Monday, July 14, 2014

Tiffany: "The Gracious Pantry"s Head Chef!

Today, I am thrilled to be interviewing Tiffany, the mastermind behind the very successful food blog, The Gracious Pantry.

But the Gracious Pantry isn't just any old food blog... it is an incredibly well written, fun and detailed Clean Eating food blog! It also happens to be the very first clean eating blog I ever laid my eyes on.

This is really a special post for me, because without Tiffany, I don't think I would be where I am, doing what I am doing today. She inspired me so much when I first found her, a little 6th grader five or so years ago.

Where were you born and raised and what were your eating habits then?
I was born and raised in Concord, California, very near to San Francisco. I was raised
on healthy foods as my grandmother did most of the cooking. I spent my days with her
while my mom worked full time. She was a single mom too. My grandmother was a
very old fashioned cook. Everything was made from scratch, except it wasn’t some kind
of diet, it was just the way we ate. I didn’t know it then, but we ate about 95% clean.
So I grew up eating clean. But then I turned 16, found some freedom and a paycheck,
and suddenly there was this great big world of fast food and restaurants. I managed
to stay pretty thin thanks to modeling being a dream of mine. But once I realized that
wasn’t going to work out, I drowned my sorrows in food. I just kept eating.... and gaining

How did you learn about Clean Eating?
After my son was born, I knew I had to get healthier for both of us. So I spent an
evening in a bookstore and ran across several books on clean eating. In looking through
the pages, I realized that it was almost exactly the way I had eaten growing up. It was
that night I knew what I had to do.

When did you start making changes in your diet and why?
I started making changes about the same time I started my blog. In September 2009. It
took me a good long while to really incorporate clean eating into my everyday life. But
I finally did it. I still slip now and again, but it’s really just the way I do things now. It’s
once again just the way I eat.

What is it like raising a son on a clean eating diet? Do either of you ever stray?
Absolutely! Life happens. We can’t stick to an eating plan 100% of the time. It’s just not
human to be 100% perfect. I shoot for the 80/20 rule because holidays, birthday parties
and “girls-night-out” happens.

Does your other family eat healthy now that you are known for your Clean recipes?
No. They do their own thing and I do mine. But I’m okay with that. If somebody asks, I’ll
talk to them about it. But for the most part, they do their own thing.

Have friends or family ever came to you asking for advice? What do you tell them?
Not friends or family, but I do get asked for advice all the time in emails from readers.

How do you deal with eating out or going to parties with food? Do you ever experience “food bullying?”
I think any time you eat differently than somebody else, you will most likely experience
some resistance. People don’t like it when you do something different. It pushes them
out of their comfort zone. So yes, I’ve dealt with all kinds of “bullying” from people
around me. Some of those people became so mean, nasty and persistent that I had to
cut ties with them. Others, I just have to keep reminding them that it’s okay if I don’t eat
like they do. The world will not end.

What does a day of eating look like for you or your son?
Right now, I personally am following a low carb, clean eating plan. Something my doctor
recommended. But I don’t push that on my son. I cook him whole grains and clean
treats, and he really doesn’t notice the difference too much. He’s never eaten any other
way with me. Now when he goes to his dad’s house, that’s a different story. But we’re
working on that.
Typically, It’s eggs or oatmeal for breakfast, nuts and fruit for snack, a salad or tuna
fish sandwich/salad for lunch and maybe a taco salad or turkey burger (no bun for me)
for dinner. It’s basic, but it works. Many of the recipes on my blog are what I have for
dinner. I don’t cook separately for the blog. What you see there is what I eat, often
photographed moments before I ate it.

When and why did you start The Gracious Pantry? How has it impacted your life?
At first, it was just a way to keep track of my recipe and my progress. But then it grew.
And the incredibly supportive community that began to surround me online was what
kept me going. I love my readers. They inspire me daily.

What has been the hardest thing about running a blog?
Stolen content. People seem to think that anything on the web is up for grabs. So I
spend at least a small part of my week hunting down stolen content, though truthfully, it
could be a full time job.

What has been your favorite thing about running a blog?
The readers and independence. My readers are fantastic people. I love talking to
them via comments and Facebook. They are amazing people with brilliant ideas and
fascinating backgrounds. I also love that I’ve been able to support myself with my blog
for about 2 years now. Being able to work my schedule around my life instead of the
other way around has allowed me to be home for my son. It’s an incredible thing and I
am deeply grateful for the opportunities that have come my was as a result.

What is your favorite clean eating food (your own recipe or otherwise)? What is your favorite not so healthy food?
My favorite clean recipe is also on my blog. It’s the Clean Eating Plum Torte. It’s crazy
good, especially with a small scoop of ice cream!
My favorite not-clean food would have to be Red Hot Blues. A blue corn chip that is
basically a healthier version of Doritos. If I get off track with my eating plan, it’s usually
because I ran into a bag of Red Hot Blues.

There are so many new diet trends. Paleo, Vegan, Vegetarian, Low carb, ext… what is your take on them? What is your approach to eating?
Yes, there are many options out there. But I view it as a good thing. The human body
is such a specific and individual thing. What works for you may not work for somebody
else. And that’s okay. You have to figure out what works for your body and stick with it.
For some that being vegan, for others it’s paleo. I say, do what works. But in the end,
the real focus and push towards better health falls on eating real food. It’s amazing how
many people can go for days or weeks in this country without ever taking a single bite
of real food. That’s why I love clean eating. You can follow any of those diet plans to
suit your own needs, but as long as you are eating real food, you are essentially eating

Where do you see yourself in 10 years, and what is your ultimate goal?
Oh gosh. At least a few more cookbooks!
And with any luck bigger opportunities will come my way. I’m always looking to grow
and expand both as a person and as a business. So anything that comes my way that
helps me grow is the direction I will head in.

Fun question: If you were stranded on an island and could only bring three things, what would they be?
My son, my sunglasses and a big strawberry patch. We both love strawberries!!!

Thank you Tiffany!! For the interview, your blog, and being my inspiration! I can't wait to see what all you have to offer the Clean Eating community in years to come.

Be sure to follow Tiffany on all her social media!

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