Other than doing aerobics a few times a week with my mom, I wasn’t overly active in my youth. Even without consistent, regular activity, it was fairly easy for me to stay slim while I was younger. Unfortunately, after going through two pregnancies and getting a bit older, my body stopped responding like it used to. After the birth of my second child especially, it seemed like the bodies of all the other mothers I knew bounced back quickly from having their babies. Mine? Not so much.

At the time my youngest child was born, my diet was a very SAD (Standard American Diet) one—high in carbohydrates, low in fat, a weak amount of protein—all consumed from mostly pre-packaged, convenience foods. When I look back now, I remember my body feeling terrible—brain fog, achy joints, dull skin—but it never occurred to me that it was diet related. 

When I finally decided enough was enough, I joined a local gym and completely revamped my diet. I knew that to truly see real change, I had to commit and decided to give it my all for 30 days. I focused on real, whole foods. I tossed out all processed foods and removed grains and dairy. I increased my intake of vegetables, fruits and high-quality fats. I made sure to drink ample amounts of water.

Now it wasn’t all rainbows and unicorns. The first week was definitely a little bumpy. With the safety net of convenience foods gone, I fumbled around in the kitchen feeling overwhelmed most of the time. There were times when I thought cooking from scratch with two little kids would be impossible. But this was important to me, so I kept at it. Eventually, things got easier and I started learning a lot of tips & tricks along the way.

My perseverance paid off and the results were incredible! After about 2 weeks I noticed my clothes were fitting better, my face and waist were less puffy, I felt stronger, more clear-headed and energized. The number on the scale was steadily dropping, exposing muscles for the first time in my life. I had improved mental clarity and focus, a ton of energy (for workouts and to play with my kids), and I had the desire and energy to spend time with my husband again. All that hard work in and out of the gym, was paying off and so worth the effort!

After about three months, I decided to try adding some foods I had removed, like grains and dairy, back into my diet. Unfortunately, when I did I noticed symptoms like upset stomach, bloating, lack of energy, brain fog, acne and stiff joints. A food sensitivity test revealed I was extremely sensitive to gluten, dairy, and eggs. I had no choice but to remove these foods from my diet. While I was motivated to make these changes to continue to feel better, I missed some of my favorite foods. I started altering some of my go-to recipes—replacing those offending ingredients with those that would help my body thrive.

Since then, I have dedicated myself to finding and altering recipes to help my body thrive. I continue to create and modify my favorite recipes, removing those ingredients I’m sensitive to, ensuring the new versions are nutrient-dense and taste amazing.

If you’re currently grappling with food sensitivities, there’s no reason you can’t enjoy delicious food too. I welcome the opportunity to share with you what I’ve learned on my journey—through inspired cooking classes, manageable meal plan design, and simple, delicious recipes.   

Let me show you how empowering changing your diet can be!

Stephanie Gonzalez
Nutritional therapist, personal trainer, recipe developer, foodie