Sarah Kay Hoffman Finding beauty in the dust of life's gravelroads Fri, 17 Aug 2018 11:05:22 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Sarah Kay Hoffman 32 32 45930907 Does Motherhood Guilt Ever Disappear Fri, 17 Aug 2018 10:50:05 +0000 I have been wondering lately, does motherhood guilt ever disappear? On Tuesday night, I was getting ready to go to bed when Ryan called. He told me about a long day he had (have I mentioned enough yet what an awesome husband and Father he is??) and then said Samarah wanted to talk. My little […]

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I have been wondering lately, does motherhood guilt ever disappear?

On Tuesday night, I was getting ready to go to bed when Ryan called. He told me about a long day he had (have I mentioned enough yet what an awesome husband and Father he is??) and then said Samarah wanted to talk.

Does Motherhood Guilt Ever Disappear Samarah #motherhood #lifestyleblogger #children

My little Samarah had so much to say, but of nowhere asked,

Mommy, where are you?

I replied, “Remember baby, Mommy is at work in New York? Remember I took an airplane to fly high in the sky?” (She loves that idea of a plane high in the sky.)

She replied,

Oh, are you with your friends?

I laughed and said, “Not really. Well, kind of.” (Because, yes, yes I do consider co-workers to be friends.)

Before she hung up the phone with me she said,

Okay, Mommy, my show is on now. I have to go.

I responded, “I love you so much, sweet girl.”

I love you, too, Mama….

(Cue allllllll the missing of my babies at that moment.)

Does Motherhood Guilt Ever Disappear?

I have been caught up with and on this question so hard lately.

Our nanny (Katie) moved to Minneapolis, and the kids started going to daycare. When Katie told us she was moving, besides feeling totally sad, I also grappled with the idea that maybe I should just stay home with them. I thought “maybe that would help the motherhood guilt disappear.”

Does Motherhood Guilt Ever Disappear Isaiah #motherhood #lifestyleblogger #isaiah

A couple weeks ago, on a Monday morning, I dropped the kids off at daycare for the first time because I concluded after conversations with Ryan that even if I was with them 24/7, I’d still have guilt about one thing or another.

  • Am I giving them enough attention?
  • Am I giving them each enough individual attention?
  • Am I feeding them what they need?
  • Am I helping them learn and grown the way they each need?
  • Am I patient enough with them?
  • Do I allow them to be exactly who they are (not who want them to be)?
  • Do I share how much Jesus loves them often enough?
  • Am I working too much at their expense?
  • Etc. etc.

I am, literally constantly evaluating every last thing about raising them.

And I am, literally, constantly feeling all the guilt.

You feel me, mama?

I have heard it time-and-time again that if you even have to think so hard about mommy guilt and that you’re not doing everything right for your babies that you, in fact, totally are. You’ve heard this, too, yes? 

But even in that place, it doesn’t make me feel like I’m doing things any better because my guilt or lackthereof doesn’t translate (necessarily) into what makes that best life for Samarah, Isaiah, and Amiya.

In Hebrews 12:2 it states,

fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

This is, essentially, describing what I do every single day. I set myself into a penalty box. I think if I just do “xyz,” then all will be right with God, my family, friends, etc. But it’s a false if/then statement, and surely carrying the weight of mommy guilt is doing no one any favors.

In other words, I’m not (and you’re not) getting out of or into any penalty or praise box….no matter what.

It’s Only the Beginning

Last night when I returned home from New York and picked the kids up from daycare, they had a gleam in their eye.

Maya’s eyes got nice and wide, (gasp) “Mama!”

Does Motherhood Guilt Ever Disappear Amiya #motherhood #lifestyleblogger #parenting

Samarah was extra clingy (also extra whiney).

Isaiah was, well, Isaiah. I don’t think it phased him an ounce that I was gone.

I came home, made dinner, and when Ryan got home we ate (we do as a family every single night; it’s one of our values). Ryan and I tried to have adult conversations while the kids screamed above us asking questions, telling stories to each other, and of course screaming, “More ‘minos (that’s Coconut Aminos) and cheese (that’s Nutritional Yeast), please.”

After dinner, Ryan and I cleaned up the kitchen, then I ran downstairs to play with the babies. They jumped on their little trampoline, sang Peppa the Pig songs, and jumped in my arms (aka fought for attention in that space) over-and-over. 

We put them to bed, and because I had been up since 2:45 am, I immediately jumped into bed myself. I continued reading the new book I’m reading (and almost finished with), “When Breath Becomes Life,” and just shortly before I zonked out, thought to myself……”it’s only the beginning.”

Our babies are only 2, 3, and 4. We have so much time left raising them, and a lifetime of love to give them. 

I’m realizing that the answers to all those questions I constantly pose to myself above are not always the answers I desire for them. But since this is only the beginning of motherhood for me, I need to just accept that no, no things will never, ever, ever be perfect.

I will never be the perfect Mother.

And while the motherhood guilt will never disappear, I don’t have to feel guilty because guilty won’t do them (or Ryan and I) any favors.

There are a million and one ways to mother, but if we allow guilt to weigh motherhood down, the impact will far outweigh all those reasons for which we’re feeling “guilty” in the first place.

Let that ‘ish go.

p.s. In case you need even more help with tossing the motherhood guilt out the window, you absolutely must read Rachel Hollis’ book, “Girl, Wash Your Face.” 


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Favorite Low FODMAP Foods Wed, 15 Aug 2018 10:00:28 +0000 I put together a list of my favorite low FODMAP foods after someone asked me via my Instagram Stories this past week, “Are you willing to share a list of low-FODMAP foods?” …..and also because I’ve been meaning to do it for awhile now to help Y’all out. If you don’t have a medical reason […]

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I put together a list of my favorite low FODMAP foods after someone asked me via my Instagram Stories this past week, “Are you willing to share a list of low-FODMAP foods?” …..and also because I’ve been meaning to do it for awhile now to help Y’all out.

If you don’t have a medical reason to be low FODMAP, then please, for the love of God, do not do the low FODMAP diet. It’s super restrictive and not even in the “do not eat junk food/sugar/carbs/etc.” restrictive kind of way.

Being low FODMAP means you’ll miss out on some pretty awesome foods like: beets, cauliflower, garlic, apples, blackberries, and cashews. Seriously, if you don’t need to be low FODMAP, then don’t be.

Right now, I am currently eating FODMAP foods, and I’m totally excited by that. However, when my SIBO is active, I avoid them like the plague. Even then, though, I still eat, and I still a lot. How? With these 134+ favorite low FODMAP foods.

134+ Favorite Low FODMAP Foods
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Favorite LOW FODMAP Foods

Click HERE to save these favorite low FODMAP foods for later.

(Please keep in mind that this is my favorites list – not an exhaustive list. Also make note that my list is 100% gluten free as well.)

Favorite Low FODMAP Foods #sibo #lowfodmap #guthealth #healthyliving #fodmap #ibs

  1. Allspice
  2. Almond milk (the only problem with mentioning packaged nut milks is the extra additives in them. I choose the Elmhurst Unsweetened Milked Almonds)
  3. Apple Cider Vinegar
  4. Arrowroot flour (for baking)
  5. Artichoke, just the hearts
  6. Arugula
  7. Avocado oil
  8. Banana (unripe + also dried bananas)
  9. Basil
  10. Bay leaf
  11. Beef
  12. Bison
  13. Blueberry
  14. Bok choy
  15. Bone broth
  16. Brazil nuts
  17. Brie cheese
  18. Broccoli (heads only)
  19. Cantaloupe
  20. Capers
  21. Cardamom
  22. Carrots
  23. Cassava
  24. Celery
  25. Chia seed
  26. Chicken
  27. Cilantro
  28. Cinnamon
  29. Clementine 
  30. Coconut (shredded, dried)
  31. Coconut aminos
  32. Coconut milk
  33. Coconut oil
  34. Coconut sugar
  35. Coconut yogurt
  36. Coffee
  37. Collard greens
  38. Cucumber
  39. Daikon
  40. Dark chocolate
  41. Dill
  42. Eggplant
  43. Eggs
  44. Espresso
  45. Fennel (leaves only)
  46. Fish sauce
  47. Flaxseed
  48. Green tea
  49. Ginger
  50. Goat cheese
  51. Grapes
  52. Green Banana Flour (for baking)
  53. Green Beans
  54. Hempseed
  55. Kale
  56. Kelp Noodles
  57. Kiwi
  58. Kombu
  59. Lamb
  60. Leek (leaves only, up to 2/3 cup)
  61. Lemon
  62. Lemongrass
  63. Lettuce (radicchio, iceberg, romaine, butter)
  64. Lime
  65. Macadamia
  66. Mandarine orange
  67. Maple syrup
  68. Marjoram
  69. Monk Fruit (UNKNOWN status still whether or not it’s low-FODMAP, but I use it in small quantities, successfully)
  70. Mozzarella cheese
  71. Mustard (plain + Dijon)
  72. Nori
  73. Nutmeg
  74. Nutritional Yeast
  75. Olive oil
  76. Olives
  77. Orange
  78. Oregano
  79. Parsley
  80. Parsnip
  81. Pecan
  82. Peanut Butter
  83. Peanut
  84. Pine nut
  85. Pineapple
  86. Plantain 
  87. Polenta (this is a new favorite since returning from Italy, and it’s low-FODMAP!)
  88. Popcorn (plain or with my own, added oil)
  89. Pumpkin (Japanese, canned)
  90. Quinoa + Quinoa Pasta
  91. Radish
  92. Raspberry
  93. Red Bell Pepper
  94. Red Cabbage
  95. Red Wine Vinegar
  96. Rice milk (again, I choose Elmhurst Milked Brown Rice)
  97. Rhubarb
  98. Rice – give me all the rice
  99. Rice cakes
  100. Rosemary
  101. Rutabaga
  102. Saffron
  103. Sage
  104. Salmon
  105. Scallops
  106. Sesame seed
  107. Shrimp
  108. Snapper
  109. Spaghetti squash
  110. Sparkling water
  111. Spinach
  112. Spring onion (green part only)
  113. Strawberry
  114. Sunflower seed
  115. Sweet potato (it is a favorite, and it’s technically low-FODMAP, but I still maintain that many people with gut issues have a hard time digesting the sweet potato)
  116. Swiss chard
  117. Taro
  118. Tarragon
  119. Thyme
  120. Tiger nuts
  121. Tomato sauce
  122. Tomatoes
  123. Tuna
  124. Turkey
  125. Turmeric
  126. Turnip
  127. Vanilla
  128. Vodka
  129. Walnut
  130. Walnut milk (and again, Elmhurst Milked Walnuts)
  131. Water chestnut
  132. Watercress
  133. Yam 
  134. Zucchini

Click HERE to save this graphic to your Pinterest.

