healthy eats

Finding my version of healthy {ignoring labels, breaking veganism}


For all of 2015, my relationship with food and my body was terrible. I’d starve myself, over-work my body, binge and then repeat the cycle. I lost a whopping 25 pounds, from running and consuming a very limited amount of calories. At first, although the method was corrupt, the pounds I was losing needed to be lost. Until I reached the point where I wasn’t losing “bad” fat, but the fat I needed to function properly.

My biggest worry throughout this time was my bingeing problem. I mostly binged on overly-processed, fake, crappy foods. I knew that Oreos and chips were bad, even scary. I also knew bingeing was bad, definitely scary. My behavior of bingeing masked what the real problematic behavior was- starving myself. This fear also masked the real fear- my fear of food.

At one point, I was so afraid of bingeing that I began to pride myself on the days that I’d only consume 900 calories, after burning 300 from running. Little did I actually know that I was bingeing BECAUSE I was hungry. I’d crave processed, fake foods because they were extremely caloric dense, which is what my body wanted. My body needed more.

After completing my first half marathon, I collapsed. I was worn out. More from the last 11 months of living on not much more than yogurt and spinach, than the 13.1 miles I had just ran.

I knew I wasn’t eating enough, I knew I was being too restrictive, I knew that the labels of “good” and “bad” on food were just ridiculous. But I loved being skinny, I loved consuming only “pure” foods. So I began to research “How to eat the most amount of food without gaining weight?”

Ofcourse, there were so many articles on eating 100 calorie packs of cookies, replacing meals with protein bars and eliminating carbs. But I knew I didn’t want to consume processed food-like items either. So I tweaked my searches to “Consuming real food without gaining weight.”

Somehow, I stumbled upon This Girl Audra. She had so many videos on binge eating, starving yourself and dealing with/recovering from a disordered relationship with food and your body. I watched every video on her channel, and it all made sense. She also exposed me to a new-to-me phrase, “plant based eating.”

I did so much research on plant based eating. I felt like I was already halfway there. I didn’t consume processed foods, because they triggered a binge. I didn’t consume much meat or dairy, because they were too sodium and caloric dense. I loved vegetables because they were God made and definitely good for my body.

So, in January of 2016, I just cut out yogurt and eggs and replaced them with potatoes, beans and other real foods. I realized that these real foods brought me ease. I wasn’t afraid of broccoli, or peppers or bananas. This ease also took away the fear of carbs, like bread, rice and pasta. By February, I felt free. I wasn’t afraid to eat. I didn’t feel restricted. I’d eat as many potatoes as my stomach and heart desired. I’d eat a whole can of chickpeas. I’d just eat, and not even think about it. Freedom felt so good. My body was well-fed and well-energized and felt so, so good.

Eating plant-based was definitely the easiest thing I have ever done. I never had to think about it. If I was hungry, I’d eat until I was satisfied. And that was it. I’d eat food that God put on this earth, and not worry about what gross, fake ingredients were in them, because there simply weren’t any in them.

The simplicity of plant based eating brought a much needed break from the anxiety and confusion I had felt for so long while starving myself and being afraid of food. I found joy in creating simple recipes. I was happy and carefree, and it all came from the food freedom I had found.

Until recently.

Throughout the month of July, I found myself bored. I lost my desire to cook, to make eating fun and to even eat, at all. I felt confined by the label of “vegan” or “plant based.” I got tired of hearing “Oh, you can’t have this, theres ____ in it.” I got frustrated. Annoyed even. I began living off of smoothies, because they were the only thing that made me excited. (Because thats healthy, right?)

Then finally, I realized I was feeling emotions I had forgotten existed. Restriction. Hunger. Confusion. Too disciplined. Constantly telling myself, “No, you can’t eat this, it’s bad” brought back so much fear and anxiety.

This realization was bouncing around my brain for days, but I refused to admit that plant-based eating was turning into something bad.

Until one night while getting ready to go to dinner, wiping away tears of fear from knowing I’d be exposed to so many foods I “couldn’t have.” I finally told myself that enough was enough. I started eating plant based to get rid of these scary, dark feelings. But here they were again, brought by the habit that had set me free in the first place. 

I went to dinner, I set my conscience aside, I left my list of “good and bad foods” at home. I brought nothing more than my firm belief that God made foods were what I needed to be eating. I ordered grilled, wild-caught salmon, with rice pilaf and broccoli.

