Koya Webb is an internationally recognized holistic health and wellness coach, author, motivational speaker, and professional fitness model who is helping revolutionize raw/vegan cuisine, yoga and the holistic living landscape.
She is a highly regarded expert source and editorial contributor with national media online and with appearances on NBC, CBS, and the Steve Harvey Show. Her holistic health, detox and lifestyle tips have been featured in Essence, Oxygen, Vegan Health and Fitness, Max Sport and Fitness, and Muscle and Performance among others.
We caught up with Koya, who will be leading a workshop at the Natural Hair & Health Summit in Atlanta this weekend, to discover how she is spreading love and inspiring people to live the healthiest life they desire one practical step at time!
What’s your advice for people interested in going vegan?
Koya: I think the first step is eating real foods – fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds – and getting away from all the processed, packaged and fast foods. I think that’s a start. Whenever I do a challenge, I try to stress to people it’s about eating real food more than anything else and your connection with your food, rather than being 100% vegan or 100% vegetarian or Paleo or whatever. You could be an unhealthy vegan, an unhealthy vegetarian, an unhealthy whatever label you want to put on it, if you’re not eating real food. I think you do better not eating animals but if you eat vegan donuts all day, that’s not healthy. So I think the most important part that I want to stress is being healthy, eating fruits and vegetables, and moving away from processed and fast foods. I help people realize how you can get all of your proteins, carbohydrates and fats on a vegan, plant-based diet.
Why do you think your clients, fans and followers love your approach to this lifestyle?
Koya: People love how inclusive I am. I’m not judgmental. I make it easy and I make it taste good. I try to let new vegans realize we’re making the world a better place and we’re saving people. I say be gentle because it’s about being inclusive. A lot of people don’t want to sit at the table and be ridiculed about what they’re eating. I lead with love and it’s about embracing people and showing them how vegan food can taste good, and how easy it is to have a smoothie a day, a salad a day and a veggie meal a day. You can still be wholesome and still eat with your family and your friends. I think the best feedback I’ve got from my coaching is that I help people realize like, “Man! This is not really hard. It’s actually easy.”
There are many people in the Black community living in food deserts. How do they overcome that obstacle?
Koya: I definitely addressed this issue in my first book, Foods You Love that Love You Back. It was based on me going to Costco and whatever place I had to, getting all the fresh fruits and veggies that I liked and learning to be creative. How can I make something out of this? And, as creative as we are as a community, I know that we can do it. I encourage people in food deserts in different parts of the world to take what you have and use what you have to make the most of it. And we’re used to that because that’s what we did even back in the day. We took what we had and made the best of that. I know that that is possible and that’s what I teach to people.
When I’m in those communities I go out shopping and go to farmer’s markets, we find local gardens, and if those gardens are not there, we need to build those gardens. So we have to use local farmer’s markets, co-ops, and grocery stores that we have and decide “How can I make a healthy meal? How can I make a salad or a veggie dish out of what we have?” There’s still things like brown rice and lentils that make sustainable dishes that are available pretty much around the world. And so I speak from that place. But I don’t say “Oh yeah. Of course no matter where in the world you are you can have this diet that I’m eating.” It’s possible to have a healthy diet no matter where you are but you have to find what works for you based on where you’re at, and that’s something I specialize in depending on what part of the country a person is in.
How has yoga transformed your life?
Koya: I definitely have to say that yoga is my best friend. It connected me to my soul and my soul essence. My hope is through my teaching and through meditation, I can help others connect with their soul because that can help guide you to the right diet – which is what it did for me – to the right lifestyle – which is what it did to me – to my career success – this is what it did for me. So yoga to me was a direct connection to God and my soul. That is what yoga is and all the benefits of detoxing, stretching and toning the body. It yokes you to your soul, your spirit, your essence. Once you feel that you can now start to see it in others. You can get rid of all our differences and everyone’s different personalities and the ways of living, eating and being and you can connect to that soul essence of who they are, that God within and that’s the connection and that’s what I want to deliver as I share yoga. The whole idea of oneness is to let people know that it’s possible and that is, I feel, our purpose on earth – to stay connected and to share this experience growing on a soul level throughout our human experience.
We know you stay extremely busy with traveling and educating, but what’s a typical day like for you?
Koya: There is little routine in my life and I actually yearn for it! I love it and I’m definitely not tired of it; I don’t see myself stopping anytime soon. But at the same time, having a base, which I do have in Tennessee but I’m never there, it’s really important. But no matter where I travel or where I go in the world, I try to start my day with meditation, with connecting, because nothing is normal about my life and I live every day of my life open to whatever that day has to bring me. Like if you ask me what I’m going to do today, I have a couple of meetings, a couple more appointments. But then, outside of that, my life could lead me to San Diego. I could end up at the beach. I could end up in the office. I could end up on a plane flying somewhere. I don’t even know.
I like dining out, whether it’s fine dining or a hole in the wall spot that has the best vegan lasagna I’ve ever tasted. I love to eat. I’m a foodie. I’m a vegan foodie. So I try to get that in. I try to drink a lot of water in my day. I try to have a smoothie in the morning, a salad and I try to eat healthy. I love exploring especially when I’m in Cali or Chicago and other places that have an abundance of healthy vegan food. I love to meet a friend or meet a new person in the community. I also try to work out every day. I do my yoga in the morning and I try to run at least a mile a day. So working out, eating great and just connecting with my community in whatever way are the things I try to do on a regular basis. Connect, eat well, exercise, educate. I do that every day and it comes out in different ways. So in the morning, I work out. Middle of the day – especially in LA – between 10 and 3, any errands, meeting, any driving I have to do, it needs to be done between 10 and 3 because my sanity is very important and you’ve heard about traffic in LA. It’s real!
I schedule all my in-person appointments and my phone consultations in the evening. And then outside of that, I might go to the beach before sunset, if I have the evening free – I try to get out in nature at least once a day. I’m working on the Get Loved Up workshop, which is about self-love, oneness, and eco-friendly living. I post daily on my Instagram so I’m always thinking of posts and sponsors and all the things I’m connected with. I have full days and they’re all unique and adventurous and exciting and different and I love living that way right now.
Koya: #GetLovedUp, that’s the name of my workshop and the movement that I’m working on. Just really getting the message of self-love, oneness, and eco-friendly living around the world. That is the movement that I’ve created and that’s the book that I’m working on. I have an eBook that can be found online, and I have a challenge coming up October 10th. It includes oneness, which is connecting to one another, whether it be a hug, a handshake, a smile. It’s some type of connection each day, a connection with nature. And then eco-friendly living is doing something each day that can help our planet. Whether it be one veggie meal a day or picking up trash on the road or taking a shorter shower. Those are the things that we’re going to be processing starting October 10 as part of my “Get Loved Up” challenge.