134+ Favorite Low FODMAP Foods #sibo #ibs #lowfodmap #healthylife #guthealth

And there you have it. What are your favorite low-FODMAP items you’d add to this list? Feel free to share them in the comments below.


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Foundation Mon, 13 Aug 2018 09:49:57 +0000 Without a solid foundation, everything else eventually crumbles. The story of this foundation is one that came full circle. There are some events in life that you can’t, for the love of God, remember the month, date, or really even the year for. What you remember is the moment and exactly how you felt. Before […]

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Without a solid foundation, everything else eventually crumbles. The story of this foundation is one that came full circle.

There are some events in life that you can’t, for the love of God, remember the month, date, or really even the year for. What you remember is the moment and exactly how you felt.

Before that night, I had probably only been in the house where Ryan grew up one or two times. But on that night, it felt like I had been there a hundred times before.

It was one of our first dates, and Ryan took me by his parents’ house for one reason or another. It was dark out, and what I remember were the lights outside the house and the feeling I had the moment I walked in. 

(This picture taken with Samarah earlier this year is a fairly good depiction, minus the height, of what you see.)

Beginnings are Scary Samarah first day of Montessori Minnesota preschool

I couldn’t help but stare at the massive brick fireplace and how the house was bright, light, warm, and inviting. His mom and dad came to the door immediately, and I remember feeling so excited because his mom, Judy, seemed to have an excitement towards the fact that I was there with Ryan (listen, I could be totally off on this one, but let’s just pretend I am right and that she liked me immediately).

Our stay was brief as we had a hot date to attend to (ha!), but I’ve never forgotten that feeling of awe. Literal, awe.

Venice and a Leaning Building

Foundation Venice at night #italy #travel #lifestyleblogger #newhouse

I’ve been telling you for some time now that after Italy, I’d share with you about our new house we are moving into. I wasn’t sure when the time would be right, but while in Italy, it came to me.

Venice is absolutely beautiful, even though it’s a messy maze. It’s a place that, if you ever have the chance to see, do go see because Venice, as we know it today, will not look this way forever. It can’t. It’s built on (or under?) water. Sooner or later, the foundation will fade.

Foundation Venice under water #italy #travel #lifestyleblogger #newhouse

And if you ever get to Venice, you might take a little day trip like we did, to Murano and Burano. As you’re on the boat out to the island Burano, you’ll see a clock tower in the distance (it’s actually on Burano) that’s leaning. It’s not Pisa, but it definitely leans heavily to the right. Ceci, Ryan, and I concluded that it’s foundation is likely sand and clay. Sooner or later, this building, too, will collapse.

Foundation Venice Burano leaning building #italy #travel #lifestyleblogger #newhouse

With this scenery, I got fixated on foundation. No matter how beautiful something might be, without the right foundation, it will crumble.

Moving Back to Minnesota and Finding a House

You’re sitting there right now all, “You’re nuts. What does your date and these weird foundational things in Italy have to do with each other and to the house?”

I am nuts. I am weird. And I am totally random, but it all makes so much sense.

Ryan and I didn’t want to move back to our small, little hometown. We sort of fought the idea, and I talked about this a lot during those first couple months back home.

And then one day (about a year ago now), Ryan’s parents brought the idea up to him that we possibly buy their house. We were both pretty set on the idea that no, no it wasn’t right for us because we didn’t want to move back to that little hometown.

Yet, we sat with the idea, and over the course of the next month or two-ish, Ryan would visit a few houses in the town we thought we would settle in. Even though they were all beautiful homes that could have worked, Ryan’s gut feeling on all of them was that they just weren’t right – one thing or another was off on each of them.

I can’t recall the exact day or week when it happened, but looking back, it seemed like almost in an instant, Ryan and I both knew that buying his parents’ house was exactly what we wanted (though at the time we still were unsure about moving back to our hometown).

The house is perfect for our family and for the babies to grow up in. It’s on the lake (the kids have already become little water babies – I mean, except for Maya who hates her life jacket), has the most perfect screened in porch (because, mosquitoes), a wrap-around deck Ryan and I always wanted, and ample room for us to entertain and enjoy friends and family constantly (also more Foster children and a couple dogs someday – shhhhhh do not tell Ryan).

Foundation Minnesota lake life Samarah #lifestyleblogger #home #lake #minnesota

So we told his parents we were interested.

It wasn’t but a couple months later when my dad was diagnosed with Cancer that I knew, absolutely, positively, 1,000%, moving home and to that house was exactly the way it was supposed to be.


Foundation is everything. Everything.

Let me share with you one of the best parts of (what’s about to be) our new home. It’s something that people in our small town probably don’t even know.

The foundation for the house Ryan grew up in was laid by my dad.

No, not my dad single-handedly, but my dad was part of the Mason crew who laid the cement slabs (“block” is what my mom told me they are called – guys, I’m good at Marketing, not construction) to form the house foundation.

So much work and detail went into the house; my mother-in-law tells me about it all the time. The crew that built it, and the fine detail that was crafted. (Side note: We always thought my dad did this fireplace that Maya is standing on, too, but he assures us he did not. He probably did 🙂 )

April 2018 Catch Up Over Bone Broth Amiya 1 years old

But it’s not just that my dad played a part in the physical foundation of the house. It’s also that a family foundation was formed there. I believe Ryan was just five when they moved in, and between Ryan, his brother, sister, mom, and dad, I have heard probably a hundred stories about what life was like growing up there.

If you would have asked me 10 (or even 5) years ago where I thought our forever home would be, I might have said California, and at the odd chance that I said Minnesota, it sure as heck would not be this.

But this, the house where Ryan grew up is where our forever home resides. It’s a place that’s not only filled with awe (yes, still for me) and beauty, but a history so rich and a foundation so strong.

Smallest Things Isaiah Samarah Amiya Easter 2018

Ryan and I have gone a lot of places and been through a lot during these last (almost 10!) years of our marriage, so arriving here (or maybe I should say back) to real roots where we can now set our own foundation is something I can’t really describe.

I am so ready to begin this next chapter, which starts in the next 3-4-ish months. And unlike any other house we have ever been in, I will decorate. I will do the kids’ rooms in all the ways I never have before. I will have people over to celebrate life with us (and pssst….there is plenty of room for my fave people in California to come stay with us – and Ceci to live with us – ha!). I will stop all my chaos just to gaze out of the windows at the lake’s beauty (yes, even during the winter because just look at this….)

Month One lake morning winter

Most of all, I will (we will) make sure the foundation for Samarah, Isaiah, and Amiya is solid and strong because that’s what Ryan and I had, and I feel forever grateful for it and how it has all come full circle.

p.s. I realize that this post isn’t filled with a ton of images of the house (all the pictures with the kids in them are at the house). I don’t want to share it all until we move in which is prime season for Christmas decorating – so there’s all that excitement to share with you! In the meantime, I’m extra Pinteresting all the things, and we’re starting on the kids’ rooms soon.


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Underlying Commitments Fri, 10 Aug 2018 10:26:57 +0000 I had an underlying commitment that kept me in a safe place I never actually wanted to be in. Once we set a commitment to ourselves and tell the world about it, it becomes something sort of ingrained in us. And once it burrows long enough, no matter what, that “thing” becomes the story we **think** […]

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I had an underlying commitment that kept me in a safe place I never actually wanted to be in.

Once we set a commitment to ourselves and tell the world about it, it becomes something sort of ingrained in us. And once it burrows long enough, no matter what, that “thing” becomes the story we **think** we must tell.

But what happens when the story we’ve been given becomes the story we tell, yet is not the story we want to live?

In September of 2015, I did a podcast interview with Nia Shanks. During the interview she asked me, 

You have on your website a quote that says, “When gravel roads are all you’ve ever known, you learn to find beauty in the dust.” Can you elaborate why you have that up there, and what that really means to you?

She told me how much she loved the line, and I remember thinking how validating that felt. 

For a few years now, I’ve loved it, too.

But today I know for sure that I do not love it anymore, as much as I fought the desire to keep it for the sake of keeping it.

The season for loving it has drastically changed and the realization as to why I no longer love it has felt like a I grew up about 10 years overnight.

Underlying Commitments Italy Burano #lifestyleblogger #healthyliving #guthealth #inspire

You Might Not Want to Heal

It all started mid-July when I stumbled upon this Instagram post (from another Sarah). The post, she prefaced, might be an unpopular opinion because she flat out said, “You might not want to heal.” She then went on,

We have what I call “underlying commitments”… these are beliefs or actions that are in direct conflict with what we desire, in this case, that is healing.

Let me explain: Say you had 3 younger siblings that struggled with mental health issues, so they required more attention from your parents… you might be committed to staying ill because it also demands some of your parent’s attention and at your core you just want to feel equally loved and acknowledged.

