Where do I live?
I live in the heart of beautiful North Carolina, in the city of oaks- Raleigh.
Nope! I am a teacher, full-time. Blogging is just a hobby…for now!
What will you find here?
Well, cooking is my number one passion, so lots and LOTS of recipes! Also, you will read about my journey of breaking free from a lifetime of eating disorders, crash dieting, binge eating, and feeling lots of shame. I will share my path to self love and acceptance, and lots of resources that helped me get where I am today!
What kinds of recipes do I share?
Mostly vegan/plant based recipes! There are a few recipes that include meat/dairy, but these were added before I eliminated animal products from my diet. One thing all my recipes have in common- they are all deliciously satisfying and nourishing. I love to use big flavors, whole foods, and ingredients that are healing and healthy.
Why did I decide to go plant based?
After a health scare with a close family member, and a few health concerns of my own, I dove into a mountain of research to find the most healthful and nourishing foods to heal my body. Much of what I read, led me to do a trial run of eliminating all animal products from my diet. It didn’t take long for me to discover how much better this made me feel and how much more energy I actually had.
What do I do for fun?
I love to create things! From jewelry, to digital art/design, to painting…I love anything creative! Entertaining and cooking for family and friends brings me the most joy. There is something about gathering around the table with delicious food and great stories that connects us and builds relationships. I also love to move my body. Walking, dancing, workouts at Burn or yoga…I love challenge my physical self. Lastly- my sweet baby Lola. She is my 5 year old Beagle/Schnauzer/Poodle mix. This girl is unlike any other, and always keeps me on my toes.
Mountains or Ocean?
This is a tough one for me, but I have to say mountains. A hike through the woods, stumbling upon a waterfall, followed by an evening cozied up in a cabin by the fireplace is an ideal day for me!
Order out or cook at home?
I love to eat out and experience new restaurants but given the chance, I’ll always choose to open a bottle of wine, put on an apron and some good music and cook up something tasty in my kitchen.
The Unabridged Version
I grew up in a small town, at the foot of the Appalachian Mountains in Southwest Virginia. Some of my favorite memories are being with my family on my Grandparents’ gorgeous 100 acre farm. Gardening, campfires, arrowhead hunts and walks collecting wildflowers…it was my own little heaven. Tucked in the middle of the farm is a quiet little river that remains one of the most peaceful, centering places I have ever been. I went to college at a small liberal arts college and graduated with a degree in education. I taught in the area for 6 years before relocating to Raleigh, NC, where I have since pursued a license to teach art…and here I am now, an elementary art teacher!
The gym has never been my thing, but I was recently introduced to Burn Bootcamp and it changed my life. Now, it has become such an ingrained part of my weekly routine, I can’t imagine not going. I think what made this experience different for me is the sense of community that Burn is founded on. I really felt like, and truly believe, that the coaches and other Burn members care about me and my progress as much as I do, and that’s what keeps me coming back day after day.
My bio wouldn’t be complete without addressing my love of cooking. It is, after all, what this blog is founded on! Cooking has always been a huge part of my life, and some of my fondest memories involve being in the kitchen cooking for and with the ones I love. It is one of the best ways I can express my creativity…but more than that, it means being able to share my gifts with friends and family. I’m always in search of a great new recipe, and always thinking of new ways to put pantry ingredients together. Cooking is absolutely one of my favorite ways to spend my time.
The long road to being HERE.
A couple of years ago, I turned 39, and I thought “I don’t even know who I am?” I had spent, nearly, the first 40 years, of my life taking care of others, hiding behind my own skin, not really knowing the real me. For as long as I can remember, I have been overweight, and at a young age, indirectly learned that it was something to be ashamed of. That led to many, MANY years of dieting, self-shaming, and inadvertently becoming a spectator of my own life…WAITING TO LIVE…until I lost weight.
When you don’t believe in yourself, find friends who do.
That brings me to January of the year I turned 40 . I decided I couldn’t spend one more year like this. I had some AMAZING friends, who encouraged me to come with them to Burn Bootcamp. If you don’t have friends like these…try to find some. I was scared to death, I felt way out of my comfort zone, and felt very doubtful it was something I would be able to do. But I did something that I had never done before…I SHOWED UP. When I didn’t believe I could, when I felt embarrassed, inferior, or like I didn’t belong there…I STILL SHOWED UP. Little by little, my confidence began to build, and I began to feel proud. Before I knew it, I wasn’t feeling sick at the thought of getting up at 5:30 AM to make it to the gym. I actually WANTED to go. I wanted to go because it made me feel strong. 2 years later, I’m still going.
