Hello, and welcome to my food/travel/fitness blog! My name is Natalie. I was born and raised in Michigan (and will forever be a Midwesterner at heart) but currently live in Atlanta, GA. I started this blog so I could capture the transformation I noticed my life was going through. I haven’t always been someone who likes to eat healthy, I haven’t always been someone who likes to exercise, and I haven’t always been someone who likes to travel. As of a few years ago my opinion on these things started to change, and now these three things are some of my biggest interests in life!
I’ll start by talking about how I never liked to exercise. In fact, I specifically HATED it! I’m naturally thin so I always thought working out and going to the gym wasn’t important. My main reason = I didn’t like to “breathe” heavy (lol!) aka, “step outside my comfort zone at all or get my butt off the couch.” Oh how wrong I was.
In general I ate healthy most of the time, but ate like crap a lot of the time too. Yes, I was that person who could eat a triple decker cheeseburger with bacon, guacamole and a bucket of fries without gaining weight. Because I had a thin figure to me this meant I was “healthy” but in reality I was FAR from being healthy with my lifestyle.
So I decided to try and clean up my diet. I introduced a lot of fresh vegetables into my meals, lean meats, brown rice instead of white rice, whole grain bread instead of white bread, eat out less, drink less alcohol, etc. and WOW what a difference I started to notice! I felt lighter, slept better, had more energy, no longer felt sluggish, no longer got headaches, my skin got better, and the list goes on. Some of those symptoms I didn’t even realize I had until they were no longer there. That’s how used to bad food my body was. I was hooked on this new feeling, and it was then in my early 20s I decided to try and start exercising regularly as well.
This new lifestyle was very hard for me at first. I wasn’t always consistent, I slipped in my healthy eating at times, and had times when it was really hard to motivate myself to get to the gym. I never forgot how amazing it felt to have a great workout though, or to eat good quality foods – I used it as my motivation to keep going. I also owe a lot of my progress to my wonderful and incredibly supportive boyfriend Cody, who introduced me to weight lifting and showed me my first exercises to get started.
I have now been eating clean and working out consistently for about a year and there is no way I’m ever going back! I became hooked on the positive results I was experiencing, both physically and mentally. I used to dread cardio workouts and now I look forward to them. I used to mentally beat myself up when I “slipped” in my healthy eating and had pizza or takeout for dinner and now I let all of that guilt go – after all life is about balance. I’ve learned that treating yourself in moderation is OK.
After adopting a whole foods plant-based vegan diet in late 2015 I’ve also grown to love cooking healthy meals. I especially like finding new ways to cook foods I used to love (hello triple decker cheeseburger!) but in a healthier way (hello black bean burger on a whole grain bun!). If you follow my blog you’ll know that in all of my recipes flavor is never sacrificed. I have learned on my journey that healthy eating can absolutely be delicious, satisfying, and 100% enjoyable.
Travel is another recent interest of mine. Throughout high school and college I never really had a burning desire to “see the world” like some people I knew. I admired people who had an interest in world travel, but I never yearned for it in my own life. I think this was because I was comfortable in the life I had. I lived in a small town in Michigan, had all my friends and family around me, and I think in some way I feared leaving that comfort zone. It wasn’t until after college that I started to get a desire to expand my world view. I think moving to Atlanta, GA after college for my first job helped with this. I was living in a big city for the first time, and it made me realize that change is OK. I realized that living in/seeing other parts of the world wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be. Now, I can’t WAIT to explore other countries! So far I have been to Europe and Asia, and both trips were incredibly life changing. I have dreams now of exploring as many countries, continents, cities and cultures as I can. It’s an exciting passion of mine now, and one that has transformed my life for the better in so many ways.
My journey into health/fitness/travel is far from over. I hope to continue exploring all life has to offer through these new interests of mine and share on this blog the things I learn along the way. If any of what I have to say helps you in your own journey then I’ll be a very happy girl. 🙂
Thank you for reading!