Or maybe you have never understood what you were put on this planet to do, you feel lost and confused by your purpose… but by struggling with chronic illness you are completely occupied, it has become your purpose. Your hidden commitment is to staying ill so that you don’t have to feel vulnerable and discover a different purpose.

What might your underlying commitments be? How are they in direct conflict with you wanting to heal?

When you completely dissect EVERYTHING standing in the way of your best, healthiest life- doorways open, you experience massive ah-ha moments, and light bulbs go off.

Underlying Commitments

I had an underlying commitment. Mine was called the autoimmune condition Colitis that started in 2008 then spiraled to a whole host of other things with the culmination of “infertility” and SIBO.

Without this underlying commitment, who/what would A Gusty Girl and Sarah Kay Hoffman be?

So I stayed ultra-committed to it and in 2015, locked down,

If I Died Tomorrow via Beauty in the Dust Gravel Roads

The path was all there, and my story was deeply-rooted in dust.

Only I Didn’t Have Colitis

Only days after reading Sarah’s post would I learn that I don’t have Colitis after all, but the day I got out of my Colonoscopy and Endoscopy, I could feel it. 

I have no clue how or why, but I knew that the story I was told 10 years ago was just not right, and from that day up until the final letter from the doctor, I couldn’t help but linger on my underlying commitments and blog tagline. 

I loved where the tagline came from because gravel roads are really part of my past; my roots. But those were physical gravel roads; not a metaphor for struggles. Literally. I grew up on those roads not living a lavish life by any means, but living the best life I could have asked for. 

“When gravel roads are all you’ve ever known” became synonymous with a “sad story….” Colitis, other illness, and infertility.

The problem was (that I came to realize) that, for me, none of it is sad. Honestly, there is nothing about any part of my story (even if my 2008 Proctitis diagnosis was right) that is sad, and there is certainly nothing about any of that I should stay committed to for sake of writing (especially if fully ridding SIBO is my goal).

In fact, I started to realize that maybe part of the reason the SIBO keeps coming back is because that’s the story I tell myself in order to fulfill these underlying commitments. (Take it.)

Underlying Commitments #quote #quotes #healthyliving #lifestyleblogger

Beautiful In Its Time

I’ve had a certain mind set for 10 years now, but that mind set has shifted. Little-by-little it’s been happening for a few months; this was the culmination where the straw broke that camel’s back.

Things I’ve been doing these past few months that have contributed to the shift:

  1. Read: Declutter Your Way to Success (the book that sort of kicked this whole thing off!)
  2. Reading currently: Pep Talk: Learn the Language of Success Through Positive Declarations
  3. Went to Italy
  4. Told Ryan about it (in the airport before leaving for Italy)
  5. Made the connections between food and everlasting gut healing (or maybe I should say not-so-much food and instead lifestyle and everlasting gut healing)
  6. And last night I bought, ‘Girl, Wash Your Face‘ (for good measures)

The list might not be that grand to have stumbled upon something pretty massive for my life, but these have been the main pieces to it.

Here’s the deal, I’m not saying that some of the things presented in my life have not been hard. They have been. My hard and your hard don’t have to be the same “hard” in order for them to be validated.

What I am saying is that I am breaking the chain that my story, my life, is contingent upon something much darker than it really is. 

And I need to do this by turning every last thing into a positive… matter what.

My gut, deep down in my gut, told me that instead of gravel roads it was, 

Beautiful in its time.

I’ve quoted it and lived by it whole-heartedly since the first day I heard (when I was in my late 20’s),

Everything is beautiful in its time.

It’s straight from Ecclesiastes 3:11 and whether or not you love the Lord as I do, you’ll find a sense of calm and renewed spirit and energy if you just sit with those 6 words for some time.

I will always be A Gutsy Girl. That’s not changing, ever (will that be weird when I’m blogging as A Gusty Girl at 92?!)

But today (and forever) I want to live according to the faith in “beautiful in its time.” And with it, I want the look of my blog to change (I’ve been talking to my designer on a new Brian Gardner minimal theme), and the homepage mantra to get removed. 

I no longer want to be in that safe place for keeping underlying commitments, and you shouldn’t either. 


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Goodbye Colitis Thu, 09 Aug 2018 10:55:32 +0000 Goodbye Colitis was the only logical post title I could think of for this post where I’m sharing with you my results from the recent Colonoscopy and Endoscopy. Some time ago, I had all my 2008 Colonoscopy and Endoscopy results faxed to me. Admittedly, only recently did I review the results with a fine-toothed comb.  […]

The post Goodbye Colitis appeared first on Sarah Kay Hoffman.

Goodbye Colitis was the only logical post title I could think of for this post where I’m sharing with you my results from the recent Colonoscopy and Endoscopy.

Some time ago, I had all my 2008 Colonoscopy and Endoscopy results faxed to me.

Admittedly, only recently did I review the results with a fine-toothed comb. 

My eyes popped out of their sockets when I read that almost everything was normal that day (in 2008) except it was noted, 

There is one focus of mild active inflammation in two adjacent crypts. No crypt abscesses, no chronic crypt changes, no granulomas or neoplasia is present. This degree of inflammation can also be seen secondary to bowel preparation which is slightly favored over self limited type colitis.

Did you catch that? “This degree of inflammation can also be seen secondary to bowel preparation…..” and that that theory was, in fact, favored, over the colitis diagnosis. 

I didn’t have those records (and notes) back in 2008 (mistake #1 on my part – you should always request them ASAP so you can review on your own!), so when I went in for my follow-up appointment, I just accepted exactly what the doctor told me which was that I had Proctitis and that I was to “Start Canasa suppositories at 1000mg.”

I continued reading those records and notes from 2008, and shortly after that initial 2008 diagnosis (about 2 months), I went in to see him again –  still with the same bloat issues. However, at that time, I told him I had stopped Canasa because I thought it wasn’t helping and making me worse. And that was the end of that. The medical records with that doctor (the one who diagnosed me with Proctitis) stopped there.

If you’ve ever read my full story (or even the post I wrote on Reactive and Proactive Health), you know that I stopped the Canasa because I thought it was doing me more harm than good and that’s when I got really serious about healing my gut as naturally as possible.

Colonoscopy and Endoscopy Results: July 19, 2018

Goodbye Colitis Colitis mis-diagnosis #guthealth #healthyliving #ibs #ibd

Fast forward 10 years. A few weeks back I had another Colonoscopy and Endoscopy because my doctor(s) have wanted to rule out anything serious for why the SIBO keeps relapsing (Dr. Schweig in California wanted this done quite some time ago, and my new doctor in Minnesota kept on it so we made it happen quickly). 

That day, immediately after the procedure, they knew my Endoscopy looked good (which is huge progress from the inflammation last time). However, they did take biopsies from the Colonoscopy because they mentioned possible mild inflammation.

When I was in Italy, I got the results. Here are the exact words the GI doctor wrote,

 During your upper endoscopy performed on July 19, 2018, we did not see any significant abnormalities or inflammatory changes. Biopsies were taken from the small bowel and stomach did not show any concerning changes.

During your colonoscopy performed the same day, we also did not see any significant abnormalities. Biopsies taken from the colon did not show any inflammatory changes and overall the small bowel and colon looked good.

(Note: the only thing I still have to do is have an ultrasound on the lump which we have thought could be my IC Valve protrusion. They think it’s just a small lump of fatty tissue; nothing more, nothing less, but I will do the ultrasound to confirm.)

I immediately emailed my doctor to confirm that all is seemingly well, despite the Proctitis diagnosis 10 years back. My exact words to him started,

Based upon what I saw, I don’t even have Proctitis as I was diagnosed with 10 years ago. It also doesn’t appear that there is really anything too significant. Is that correct?

He replied,

Good news indeed. So from an eyeball perspective the colon appears normal.

And I finished the brief back-and-forth with,

I will request an appointment for next week or the following (we return from Italy on Friday) because I’d love to figure out next steps to ensure SIBO does not relapse. I am highly disappointed that for the past 10 years I’ve lived according to mis-diagnosis of Proctitis. I’m sure you can understand that.  

And with those final conclusions, I’m going to give you my real, raw, and honest thoughts here…..because that’s what I strive to do every single day on my blog.

Goodbye Colitis

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Goodbye Colitis #guthealth #healthyliving #ibs #ibd

My gut feeling tells me that I never had Colitis (Proctitis). I believe I lived thinking I did for the past 10 years, and if you want to know how it made me feel when I first realized it (upon reading the report from 2008), the answer would be……livid and semi-nauseous.

The first thing I did was feel blame – on myself. Blame that I didn’t connect the dots better; that GI doctor was always wrong for me so why did I just accept his diagnosis without really digging into those words he wrote? And blame, then, that I would spend the next 10 years with the idea that I had Colitis, I was ill, I would always be this way, blah, blah, blah. 

But after the blame period wore off, I started feeling optimistic and grateful for the real diagnosis (leaving the past in the past) and realized that even with believing I had Proctitis these last 10 years, I still became my own hero in all of it. Even just two short months after that diagnosis, I knew something was off, and I listened to my gut. I knew I wasn’t getting better with the Canasa, and I knew that his medicated suppository was a bunch of BS.

I took every last piece of it (the diagnosis/mis-diagnosis) to study (I went back to school and to this day take ongoing educational courses), research, investigate, implement, write, read, etc, etc. all things gut, gut health, and gut healing. 

Without the mis-diagnosis, I never would have devoted my life to healing the gut with foods and lifestyle vs. drugs and medications.

Goodbye Colitis Quotes Colitis #quotes #guthealth #healthyliving #ibs #ibd

At the end of the day, even though I didn’t have Proctitis, my gut was still a mess, I was still sick and in misery with my gut, and the true diagnosis would still not be uncovered until 2013.

On the other side of this, I can tell you that I firmly believe this whole time it was SIBO (and only SIBO, maybe something else, but not IBD) all along. I have had the classic SIBO symptoms since that awful, horrible bout of illness my freshman year of college.