With every bite, I felt the walls that were confining me by the “vegan” or “plant based” label being blown away. I, once again, felt at ease. Since that night, I’ve been eating what I crave. I haven’t been telling myself “no.” I also haven’t been anxious, or scared.

My conscience is, of course, a bit confused. Because I know when I choose to eat animal products, behind that decision is a life being taken. But, I think the most important aspect to this choice is awareness. If you’re going to choose to eat animal products, you can’t do it mindlessly.  A life is being sacrificed, that is something worth acknowledging.

But, for now I’m doing what puts my mind at ease. I’m taking away the aspects of eating that make it hard, or a chore. I’m doing what makes my body feel right, and taking away things that alter my mental health.

Just like seasons change, as people, we do too. These changes can include our eating habits, what activities make us happy and what makes our bodies feel good. If there’s anything I have learned these past few years, it is to respect my body. Respecting my body helps me to respect my brain, which helps me to respect myself as a whole.

I don’t need a label, I need to be healthy. I need to be my own version of healthy.

Simply, Sum


HEALTHY brownies?! {recipe}

Have you ever done something and literally said out loud, “I’m about to change the world”?
Er.. well, me either..


Until the night that I put together this super yummy, simple and HEALTHY brownie recipe!

I should have named these “melt-in-your-mouth, lick-off-the-spoon, lick-the-plate, can-I-bathe-in-this gooey brownies,” but what I do in the kitchen after dark is totally my own biz.


4 pitted dates
1/2 teaspoon cacao powder
1/4 teaspoon water (or just a teeeny tiny bit)
food processor

Place pitted dates, cacao powder & very tiny bit of water in food processor of choice
Process for about 5 seconds, or until dates are broken down & mixed well with cacao powder (this does not take long at all. Plus, a few chunks of dates will help hold it together)
Pour the mixture directly into your mouth
Scrape mixture onto plate and form into square
Optional: Add toppings! i.e., coconut flakes, nut butter

Processed with VSCO with m5 preset

What’s your favorite sweet treat?

Have you ever put together random ingredients and discovered it was an amazing combo?

Simply, Sum


Positive drug test from hemp hearts?

Funny story: I used to eat yogurt with Nature’s Path Hemp Plus Granola every single morning (dont worry…not the funny part). One morning as I was munching away, I was casually looking at the box of granola.. when I realized that there’s a giant marijuana leaf right on the front of the box. My eyes got as big as baseballs, my heart instantly started pounding and I started frantically saying,

“Wait.. Marijuana leaf.. Hemp…. Oh. OH.. OHHH! WHAT?!”
“I thought weed was illegal! How can they sell this in stores?”
“Am I high right now?”
“I eat this everyday, at work, I’m so screwed! I’m going to get fired from my job!”
“If I were to randomly get drug tested, how am I supposed to explain that weed was in my granola.. and I didn’t know?!”
“I’m never shopping at Trader Joe’s again”
“Screw the food industry! Always lying and misleading people with their labels!”

I whipped out my laptop as fast as I could and began researching how the HECK they could sell granola with marijuana in it!

Lucky for me, I found out that hemp hearts and marijuana are not the same thing, although they are both a cannabis plant *sigh of relief*

So.. What are hemp hearts then? 

  • Hemp hearts are a superfood seed that are jam packed with nutritional value
  • One serving of hemp hearts offers 10g of protein, 10g of omega fatty acids and 2.5g of fiber
  • Hemp hearts are a complete plant-based protein, with only ONE SIMPLE ingredient (y’all know I love that)
  • Hemp hearts aid in digestion, weight loss, energy and cancer prevention
  • Hemp hearts are hypoallergenic

Considering I eat strictly plant based, any opportunity to eat more protein is a plus. I also love being able to add even MORE nutritional value to the foods I eat.

Hemp hearts are also extremely versatile, making it easy to add “good for you” components to every and any meal. I throw a handful of hemp hearts into my smoothies, cereal, sweet potatoes, cauliflower mash… pretty much in anything!

Who could say no to effortlessly adding more nutrients into their meals?!

What’s your favorite way to incorporate hemp hearts into your diet?

Simply, Sum



Pina Cerlada {recipe}

I love me a big ole’ bowl of simple, God made, nutrient packed, minimally processed ingredients aka nature’s cereal! I also love me a big ole’ Piña colada. Unfortunately, one of those are looked down upon when consumed at 8AM on a Tuesday.. UNTIL NOW!

Try this concoction of pineapple, coconut milk and coconut flakes to start your day with a filling breakfast that also leaves your head in the.. sand?



