faith, freedom, food

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Blackberry Crumble

Blackberry Crumble

In case you didn’t know, I tasted the most amazing food in the world a couple weeks ago. An avid foodie– and, more importantly, an avid peanut butter lover– I was so intrigued when I first noticed Salted Caramel Peanut Butter (sugar free, whole foods, […]

How I Increased My Blog Traffic By Thousands in a Matter of Months

How I Increased My Blog Traffic By Thousands in a Matter of Months

This post contains some affiliate links. All opinions are my own and are completely honest and candid. Ah, the world of blog hosting. When I started the whole blogging thing back in 2015, I really just wanted to share my writing with anyone that might […]

3 Engaged Girls, One House

3 Engaged Girls, One House

It is only just hitting me that in a matter of weeks, the girls I have lived with for the past three years and I will never live together again.

In fact, each of us will be transitioning to living with– a man— for the rest of our lives.

Yes– my university living experience was probably not like most, particularly at my secular school in southwestern Ontario, Wilfrid Laurier. I met Maddie and Mary in my first year of university, as they were colleagues in my smaaaalll program, Christian Studies. We hit it off instantly as friends, and soon became as close as sisters.

From left to right: Maddie, me, Autumn, Beth, and Mary.

We found a student apartment to live in together in second year with two other girls. Pictured above is our third-year crew, all of us having met in Christian Studies classes. ALL of the girls in this photo are engaged now, with the exception of Beth, who was married to her hubby in August 2018, a wedding we were so honoured to attend.

Now, these girls make up my bridal party… and I make up theirs. Mary marries her man in October, Johnny & I in January, and Maddie in June 2020. Our men proposed months apart, but many of the preparations for the weddings have taken place in our little student living situation. With either a bridesmaid dress or a wedding gift or a decor piece arriving to the front porch seemingly every week, it’s no wonder people have asked me what it’s like to “share the spotlight” with my best friends in the same house.

And here’s the answer: I wouldn’t have it any other way, because the only spotlight in these relationships is on Jesus Christ.

I feel blessed beyond words, in fact, that I have had the opportunity to live with these two women who know that their weddings are about the lifelong marriage and not the day itself. Who have hearts that want their relationships to reflect and glorify God rather than lift up themselves. And it is because of these very mindsets, the very presence of God, that we have approached each other, and being in each other’s wedding parties while also being brides, with nothing but love, grace, equality, compassion, and joy.

Also pictured here is Bethany, another one of my bridesmaids and beautiful friend from Christian Studies.

HE is why it’s been nothing but fun. HE is why I have been able to give being a bridesmaid, maid of honour, and bride– all at once, and while LIVING with the girls– the attention each role deserves. HE is the reason for it all, and to Him I give all the glory.

And I saw that all toil and all achievement spring from one person’s envy of another. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.


Childhood Chicken Fried Rice

Childhood Chicken Fried Rice

Raise your hand if you were a picky eater as a kid. (I’m raising my hand). I was the PICKIEST of the picky. I could count the number of foods I was happy eating on both hands (well, both hands if you’ll allow me to […]

Curated KW: Interviewing the Girls Behind the Gram

Curated KW: Interviewing the Girls Behind the Gram

When I first stumbled upon Curated KW, I was so intrigued. Quite honestly, I wanted to WORK for the business, be a part of it in some way. I assumed, given the obvious effort and passion displayed in this initiative to help Waterloo Regioners understand […]

Stephanie Buttermore’s “All In” Journey: Why I am a Huge Fan of the Fitness YouTuber Eating 5000+ Calories per Day

Stephanie Buttermore’s “All In” Journey: Why I am a Huge Fan of the Fitness YouTuber Eating 5000+ Calories per Day

I knew I was a fan of Stephanie Buttermore the first time I ever watched one of her videos. Not only was it clear that she was a kind person, but it was clear that she was an all in kind of person.

I have a massive appreciation for the art of video editing, and Stephanie takes this to another level. Each one of her videos is crafted in such an accessible, viewer-friendly manner, and her speaking voice has such a pleasing ring to it. She doesn’t have hundreds of videos as many fitness YouTubers of her career length do, but it’s because each and every video is crafted with such intense excellence. All-in excellence.

Stephanie demonstrates this all in attitude in each one of her workout routines too. She doesn’t go half-in on anything she does– or at least, anything she puts out within her business. Her mindset is reflected in everything from her beautiful merchandise to her truly informative videos, ones I always learn a lot from in a concise manner.

So, when Stephanie announced that she was going “All In,” which for her meant eating about 5000 calories every single day (not counting them or measuring food or anything, but eating this amount because it’s been what she’s been hungry for), I wasn’t surprised, but was incredibly excited.