Canasa would have never helped the SIBO. 

I let these final Colonoscopy and Endoscopy (I won’t have to re-do it again until I’m 50!) reports settle with me for quite some time now. I have gone through all the emotions, internally (not with anyone else – in fact, I have barely even told my own mother about the results, and I haven’t even described the thoughts with Ryan), trying to figure out if I’m happy, angry, frustrated, or what. 

And the answer? All of it, sprinkled with this new optimism I described above.

When I landed upon optimism, I realized that I now get to say,

Colitis is not my story, and the lie I’ve believed the past 10 years doesn’t have to define me any longer. 

Goodbye Colitis Quote on Colitis #guthealth #healthyliving #ibs #ibd

I might battle the ebbs and flows, the ups-and-downs, the triumphs and battles of SIBO for quite some time yet but even SIBO won’t define me any longer.

And when I arrived in this place, sound and calm, something else erupted, and if you stick close by I’m going to share it with you next.

Goodbye Colitis.

p.s. I am likely to get a ton of questions from this post, so please either leave them in the comments below or email me directly HERE


The post Goodbye Colitis appeared first on Sarah Kay Hoffman.

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How I Make Money Blogging Wed, 08 Aug 2018 11:16:08 +0000 I’m taking a small break today from anything serious (because the next two posts coming down the pipeline are serious) to share with you how I make money blogging. The first thing you should absolutely, positively, and 1,000% know is that, no matter what anyone is out there portraying, very few people are killing it financially […]

The post How I Make Money Blogging appeared first on Sarah Kay Hoffman.

I’m taking a small break today from anything serious (because the next two posts coming down the pipeline are serious) to share with you how I make money blogging.

The first thing you should absolutely, positively, and 1,000% know is that, no matter what anyone is out there portraying, very few people are killing it financially with their blog. Do not believe the hype of an overnight success, lavish “working from the beach” while making millions. 

It’s not real. (I have been doing this for like 10 years now, and I’m not making millions.)

Let me be very clear. I have a full-time job in the natural foods industry as a content producer and digital storyteller. That is how I make 92% of my income.

That said, I absolutely do make money from this blog. I keep zero secrets because I have never wanted anyone to think I’m shilling for anyone or anything. Because this is not my full-time job, I have never needed to sell my soul to companies, brands and/or anyone or anything else in order to keep the blog alive. 

I do this 100% out of passion, love, and devotion for my story and for helping YOU. 

How I Make Money Blogging Blogger #healthyliving #lifestyleblogger #lifestyle #mompreneur #blogger #entrepreneur

Knowing all of that, I’m sharing this today for these reasons:

  1. I run this blog, share this information, and spend hundreds of hours producing it all for FREE. You pay nothing to read the things I write, but you must know that because of the hundreds of hours I spend on it (and money it costs to keep it afloat), I need to make money from it.
  2. People ask me all the time, “How can I start and blog, and how do you make money from it?” So here it is.
  3. My friend Caren wrote a similar post recently called, “Can We Talk About How I Make Money for a Sec,” and I found so many parallel thoughts. 
  4. Some people think I just sit and play on the Internet all day, that I write posts and share information because it’s good for my health. Well….it is good for my health (because I find writing, sharing, and giving therapeutic), however, I make money doing this and I am strategic about every single thing I do. 

How I Make Money Blogging

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How I Make Money Blogging #healthyliving #lifestyleblogger #lifestyle #mompreneur #blogger #entrepreneur

I’m just going to be blunt with sharing how I make money blogging. If you know me IRL, you know that’s my style. 

  1. Beautycounter. I love the product so much that even if I wasn’t making money, I’d still use it. But Beautycounter is an amazing business, and I make money when you choose safer skincare and makeup with me. I also make money when you choose to join my team’s mission (you also make money – ding, ding).
  2. E-books. I make money on them all, though not a lot. Every single day people buy (and love!) The Gutsy Girl’s Bible
  3. Amazon Affiliate. Every single time I link to Amazon, you should know that I am making money if you purchase. You pay nothing and get exactly what you want. I make (almost literal) pennies, but it’s income. 
  4. Thrive Market. When you join, I make money. But Thrive Market rocks, and I order for them every single month – especially now that we live in a small town in Southern Minnesota.
  5. Sponsored posts. This post, sponsored. This post, sponsored. I don’t do very many sponsored posts because I’m super picky, but when I find brands and products I want to develop long-term relationships with, for the right price, I will.
  6. 1-on-1 Health Coaching. I don’t offer very many slots per month, but they are always full. And obviously I have to charge for them.
  7. Institute for Integrative Nutrition. I have been an advocate of IIN since the day I graduated in 2012. When you decide you’d like to go to the school, too, and refer me, I make money.

And there you have it. That is how I make money blogging. 

Again, I don’t ask you for a penny to give you hundreds (now thousands upon thousands) of hours of content for FREE. All I ask is that you support this blog with any of the 7 above, as they pertain to you. It would be odd if none of them pertained to you because you do read this blog – ha – but if that’s the case, then the best thing you can do is share my blog posts and blog in general with someone who might also find the value you do. 

Unlike Caren’s post around how she makes money blogging, I have never gotten a rude comment or email about making money on my blog, and for that – for you – I am so thankful. 

I believe that my readers and those who support this blog are some of the best in the world. Every single time you share a post and/or purchase via one of the 7 above, I am able to provide more and give more to you.

Thank you.

p.s. My full disclaimer can be found HERE.


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Kilometer Zero Tue, 07 Aug 2018 13:04:27 +0000 While at dinner in the mountains in Italy one night, Ceci and her family told us we were having a meal known as “Kilometer Zero.” I gravitated towards the term so much that ever since hearing it, my mind has gone in several directions thinking about how to take it and use it right here […]

The post Kilometer Zero appeared first on Sarah Kay Hoffman.

While at dinner in the mountains in Italy one night, Ceci and her family told us we were having a meal known as “Kilometer Zero.” I gravitated towards the term so much that ever since hearing it, my mind has gone in several directions thinking about how to take it and use it right here in the United States. I decided to start by using the term as the title for this blog post, the one many of you have been waiting around for….food in Italy, what and how I was able to eat all the things while traveling the country.

Ready to dig in?! I sure was (and am).

Kilometer Zero SKH pizza #travel #italy #glutenfree

Kilometer Zero

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Kilometer Zero How I ate everything in Italy #healthyliving #guthealth #italy #travel #lifestyleblogger

Their Kilometer Zero is basically our “farm-to-table.” In other words, a Kilometer Zero meal is made up of things that traveled “zero kilometers” to get to your plate. (I mean, it’s not literally zero, but you get the picture).

In the mountains that night we had: polenta, sausage links, wild mushrooms, cheeses, bread, dessert, and drinks. Only the polenta was not considered Kilometer Zero.

Kilometer Zero Polenta #travel #italy #glutenfree

Everything else was from the land right there and the animals they raised which grazed upon that land. 

Kilometer Zero SKH gelato #gelato #travel #italy #glutenfree

I believe this is one of the reasons I was able to eat all the things in Italy, but it’s definitely not the only reason. 

This post is broken into three parts. 

  1. Part I: Food and Beverage in Italy
  2. Part II: Everything I Ate and Drank in Italy
  3. Part III: Why I Believe I Tolerated All the Things

Food and Beverage in Italy

Kilometer Zero Aperitivo #aperitivo #travel #italy #glutenfree

Here are all (okay most of) the things I learned about food and beverage while in Italy:

