Tag: blogger spotlight

Blogger Spotlight: Jennifer Vagios

by in Uncategorized, May 24, 2013

As a certified yoga instructor and registered dietician with a Master’s in Nutrition from Columbia University, Jennifer Vagios is a yoga guru and health fanatic. Teaching yoga and working with individuals to design personalized, healthy eating plans, she’s on a mission to inspire others to embrace a healthy lifestyle. On her blog, she shares easy-to-make recipes while explaining their nutritional benefits and where to buy ingredients. Her motto is, “Ditch the Diets, Eat a Veggie. Do Yoga & Sometimes eat a Cupcake.”

You refer to yourself as a “yonut.” What does this mean exactly?

One day, while obviously really busy (insert laugh), I think I was staring at the words Yoga and Nutrition. That bored me, and who wants boring? Somehow the letters YO and NUT popped out of those two words, and it immediately clicked. I thought of a donut, then I thought of a new snack. Then I had visions of YONUT items like mugs, t-shirts, etc. That was all it took.

I also liked the fact that people aren’t sure what it is at first but the second they “get it” and perhaps get my sense of humor, it usually makes someone laugh, and I love to make people laugh.

In brief: YO represents me as a yogi/yoga teacher and NUT represents me as nutritionist/dietitian. I’m enthusiastic about both and sometimes feel like a nut, I embrace that nutty side of my personality.

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Blogger Spotlight: Gail Watson of A Stack of Dishes

by in Uncategorized, May 10, 2013
You might know Gail Watson for her beautiful confectionary creations, but the former wedding cake designer is now using her food expertise to promote healthy eating. Her blog A Stack of Dishes features wholesome meals that are attainable to the everyday home cook. With a Master’s degree in Nutrition/Exercise Physiology from Columbia University, she is currently developing the site A Healthy Hunger, a menu plan subscription service for people with diabetes or elevated blood sugar.

When did your love for cooking and baking begin?

My mother jokes that she used to put cooking magazines in my playpen when I was a baby, and I would tear them apart all day long. Perhaps that was the spark of a humble beginning? Or maybe the fact that she had Julia Child on the TV every afternoon (more likely).

I come from a long line of food-centric folks. Some families get together and discuss sports teams, or politics — we talked about restaurants and recipes. I always liked to bake and cook from when I was a young girl. I made my first apple pie when I was 8 after nabbing some apples from my neighbor’s tree. I think it comes from an internal desire to make and create things in general- and then to be able to share it with others — well that’s just magical.

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Blogger Spotlight: Libby Ilson of The Allergic Kid

by in Uncategorized, May 3, 2013
Libby Ilson’s relationship with food changed when she discovered that her son, aka “The Kid”, suffered from peanut, shellfish, egg, dairy, beef, lamb and pork allergies. She is on a mission not only to keep her child safe, but to create delicious, healthy meals that replicate foods other kids his age are able to enjoy.  The Allergic Kid started as a way to organize her recipes and has become a valuable resource for other food allergy cooks.

What has been the biggest challenge in changing your cooking habits?

The hardest part for me is actually the same thing that every parent has to face, and that is the job of getting a decent meal on the table at a decent hour every night. Ideally, cooking dinner should be a family activity, but in actuality my husband’s still at work, my kiddo’s doing homework at the table and I’m trying to help him while throwing something together that everyone will eat without grumbling. My son’s food allergies do keep me honest, though, since a bag from a drive through or pasta out of a can aren’t just unhealthy, they are horrifically dangerous to him

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Blogger Spotlight: Dulcie and Sarah from Two Tarts

by in Uncategorized, April 19, 2013
Two Tarts is run by Dulcie Wilcox and Sarah Welle, two friends with a shared passion for cooking and photography. When you visit their blog, you’ll find beautiful seasonal recipes using local ingredients. While the Colorado natives are known to make almost everything from scratch, their recipes keep the everyday home cook in mind. They believe that when working with quality ingredients, simple is best. The duo also runs Colorado Crafted, an artisanal food business selling curated gift boxes filled with locally-made gourmet goods.

How long have you two been friends? How did the idea for the blog come up?

We met in 2010 at storytime at our local library! We both had toddlers that had just begun to walk, so initially it was the kids who brought us together (they are now three years old and best buddies). We are both foodies and big advocates for eating whole foods, and we had both dabbled in blogging. It just made sense to team up and create a better blog than either of us could do on our own. We often get asked if one of us takes the photos and one writes the content, but it is truly a team effort and often we don’t even know who was behind the lens for a particular shot.

Dulcie, which of Sarah’s recipes is your favorite? Sarah, same question.

