N’DIGO: In your own words, who is Maisha Wynn?
Maisha Wynn: Inspirational and aspirational! I’m the perfect example of what life is like after choosing to become one’s best self – mentally, physically and spiritually!
What is Live To Wynn and what inspired you to create it?
We’re a lifestyle-consulting firm that provides aspirational and practical guidance for individuals who want to live more abundantly. Currently, Live To Wynn produces workshops, special events and social media content to achieve its goals. As the firm’s principal, I speak around the country and provide uplifting editorial content to various media outlets (from the Rachael Ray Show to ABC7 Chicago).
As a thriver, I’ve learned you never know how truly resilient you are until you’ve reached your lowest point in life. I found my true power and passion after overcoming two major life events: the passing of my beloved mother due to a myriad of health issues, and being downsized from my six-figure career in advertising due to the economy. In the midst of these crises, I made a conscious decision to convert my emotions, energy and talents into action by launching my brainchild, Live To Wynn.
You recently made a bit of herstory as the first vegan chef to open and close at the Lifeway Foods Taste Kitchen at the Taste of Chicago. Please tell us about that experience.
I was selected as the first vegan chef to open and close at the Lifeway Foods Taste Kitchen, a space where celebrity and local chefs prepare their signature dishes, while inspiring their followers to create their own culinary masterpieces at home. It was indeed an honor and unforgettable experience to headline the culinary festivities as a celebrity vegan chef, especially as an African-American woman who grew up on the South Side of Chicago.
Some may view veganism as a bit of a fad or think it drastically restricts food options. What are some common misconceptions you find people have? And can you put them to rest?
Though we make up a small fraction of the population, the demand for vegan food has been catapulting in the last few years. Just take a walk through your local grocery store and you’ll find an array of different non-dairy milks and a variety of plant-based cheeses and burgers.
The biggest misconceptions about being vegan:
– Vegans eat rabbit food! Sure, vegans do eat salads, but we also eat pizza, tacos, smoothies, chocolate, falafels and pancakes. Did you know that you could make cheese out of cashews? Or ice cream out of frozen bananas?
– Vegans don’t get enough protein. It is very easy for a vegan lifestyle to meet the recommendations for protein. Nearly all vegetables, beans, grains, nuts, and seeds contain some, and often much, protein. Did you know broccoli contains more protein per calorie than steak? Red meat takes 30 days to digest though your system.
– Vegans can’t get enough calcium without dairy. Through a vegan lifestyle you can easily meet your calcium needs from plant-based sources like collard greens, kale, beans, chia seeds, tahini, and tofu.
– Eating vegan is expensive. Incorrect! The vegan lifestyle is the most inexpensive diet on this planet. Coming from a family plagued with a lot of health issues like diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol, I knew I could pay for my health through medication or food. I decided to make food my medicine.
There are so many ways to buy fresh, organic produce like shopping at your neighborhood famers market where they take LINK. Not to mention, vegan staples like beans, legumes, pasta, and grains are among the least expensive when shopping. And, when dining out, nearly every restaurant charges more for meat-heavy entrees than vegetarian fare.
Amongst your various accomplishments, you can also claim being a published author. What can you tell us about your book, The Wynning Way: A Guide to Creating Success Your Way?
The book shows the readers how to develop their own winning lifestyles through exercises that inspire self-awareness. Throughout the book, I share my personal journey from tragedy to triumph and offer inspirational nuggets on the power of prayer, the effect of positive thinking, plus affirmations to help those who desire to live abundantly!
Please talk about your non-profit work and the organizations that you work with.
When you focus on being a blessing to others, God will bless you abundantly! Over the past four years, my company and I have given back to the community in a big way (from funding arts education programs for youth to working closely with returning citizens who have been given a second chance at life). The feeling has been truly gratifying to my spirit and soul, as the creator of Live To Wynn.
How do you find the time to maintain a healthy balance with your various projects and your personal life?
Simple, listening to my body. I’ve learned over the years that I am no good to others if I am not great to myself first. When my body tells me I need to rest, I REST. Is this always easy? No! I am a driver, which means I am constantly thinking and creating, but taking time for Maisha Wynn is so necessary for my life and legacy. I find joy and peace in walking outside and being disconnected from my devices. Listening to the sounds and allowing the sun to kiss my cheek makes my heart beam bright!
What’s the last great book you read?
Let Love Have The Last Word by one of the greatest MCs of all time, Common. I love his play on words and transparency. My spirit felt him when he wrote: “Despite our flaws, we are good enough as we are now, and sometimes in our daily lives we forget that there’s nothing inherently wrong with us in the moment. But we can always do better, be better, to ourselves and to our loved ones, and to the world.”
Best advice or words of wisdom?
In my book/journal, The Wynning Way, I have an entire chapter discussing personal branding. Jeff Bezos once said: “Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room. I’ve learned we are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called Y-O-U.
What is something people would be surprised to know about you?
I have never eaten pork, which is a staple in the black community. My beloved mother was strongly against eating swine, after going to a farm as a teenager.
Favorite quote or affirmation?
What I tell myself daily: “I am love and light for all the world to see!”
What’s next for Maisha Wynn and Live To Wynn?
Everything is next for Live To Wynn! We are a positive force here to transform the minds of those interested in making significant changes in their lives. We are gearing up for our week-long culinary tour during World Vegan Month in November; finalizing our second book that will come out in the first quarter of 2020; and securing our national TV contract.
What I have learned is that we find our greatest strength in our lowest point in life. It’s in the midst of our darkness that we actually find our power. We are the light for the world to see, feel and embrace!
For more information on Maisha, visit www.livetowynn.com, on FB & IG – LiveToWynn and Twitter – LiveToWynn1