  • Ceci’s mom told me, “Coffee is my religion.” As it’s mine as well, I learned as much as I could about coffee while there. Check it out…. Kilometer Zero SKH coffee #coffee #travel #italy #glutenfree
    • In America, every which way you look, you can “stop for a to-go coffee.” This is not the case in Italy. You’ll rarely see people walking around with to-go cups filled with large coffees. In fact, when Ryan and I wanted one, we typically had to ask a few cafes if they had any before finding one that did. Even when they did, they were never larger than an 8 oz size. Kilometer Zero coffee cup Italy #travel #italy #glutenfree
    • Their coffee equals our espresso. 
    • 3-4 coffees per day is totally normal and common.
    • But on that, their coffees are super tiny – just shots of espresso essentially. Kilometer Zero Italy Capuccino #travel #italy #glutenfree
    • Their coffees are so much cheaper than ours. One day, the three of us got a coffee (for Ceci) and 2 Cappuccinos (for Ryan and I). The total was 3,90 Euros (or a little over $4.00). 
    • This is probably an obvious one for all Y’all, but “Latte” means “milk.” And “Misto” means “mixed.” And “Venti” means 20. Thought you were so clever, huh, Starbucks?! Kilometer Zero Italian breakfast coffee meat #travel #italy #glutenfree
    • You cannot go into a cafe and say, “I’d like a latte with coconut milk.” Rarely would you ever find alternative milk. It’s straight dairy milk. The end.
    • They barely ever put a ton of sugar in their coffees. Consequently, we didn’t either. And honestly, I didn’t miss it nor did I think much about it. Kilometer Zero lattee coffee Italy #coffee #travel #italy #glutenfree
  • Here’s my drink of choice prior to dinner: vodka, water, and a splash of something (like Sprite, lemonade, etc.). I tried ordering that one of the first nights before dinner and found out that: a. It’s totally not common there and b. It’s not even appropriate to order prior to dinner like that. Noted. 🙂 Kilometer Zero menu #travel #italy #glutenfree
  • Pizza is basic – no crazy toppings
  • Aperitivo time is the most magical 1 – 2 hours of the day. It’s a pre-pre dinner event, sort of like Happy Hour only 100 x’s as lovely. During the Aperitivo you: 
    • Have drinks (the Spritz – which originated in Venice – is most common, but this is where it was appropriate for me to have my vodka drink) Kilometer Zero Italy table Aperitivo #travel #italy #glutenfree
    • Nosh on a ton of food like chips, peanuts, pizza, mini sandwiches, tiny desserts, all of it (sometimes they bring it to you; other times it’s served via small buffet)
    • Only pay for the drinks; the food comes with it Kilometer Zero Aperitivo bar setup #travel #italy #glutenfree
  • Gelato is a huge thing; you’ll find it everywhere, all the time. Ceci said many people eat it daily. According to the Kitchn, “Gelato is the Italian word for ice cream. It starts out with a similar custard base as ice cream, but has a higher proportion of milk and a lower proportion of cream and eggs (or no eggs at all). It is churned at a much slower rate, incorporating less air and leaving the gelato denser than ice cream.” Kilometer Zero SKH Italy gelato #travel #italy #glutenfree
  • Breakfast is nothing like ours. There is no cereal – thank God! However, they do do a lot of sweets – pastries, chocolate-filled croissants, etc. They also have sandwiches which are huge and delightful, coffee, meats, and cheeses. Kilometer Zero egg meat coffee #travel #italy #glutenfree
  • The Olive Oil is incredible and while the terms “Virgin Olive Oil” and “Extra Virgin Olive Oil” have been diluted in the United States, they are real things in Italy (p.s. I bought this bottle and brought it home). Kilometer Zero Extra Virgin Olive Oil #oliveoil #travel #italy #glutenfree
  • Different cities are known for different pastas. For example, Pici was the pasta in Siena. Ryan had it and loved it.
  • No foods are really “off limits.” (i.e. “Dessert” for breakfast, carbs, dairy, fat, etc.) Kilometer Zero Italian sandwiches #travel #italy #glutenfree
  • You pay for water at restaurants (yes, even still water).
  • Their pizza sauce = only tomatoes (maybe salt and Olive Oil).
  • Granita. My Freshman year of college, I would study at this coffee shop on campus daily. I chose it because they had these frozen Granitas that were out of this world. From what I could tell, the Granita was made of: coffee, ice, heavy cream or full-fat milk of sorts. I didn’t care. I drank 1-2 almost every single day. So when I saw “Granita” everywhere in Italy, I wanted one badly. That was until I learned what an Italian Granita is. Basically they are just our version of a Snow Cone, but blended together in drink form (ice and flavored syrup). When I realized I was duped by my beloved Granita in the US, I explained to Ceci what I thought Granita was. She said, “Oh, yeah, we have that, too. Here it’s called a Crema Caffe (or Crema al Caffe).” And sure enough, we found a Crema Caffe, and it was almost exactly like the Frozen Granita from my past (but without a ton of ice). Kilometer Zero granita crema #travel #italy #glutenfree
  • They eat a lot of Fennel and I was totally digging that. Ceci’s mom told me she just softens it by boiling for a bit then cuts it up, tosses with Olive Oil, salt, and parsley, then bakes it until golden. p.s. Fennel is super good for digestion.
  • Baci di Dama = “Kiss of a Girl.” These are little Italian Hazelnut Cookies that totally rock and taste like the Elmer Fudge cookies from yesteryear. 
  • Bread is life in Italy. They typically have it before and/or after meals, but they do not have it with pasta (as they are eating the pasta portion).
  • The Digestivo is common to take right after dinner. It’s an alcoholic beverage and as the name suggests, thought of to help digest the meal. Ryan had one most nights, and I would typically take a sip or two (remember, I don’t love alcohol – not really my thing). The two Digestivo’s that stand out the most were the ones we had in the mountains, both were considered Kilometer Zero:
    • Genepy = herbs, flower, pure alcohol
    • Genzena = root, pure alcohol
  • There was this amazing sauce Ceci’s mom made to go over Veal. It consisted of: mayo, tuna, capers, and salt. I’ll need to replicate.
  • The capers we had were not tiny. They were huge and had stems. Who knew?!
  • Bitters (digestive bitters) are big in Italy. And here I was paying for those supplements. Ha.
  • At the grocery store, you’ll find their eggs on the shelves (vs. refrigerated).
  • They eat dinner late. I’m all, “So…..dinner at 5 pm?” Nope. Usually 8 – 9 pm.Kilometer Zero SKH #travel #italy #glutenfree

Everything I Ate and Drank in Italy

In yesterday’s post on the Top 17 Things from Italy, I mentioned that everyone was asking me prior to the trip, ““What are you going to eat? They eat so much gluten.” While I was scared to go for it (more on that below), I decided that I was going to just live and go for it. If I reacted strongly, I’d pull back. Here were all the things I ate and drank while in Italy:

  • Cappuccino with full-fat dairy milk. I had two, on average, per day
  • gluten, general
  • dairy, general
  • pizza (Margherita) 
  • gelato (some flavors I had: Nocciola/Hazelnut, Menta/Mint, Noce di Coco (Coconut), Cioccomenta Fabbri (Chocolate Mint), and Gianduia/Chocolate Hazelnut)
  • pasta
  • Focaccia bread – one of my favorite things I ate
  • vegetables galore + tons of them were fermented (fennel, zucchini, artichoke, wild mushrooms, peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, radicchio, celery, carrots, cucumber, and more)Kilometer Zero roasted veggies #travel #italy #glutenfree
  • cookies like the Baci di Dama Kilometer Zero Baci di Dama #cookie #travel #italy #glutenfree
  • cheese, tons of varieties; mostly goat and dairy Kilometer Zero coffee espresso cheese #espresso #travel #italy #glutenfree
  • Polenta
  • Panna Cotta
  • Bunet (a dessert Ceci’s mom made; was one of Ryan’s favorites)
  • Calzone Kilometer Zero Calzone #calzone #travel #italy #glutenfree
  • meat – any and all; chicken, veal, salami
  • high-FODMAP smoothie complete with dates and chocolate Kilometer Zero smoothie #travel #italy #glutenfree
  • eggs – and stuffed eggs
  • alcohol; wine, vodka, Digestivo, Spritz
  • Crostini’s with all the toppings
  • fish
  • Tiramisu (and I learned how to make it from Ceci!) Kilometer Zero SKH and Ceci making Tiramisu #tiramisu #travel #italy #glutenfree
  • crackers

Why I Believe I Tolerated All The Things

Robyn O’Brien stated, 

Are we allergic to food or what’s been done to it in America?

We can start here.

In Italy, I think I maybe saw a sign for “Organic” once or twice. It’s not common, and yet, the food quality there (because of the lack of hormones, pesticides, chemicals, etc.) is drastically improved from the standard in America. 

Kilometer Zero Italian dinner #travel #italy #glutenfree

In fact, I couldn’t get it out of my mind the notion that in Italy there weren’t really “health foods.” I went to two grocery stores and not once did I see an aisle dedicated to “health foods,” “organics,” or the like. And the irony is, of course, that in America we have dedicated an entire industry to it (I would know, it’s the industry I am most passionate about, live, breathe, and work on/with 24/7) yet we continue to be chronically sick and overweight.

However, for me to say that the reason I tolerated all the things in Italy was strictly due to food quality would not be telling you the full truth. And if you want the full truth, here is the primary question I explored while eating and drinking my way through Italy….

Do we feel better when traveling in Italy (or wherever food “like that” exists) because:

  1. The food quality trumps that in the United States,
  2. There is significantly lower stress while eating said food (digestion starts in the brain Y’all), or
  3. The combination of the prior two

And here is what I concluded.

Kilometer Zero Crema al Caffe Granita #travel #italy #glutenfree

It’s 100% the combination of the two, along with the fact that we were walking and moving 24/7 (we did no less than 15K steps per day).

While in Italy I had no mouth flares (one night I did get a red dot in my cheek, but it went away quick and was painless – it’s usually from a pizza herb). I went to the bathroom. I barely was bloated, and I made sure to keep that in check by keeping up with my LDN and a few times did the Intestinal Movement (for good measures). I had zero joint pain (which used to be a huge glutenized symptom). My energy was amazing. Skin issues have completely gone away – even all back acne

And here is what I also concluded during one of my deep introspective moments: What is the point of going back to America to be on a super “strict” diet when clearly traveling through Italy on no diet helped (instead of hurt)? In other words, I essentially just proved to myself that this isn’t only (eh – if at all?) about diet. 

If we can’t figure out #2 (“There is significantly lower stress while eating said food) then we’ll never arrive at ultimate healing because in America we simply aren’t afforded #1 (total food quality). 

So many of the s#$% ingredients American’s accept as okay are forbidden in Europe, and as long as America doesn’t care, big food gets by with anything and everything. 

thrived while eating and drinking all the things in Italy. I owe all the gratitude to my willingness for seeing that it was about both the food and every single thing I was doing throughout my days there…..eating, playing, praying, loving, being, not-being, enjoying, and mostly LIVING. 

Coming back to reality, to the United States, and to my real life, this experience set me up to explore for myself (and to offer the help for my clients) to enjoy these same freedoms from health mis-haps by not just focusing on diet.

And that is the most FREEING thing I have felt in such a long time. Italy….you DID ruin the low-carb strategy. And I totally heart you so hard for it.

Kilometer Zero you’ve done me so, so good.

Kilometer Zero SKH Italy airport low-carb bag #travel #italy #glutenfree

Stay tuned….on the heels of this, I’m sharing with you my Colonoscopy and Endoscopy results.


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Top 17 Things from Italy Mon, 06 Aug 2018 12:40:35 +0000 Back from Italy and feeling totally refreshed. I have a whole week’s worth of stuff to share with you – from Italy to my Colonoscopy and Endoscopy results and some other personal things. But for today….my top 17 things from Italy. Here were all the places we went in Italy: Rome Florence Monteriggioni Siena Venice […]

The post Top 17 Things from Italy appeared first on Sarah Kay Hoffman.