Piña Cerlada Ingredients:

  •  1/2 cup of rolled oats
  • One handful (roughly 1/4 cup) of Greenwise Flax Flake cereal
  • One handful (roughly 1/4 cup) of Arrowhead Mills Puffed Brown Rice cereal
  • Two tablespoons of hemp hearts
  • One tablespoon of chia seeds
  • One banana, chopped
  • Two pineapple spears, chopped
  • One tablespoon of coconut flakes
  • One cup of coconut milk


What’s your favorite meal to have for breakfast ?

Which do you prefer: warmer, summer months or cooler, winter months?

Simply, Sum

Quinoa Zucchini Fritters! {Recipe}

Can I tell you a secret? I hate zucchini. Zucchini isn’t my favorite vegetable. But as the adult that I claim to be, I’ve been trying to expose myself more to it, in the hopes of acquiring at least a small taste for it.

The best way to get in your veggies without having to bear the taste is to hide them!

So.. Zoodles? No. Roasted Zucchini? No. Zoats? NO! Zucchini fritters? YES!

I stumbled upon this recipe on Delish Knowledge but made a few tweaks so it could be as simple as possible.



  • 1 zucchini
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon diced onions
  • 1 teaspoon Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute
  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 1/3 cup oat flour


  • Boil 1/2 cup of quinoa with 1 cup of water
  • Cut zucchini into rounds
  • Place zucchini, onion and garlic in food processor. I used my Nutribullet, only having to pulse it about three times. You still want it to be chunky.


  • Transfer the chopped zucchini, onion and garlic to a paper towel or rag. Surprise! Zucchini lets out water when its cut, didnt know that! Pat out as much water as possible


  • After the rag or paper towel has adsorbed some of the excess liquid,  transfer to a mixing bowl


  • Mix in seasoning, oat flour + quinoa


  • Form four medium sized patties on skillet or griddle, over medium heat


  • Flip after about 60 seconds


  • When both sides are the preferred texture of crispiness, transfer to a plate and enjoy!


img_5426I topped mine with hot sauce and nutritional yeast! So much yum!

Whats your favorite way to hide vegetables that you don’t enjoy on their own?

Have you ever had nutritional yeast? I just picked some up for the first time THIS WEEK and it is life changing! I definitely plan on putting it on well.. everything!

Simply, Summer



Enjoying Spring + smoothies {Recipe}

Spring is in the air and I am lovin’ it!

The warmer temperatures make it so easy to head outside, run around and lose track of time! Bowden has definitely been enjoying all of the additional playtime and exercise, especially before I leave for work.

Unfortunately, something has to be sacrificed to enjoy 15 more minutes outside having fun! For the sake of my coworkers, I’ve been choosing to forgo breakfast instead of showering or clothes. Good choice, right?


Rather than skipping breakfast completely or grabbing an overly processed, convenience food, I’ve just been throwing a few ingredients into my Nutribullet and drinking a smoothie!

The two recipes I’ve been going to are so simple, fast to put together and most importantly, nutritious!



  • 1/2 cup of almond milk
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 2 handfuls of spinach
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 5 fresh strawberries
  • 1 tablespoon almond butter



  •  1/2 cup of almond milk
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 1/2 of an avocado
  • 1 handful of spinach
  • 1 cup of frozen mango
  • Optional: 1/2 of a frozen banana


Simply, Summer.

Easy Like a Sunday Morning.. Pancakes {Recipe}

In my house, Sunday mornings are for sleeping in, warm coffee & of course PANCAKES! This simple recipe creates one serving of two medium, refined sugar-free, dairy free & guilt free pancakes! ENJOY!


  • 1/4 cup oat flour
  • 1 flax egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

Optional Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened apple sauce



Flax Egg: Combine 1 tablespoon flax meal + 2 1/2 tablespoons water. Place in fridge.




Start by mixing all of your dry ingredients into a bowl. Oat flour, baking powder and cinnamon.


Next, add your wet ingredients, including the flax egg that has been settling in the fridge. If you want your pancakes to be a bit sweeter, this is where you’d add in the applesauce as well. IMG_0085.JPG

Mix well while your griddle/pan is warming over medium heat.


Coat pan with preferred nonstick oil. I use coconut. Pour in half of your pancake mix. (Optional: add blueberries or whatever desired fruit) Let cook on one side for about 45 seconds, then flip carefully to allow the other side to cook for an additional 45 seconds. Transfer to your plate, then repeat with the other half of your mixture!





Do you have any Sunday traditions?

What’s your favorite pancake topping?

Simply, Summer.