From Kool-Aid and Velveeta Cheese to Natural Wellness
In 2008, my husband and I decided to start eating “healthy.” Both of us grew up in the ’80s and ’90s–a time of Kool-Aid, freezer meals, and packaged chocolate chip cookies. Packaged food was commonplace in our homes, along with home-cooked meals. College turned both of our tastebuds toward a heavily processed diet of fast food and packaged snacks.
The craving for processed food continued during the first few years of our marriage. Our typical meal consisted of chicken breasts, rice (from a box), and a veggie (usually from a microwave package). Due to boredom from eating the same home-cooked meals, I would quickly turn to ready-made dinners to add more “variety.”
One evening in 2008 Dustin issued a challenge, “I bet you can’t shop, cook, and eat from just the produce department for a week.” I’m not one to turn down a good challenge so I responded, “Sure, I got this!”
The next week was difficult. Beyond difficult. But, we survived. Soon we started eating from the produce department regularly and within a few weeks embraced veganism. Due to our lifestyle change I began to dabble in meal planning, realizing planning our meals was the only way to successfully follow a special diet.
In 2010, the birth of my first son changed our eating habits again. Due to health issues (read his story), we introduced grass-fed meat and raw dairy into our diet, along with other nutrient-dense foods like homemade broth. I started making my own bread, yogurt, and even granola bars. My kitchen became my favorite place. My knowledge of real food deepened during this time as
I learned how to plan and prepare meals.
With new changes happening in the kitchen and healthier meals being served at our table, I began to dabble in making my own household products– from cleaners to makeup.
In 2013, after having my second child, I started a blog called Live Simply. An online space to share my family’s journey of real food and natural living with a simplified approach. The blog was my passion project.
Fast forward to today, 2019, the blog is now my full-time job, along with freelance food photography. I have a few amazing moms who work with me part-time helping with recipe work, social media, photo shoot cleanups, and editing photos. Running a blog isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but I’m incredibly thankful for where Live Simply is today–for the opportunity to interact and share in this journey with so many other moms, parents, caregivers, and families from all over the world. Live Simply is still my passion project and I’m so thankful to share this space with you.
As I’ve learned how to run a business, and be a mom to growing children who are now in school, and also find time for myself and my husband, I’ve been on a journey to simplify life over the past few years. This has meant decluttering and embracing more of a minimalist attitude (not in a own-nothing way, but more in an intentional about life and things way), and learning to take care of myself. I’ve also been learning how to simplify our real food lifestyle by embracing food prep, strategically meal planning with rotating meal plans, and creating routines in our home.
Each week (via the blog, email, Instagram Stories, and the podcast), I share simple real food recipes, tips for making the switch to non-toxic body and home products, and lessons in simplicity (from food prep to simplifying lunch packing to making the switch to non-toxic products). Live Simply is about saying no to the stress of perfection and saying yes to small steps, living a nourished life (which is about more than just the food we eat), and living with intention and joy.