Back from Italy and feeling totally refreshed. I have a whole week’s worth of stuff to share with you – from Italy to my Colonoscopy and Endoscopy results and some other personal things. But for today….my top 17 things from Italy.

Top 17 Things from Italy SKH in Italy #italy #travel #lifestyleblogger

Here were all the places we went in Italy:

  1. Rome
  2. Florence
  3. Monteriggioni
  4. Siena
  5. Venice
  6. Murano
  7. Burano
  8. Turin 
  9. Luserna San Giovanni
  10. Pinerolo
  11. Saluzzo

Top 17 Things from Italy

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  1. Feeling amazing eating all. the. things. I’m not going to stay on this point today, but I would be remiss if I didn’t mention it first. Everyone was asking prior to Italy, “What are you going to eat? They eat so much gluten.” I was scared, but knew I’d eat all the things because, well, life. And I did, too. I ate all the things, and I still feel incredible! I wrote about all things food and beverage during our time there in a tiny notebook, so I have an entire blog post coming for it this week.
  2. The streets. In Italy, all the streets are super narrow, and this look is far different from the streets in the United States. They are lined with old buildings and the ground was always made of brick, rock, or something different than plain, black pavement. Just walking the streets of Italy is charming in and of itself. Top 17 Things from Italy SKH Ceci Camilla Siena #travel #italy
  3. Colosseum. It’s hard not to mention the Colosseum in my favorites because of its rich history and sheer size. If you want the truth, Rome itself was probably my least favorite city, but seeing the Colosseum was incredible. Top 17 Things from Italy Colloseum #italy #travel #colloseum
  4. Saint Peter’s Square, Vatican City. My favorite thing in Rome, even more than the Colosseum, was stepping into Vatican City. In case you are unaware, it’s a city-state all on its own (separate from Rome) and it’s where the Pope resides. On this center balcony is where the Pope comes out to preach. For some reason, I found everything about Vatican City fascinating. Did you know that it is the smallest state in the world by both area and population, but also one of the richest (or the richest)? Top 17 Things from Italy Vatican City #italy #vaticancity #pope #travel
  5. The train. There has only been one other time in my life when I’ve taken a train like this, and even then, it wasn’t nearly as nice as the train in Italy. Ceci, Ryan, and I took the train from Rome to Florence, then Florence to Venice, and finally Venice to Turin. For those few short hours, the time went by so quickly and it was such a simple process to get on and hang out to the next destination. Top 17 Things from Italy Ceci SKH train #travel #italy
  6. All the beautiful churches. We went inside a church at every single destination, even in Monteriggioni, which is just a tiny, little comune. While I don’t go to the Catholic church regularly anymore, I do have deep roots with it. I was born and raised Catholic, went to Catholic school, and was married in the Catholic church. I believe the Catholic church (here in our hometown) is absolutely beautiful, with its stained glass windows and old features. But the Catholic churches of Italy are insanely beautiful. They are massive and contain so much beauty in their deep, rich history. I took picture after picture because I could not get enough of them. I thought a lot about how much my dad would love to see them, and how much Grandma Josephine would have appreciated them. Top 17 Things from Italy Italy Roman Catholic Church #italy #travel #church #architectureTop 17 Things from Italy SKH church Italy #italy #church #travel
  7. Florence. I kind of bunch Florence, Siena, and Monteriggioni together because they were all within an hour of each other. If you go to Italy, do all three. Florence, for me, was simply dreamy. Even though it’s touristy, it didn’t feel as much like it as Venice did. The shopping is great, and the most stunning building there is Basilica of Saint Mary of the Flower, which we (Ryan, Ceci, Camilla – Ceci’s sister – and I) climbed to the top of. I could have spent far more time in Florence, but two places outside of Florence captured my heart….. Top 17 Things from Italy Florence #travel #italy
  8. Siena and Monteriggioni. On Ryan’s 40th birthday, Ceci’s parent’s drove up to surprise us and took us out for the day to see Siena and Monteriggioni.
    1. Monteriggioni. This is a tiny comune in the province of Siena. Think of it as an old, little village. Inside the village they had their own stores, churches, apartments, everything. I think I lived there in another life 🙂 Top 17 Things from Italy Monterigggioni #italy #travel
    2. Siena. Siena is another Tuscan town, and inside its walls you are also in another world, but it’s much larger than Monteriggioni. The center square is home to the Palio horse race, and it’s made up of “contradas,” which are represented by an animal or mascot, and have their own boundaries and distinct identities. In other words, it’s almost like small, little villages inside a larger village. Top 17 Things from Italy Siena Italy #italy #travel
  9. Navigating Venice. I thought I’d like Venice a lot more than I did, but Venice is sort of confusing and it’s like a crazy-huge maze. Ceci had on her Venice map so she could get us “unstuck” more often than not. The first day we were there, I constantly felt like we were lost – and we kind of were. But when you’re lost, you see so much. Top 17 Things from Italy Ceci SKH Venice #italy #travel #traveling
  10. Burano. Burano is an island off of Venice, and one day we took a boat to Murano (another island) and Burano. Burano was my favorite. It’s known as the “colorful island of lace.” All the stores contain “lacey” items, and all the buildings are super colorful. I could not get enough of it. Top 17 Things from Italy Burano SKH #italy #burano #venice #travel
  11. Ceci’s home. Gush. I told Ceci and her family that I’d be visiting often (or moving in). Their home resides in Luserna San Giovanni, and it’s absolutely beautiful. Part of it was built in the 1600’s and the other part in the 1700’s. It is attached to a church because way back when it was a convent. It’s virtually impossible for me to describe what the house is like, but I fell in love with every last thing about it. There are technically three floors, but the top floor is unfinished. We walked up to it, looked around, and Ryan and I both told them how easy it would be to rent that out as an AirBnB, and I promise that if they ever do it, I’ll share immediately so you can stay there. Stunning. Stunning. Stunning. I would live there in a hot microsecond instant. Top 17 Things from Italy SKH dog Luserna San Giovanni #italy #travelTop 17 Things from Italy Ceci Luserna San Giovanni #italy #travel
  12. Pinerolo. This is a town about 10 minutes from where Ceci lives, and it’s where she has spent most of her time these past several years because her school is there. It’s another quaint, little town, and in it was a massive, lovely farmers market that she says runs every Wednesday and Sunday. They had everything from cheese to meat, fruits and vegetables, to clothing and miscellaneous odds and ends. I bought two outfits there. One of my favorite parts of that day was when Ceci shared with us another property her family owns – it’s now an apartment of sorts, but back in the day a king used to reside there. Here is Ceci and Ryan in the middle of it. Top 17 Things from Italy Pinerolo Ceci Ryan #italy #travel
  13. Crissolo. Ceci’s parents took us to a restaurant one night in the mountains. It was one of my favorite nights of the whole trip because, well, mountains. It was absolutely astounding up there – mountains, greenery, all of it. Top 17 Things from Italy SKH Ceci Crissolo #travel #italy #crissolo #mountains
  14. Spoons. Might as well get to the end of this list with all the heartfelt stuff – my favorites! Ryan and I didn’t buy a ton of things while in Italy. The things we did buy were about 90% kitchen stuff because that’s kind of our jam – food, wine, coffee cups, plates, mugs, etc. We had bought everything to remind us of authentic Italian coffee mornings except the little, silver spoons because we weren’t finding any we loved. The morning we went to the market in Pinerolo, I saw some silver spoons. I asked Ceci about them, and she was super quick to tell me, “No, don’t get them. They aren’t good, and will go bad after using them once and washing them.” I put them down. That afternoon after lunch with her mom, they handed a navy, blue box to us with a letter attached. Inside were 12 silver spoons and 2 silver sugar scoops. Silvia (Ceci’s mom) had gifted us her Grandmother’s spoons from 1933. I haven’t been able to read the letter again since we’ve returned to the United States because I still can’t get over what a gesture that was. They are beautiful, and I feel overwhelmingly grateful. Top 17 Things from Italy coffee spoons silver #italy #spoon #coffee #silver #travel
  15. Doing it all with Ryan. There is a whole world out there to see, and there are billions of people to choose from to see that world with. I am so thankful to see it with Ryan. We share a love for travel, and I am grateful that I’ll have the rest of our lives to do it with him. And finally…… Top 17 Things from Italy SKH Ryan Florence #travel #italy


Ceci gets her own section since she was the best part of Italy (because she can only be found there – well, usually, anyways).

Top 17 Things from Italy Siena SKH Ceci Camilla #travel #italy #sienaitaly

Ceci told us a story one night while in Italy. She said, ‘”I remember when my agency told me about you guys. I had checked the box that said I didn’t want a family with a lot of little children. When they called me they told me they had good news and bad news, and they asked which I wanted first. I told them to start with the bad news. They said, “The bad news is that they have two small children.” And then I asked for the good news. “The good news is that you’re going to California.”‘ 

Top 17 Things from Italy Ceci SKH Camilla #italy #travel #florence

I thought a lot about this. The very day after we committed to Ceci, we found out Amiya was born and that we were likely to get her. Ryan and I even thought for a hot minute that maybe the timing wasn’t right and that we should let the agency know Ceci should not come to live with us. 

Top 17 Things from Italy Burano SKH Ceci #travel #burano #italy

Ugh. But THANK GOD that the good news and bad news for both Ceci and us was left in the hands of someone other than us. 

Having Ceci live with us in America was more than we could have ever asked for, and going to see her in Italy and meeting her family was something indescribable. 

Top 17 Things from Italy Ceci SKH Italy travel #travel #italy

There are millions of people who do the whole foreign exchange student thing and once the student leaves America, rarely do they stay in touch. Our situation is polar opposite, and I truly feel like Ryan and I (and the kids) have another family in Italy – far across the Atlantic Ocean (which gave me massive anxiety flying over, btw) in a land that is breathtakingly beautiful. 

