Meet Maxine Schuiling, a super cool Capetonian, founder of Macromixes and evidence based health blogger through @sugarfreesundays . Maxine’s platform, Sugarfree Sundays, was born out of a desire to share healthy recipes, without sacrificing taste and glamour, on a platform that provides evidence based healthy living information. We caught up with this inspirational beauty to find out how she balances it all:
Tell us a little bit about you and what you do.
My name is Max, I am a chemistry graduate turned entrepreneur. Apart from starting my business, Macro Mixes , which we will chat more about in a second, I am an evidence based health blogger through Sugarfree Sundays, sharing content on my website, through my podcast, MaxiChats Health Radio, and then lots on Instagram as well, where I am the most active. Sugarfree Sundays is a culmination of my passions, and has grown from a small space to share healthy recipes to a platform that provides evidence based healthy living information, a community for likeminded individuals, and a source of healthy living motivation.
I spent most of my time running Macro Mixes. Growing a small business is never boring, and every day is filled with different tasks, new challenges and experiences. I do my best to put aside some time each day to share quality content on Sugarfree Sundays as that really is my passion, but it is tough to make time for everything!
I am also a massive fitness enthusiast, foodie and I love a good party. So my weekends usually involve a some running or cycling outdoor adventure, a delicious meal somewhere or grooving to sick music as the sun goes down in-between all the other madness.
What was the inspiration behind becoming an evidence based health blogger and creating Macromixes?
It all kind of happened by chance! It was while I was studying my BSc in Chem and Biochem that I really became interested in nutrition, the human body and how we can optimise these things to feel our best!
I always loved recipe creation as well so it was the marriage of my pursuit of creating recipes that fitted my specifications for body composition and health with my love of sweet things, and ultimately a need for convenience that resulted in Macro Mixes being born. I was always adding protein powder to my baking and blending veggies and interesting things in with it, and people would ask me if they could buy the baked goods. That of course was not a very realistic or scalable business model, but through premixes they could create them for themselves in their own kitchens.
What have been the 3 top challenges to building your brand?
I think mainly is just the wide range of skills required to grow a strong brand within a business, and the capital it requires to do so. So instead of being able to outsource or get great people on board to assist, you have to attempt to learn to do a lot of things yourself and you obviously can’t do it as well as they might. Maybe that and then also being in a very niche space. There are certainly many pros to this but it does make scaling a brand up slightly more tricky.
What are some of your daily inspirations, challenges and rewards as a brand owner/ instagram influencer?
The people I get to connect with! I love hearing how other people have genuinely improved their lives as a result of some kind of content I have put out there, or how they might have fallen back in love with eating delicious, nutritious food after trying Macro Mixes.
What do you find is the hardest challenge balancing your work and personal life?
Just making time for both! When you own a business the work is never done, and you don’t have working hours. So technically, unless you very intentionally stop, you could work all the time. And this makes making time specifically to focus on your personal life a real challenge. Plus in my case, a lot of my Sugarfree Sundays content I make when when I am technically ‘not working’, so when I am just cooking dinner or driving somewhere, and so I am essentially sharing a lot of my ‘personal life’ time. And so when you add these two factors together it makes striking that balance tricky. Things that work well for me are just not being on my phone much at all when I am with family or friends, so I am completely present and ‘switched off’. Also, just knowing your own boundaries. I don’t have specific times for things as life is a bit too random for that, but I keep many experiences and moments that aren’t relevant to SFS completely off it. I reserve whatsapp for close friends and family and do my best to keep all work related things on email, and in that vein only check my emails at times that I am happy to be working.
What is your self-care philosophy?
Self care for me is more of a discipline than an glam, pampering experience. I do love those, do not get me wrong, but when it comes to me doing what I need to do to genuinely take care of my health, it often isn’t fun, immediately gratifying or easy. Self care are the things you do that your long term you will thank you for. They’re the things that fill your cup up first and foremost, and plug all those little holes that you may otherwise go seek externaltion validation for, and will ultimately leave you feeling empty. For me personally it is mindfulness mediation, getting enough sleep, and spending enough time outdoors. All those things have a massive impact on my mental and physical health, and there is loads of evidence to back them up as well.
Take us through an average day in the life, the first thing you do in the morning through to the last thing you do at night.
Wake up, without an alarm usually cause getting enough sleep is extremely important to me. I am an early bird though so I naturally wake up around 6:30am. I grab a cup of coffee and a lil snack and climb back into bed and savour those first few moments of the day when I can hear all the birds waking up and the sun starts to peek through my shutters. I then journal and do a mindfulness mediation. I might skip the journalling if I am in a rush and keep the mediation short, but I aim for consistency in those habits over perfect execution.