Dulcie: One of my favorites is Sarah’s homemade harissa. When she suggested doing it, I didn’t even know what harissa was! And I was never a big fan of overly spicy foods. But each time I’ve made a batch, I’ve used it at nearly every meal until it is gone. So good.

Sarah: Dulcie introduced me to the oven-puffed pancake, which I’d never thought to make at home before. It looks so puffy and impressive and beautiful that I just assumed it’d be difficult to make at home – let alone as breakfast first thing in the morning. But it’s actually much more simple (and fast!) to make than traditional pancakes, and I make it ALL the time now. It’s definitely a new favorite at our house, thanks to Dulcie.

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Blogger Spotlight: Gina Harney of The Fitnessista

by in Uncategorized, April 12, 2013
Gina Harney is a new mom, military wife, food enthusiast and certified fitness instructor. She focuses on eating lean proteins, whole grains, fruits and veggies but fully admits to her love of chocolate and wine too. With the motto “being fit is always in style,” Gina’s blog, The Fitnessista features workout tips and a wide range of easy and fun healthy recipes.
When did your passion for fitness begin?

I grew up dancing, but paired the high activity with often-unhealthy (but delicious!) food. In college, my eating habits took their toll and I started to experiment with different types of fitness to get to a healthy weight. I lost 40 lbs in college after embarking on a healthy lifestyle through walking (which eventually turned into running), strength training and cleaning up my diet.

What are your favorite pre- and post-workout snacks?

It depends on the time of day. If I can squeeze in an early workout, I’ll often have something small (1/2 a banana and almond butter) and the bulk of my breakfast afterwards, making sure to enjoy a balance of carbs and protein, with a little fat in there. I love egg burritos! If I teach or work out at night or during the day, I’ll have a protein-packed salad beforehand, and enjoy a couple of protein balls afterwards.

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Blogger Spotlight: Angela Liddon, of Oh She Glows

by in Uncategorized, March 29, 2013
Angela Liddon is the woman behind the award-winning vegan blog, Oh She Glows. After years of struggling with an eating disorder, Angela decided to ditch the scale and pursue a happy, healthy lifestyle. She started Oh She Glows in 2008 as a way to share her story and renewed love of food. As a self-taught food photographer and cook, Angela is now working on her first cookbook, due out in 2014. She is also the founder of the website Green Monster Movement.

Tell us a little bit about the name of your blog.

The name represents the glow that comes from the inside when I’m treating myself well. When I was in recovery from an eating disorder my friend Leah told me I was glowing and that she could tell I was on a healthier path. Her words of encouragement always stuck with me and it became my goal to glow throughout the recovery process. When I was brainstorming blog names, I wanted something that was catchy and had the word glow in it. I first thought of ‘She Glows’, but I discovered that the domain was already taken, so I decided on ‘Oh She Glows’. I’m really glad that I didn’t go with ‘She Glows’ because I feel like Oh She Glows is a great fit. To this day, the name still has a lot of personal meaning in my life and I’m sure it always will.

How were you able to embrace and enjoy food after struggling with your eating disorder?   

Hard work, professional counseling, and learning to have fun in the kitchen were a few things that helped me. For so many years, I relied on processed diet foods because they were low in calories. Once I started learning more about nutrition and the amazing health benefits of eating real, plant-based foods, I was hooked. Not to mention, they taste so much better than anything from a package. I felt so great eating this way and it was all the motivation I needed to stay on this path. I now take great pride in making a lot of my own food. It’s a labor of love.

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Blogger Spotlight: Anne-Marie Nichols, of This Mama Cooks! On a Diet

by in Uncategorized, March 22, 2013
Anne-Marie Nichols started out blogging in 2004 as a way to share her favorite family recipes. Three years later, Nichols—and her blog—went on a diet. This Mama Cooks! On a Diet is her way of sharing the wholesome recipes and healthy lifestyle tips that fuel her and her family. Over the years, she’s mastered finding easy alternatives, whether it’s gluten free, veggie heavy or dairy free. For a family diet revamp, Anne-Marie Nichols is your mama.

How did This Mama Cooks! On a Diet get started?

I started posting Thanksgiving recipes on my mom blog. Since I love cooking at Thanksgiving, it made sense to start a new blog just to document what I planned to cook that year. From there This Mama Cooks! morphed into a diet blog and then a healthy food and lifestyle blog.

What’s the best tip you can give to busy people looking to get healthy?

Small changes! If you do it all at once, you’ll be overwhelmed and won’t be successful in changing your life for the better.

Which This Mama Cooks! On a Diet recipe do you recommend for someone looking to please everyone in the family?