Ceci is now 19, and she is still every bit as intelligent, charismatic, sweet, honest, and determined as ever. We tried getting her to apply to Harvard, but I think she’ll be set on staying in Turin for University 🙂 I know that Silvia, Massimo, and Camilla need her, too.

I will forever love Italy, and I am so excited to go back (because we absolutely will). And if you’ve never been, set your eyes on a trip there. You’ll never regret it.

Ciao for now, Ceci. See you soon.

Top 17 Things from Italy Ceci boat Italy #travel #italy


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July 2018 Catch Up Over Bone Broth Wed, 01 Aug 2018 13:10:54 +0000 Bet you didn’t think I’d pop in to do the July 2018 catch up over bone broth while in Italy, but here I am, writing this blog post from Luserna San Giovanni, Italy…..Ceci’s hometown.  I have been doing almost nothing from a blog standpoint since we left, but I have been writing in this cute little […]

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Bet you didn’t think I’d pop in to do the July 2018 catch up over bone broth while in Italy, but here I am, writing this blog post from Luserna San Giovanni, Italy…..Ceci’s hometown. 

I have been doing almost nothing from a blog standpoint since we left, but I have been writing in this cute little notebook I bought in Siena, Italy and I wanted to write this post early this morning because, well, if you want to know the truth – when I’m away from my blog and all things writing, I miss it so much.

Early morning writing with a coffee in hand – Italian Espresso one at that – is my own, little slice of heaven.

July 2018 Catch Up Over Bone Broth Elmhurst Milked #coffee #lifestyleblogger #contentmarketing #foodphotographer

July 2018 Catch Up Over Bone Broth


I felt great during July – finally. All SIBO symptoms and any trace of its ugly face faded away. I have been writing a lot about SIBO and what I’m doing for it to remain healthy, but the bottom line is that right after the antibiotics ended, I stayed very low-carb and low-FODMAP. I supplemented but did nothing to the extremes. Once I got to Italy, though, at the end of July, I just lived life doing absolutely nothing from a diet standpoint (but was still consistent with supplements and medications).

In July, I also had my Colonoscopy and Endoscopy; the first in 10 years. Before falling asleep two nights ago in Italy, I received a message from the hospital that my pathology report (along with concluding notes) was in and left in my portal to review.

I know the results, and I’ll share them in a separate post soon. Here’s what I will say about them for today – they are nothing what I expected, lit a bit of anger in me, and yet everything is positive and I have been doing all the right things these past 10 years.

While in Italy, from a health standpoint, I have been thriving, all things considered. And again, this is an entire blog post on its own coming soon.


I didn’t run at all during July, not even a mile. So, imagine the surprise during July when the email arrived that I got in (via lottery) to the Medtronic 10-miler in October. I’m still laughing about it. I have applied to get into so many races over the years via lottery, didn’t get in, and was so mad. I wasn’t thrilled to get into this one initially, but the reason I applied in the first place is so that I could help one of my BF’s make it to the finish line of her first 10-mile race. While I didn’t run at all in July, I’ll likely start running a little again in August; still barely at all, but likely get at least one or two 4-5-mile days in with a few other days of 1-3 miles. I mean, I do have to run 10 miles in October so I better run an average of 10 during the next couple months 🙂

I miss running somedays, but during July I remembered how much I love lifting. I did a 4-week Nia Shanks dumbbell training program that was super lovely, and combined it with a lot of walking.

During our time in Italy, I have not “worked out” a single day, yet every single day we have walked no less than 15,000 steps – one day we even approached 30,000.

I still have the itch for competition, though, and because of it, I spent July doing the things I need to do in order to prevent a SIBO relapse while still moving and keeping as active as possible.

I don’t know what is next from a competitive angle, but I know it will come to me. For now, I’m just hoping to continue thriving health wise so that I can enjoy an even more active August.


July was the first full month I finally felt like I could breathe easier because I was more focused on a few things vs. 100’s of things.

July 2018 Catch Up Over Bone Broth Samarah Isaiah Amiya lake #lifestyle #lifestyleblogger #quotes #inspiring

Even though I still worked the same amount of hours, everything was streamlined which made it feel like I was doing less.

I did so many photoshoots in July in preparation for my absence while traveling Italy. I just kept going and producing and I am now confident that that’s the secret to “getting good” at any type of photography – you have to do it constantly and consistently to grow with it and define your own (+ a brand’s) look, feel, and style.

July 2018 Catch Up Over Bone Broth Elmhurst Milked Lodge Cast Iron #glutenfree #lifestyleblogger #contentmarketing #foodphotographer

July was also a lovely month for Beautycounter, and in August the company is releasing a brand new skin care line for all the ladies with skin like mine (ours?!) I was able to pre-order it last week, and once I have it in hand, I’ll share all about it. In the meantime, I personally bought the Velvet Eyeshadow Palette in Romantic per Ceci and have been obsessed with it. I have worn it every single day in Italy. 

And finally, A Gutsy Girl is thriving, and it is my life’s greatest work. But on that…..I have a BIG change coming with the brand. I’m sharing it with you in August.

Personal and Family

July 2018 Catch Up Over Bone Broth Samarah Isaiah Amiya lake #lifestyle #lifestyleblogger #fosteradoption #adoption

July was filled with all things family and friends, and it’s been one of my favorite months since we moved back from California thus far.

July 2018 Catch Up Over Bone Broth Samarah Ryan SKH #lifestyle #lifestyleblogger #fosteradoption #adoption

The month included a night at the Pizza Farm with friends and family, July 4th, a day on Lake Minnetonka with the besties, lots of lake time with family, a mini trip to Northern Minnesota, our local fair, and then, of course, Italy.

I took so many pictures of the kids this past month with everything that went on. I swear they are the cutest on Earth.

Isaiah ate all the things during July, including ice cream galore. But I will say – his stomach is also proving that he’s eating all the things. When we return from Italy, he has a doctor’s appointment with a new doctor in Minnesota. I will bring up with the doctor what I suspect for him and we’ll go from there. 

July 2018 Catch Up Over Bone Broth Isaiah ice cream cone #lifestyle #lifestyleblogger #fosteradoption #adoption

Amiya is still strong and feisty as ever. A friend did Samarah and Amiya’s hair a couple weeks week back. I left towards the end of her doing Sam’s hair and when I came home, Maya’s hair was done, too. It was a nice surprise and I think it’s just adorable. She is so hard for me, but gosh…..that face.

July 2018 Catch Up Over Bone Broth Amiya #lifestyle #lifestyleblogger #fosteradoption #adoption

One of my favorite pictures from this past month has a story to go with it.

My dad went through a few down weeks just prior to the below picture being taken. His neuropathy was really bad from all the chemo, so he was losing a lot of skin on his hands. Sam didn’t understand what was going on and she was afraid of his hands. It broke my heart because she loves Grandpa Donny, but was so unsure of the situation. 

Dad went off of chemo for 4 weeks, per the doctor, and by the time the fair rolled around he was doing quite well. His color is amazing, and he was able to stay out one night past 9 pm. That night, I took just Samarah to hang out at the fair with my mom, dad, and I for a bit. She saw Grandpa and he reached his hands out to her almost immediately. She looked at them, cautiously (I did, too, because I didn’t know what they would look like at that moment), and by the time he touched her, she realized the skin was normal. 

She told me, “Grandpa Donny is all better, mommy.” And off she went for treats with him all night. There is no amount of money or things in the world that can replace these random pictures and moments I am collecting. Ugh. My heart.

July 2018 Catch Up Over Bone Broth Samarah and dad #lifestyle #lifestyleblogger #fosteradoption #adoption

On July 28th, we celebrated Ryan’s 40th birthday in Italy with Ceci, her sister Camilla and her mom and dad, Silvia and Massimo. There is no one I’d rather travel the world with than Ryan.

July 2018 Catch Up Over Bone Broth Ryan and SKH Siena, Italy #lifestyle #lifestyleblogger #travel #Italy

I ended July in Italy and am beginning August in Italy. To say it’s been incredible and life changing is a massive understatement. 

I’ll never, ever, ever begin to put into words what this trip has been like, but when I’m home, I’ll attempt it the best I can.

For today, lots of love from Italy, my beautiful, Gutsy friends. 


Blog Posts I Wrote in July

  1. My 28-Day Rifaximin and Neomycin SIBO Journal
  2. Does SIBO Ruin a Healthy Life
  3. Moving Forward from SIBO
  4. My Favorite Two Night Creams
  5. Adoption Isn’t for Us
  6. 22 Adaptogens for Hormones
  7. Best Gut Health Tips
  8. Vitamin B12 and SIBO
  9. Top 30 Colonoscopy and Endoscopy Tips, Tricks, and Information
  10. Dieting Harder
  11. Strawberry Shortcake for One

Tell me something new and good about YOUR July!

p.s. Time really does fly. I’ve been doing my monthly recaps for a year now already! HERE was the first one I ever did.


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Strawberry Shortcake for One Tue, 24 Jul 2018 09:32:48 +0000 Make all your summer dessert wishes come true today with my Strawberry Shortcake for One recipe. Do you even know how long this recipe took me to create and get right? Well, I’ll tell you – at least ten times. But I’m not a quitter when it comes to dessert, and I was super serious about […]

The post Strawberry Shortcake for One appeared first on Sarah Kay Hoffman.

Make all your summer dessert wishes come true today with my Strawberry Shortcake for One recipe.

Do you even know how long this recipe took me to create and get right? Well, I’ll tell you – at least ten times. But I’m not a quitter when it comes to dessert, and I was super serious about this one.

Strawberry Shortcake for One #paleo #lowfodmap #healthyliving #recipe Low carb low-FODMAP

I was walking through the store about a month ago and saw a package of 8 Strawberry Shortcake cakes. They were stacked next to cartons of fresh strawberries and a can of whipped cream. I was never really into Strawberry Shortcake until that day. And then I sort of got fixated on it. 

