I love all things colorful. I love pink tulips and eating spoonfuls of whipped cream. I believe that steak is its own food group and butter belongs on everything. My golden retriever is my side kick.  

In the afternoons, chances are I am probably drinking a cappuccino and in the evenings I am already dreaming of what to eat for breakfast. I am a really bad singer, but love to have dance parties in the car. I believe that laughter and Netflix nights can fix almost anything. At my house the door is open, wine is red and coffee is pipping hot.

Did I mention I love to eat, cook and take pretty pictures of my food?! Well, yes I do!

My love of cooking began at an early age, helping my dad make his famous Christmas morning cinnamon rolls and learning to bake bread with my grandmother.

However, at the age of 20, I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. Completely miserable, I discovered a grain-free and Paleo way of eating and I have never looked back! With my diagnosis I was scared beyond belief, that the foods I once loved, I would never eat again. So I set out to recreate them without grains, gluten, and refined sugars. Finding passion in food photography and recipe creation has allowed me to once again enjoy the foods I love!

Pour yourself a cup of coffee and stay awhile!

I love all things colorful. I love pink tulips and eating spoonfuls of whipped cream. I believe that steak is its own food group and butter belongs on everything. My golden retriever is my side kick.  

In the afternoons, chances are I am probably drinking a cappuccino and in the evenings I am already dreaming of what to eat for breakfast. I am a really bad singer, but love to have dance parties in the car. I believe that laughter and Netflix nights can fix almost anything. At my house the door is open, wine is red and coffee is pipping hot.

Did I mention I love to eat, cook and take
pretty pictures of my food?! Well, yes I do!

And this is where my story begins.

My story has taken me awhile to put into words, but every time I tell my story or even remember these past few years, I get tears in my eyes. Tears because it has been hard. Tears because it has been a journey I wouldn't trade for anything in the world. Tears because I am endlessly thankful for everyone who has encouraged me. Tears because living with Type 1 Diabetes has taught me to choose joy above all else, so yes, I am thankful for this ever so consuming disease!

You are in your 20's. Life seems pretty grand and everything is just cruising along. You are starting to live out the prospect of your dreams and accomplishing your goals. College is slowly coming to an end and the possibilities of future plans are endless and oh so exciting!

01/13

Finally while out to dinner with my family, I broke into tears.

Then all this life bliss turns into constantly feeling tired and miserable, countless blood tests and doctor office waiting rooms filling up your day. After 6 months of testing and procedures, no one has an answer as to what is wrong with you. During that time, I just kept thinking, something please be actually wrong with me so we can figure this out, solve it, and move on with life. Well I guess as the old saying goes, 'be careful what you wish for.'

As I came home from college that Christmas break, I was exhausted (which I thought was from non-stop studying for finals), very skinny (which I didn't really notice, but hey seemed like a good problem to have), and constantly starving (I love to eat so hey, that's ok too, right?).

02/13

I hate healthy my entire life.

Finally while out to dinner with my family, I broke down into tears because my mouth was so dry, I couldn't even talk, and dry mouth, a common symptom of diabetes, is very painful.

Barely able to walk up a flight of stairs, I checked myself into the emergency room and was told I was in a diabetic coma with blood sugar levels of 572. That night in the emergency room, with my sister laying by my side, was probably one of the most confusing nights of my life. I was given the diagnosis that I was Type 1 Diabetic.

Diabetic? Oh, I don't have diabetes - that's for people who are older, slightly overweight, and eat Snickers bars all day (sorry for making a stereotype). 

03/13

This is what I struggled with understanding during the initial days of my diagnosis and something that was never, ever explained to me.

I ate healthy my entire life - yes, I was the girl in school with her tuna sandwiches on whole wheat, sprouted bread with carrot sticks and applesauce for dessert. I grew up in a home where my mom fed us very healthy, never touching soda or a bag of Cheetos. My mom fed our family organic, natural, and completely unprocessed foods. We didn't grow up on packaged microwaved dinners (in fact, we didn't even have a microwave, shocking...yes!) but we grew up on roasted chicken or grilled meats, always with a big salad. Dessert was for special occasions and always homemade treats!

But little did I know, this was not the type of diabetes I was diagnosed with. Type 1 diabetes is not caused by my eating candy bars and not prevented by a mother who worked so diligently to take care of her family, but really, thank you Mom for all that you did!

