Hi, it’s Anna. ENFJ. Self-taught baker. Powerlifter. Music junkie. Happiness seeker.
First off, thank you for entering my little creative space! My mission is to share with you my recipes that celebrate simplicity and honesty. I take a minimalist approach to my food, focusing on mainly plant-based and sometimes gluten-free ingredients. This is all in hopes of inspiring you to embrace smarter and healthier ways of eating, especially when it comes down to our favorite meal of the day: dessert.
How ‘The Baking Spoon’ Started
The summer after my high school graduation in 2013, I spontaneously decided to try baking as a hobby. At that time, my attention wasn’t on wholesome baking with healthy ingredients, but on creative desserts with little attention to the nutritional value of my work. Because I’ve always had a keen interest in the science of baking (nerd alert) and also enjoyed creative works in art, cake designing came naturally to me. I haven’t taken any cake decorating courses or even worked in any kind of special bakery, but I began to build this hobby into a more serious activity through self-teaching (and a lot of YouTube tutorials). If you take a look through my old portfolio from before 2016, you can see that my hobby was specialized in just this area: novelty desserts and cake decorating. To continue growing my small side-business with order after order, I began to record my baking adventures and stories on this blog. Yes, I mustered up the courage to join the food blogging community and create a platform solely dedicated to my kitchen escapades. But, something just didn’t feel right. Not necessarily the baking, but my mind, health and body.
I baked because of art; the cake was essentially my canvas and it was so euphoric to be able to express my artistic ideas onto edible goods. Because food presentation played a huge role in my baking vision, I never truly paid attention to what exactly I was putting into my creations. Bleached all-purpose flour, highly refined sugar, processed vegetable oils, high-fat butter… The list can go on and on. Not only did I bake and create, but I also ate and ate.
My baking essentially caused my unhealthy obsession with food and made it awfully difficult to eat healthy or to indulge in moderation. I began to view food as something more in life than just fuel to the body. It was about what food meant to me. It meant satisfaction, comfort, friends & family, novelty & experience, and my stress release. But as food took on greater meaning than its nutrients, I started running into conflicting desires, commitments, and priorities. My emotions and desires made healthy eating changes even more challenging. Sadly, this led to a gradual weight gain, daily overindulgence, deteriorating health and mood, and a broke wallet. I felt like a wreck. Ultimately, I lived to eat and it was destroying me.
In 2016, I reflected on how I was living and how broken my relationship was with food, my health, and my body. I began to look for answers in order to learn how to heal this relationship, view food in a healthy way, and take responsibility for my own wellness. So I took the time to gain a lot of knowledge on the nourishment of whole foods. One important fact that I learned was that positive changes to eating don’t have to mean giving up eating well or tastefully. It means understanding how healthier foods can fit into your lifestyle rather than making your lifestyle fit into the demand for healthier foods. Try baking with coconut oil rather than vegetable oil. Discover new flavor profiles by adding a new fruit or vegetable to a dish. Whatever you do, always make sure that you are incorporating healthy and wholesome ingredients into your everyday meals. That’s what counts!
Today, I eat to live. I am always considering the outcome of my health first, above all. How it tastes, where it is from, who I am eating with – all these factors are important to me, but not a dominating factor in my daily food choices. Of course, I still believe a balanced diet makes room for indulgences and this doesn’t mean that I’m never taking a novelty cake order anymore. But, my underlying approach to what I buy, what I eat, and what I bake/cook on the regular revolves around my health and it’s making all the difference.
Taking ownership of my nutrition and feeling empowered about my health also led me on a journey of self-discovery and emotional healing. The physical body is completely interconnected with our emotional body and healing one will create the opportunity to heal the other. By healing both, you will gain the freedom to live a life of health and happiness. Knowing that I’m giving my mind and body the love and health that it needs is an incredible feeling and trust me, giving up everything to experience this is worth it.
Now, my mission is to help you find your own inner and outer happiness through smarter eating. My recipes focus on adding better ingredients into your life in a way that is easy, fun, and delicious! Healthy food is so much more than bland salads and earthy green smoothies we can’t swallow down. It can be as simple as replacing one refined ingredient in your recipe with something more natural! Ultimately, my goal is to help you nurture and feed your body with nature’s best, which will leave you feeling absolutely refreshed, I guarantee you. I am always broadening my horizons and exploring new flavors, so I am learning too! Hope you guys will support me in my journey and I will too with yours.
My Food Philosophy
- Instead of subscribing to one specific diet, I thrive on plant-inspired eating. Have you heard Michael Pollan’s sage advice to ‘eat food, mostly plants’? I couldn’t agree more! Majority of my diet comes from plants, but I do incorporate dairy products, fish, eggs, and meat from happy animals. I’m still in the midst of discovering what works best for my body. But, I will be sharing mostly vegan and gluten-free recipes on my blog since majority of my baking and cooking will be plant-inspired. When you use plants as the base and inspiration for your meals and dishes, you can’t help but make healthy choices! Also, I did go vegan for 30 days and I talk about my experience here.
- Whole foods are my best friend. No, this doesn’t mean that you have to eat your food whole, or that you can only eat food from Whole Foods Market (LOL, I am obsessed with the food from Whole Foods though). It’s eating food that has been minimally processed and organically grown; food that hasn’t been messed with. Eating food in its natural, whole form makes it easy for your body to absorb and use it for various functions. Some examples include nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables and legumes (beans, peas, lentils). They are already perfectly arranged: as the saying goes, “Don’t mess with Mother Nature!”
- Moderation. Not deprivation. Being healthy AND happy are my main priorities. There are so many different diets and approaches that tell us what we can and can’t eat; they’re pretty black and white. This causes some to go through an aggressive period of deprivation and discomfort, which can demotivate you on your journey towards better eating. I make sure I can stick to something that allows me to live my life and be flexible enough to adapt. As long as we avoid the processed stuff and indulge once in a while, we can stand a much better chance of sticking to healthy eating on a realistic and enjoyable standard. So if you’re just transitioning into this new eating lifestyle, don’t give up! Treat yourself sometimes and be happy.
By choosing to make thoughtful, nourishing choices in our daily meals, we harness the innate healing potential of food and take ownership of our health!
In 2016, I upgraded to the Canon 5D Mark III body. I take most of my food pictures with the 50mm 1.8 lens, but am currently investing in the 24-70mm 2.8 II lens. I will be sure to update this section when I do (hopefully soon)!
All images and content on this website are property of The Baking Spoon, unless otherwise noted. If interested in taking images or content from me, please appropriately credit and link back to The Baking Spoon. Please contact me directly at thebakingspoon[at]gmail[dot]com if you have any questions!