This was right around the time I was finishing up my 28 days of Rifaximin and Neomycin, so I knew that if I wanted Strawberry Shortcake, I’d need to make one myself, and I’d need to get crafty and creative with the ingredients – or maybe lack thereof.

Strawberry Shortcake for One #paleo #lowfodmap #healthyliving #recipe Vital Proteins Beef Gelatin

I knew I wanted the Strawberry Shortcake recipe to include/be these four main things:

  1. Low-ish-FODMAP
  2. Low-ish-carb
  3. Contain no eggs
  4. Just right for one (so that I could make it nightly if I wanted as my dessert)

Strawberry Shortcake for One #paleo #lowfodmap #healthyliving #recipe mug cake #mugcake

Man I’m difficult, you know?!

Strawberry Shortcake for One Details

Click HERE to save the Strawberry Shortcake for One for later.

Strawberry Shortcake for One #paleo #lowfodmap #healthyliving #recipes

So why did it take me so long to get right? Because making sure those 4 things were included was and is super hard to do. Let’s chat a little about the details.

  1. Almond flour vs. Almond meal. I wrote a blog post about the difference like 5 years ago, but there is a difference, and if you already have a super strict recipe, you have to be aware of the differences and that they aren’t necessarily one in the same. With this recipe, I tried using the Almond meal for the first 5+ times. It did not work. Strawberry Shortcake for One #paleo #lowfodmap #healthyliving #recipes pre-baked
  2. Coconut flour. I tried completely leaving Coconut flour out because some people with SIBO have a hard time with it. It didn’t work. I needed the Coconut flour, but ended up using a small amount, and when it didn’t bother me, I figured most people will be good to go. (Using the Coconut flour is what makes it low-ISH FODMAP)
  3. Carbs. There is nothing wrong with carbs – at all. In fact, if you saw what I ate this past weekend at the lake, you’d know I’m 100% legit on this one. That said, I will be perfectly honest with you. When my stomach is off, even if it’s just a little bit, I do hold back on both FODMAPs and high carb foods. They don’t work for me, and if you want more on it, just read Carbs and SIBO. At the time when I created this recipe, I was low carb. Strawberry Shortcake for One #paleo #lowfodmap #healthyliving #recipe pre-baked
  4. No eggs. I go back and forth with how I feel about eggs for my personal healing journey. On the one hand, yes, give me all the eggs. And on the other, I am almost certain there is a correlation between them and cystic back acne breakouts. I don’t completely ban them from my life, but I tend to tread lightly with them. A trick I learned over time, though, is that Gelatin is an amazing egg substitution when you’re baking. The bonus is that I believe in gelatin for gut healing. The first life-changing recipe I created doing this was my AIP Bread. (By the way, remember that you can get the AIP Bread recipe for free when you purchase The Gutsy Girl’s Bible: an approach to healing the gut, 3.0.) I always choose Vital Proteins Beef Gelatin because I trust the brand and have loved all their products. This recipe isn’t my first rodeo with the Beef Gelatin. If you watch my Instagram Stories, I am constantly adding it to all the things, and I’d guess I have 1+ Tbsp per day because (yet again) I believe in it for gut healing. Strawberry Shortcake for One #paleo #lowfodmap #healthyliving #recipe Vital Proteins Gelatin #guthealth
  5. Baking soda vs. baking powder. If you can’t do corn, then make sure to read the ingredients because baking powder contains corn. I can’t remember the last time I used baking powder, but baking soda and baking powder are different things, and most baked goodies require baking powder. How do I get around it? Baking soda + fresh-squeezed lemon. That’s the mixture that can replace baking powder (there are others, like baking soda and yogurt, but this is what I typically choose). That said, I started off using way too much baking soda and the cake tasted so salty. I cut the amount of baking soda in half about 8 rounds in.
  6. Almond extract vs. Vanilla extract. Most Strawberry Shortcake cake uses Vanilla extract; I chose to use Almond in mine, and I love the little twist. If you absolutely don’t want to make that substitution, you don’t have to. I have never tried it with the Vanilla, though, so I can’t tell you for sure what it tastes like. Strawberry Shortcake for One #paleo #lowfodmap #healthyliving #recipe
  7. Microwave vs. Oven. Almost every single time I made this, I did it in the microwave. Why? Because it was just supposed to be a mug cake of sorts to fit a single serving, and typically the easiest way to do this is just via the microwave. But then I shared a teaser to my microwave mug cake and a newsletter subscriber emailed me about her disgust with the fact that I promote health and then use the microwave. The irony is that we rarely use the microwave at home. I wouldn’t have even come up with the oven version for this, but I had to because I realized that I would be shooting this recipe at my studio apartment where there is no microwave, only an oven. So I made the recipe for both microwave and oven……because I’m not about to sit here and judge you for how you choose to make it. If you use microwave alternatives 90% of the time, stressing about the 10% is ridiculous.
  8. Just right for one. This aspect, the single-serving, is probably what made the recipe such a challenge. It’s hard to make something like this perfect for one, using all the right things in just the right quantities. Strawberry Shortcake for One #paleo #lowfodmap #healthyliving #recipe #dessert 
  9. ….and everyone is going to love it (so you’ll need to make several)! When I told Ryan all the things it didn’t contain, he was impressed. The kids loved it, eating every single bite I gave to them, and they didn’t even get to try it with the strawberries and Vanilla Cake Batter drizzle originally (they did last night; reconfirming their love for the dessert). If you are expecting this to be the traditional Strawberry Shortcake’s identical twin sister, you need to drop those expectations. But there is something to be said about my Strawberry Shortcake for One. Strawberry Shortcake for One #paleo #lowfodmap #healthyliving #recipe #glutenfree

Strawberry Shortcake for One

Click HERE to save this recipe for later.

Strawberry Shortcake for One #paleo #lowfodmap #healthyliving #paleodessert

Some extra things about the Strawberry Shortcake for One to note:

  • To make this recipe, I used my Le Creuset Mini 8 oz. Cocottes (these are the perfect size for this recipe; microwave and oven safe, so if you don’t use them, choose something similar).
  • Oftentimes I’ll just use coconut oil to coat my pans prior to baking. This time I tried pan spray and used Chosen Foods Avocado Oil Spray. I chose this one because of the clean ingredients and the fact that it is good for baking up to 500 degrees. Strawberry Shortcake for One #paleo #lowfodmap #healthyliving #eggfree
  • The Milked Cashews liquid is my favorite cashew milk, by far. It’s thick and creamy, and the product doesn’t contain any gums or carrageenan. That said, you could use any plant-based milk desired if you want.
  • Stirring in the Gelatin super slowly while constantly stirring is critical. I will add it in, teaspoon by teaspoon, essentially. If you don’t, it will clump. The Gelatin is part of the key to this recipe because it makes the cake a cake without using eggs, while providing an extra gut-healing boost. Strawberry Shortcake for One #paleo #lowfodmap #healthyliving #recipe Gelatin Vital Proteins
  • Want to make this in the microwave instead of the oven? Skip the oven part, and microwave it for about 1 minute and 30 seconds to 2 minutes. No judging from me.

Strawberry Shortcake for One
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1
A Strawberry Shortcake for One that's free from gluten, dairy, grains, corn, refined sugar, and eggs. It's Paleo, low-carb, and low-FODMAP'ish.
  • 1.5 Tbsp Monk Fruit
  • 1.5 Tbsp Coconut flour
  • 1 Tbsp Almond flour
  • 1 Tbsp Vital Proteins Beef Gelatin
  • 2 Tbsp hot water
  • 2 Tbsp Milked Cashews
  • 1.5 tsp Almond extract
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp lemon
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Using oil or pan spray, coat your Cocotte (or whatever you choose to use), and set aside.
  3. In one bowl, place the Monk Fruit, Coconut flour and Almond flour.
  4. In a separate bowl, place the Almond extract, hot water, and Milked Cashews.
  5. Add the Gelatin to the wet mixture super slowly, stirring constantly until it reaches a thick consistency.
  6. Add the baking soda plus lemon to the dry mixture and stir.
  7. Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture and stir until completely blended together.
  8. Drop batter into your baking dish, gently pressing down on all sides.
  9. Place in the oven for about 28-30 minutes.
  10. Remove from oven and enjoy with fresh cut strawberries and the Vanilla Cake Batter Drizzle.

You don’t have to add the Vanilla Cake Batter Drizzle, but I’m tellin’ ya, you’re going to want to. The Strawberry Shortcake for One is totally complete with it. Also, you can use the drizzle for many other cake recipes in the future.

Strawberry Shortcake for One #paleo #lowfodmap #healthyliving #recipe Nikki's Coconut Butter

Vanilla Cake Batter Drizzle

Click HERE to save this recipe for later.

Strawberry Shortcake for One #paleo #lowfodmap #lowcarb #recipe

Vanilla Cake Batter Drizzle
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3-4
A simple, creamy drizzle to toss over Strawberry Shortcake or any sweet dessert. The drizzle is gluten, grain, dairy, corn, soy, egg, and refined sugar free.
  1. Place coconut butter, Vanilla, and ¼ cup coconut milk in a medium bowl and beat on medium-high (with a hand held blender) for a few minutes or until a "whipped" texture forms.
  2. Add in the final 1 Tbsp coconut milk, and beat again for about a minute.
  3. Add sprinkles (if desired) and pour over dessert of choice.
This drizzle won't keep for very long and will harden in the fridge, so it's best to use immediately.

Disclosure: This post is a paid partnership with Vital Proteins. All opinions stated here are 100% my own. I appreciate your support, as this compensation helps with expenses to keep this blog up and running, and for me to continue sharing all that I can with you. For my full disclaimer and disclosure click HERE. Thank you for your support!

Strawberry Shortcake for One #paleo #lowfodmap #healthyliving #dairyfreeXox,

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