Stephanie explains the reasons behind her “All In” Journey more succinctly than I could, but, essentially, the diets and methods of eating that had previously consumed her way of eating have put her body in an energy deficit that has caused severe mental, physical, and emotional hunger. It also caused her to lose her period.

While it is easy for a person in this situation to believe that most of the hunger they feel is mental or emotional, leading them to believe that they should not consume food to the point of full satiety due to fear of weight gain, research proves that the physical hunger is likely the reason for the mental and emotional hunger in patients who have lost their period, or restricted food for long periods of time. Even if the person didn’t have an eating disorder, or wasn’t eating a “crazily” low amount of calories, but still actively restricted certain food groups, labelled certain foods as “off-limits,” or forced themselves to stop eating before full satiety, an energy deficit is present. The physical repercussions are very dangerous.

Stephanie is very popular on YouTube for her “Cheat Day” videos, in which she eats “everything she wants” in a day, which usually ends up amounting to something around 10,000 calories. She always emphasizes that she never eats past the point of discomfort– but, for most people with average appetites, this amount of food would likely be past that point. This is just one sign pointing to Stephanie’s energy deficit.

From Stephanie’s Instagram
And quotes from her boyfriend, also a fitness expert

Steph’s recent “All In” recap video has seen over one million views, and gained a lot of interest in the media.

Now, here is why I love what Stephanie is doing.

She has not let her former platform sway her from doing what she believes is right (even when it’s hard). Going from bikini-competitor leanness to gaining 30 plus pounds in a couple months in front of a large following could not have been easy, but Steph didn’t let that stop her from doing what she knew was right. In fact, showcasing this change, including ups and downs with body image and her mood, has been something she hasn’t shied away from. All that she has shared as been real and raw, and I have seen countless followers take insight from her story. She has helped people in the trenches of anorexia find motivation to recover. She has given people who have yo-yo dieted for years a vocabulary for understanding their hunger. She has put her health and wellness– mental and physical– above her aesthetic.

She has not positioned herself in any “niche”– she’s just a relatable human with incredible credentials. Boasting a B.A., M.S., and Ph.D., in medical sciences, biology, and more, Stephanie went from being a unique member of the fitness community as a passionate foodie, to simply going on the journey that was right for her in this time– and sharing it for the benefit of many. She isn’t in the “recovering from an eating disorder” niche, necessarily, which only makes her content more accessible, and might help someone in a similar position recognize that, just because they’re not dealing with an eating disorder doesn’t mean they don’t need to go “all in” simply because of restriction or dieting, two things society has convinced us are “normal.” Or maybe, like Steph, they’ve never fully recovered from an eating disorder, or given it the “all in” attitude it deserves.

She is eliminating the “cheat day” mindset, making a statement about the reality of our society’s skewed relationships with food. Many people in the fitness industry promote food restriction coupled with massive “cheat days.” Others promote fad diets, obsessive macro counting, labelling foods, etc. But, here is my question (and the common question of another of my favourite YouTubers): was obesity a thing before the billion-dollar weight loss industry was?

We all have naturally different appetites based on genetics, activity level, hormones, etc., and simply living according to these (not obsessively “intuitively eating” according to the trend of it, but just eating, a concept that is difficult to understand for many who have been rewired by the weight loss industry for years) is, wow, the best possible key to our health. It doesn’t make a weight loss guru any money, though.

I have worked in “healthy food” environments selling great products and with great menus with employees who, without even thinking about it, would write “Cheat Day Choices” on top of our baked good selections. Whether we realized it or not, much of our culture has been influenced into thinking that this is normal.

I underwent an incredible journey to healing in which I radically discovered just how amazing my body and mind are at knowing what they want and need. I also went through an “all in” journey in which I was eating at least 3000 calories a day just to feel somewhat satisfied.

If you relate to any of this content, or have any questions, feel free to reach out to me as a friend or helping hand.

Has “diet culture” influenced you in any way? Has this article debunked any of that for you? Let me know in the comments below.

NutriBullet Apple Cauliflower Soup

NutriBullet Apple Cauliflower Soup

Are you a soup person? I’ve never been much of one myself. Growing up, I did love Nestle Chicken Noodle, and my mom’s homemade chilli was to die for. But creamy, one-colour purees? Is that baby food or potato chowder, ya know what I’m saying? […]

The Power of a Friend Like Alicia: Three Things To Absolutely Always Be Doing, Everyday Period.

The Power of a Friend Like Alicia: Three Things To Absolutely Always Be Doing, Everyday Period.

The buzz of my alarm greeted my ears this morning at 5:30AM, and I found myself instantly missing waking up with the sunrise time on the daily for work. As I have transitioned out of a three-and-a-half-year period of working at coffee shops just this […]

My Ear Piercing Disaster, Redeemed.