Crash diets do just that…crash and burn.
Now that I was moving my body, and healing myself physically, I needed to find a way to live and eat healthily without strict dieting, laden with restriction and guilt. I had lost the ability to know if I was hungry or full, understand what foods my body wanted and what foods actually made my body feel bad. I started my transformation with learning how to count macronutrients to retrain my body, gently, to understand portions and a healthy balance of foods. This truly helped me get back in touch with my own bodies needs and wants.
I really didn’t want to rely on ANOTHER diet that felt restrictive and controlling.
After learning more about it, and restructuring my mindset, I came to a life changing realization. Just like with my bank account, when I need to save money, and pay bills, I create a budget. I need to know what money is coming in, and what money is going out; or else, it just doesn’t work. SO, in order to be able to lose some weight, I needed to understand how many calories I was burning, and how many calories I was taking in. I was finally able to view it as something helpful and important to the healing of my body, as opposed to something punishing and shameful. I began to understand how certain foods made me feel, and I began to make choices based on my body’s needs, not based what I “should or shouldn’t do”. It was finally something I was doing for me. I was becoming more WHOLE.
Healthy, life-long practices not strict, painful punishments.
I tracked my macros for almost 2 years, and lost close to 40 pounds. It was a slow and steady decrease, all based on healthier, more mindful choices I was making for myself. I was finally settling into routines that felt like healthy, life long practices, not strict, painful punishments to simply lose weight. It literally made ALL THE DIFFERENCE. After awhile, I decided to ween myself off of macro counting and into intuitive/mindful eating. For the first time in my life, I was able to relax with foods, eat what I want without fear and I didn’t gain any weight. I was maintaining which was a breakthrough for me.
Find something to keep you motivated.
Blogging about my process and my progress was not something I originally set out to do. I was so used to hiding behind barriers, putting myself out there like this was unthinkable. But the more whole I have become, the more confident I feel. I’m asked all the time, what do I eat…how have I lost weight? Honestly, it is not a quick answer. It was a long process to eventually just BELIEVE I could do it. That’s it. I needed to believe in myself. So blogging it is…not only to motivate myself, but hopefully motivate others who may need it. I am so grateful to those who were there for me, pushing me along the way to help me get to this place, and I hope to be able to do that for others. I still have a long way to go, but I’m not putting my life on hold until I get there. I’m more awake, aware, and alive now, than I have ever been, and for that, I thank God.
In the pictures below, there are two years between the pictures in each pair, and there is some obvious physical change. What’s less obvious but is the biggest, most important difference to me, is a change in my confidence. I feel WAY more comfortable in MY skin, and much more settled in myself as a person. I am becoming more Whole.
In the last few months, a family member of mine, who had always been in fantastic health, was diagnosed with heart disease. This was a wake up call for me, because I myself, even with my new practices of self care, still struggled with high cholesterol, pre-diabetes, and other aches and pains that just come along with “turning 40”. I was either facing a lifetime of medications or try and heal myself with food. After diving into mounds of research to learn which foods are the most healing and which foods are know to cause the most inflammatory response, I felt led to explore a plant based diet. I decided as a trial, to eliminate all animal products from my diet. It didn’t take me long to decide that this was a path worth exploring because of how much better I felt, immediately. I had much more energy, my digestion was on point, and that alone was enough to encourage me to continue.
Plant Based Recipes
Cooking is something that brings me tremendous joy, and I want to use this blog to share my recipes. While there are a few recipes on the blog that I shared before I moved to a plant based diet, most of the recipes you will find here are created with bold flavors, delicious ingredients that are mostly unprocessed and nutritious. While my goal is to fuel myself with the most healthy and nourishing foods I can find, incredibly satisfying and delicious are of the utmost importance! You don’t have to sacrifice flavor for nutrition. Join me as I venture into the world of plant based eating, and continue to discover a WHOLE new me.
Where you can find me!
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Some of my favs
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