I’m Kristina, the clinician and writer behind South of Vanilla! Nice to e-meet you. Writing this blog is a true joy: it combines my love of a changing people's health, healthy diet, cooking, baking, writing, AND photography. I founded South of Vanilla in 2014, only 6 months after starting a whole-foods diet.
Besides running South of Vanilla, I have a true passion for traveling, binge watching Netflix, roadtrips in my FIAT, specialty coffee, and reading. (Anyone have any good book recommendations?!) I also teach Pure Barre, have followed a yoga practice for the past 15 years, and have a hot and cold relationship with running. I am a trained Speech-Language Pathologist, my niche area being cognition, which means that I am totally obsessed with the new research coming out linking dietary choices and gut health to increased cognitive performance.
I am originally from the Chicago area, went to college at the University of Iowa (heyyyy cornfields), and then went to graduate school in D.C. Living in the nation’s capital is what really started me down my path to be healthy, but then in July 2014, I moved to southern New Mexico. (Talk about culture shock!) In 2015, I returned to D.C., and then soon after started working in Health Care Policy and returned to school to become a Nutritional Therapist Practitioner.
The recipes I post here on South of Vanilla are all organic, grain-free, gluten-free, refined sugar free, and GMO free. 90% are dairy-free and soy-free. (Because sometimes a girl just needs her cheese and edamame.) Some of my recipes will contain some alcohol (Like these Blood Orange Margaritas and these Cocoberry Vodka Pops), because truly, you’ve got to live a little.
Many of you ask what a whole foods diet is; a real-foods diet is one without processed foods, low in refined sugar, and full of good quality fats and proteins. A whole foods diet is on that eliminates food that causes inflammation, one that promotes healing, and one that supports promotes vitality and energy.
Giving up things like processed foods was the most difficult things I ever did, but it totally transformed my health: prior to being whole-foods based, I was constantly on some form of antibiotic, suffering from IBS, in and out of the ER due to kidney infections, had cystic acne, and was suffering from such chronic fatigue that I needed to sleep 10+ hours a night with a nap during the day. I am happy to say that these issues are no longer a problem for me, I am no longer on any medications, and am more productive than I have ever been. I recommend that everyone refine their diet if they’re suffering from any chronic health condition or just want increased performance: I have seen it transform so many lives!
Thanks for stopping by South of Vanilla- I really appreciate it! If you ever have any questions, or just need someone to talk to about food, reach out….and if you own a FIAT and love going on road trips too, then definitely reach out. ;) You can find me here, on Instagram, or you can email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.