Chili made in a slow cooker. My favorite is Healthy Slow Cooker Pumpkin and Bean Chili (pictured above). You can quickly put it together before leaving for work. It’s delicious. And the kids won’t notice that you snuck in healthy vegetables and high fiber beans.

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Blogger Spotlight: Jessica Goldman, aka Sodium Girl

by in Uncategorized, March 8, 2013
For Jessica Goldman, an adjustment to a sodium-free lifestyle came after kidney failure. Diagnosed with Lupus and working toward a full recovery, Jessica dropped the shaker for a new salt-free lifestyle. Thereafter, her kidneys regenerated, she stuck with the diet and she’s never felt better. Her blog, Sodium Girl, and her fresh-off-the-press book, Sodium Girl’s Limitless Low-Sodium Cookbook, document her favorite salt-free recipes and cooking adventures.

Tell us your story. Why did you embrace a no-salt diet?

Shortly after my twenty-first birthday, I went from wrestling for the perfect dorm room to fighting for my life. The autoimmune disease, Lupus, was aggressively attacking my kidneys and brain. After three months of chemotherapy, dialysis, and amazing medical care, I survived; my kidneys, however did not.

From the beginning, though, I was determined to do whatever I could, on top of medicine, to give myself the best chance of staying strong. That meant taking on a strict, no-salt, low-sodium diet. But as a very stubborn twenty-something, I was equally resolute to taste and experience everything life had to offer me. That meant rewriting the low-sodium rules.

Today, I live on medication and diet alone, having been off of dialysis and the kidney transplant for over seven years. I cook with love and respect and joy. I eat more adventurously than I did before restrictions.

How do you go about altering your favorite recipes?

I love the task of “salt-freeing” super salty recipes. Like an Iron Chef challenge, I feel like I get total creative license in order to successfully use the secret ingredient (or, in this case, not use it). Which means that I start with a traditional dish, and using imaginative and playful swaps, then I end up with something familiar but new and fun.

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Blogger Spotlight: Lisa Johnson

by in Uncategorized, October 19, 2012

Lisa Johnson is a highly regarded personal trainer, fitness expert and writer. She considers herself a “pilates geek” and has traveled the world in an effort to learn everything there is to know about piltes. By running an award-winning Pilates studio in Boston and helping people achieve their fitness goals on a daily basis, she offers a unique, approachable perspective to her blog Lisa Johnson Fitness.

How did your passion for fitness begin?

I was just so easily inspired! As a kid, I watched the Olympics and started doing gymnastics because I wanted to fly through the air, then I watched a movie about soccer legend Pele and I started playing soccer. Once I start moving I almost always like what I’m doing.

What can people expect to find on your blog?

The food section is a mix of healthy living, recipes (even from celebrities!) and the latest in green news. We think about our reader as smart, self-educated about food and someone who wants to feed themselves and their families well. They care about the politics of food but they like to have fun in the kitchen too. And the recipes better taste good! All of ours are kitchen tested.

My fitness section is a mix of fitness news, and a lot of how-to’s that you can use immediately. I’m also known to throw in a rant every now and again when something hits mainstream media that drives me crazy! My big passions are to get people moving and feeling better about themselves. Any time I get a thank you from a reader in the comments I smile for days.

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Blogger Spotlight: Laura Wright from The First Mess

by in Uncategorized, October 12, 2012
A Southern Ontario native, Laura believes that seasonal, whole foods are a celebration of the community. On her blog The First Mess, she uses simple ingredients that are accessible to everyone.  Her cooking expertise derives from her experience in culinary school, working in restaurants, growing up around farms and collecting an extensive library of cookbooks.

What’s the meaning behind your blog’s name, The First Mess?
It’s a reference to a passage in M.F.K. Fisher’s An Alphabet for Gourmets. I wouldn’t call myself a “gourmet” by any means, but her thoughts on the first peas of spring really struck me. She refers to the arrival of “the first mess” of them and goes even further to call it “the day with stars on it.” There’s was so much reverence and gratitude in that passage, for nature, the earth and our nourishment. The blog takes root in those ideas; eating seasonally, respecting nature, eating well etc.

How do you define “healthy”?
I’ve always loved to eat healthy, but in a more casual and free kind of way. Celebrating produce in season, the practice of cooking regularly at home, gathering around a meal with people in your life—I look to these easy strategies as guidelines for a healthy and happy life. I’ve studied nutrition extensively in culinary school, worked in a bunch of restaurants, read countless books on health, but I always go back to those more basic ideas because they are liberating in their simple practicality.

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