Hi, I’m Ailsa!
As a Nutritionist and self-taught home chef, this blog is a way for me to combine my Master’s degree in Nutrition with my love for creating good food (and of course taking pretty pictures of it!) Changing the food I eat changed my life and I hope to help others do the same. All of my recipes are gluten-free and dairy-free, many are Paleo, and some are Vegan. They are also free of refined sugars and most of them are low in any added natural sugars. There’s a little something for everyone!
All of my recipes are made from whole, nutrient dense foods and free of processed or artificial ingredients. I believe quality is more important than quantity, so you won’t see me counting calories. I strongly feel that there is not one diet that is best for everyone. We all need to listen to how different foods make us feel in order to find the best type of diet for our individual needs.
My personal journey to health has been scary and overwhelming at times, but it led me to pursue a career in nutrition while discovering my passion for experimenting in the kitchen. After suffering from digestive issues for years, I finally saw a doctor who diagnosed me with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). I did not have the typical symptoms and began researching other related causes, finding that gluten intolerance could be one of them. It took some time to comply with these new changes, but when I finally committed and stuck to a gluten-free diet for 3 weeks I saw a drastic change in my health. My digestion improved, stomach pains disappeared, chronic joint pain decreased, and even my mood was better. Additional tests clarified that I did not have Celiac Disease. In my case it wasn’t IBS after all; it was gluten intolerance. I started turning my favorite recipes into new and improved gluten-free versions, which definitely took some trial and error, but gave me hope that this new way of eating didn’t have to ruin my enjoyment of food.
A year or so later, I went to the doctor again with what I thought was a UTI. Months later my symptoms were still lingering. After many tests and ineffective rounds of antibiotics, I was eventually diagnosed with something called Interstitial Cystitis (IC). IC is a painful and extremely disruptive condition, which I was told I would have to live with for the rest of my life. This is when I first sought the advice of a Nutritionist. It was a long and very emotional process, but by using detailed dietary changes, supplements, and lifestyle modifications I was able to slowly regain balance in my body. I feel extremely fortunate to say I no longer have the symptoms associated with IC and I feel this was actually an inaccurate diagnosis that was given for the lack of a better medical explanation.
Time went on and I decided to pursue my Master’s degree in Nutrition and make a career out of this passion. I began the program while still working full time, under more stress than ever, and I once again had some health concerns arise. Hormonal testing revealed I had an extreme case of hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune disease where the body attacks it’s own thyroid cells, eventually causing hypothyroidism and a lack of thyroid hormones. This is pretty major since thyroid hormones affect every cell in your body! My hormone levels were so distorted the doctor said she couldn’t believe I was even able to get out of bed in the morning. It felt ironic that I was learning how to help others find better health and manage chronic disease, but I now had to focus on myself first. I dove into thyroid related research and became my own guinea pig for nutritional healing.
Once again I started to tinker with my diet and explore deeper whole-body issues. I had to address Candida overgrowth, Leaky Gut Syndrome, Vitamin D deficiency, Adrenal Fatigue, stress reduction, and several other issues in order to give my body the support it truly needed. I also totally eliminated dairy and reduced my intake of grains and added sugars. I stuck to whole foods, avoided packaged ones, and became more conscious about food quality. I also utilized necessary supplements, accepted the help of some Western medicine, and made more of an effort to reduce stress. Using this integrative approach, I have been able to successfully halt the autoimmune attack within my body and find a place of stability with my thyroid condition.
All of these challenges have felt very overwhelming at times (many times!) but I know they helped me find a deeper understanding of the complex nature of the human body, of my personal health needs, and of the influence nutrition has on overall wellness. Whether you have specific health issues or not, improving your diet and making positive lifestyle choices will make you feel more balanced, vibrant, and alive. Learning about new ingredients and flavors make its possible to take a beloved comfort food and turn it into a tasty and nourishing dish. Learning about food also means eating with balance and satisfaction, not just feeding your belly but feeding your whole body.
I hope you find some inspiration, knowledge, and a better connection to your meals through this blog. If you’d like some personalized support while learning how to eat better, please see my Work With Me page and shoot me an e-mail. Enjoy!