Hi, I’m Anna.
I’m a 22 year old self-taught baker, plant-based eater, farmers’ market lover, powerlifter, amateur forager, music junkie. My mission is to bring you the best health-conscious dessert and food recipes that focus on natural, honest, and simple ingredients. I hope my blog inspires you to do just the same: to embrace smarter, cleaner, and healthier ways of eating and to improve your body’s overall happiness, of course, mainly with 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 unfortunately wasn’t on wholesome baking with healthy foods, but on creative desserts with little attention to the nutritional value of the ingredients. 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 aspect: 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. It meant making my taste buds sing and bringing pleasure to my heart. Ultimately, I lived to eat and it was destroying me.
As food became a lifestyle and 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. My body was the definition of skinny-fat. I’ve always had that “skinny” look with my clothes on and to the public eye, I looked incredibly healthy. But on the inside? I felt like a wreck. Underneath the clothes hid a body with a high fat percentage and low muscular mass and I blamed it all on my unhealthy “binge-y eating, stingy eating” habits. I wasn’t happy and my body wasn’t either.
I Eat to Live (My Change)
One day, I came across a picture of myself at five years old. I looked at that sweet little girl and realized no parent would allow someone to treat her the way I was treating myself—or allow her to do the things I was letting myself get away with.
I reflected on how I was living and saw 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 health and wellness. In the beginning of 2016, 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 cooking with some new spices rather than butter or 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! I personally do not incorporate any animal flesh or fluids in my diet anymore, but that’s a whole different story that I hope to write about soon.
Today, I eat to live. I’m so proud to say that I eat for my health now and 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 natural foods. My recipes focus on adding fresh, clean, and nutritious foods 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’s about fruity desserts, rawsome treats, rainbow bowls of nature’s most natural ingredients, and many more! My goal is to help you nurture and feed your body with only nature’s best, which will leave you feeling absolutely refreshed, I guarantee you. Although I am “The Baking Spoon,” I am hoping to incorporate everyday meals with cooking, healthy lifestyle tips, and fitness-focused dishes throughout my blog. I am still in the midst of transitioning into this new life, so I am learning too! Hope you guys will support me in my natural journey and I will too with yours.
My Food Philosophy
- Instead of subscribing to one specific diet (sorry – not vegan!), 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 occasionally incorporate dairy products, fish, eggs, and meat when I need to (and only the best quality, of course). I’m still in the midst of discovering what works best for my body. But, I will be sharing mostly vegan and gluten-free desserts and dishes 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. 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 whole fruits, vegetables, legumes (beans, peas, lentils), nuts, and seeds. They are already perfectly arranged: as the saying goes, “Don’t mess with Mother Nature!”
- I am a farmers’ market lover and supporter. My grandparents own a farm in Southern Maryland, and I’ve grown to love eating local and organic foods. Some benefits of sourcing your foods from farms or farmers’ markets? Local and organic food tastes better, is environmentally sustainable, has higher nutrient levels, and helps us stay connected with our food sources. Can’t complain, right?
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!