04/13

After my Initial Diagnosis

In fact, it wasn't for about 6 months later that I understood I had an auto-immune disease, something that was irreversible and something that I would live with for my entire life. Talk about life changing!

I was handed endless prescriptions, told I could eat whatever I wanted and told to simply count my carbohydrates. Nothing really was ever explained to me on how to manage this new diagnosis and lifestyle.

To say the days that followed my diagnosis were a dark and difficult time is an understatement - I was scared, confused, and completely hopeless. I felt alone and had no clue how I would get through the rest of my life with this disease. I didn't want to talk about having diabetes, because I didn't want to be viewed as different, so I never truly shared what was going on in my life. I was completely miserable and depressed. So I invested my time in outside activities that don't truly ever bring true satisfaction.

05/13

I have never been one to take 'no' for an answer, and knew there had to be a better way to live.

Shortly after going on insulin, I gained 22 pounds in a short 2 weeks (plus even more after that), nearly fainted multiple times everyday, and was completely embarrassed by my looks, and my condition. I didn't have any clothes that fit, and vividly remember crying buckets of tears in the Anthropologie fitting room...on several occasions. As a 20 year old girl, weight gain that drastic is completely humiliating, especially when you have no control over the pounds that keep accumulating. My legs, arms, and stomach were black and blue from giving myself shots. I was reaching for peanut M&Ms and Hershey kisses multiple times per day just to keep myself from fainting at my job or in public.

Although I had a smile on my face, inside I was crumbling. The doctors told me I was fine, this was just the way life was going to be and to continue counting my carbs. It doesn't matter what you eat, multiple doctors told me, as long as you 'count your carbs and take the right amount of insulin.'

06/13

Here is what I wish someone would have told me the day I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes.

"You have a life-changing auto-immune disease that you will live with for the rest of your life. But, there are so many things that you can do to improve your daily life - with the combination of food, nutrition, and modern medicine, you can live and feel great, and all parts are equally important. Let me help you understand all of this - let me hold your hand through this process so that you can truly understand how to live with Type 1 Diabetes."

So what exactly is Type 1 Diabetes?

Like I previously stated, no, Type 1 Diabetes is not caused by eating too many candy bars, but rather, it is an auto-immune disease.  However, I am thankful that I realized that no matter what type of disease I may have, food and nutrition do impact my daily life.

07/13

In the first two weeks of being on insulin, I gained over 20 pounds.

"Type 1 Diabetes, once known as juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes, is a chronic condition in which the pancreas produces little or no insulin, a hormone needed to allow sugar (glucose) to enter cells to produce energy." - Mayo Clinic

After my initial diagnosis, I was handed stacks of papers and told to start counting my carbs - if any of you have ever seen these types of papers, confusing is an understatement. As long as I took the appropriate amount of insulin, it didn't matter what I ate. Pizza and spaghetti I asked? "Yes, that's totally fine to eat just take enough insulin." Ice cream? "Yes, that's fine too, just take enough insulin. Make sure you are eating plenty of servings of healthy whole grains with each meal" - words I heard over and over again. Sorry, but this just didn't make sense to me!

08/13

Yes, that rush of sugar literally saved me in the moment, but then it caused more irritability, high blood sugar, and then eventually another crash.

I was never hungry, in fact, I felt extremely sick - bloated, irritable, shaky, nauseous, and tired - all the time. You know that feeling after you ate Thanksgiving dinner, so stuffed that you don't even want to move? That's how I felt day in and day out, all day long, without having barely eaten anything! I left restaurants and clothing dressing rooms in tears and would sit in the bathroom stall attempting to fight back the tears at work.

I would practically faint multiple times throughout the day, but I was working a desk job at an internship in Washington D.C., so it's not like I could get up and just leave work. So when I would start to feel faint, like head spinning, sweating through my clothes type of faint, I would reach for the only thing around me - candy, usually Hershey kisses or M&Ms. I would quickly stuff my face in attempts to simply stay coherent.

09/13

Yes, you get the point - I was miserable, hopeless, absolutely desperate.

The high blood sugar spike then had to be fixed with more insulin injections, and thus the blood sugar roller coaster ride began, day in and day out.

