The author, photographer, recipe developer, storyteller, and mama behind Real Food Whole Life.
I believe that the journey to whole living shouldn’t require drastic changes and unpleasant overhauls.
Join me as we explore this healthy, joyful, delicious life!
Meal Prep & Planning
Wish you were better at meal planning and prep? Use these simple, step-by-step posts and recipe round-ups to find ideas and turn prep + planning into an easy, streamlined, and (dare-I-say) fun process. Take a look. . .
Looking to live a more whole, joyful, sustainable life that is both simple and doable? If the answer is yes, join me as we let go of strict rules and self-criticism and lean into an a honest, healthy, real life. More on whole living. . .
Real Food Fix
Wouldn't it be great if you didn't have to spend long hours in the kitchen, create complicated grocery lists with hard-to-find ingredients, or arrive home with no dinner? I thought so, too, so I created Real Food Fix. Learn more. . .
Let's connect! Once a week I send out an email with new recipes, posts, and a free weekly meal plan. Think of it as personalized inspiration to eat and live well. Subscribe. . .
GET IN TOUCH
Have a question or want to connect? Check out the FAQs for answers to your questions, then drop me a line to share your success story or to discuss how we might work together. Reach out. . .
Growing up I didn’t think much about what I ate. In high school I spent my days studying and playing basketball.
Workouts were a natural part of everyday; I showed up to practice and the weight room without a second thought.
Chocolate chip cookies and lunchtime fast food trips fueled my 2-3 hour daily workouts. My snack of choice was 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.
Then I met my soulmate working at a summer camp.
Andrew. He was handsome, smart, kind, and thought it was cute that I trash talked him while playing pickup basketball.
We fell in love. Less than a year later we were married. He finished his doctoral program, I finished undergrad, and we both got jobs.
I learned how to make marinara sauce. We lived next to a Trader Joe’s and I bought chocolate cake and frosted cinnamon rolls. You know, for my husband.
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.
During that time we decided to try for a family. We got pregnant, which unfortunately 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 and worked two jobs. We tried again for a baby, and I got pregnant again. And then, another miscarriage.
I gained a lot of weight from the pregnancy itself, and the emotional pity party that occurred for months afterward.
Working out and healthy eating fell by the wayside.
Months passed and in my third year of the doctoral program we learned I was pregnant again. I felt like I held my breath the entire time, not quite willing to believe that we might actually get to be parents.
But then, miraculously, Elle was born.
We were overjoyed and humbled when our healthy, 10-pound baby girl came into this world.
She was perfect. We felt blessed.
And even though I was unbelievably happy to be a mom, I was incredibly frustrated with how I felt and my overall health.
My recovery was painfully slow, and breastfeeding didn’t seem to help.
I felt stuck.
After three months I went back to work. My schedule consisted of a 60-hour workweek plus evening classes.
I was overwhelmed and exhausted.
I wasn’t prioritizing workouts or taking the time to meal plan. Cooking seemed like a thing of the past.
This was not the life I had in mind. Something had to change.
After some serious soul searching and discussions with Andrew I quit my job and put school on hold.
Health became my priority.
I started working out. Eating real, unprocessed food became my mantra. I refocused on meal planning and moving every day.
I also started a job with fewer hours and more flexibility. Then I quit the doctoral program. Quitting was difficult, but I knew letting go would make room for a healthier balance.
As a result of healthy eating and lifestyle changes I lost weight, felt comfortable in my skin again, and confident that this healthy shift was sustainable.
With renewed passion I threw myself back into the kitchen, creating quick, healthy meals that all three of us could enjoy.
I restocked my cookbook library with real food cookbooks, subscribed to health-minded blogs, and spent hours at farmers markets and natural food stores soaking in as much information as I could.
As I meal planned, worked out, and experimented in the kitchen one thing became increasingly clear.
This healthy eating and lifestyle thing? It’s a lot of work.
And all those natural cookbooks and healthy lifestyle blogs I was following?
They made it look easy. Was I missing something? How, I wondered, was I supposed to actually accomplish any of this?
Even if I did manage to put together a nine-part perfectly composed vegan bowl after returning home from work at 6:00 pm, Elle was going to throw most of it on the floor and Andrew would end up rummaging around in the pantry hungry within an hour of finishing dinner.
I needed to come up with a sustainable solution, and I needed to come up with it fast.
So I started scouring the Internet for quick, healthy, weeknight friendly recipes, focusing on those that used only real food ingredients.
I also played around with kid-friendly modifications for Elle and husband-friendly modifications for Andrew.
From this process Real Food Whole Life was born.
Today you'll still finding me working my day job, and loving on Andrew and Elle. Now, though, I share what I've learned here on Real Food Whole Life.
My mission is to simplify and inspire this healthy, joyful, delicious life. I'm so glad you're here!
Photos on this page by KLiK Concepts