Hi, I'm Robyn
I’m the researcher, educator, storyteller & mama behind Real Food Whole Life + host of the Feel Good Effect podcast.
I believe health and wellness is for all of us, and that simple & gentle pave the way to feeling good.
Growing up I didn’t think much about health.
High school workouts were a natural part of everyday; daily practice and hours in the weight room were the norm.
Chocolate chip cookies and lunchtime fast food trips fueled my 2-3 hour daily workouts.
My snack of choice? A bag of Twizzlers, plus a can of cool ranch Pringles.
Oh, and Diet Coke. Always Diet Coke.
I left for college and abruptly stopped playing sports. I ate burritos at 2:00 am and forgot to workout.
Without the structure of high school I struggled to find purpose.
Then the summer before my senior year I met my soulmate, Andrew, working at a summer camp.
He was handsome, smart, kind, and thought it was cute that I trash talked him during pickup basketball.
We fell in love. Not wasting any time, we were married a year later. He finished his doctoral program, I finished undergrad. We both got jobs.
I learned how to make marinara sauce. Feeling suddenly domestic, I bought chocolate cake and frosted cinnamon rolls and made batches upon batches of Barefoot Contessa lemon pound cake.
A stressful job and long commute inspired me to flop on the couch at the end of every long day.
Then Andrew got a job as a professor and together we moved to a small college town in Washington. He worked. I started a Master’s program.
There was nowhere good to eat.
I discovered Food Network and memorized the first three Barefoot Contessa cookbooks.
Living in the middle of nowhere I learned how to cook.
The Washington Cascade mountains and Andrew’s desire to be outdoors inspired me to get back into shape. I hiked, ran, studied and grounded myself in healthy eating and living.
We got pregnant, which ended in a miscarriage. The emotional pain of that loss caught us off guard. We were heartbroken.
Despite the loss, life went on. I worked three jobs and finished school.
We moved back to Portland and I started a doctoral program while working two jobs.
We tried again for a baby, and I got pregnant again.
And then, another miscarriage.
My body felt drained from the pregnancy itself, and from the emotional devastation that occurred for months afterward.
Working out, healthy eating and mental wellbeing? Those became buried under a to-do list and piles of grief.
Months passed and in my third year of the doctoral program we got pregnant again. I continued on, plate full, trying to do it all. Just push through. Push through. Push through.
Then, after a difficult pregnancy, my beautiful girl was born.
We were overjoyed and humbled as our healthy, 10-pound baby joined our family.
She was perfect. We felt blessed.
And even though I was unbelievably happy to be a mom, I still felt lost. Disconnected from my body. Knowing I needed to change, but not sure where to start.
So of course I went right back to what I was doing before.
A 60-hour workweek plus evening doctoral classes. Pumping during my lunch break. Trying to nurse and hold my girl before class.
Pushing through became more and more difficult.
Overwhelmed and exhausted, I wasn’t prioritizing workouts, taking the time to meal plan, cooking at home or doing much of anything to take care of myself.
I felt broken.
Something had to change.
After some serious soul searching and discussions with my husband, I finally gave notice at my job and put school on hold.
Health became my number one priority.
I started working out. Eating real, unprocessed food. Focusing on meal planning. Making space for rest. Taking a pause to be present.
Letting go of perfect in favor of gentle.
As I meal planned, worked out, and experimented in the kitchen one thing became increasingly clear.
This healthy thing? It’s a lot of work.
And all those health & wellness lifestyle blogs and influencers I was following?
Their version of health seemed so complicated, so aspirational. I did not see myself in their perfect little Instagram squares.
Was I missing something? How, I wondered, was I supposed to actually accomplish any of this?
My life is real and messy and beautiful.
I work full-time, have a family (some of whom can be picky), and want to spend my time living instead of obsessing over some perfect version of health.
Not finding what I was looking for, I set out to create a space that approached health differently.
A space for real people who want to be healthy in their real lives.
This is that space.
My mission now is is simple: to help you redefine healthy, realize the power of small, practice gentle over perfect, eat well & feel good.
I invite you to join our growing community and let's do this together!