My Ear Piercing Disaster, Redeemed.

Yup. I’m a 21 year old Canadian female and only just recently got my ears pierced.

And then… un-pierced. And the whole debacle is what led to some leaps in my physical recovery from eating disorders, and a greater understanding of my personal identity.

Excessive? Allow me to explain.

I grew up with two sisters, and remember each of them getting their ears pierced. In fact, I remember each of them begging my mom to allow them to get their ears pierced at quite young ages.

But when my mom asked me if I ever wanted to get mine pierced, my answer, a few times over, was no. I just didn’t see the point in getting a needle put in my ears so that I could put jewelry in them. It just seemed like unnecessary efforts.

I’ve never been extremely opposed to the idea of having ear piercings, and definitely not to that of having piercings in general– I do, after all, have my belly button pierced. So when my friend Brooke and I went to get pedicures a few weeks ago and I noticed that the place did ear piercings for just $15 with free earrings, I thought, Why not?

Now, in hindsight, and after talking to a few friends afterward, I realize the question I really should have been asking when I saw that the piercing AND earrings together cost 15$ was Why?

In any case, I really liked the piercings for about a week after having them. They were easy to get used to, and easy to clean. I cleaned them thoroughly with warm salt water three times per day.

After about a week, though, I noticed the infection starting, and it only worsened over the next several days.

My dear friend, also known as my “soulmate” Bethany zeroed in on the infection the moment she saw me, and insisted upon taking me to Shoppers Drug Mart to get the appropriate products to fix it. I was incredibly grateful; I had not known what to do, especially with my go-to ailment-healer away at the cottage (my mom, of course).

And so, I set out to use the solution three times per day as Bethany had instructed, but soon realized that the infection was already too advanced. It would definitely require more serious care.

I decided to go to a walk-in clinic, where I was prescribed both a topical cream, and an antibiotic, by a patient doctor with a kind smile. The antibiotic was to be taken 4 times per day, with a decent meal each time.

It was when I realized how difficult it was for me to eat four large meals per day that I turned to prayer, confused.

I’m a “six small meals a day” kind of person, and this antibiotic did NOT work with snacks. If I didn’t have enough food with it, I noticed instantly that I had a horrible stomachache afterwards.

The last full update I did about eating disorder recovery is here.

After writing this one, I told myself that I would not qualify myself to give advice on my own experiences with recovery until I had gotten at least three periods in a row. I’ve experienced in the past “feeling” so educated on the topic of the recovery– and, from a knowledge-perspective, I am– but without having the success displayed in my own life.

So when I realized that the prospect of eating enough food at a time to make four large meals per day was mentally a little bit daunting, my reaction that of was fear and doubt.

Had I slipped back into more old habits than I’d realized?

I’ve spent a lot of this past week and a half reflecting on and praying about the previous year that I spent working at a health-food cafe.

I’ve already spoken about it to myself, and to some friends and family, and I don’t like to say it but acknowledging it was step one: some circumstances of the past year have triggered some old thought patterns which *sometimes* lead to old disordered behaviours.

That, and the reality that I could still relate so much to this video made me realize that “diet culture” had probably had its way with me more than I had previously admitted.

And, of course, my God and His timing? Sooo paramount.

The LORD your God will drive out those nations before you, little by little. You will not be allowed to eliminate them all at once, or the wild animals will multiply around you. DEUTERONOMY 7:22

I’ve had to take this antibiotic and learn to be okay with eating four big meals a day (and snacks, too, if I want them) during my couple weeks off after leaving my job in the health food industry, and before starting my new one as a writer.

There has been an INCREDIBLE amount of healing during this time that I didn’t even know I needed. I plan to share more about the key areas of healing that God has revealed to me through prayer, time in the Word, and those around me. Removing myself from lies that I’ve believed in the past that were my everyday environment for a while again, repenting of believing them, and getting up close with Truth and Life in Jesus has been the desire of my soul. And He’s already reminded me that He already had victory over this battle, and that if there’s more that needs to be nailed to the cross, would He show me, but otherwise I can walk confidently in that victory.

Today, I simply want to highlight that something as seemingly insignificant as an ear infection can be a paramount turning point when entrusted to God.

He uses everything for His glory. Even a silly decision to take a nail artist up on a $15 piercing.

Gossip & Negativity: What kind of communicator are you?

Gossip & Negativity: What kind of communicator are you?

I remember that, in high school, a “normal” conversation at the lunch table, at a party, or at a friend’s locker was about someone else. The “subject line” was rarely to do with the state of one’s soul, the deeper thoughts they’d been having, or […]