What does your perfect day in Cape Town look like?
Perfect day in Cape Town would have to start with a hike! We are so blessed with the mountain and abundance of nature on our doorstep and there are few things as invigorating as starting your day taking advantage of it. Wait, rewind. My day ALWAYS starts with coffee and a snack in bed so caffeine, and then a hike! After that I’d love to go for brunch at a cute cafe or market. Orangezicht (cliche but like you can’t beat all the options there), or avo toast with eggs and salmon. Call me basic but when you know, you know. Then I love wondering the streets, window shopping, scouring for bargains and thrift shops and just not rushing anywhere! SO the next few hours would be meandering about. Norm loves street photography so together we are more than happy to pass time this way. We do also love foreign cuisine and local secret spots so lunch would inevitably be some Indian, Ethiopian or Asian hole that most might turn their nose up at, but those places are often where you find the tastiest foods and have some kind of cool experience. I am a sucker for massages so if I really could do whatever I wanted on this day, I would then get a massage. Deep tissue, please and thank you. And then I’d like to watch the sunset from somewhere, perhaps signal hill or seapoint promenade. And then finally, I love going to the movies but rarely do so, so it always feel likes a treat when I do. So dinner somewhere (if we didn’t get takeaways and take it to our sunset spot), and then a good film at the Labia! That would be my perfect day.
Where are your three favorite destinations to travel to > alone/with family/friends? Do you have any trips planned?
I’d have to say India! And with Norman. Flip, that place just sets our souls on FIRE! I love travelling there with him in particular because he is very relaxed about most things, and we find joy in similar things. Plus, I like my own space, and he is the one person who gets that, and has an understanding of me, my likes, my dislikes, my work requirements etc. So this makes him pretty much the only person I could travel long term with! And yes, India because the smells, sights, food and spirit are something unrivalled. You can walk down the same street every single day and have a completely different and new experience each time.
What is your philosophy when it comes to food?
It is highly individualised! There is no one size fits all, and I think realizing this, as well as the varying levels of emotion and attachment that people have to food alongside their different nutritional requirements really puts you in a good space to find a way of eating that works for you!
What does health beauty and fitness mean to you?
They are all completely different things in my opinion! Health is enabling, beauty is transient, and fitness is invigorating (to me).
Must have beauty products?
I really like my green tinted SPF moisturiser from Eucerin. It does 3 things I really need all in one, and feels light and lovely! I also love Babor ampules when my skin needs a little booster!
Detailed tasks. GAHHH I hate sitting down and completing tedious things. I am an ideas, project driven, big picture kind of person, so when I have to get down to the nitty gritty all kinds of unhelpful behaviours pop out of the woodwork!
Something you can’t live without?
Truthfully? My phone. It is my camera, my contact point, my meditation tool, and so much more.
What is next for you?
Oooh there are so many exciting things coming up over the next few months, but we will have to wait a little before those things reveal themselves. Most recently though Macro Mixes has launched a limited edition Berry Swirled Pancake ice cream in collaboration with Skinny Scoop protein ice cream. I am very excited it about it because I am such an ice cream lover and I truly love the product!
Sweet or Savoury? Sweeeeet
Hot or cold? Hot
Lips or Eyes? Eyes
Smoothie or Juice? Smoothies, every day, so thick they must be eaten > with a spoon!
Yoga or Pilates? 1 year ago I’d have said pilates. Today I’d say yoga.
Coffee or Tea? Cof city bish
Favorite movie ever? I literally have a goldfish memory when it comes to movies I have seen or books I have read. I did watch Hotel Mumbai recently though and I thought it was great!
Describe yourself as a person in 3 words: Over analytical, passionate, indecisively decisive.
Your favourite thing in your closet right now? My big red coat that I got from hospice for R70, and pair with an offensively red lipstick when I want to go full sass mode.
What’s on your cell phone playlist at the moment (3-5 favourites)? I am more of a mix on sound cloud kinda gal, and my current faves are Modd, Lee Burridge and Kora.
One book you read that positively shaped you? Ah this is too difficult I actually can’t answer it. Let’s come back to this! Hahaha!
Favorite Tv show? I don’t really watch TV but back in school I used to love Grey’s Anatomy! Also loved Game of Thrones.
One superpower you would like to have? Not needing to sleep so I could have all 24h of my day!
Best gift you have ever received? A tattoo I bought for myself for my 21st birthday, after spending a few days solo in Florence.