Completely confused and hopeless, I then thought I could solve my weight gain problem by constantly working out. I would go to the gym daily and probably put way too much strain on my adrenals with all this working out. I ate very little food because I thought that with the combination of working out and little food, I would lose weight. And no, it didn't work at all.

I have never been one to take 'no' for an answer, and in my moments of desperation, I realized I had to take matters into my own hands. I began reading and researching everything I could get my hands on - scientific studies, clinical trials, principles of ancient medicine, Asian medicine, nutrition books, blogs, cookbooks, and personal stories.

10/13

Lightbulb moment!

Through my research, I learned how sugars and carbohydrates affected my insulin need, blood sugar stability, and in turn, my daily health. I discovered that although I have an auto-immune disease, the more sugar and carbohydrates I consumed, the more insulin I would likely need.

My dad emailed me saying, 'Have I read this book called Wheat Belly?' Well, I rushed off to Barnes and Noble that day to purchase it, and quickly read from cover to cover. I was fascinated, and it finally clicked for me. I can't exactly explain the hope that flooded my emotions that day - it started to all make sense to me. It was truly like turning on a lightbulb after a year of wandering hopelessly in the dark.


Yes, the food I choose to eat does impact me - and for a diabetic, it really impacts me! It seems so simple now. The more carbohydrates I choose to eat, the more shots of insulin I would need, so why not just reduce the carbohydrates I consume each day?

11/13

My Eating Habits - Grain, Gluten, & Refined Sugar Free

Now I thought, if the principles of eliminating high carbohydrate and high sugar foods can work to reverse type 2 diabetes, hypoglycemia, metabolic syndrome, and so many other 'modern diseases,' the same principle could potentially help my case - no, it cannot cure Type 1 Diabetes, but I thought it could for sure help! And when you are as desperate as me, I was willing to give it a try.

This is when I discovered the Paleo diet and eating grain, gluten, and refined sugar free. For me, I like to call this eating real, unprocessed food as it is commonly found in nature. Just eat real food - yes, it's really that simple!

I radically transformed my diet, eliminating all grains, glutens, and refined sugars. I am an all or nothing person, so I cut them all out completely and the difference was huge.

12/13

The difference was so noticeable, instantly, that I have never looked back!

13/13

I was slowly able to drop my insulin intake, the excess weight slowly came off and my appetite started to return. I 'honeymooned' for over 1 1/2 years and was able to remain off insulin for that entire time. But I was (and still am) very very strict with what I ate!

During this time, I always knew that my return to insulin was inevitable, but I stayed very strong with my diet and lifestyle and truly felt great. I married an amazing man, who has been more supportive of my lifestyle, and we even created a grain-free wedding cake to cut at our wedding, just so I could feel like a normal bride on our special day! And this lemon curd cake is actually the reason I started my blog, because I (along with friends who kept asking me to make that cake) realized that grain free eating actually tasted great!

My Type 1 Diabetes Journey & Choosing Joy

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Coffee or Tea?

A:

Coffee....extra hot, with a splash of cream.

Q:

Beach or Mountains?

A:

Mountains

Q:

What is your diet? Are you Paleo?

A:

Well, it’s not a diet because I don’t like that word—I choose to think of it as a lifestyle. I don’t eat any grains, gluten or refined sugars, but let me tell you my food is fabulous. I am not strictly Paleo because I eat full-fat, good quality dairy, usually raw or grass-fed.

Q:

Last Meal on Earth?

A:

Pizza, like really really good pizza, and a Oreo McFlurry!

Q:

One food you are not willing to try? 

A:

Snails. I was a French major in college but no escargot for me!

Q:

Do you respond to emails?

A:

Yes, everything you see here is completely ME and I love getting emails, but only nice ones.

Q:

Do you answer ingredient substitution questions?

A:

Nope. I work really hard developing recipes so I do not answer any substitution questions. 

Q:

Guilty pleasure?

A:

Really good French fries, red wine and Netflix.

Q:

Do you participate in affiliate programs?

A:

Yes, that is actually how I keep my website running. If you purchase something from some of the links on my website, I get a small kickback which is how I can continue bringing you great content.

Q:

What camera do you use?

A:

I shoot with a Cannon 6D and primarily a Sigma 1.4 50mm ART series lens. You can find out more about food photography in my downloadable ebook, Scrumptious and Styled.

Q:

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