Hello, world.

Well, hello there. I honestly cannot believe I am writing my first post for my blog. Like, it's actually happening; I've only been talking about starting a blog for the past three years! Let's start from the beginning, shall we?

Hello, World.

I've been passionate about food for as long as I can remember. I have always been one of those 'foodies' who has gotten ridiculously excited about the red velvet cake at Christmas and too excited to wake up in the morning to enjoy breakfast (and coffee, of course). Looking back, this makes me laugh because I grew up being a picky eater, living off of cereal (Rice Krispies and Chex, please) and PB&J sandwiches (at least they were made with whole grain bread, right?). [Side note: thank you parents, for not force feeding me vegetables, because now I absolutely adore them.] My picky eating slowly phased out in high school when my dad was in Iraq, my sister was in college, and my mom was in graduate school. I started helping with cooking and the grocery shopping, which quickly grew into so much more. This is also when disordered eating began for me, which is a long story, for another time on this blog of mine.

When I was 16 and trying to decide what I wanted to do with my life, I discovered the actual job of talking to others about food and nutrition; from that moment on I have never looked back.  I went on to get my bachelor's degree from Clemson University (Go Tigers!) in 2011. The year after, I completed my dietetic internship and registration exam to become a registered dietitian. My eating habits during this time period still make me cringe to think about. From gaining well over 20 pounds my freshman year to beginning to become what I considered a "healthy" eater, a lifestyle fueled by Diet coke, Fiber-one bars and Lean Cuisines. This is also when I started having digestive issues, and was diagnosed with IBS, which again, is a long story that I fully plan on going into detail, at another time.

Four years ago I moved to the Tampa Bay Area with my then boyfriend (now husband) and I have been working as a dietitian in community health. My interest in food and nutrition blogs blossomed during our engagement. While on a quest to lose weight like every bride-to-be, and wanting to feel good, I recognized that whole foods made me feel best. I used food blogs to help guide me in creating a healthier lifestyle. There are many ups and downs within this period though, as my relationship with foods still needed healing…

Here we are now. I have worked hard each day to practice self-love, learning to fuel my body and learning to have a healthy relationship with food. My desire to start a food blog began with the realization that I truly want to share my story with the world in the hopes that it will help others. Thanks to encouragement from friends and family, here goes nothin’!

It is quite frightening to think of being so honest with you all, and I am almost nauseous thinking about hitting submit and publishing this for the world to see (which I realize for now means my sister, parents and husband). But it is so, so important to me. I truly believe becoming a dietitian is my calling in life. I believe that my passion and drive for food and nutrition was meant to be used to help others. There is a misconception that all dietitians are perfect eaters, which is quite the opposite from reality. Most of us, myself included, have had our own battles with eating or health issues. I am committed to helping others, because I have been there. I have had my own battles with disordered eating, yo-yo dieting, and whirlwind of digestive issues. I am so thankful that each of these issues, because they have only taught me more about myself and fueled my desire for change.

There are two principals that I believe are the key to creating a healthy lifestyle. The first is simply that food must taste delicious. Too often, I hear clients, friends, and family complain about eating healthy foods as if it were a chore. If you do not enjoy eating wholesome, nourishing foods, it is simply not sustainable long term. I believe whole-heartedly that healthy foods can taste delicious, and I plan showcasing this in my recipes.

The second foundation to creating a healthy lifestyle is forming a healthy relationship with food. Food is so much more than just nutrients. Food is emotional, social, cultural and so much more. My hope for each reader is that they realize reaching your healthy weight does not mean you have to restrict or diet to reach your goals.

These two principles will be the focus on this little blog on mine.

My posts will be about food prep and meal planning (a huge component to making healthy living so much simpler), examples of how I fuel myself (also known as "What I Ate Wednesday" or "WIAW" posts) along with simple, budget-friendly recipes and nutrition advice. I also plan on discussing healthy living in areas outside of nutrition all while sharing little nuggets of my life.

For those of you who are reading my very first blog post (hey mom, dad, sissy and Nick) thank you so, so much for reading. I am so excited/nervous/every emotion possible about starting this blog, and I cannot wait to share more with you. Please comment below, email me directly at thediehardfoodie@gmail.com or leave a message on the contact form for any posts, recipes or advice you would like me to share on. This blog after all, is for all your other diehard foodies.