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About

Hello and welcome! I’m glad you’re here. I’m Sharon.

Granola Meets Grits started out as a travel/healthy food blog. Then it expanded to encompass some of my other passions, which I think of collectively as

things that inspire and nourish our souls.

You’ll still find me sharing travel destinations, health-conscious cookbooks, recipes, foodie finds, and eatery experiences. But I also write about wellness, aesthetic inspiration, pretty paper goods, thoughtful gift ideas, and special details that add a little bit of extra magic to everyday life.

I hope you find some topics here that interest you, and enjoy your time at Granola Meets Grits!

 

Why “Granola Meets Grits?”

I was born and raised in the Silicon Valley area of Northern California. After living 4 years outside of Chicago and 5 in Nashville, I moved to Tuscaloosa, Alabama with my husband, David, a native of that state. We lived there at the intersection of California and the Deep South for another 5 years.

In the summer of 2013, we moved to Santa Rosa, California to be closer to my family and take advantage of the cooler weather and healthier lifestyle. We are excited to explore Sonoma County and make a home here.

So, you can think of the blog reflecting me as “granola” and David as “grits,” or more generally just the unlikely combination of a California health nut interacting with the South for a whole decade.

 

What is your background?

I have a master’s degree in counseling from Vanderbilt, a bachelor’s in psychology and communications from Northwestern, and a certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition through eCornell.

I currently work as a Healthy Eating Specialist at a Whole Foods Market. Before this position, I was a school counselor for 7 years. I enjoy reading and learning about food, nutrition, graphic design, and creativity in my spare time.

 

Why plant-based food?

You’ll find that I focus mainly on simple, nutritious, plant-based recipes, and that I attempt to minimize white flour, refined sugars, and processed foods. However, I will be the first to tell you that those are not 100% strict rules for me! My initial post is about a pie shop, after all. :)

I enjoy food and the flavors, experiences, and inspiration it has to offer. I just try to maximize whole, vegan foods, especially when I’m eating at home instead of in restaurants or while traveling. In the summer of 2012 I earned a certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition, which has redoubled my efforts to creatively combine nutritious, unprocessed plant foods. I’m passionate about eating knowledgeably and health-consciously, but I try not to get wrapped up in or stressed out by black and white, “good” and “bad” rules and ways of thinking.

The long version of the story, if you are interested in this sort of thing, is that my dad beat prostate cancer in 2003, but was unable to overcome lung cancer in 2009. When he was diagnosed the second time, I started paying attention to books and articles like The China Study, Anticancer: A New Way of Life, The Kind Diet, Healthy at 100, The Starch Solution, The End of Overeating, The Omnivore’s Dilemma, Revive, Brendan Brazier’s Thrive books, The UltraMind Solution, Eat to Live, and this NY Times article about sugar by Gary Taubes.

Of course there are many opinions out there and I am certainly not a medical or nutritional expert. It seems to me that everyone is different and what feels right for one person’s body may not be right for others. But, these books and articles made me think for the first time about how few nutrients and how many unnatural ingredients were in some of the foods I was eating regularly, even the “healthy” ones. They also made me wonder if eating fewer animal products, refined sugars, white flours, and processed foods might give me more energy, protect my husband and me from cancer, heart disease, and diabetes (fingers crossed!)… and ideally be flavorful, satisfying, and inventive at the same time.

If you would like to know about my personal experience, I’ve found it surprisingly easy to move toward plant foods and I do think I have more energy when I eat this way. I’ve basically lost my taste for meat, fish, and eggs, and eating less dairy has been much, much easier than I thought it would be. I used to feel like a poster child for milk products because I enjoyed them so much and ate them so frequently! Now I rarely notice that they’re absent from our fridge.

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Kerri B. June 30, 2011 at 1:24 pm

Sharon, you are awesome. Thank you so much for all of the helpful information. I really enjoy reading your blog. Can’t wait for more posts.

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Randy Snackage July 5, 2011 at 12:50 pm

Wow ! This Bloggery Stupendous !
Pre-finding this site, I was as a wayward pirate eating from the treasure chest of LJSilvers.
Now I am clicking my heels on the hour !
And licking the peels even though they’re sour !

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nancyc August 3, 2012 at 11:18 pm

Hi Sharon, I’ve nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award! To participate, see this post: http://nancycreative.com/2012/08/03/blog-awards-and-a-big-thank-you/

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Sharon August 4, 2012 at 1:25 pm

Oh my gosh, Nancy, thank you SO much! That is really exciting and I so appreciate your nomination! Thank you for thinking of me. :) I will post the 15 blogs and 7 things about me soon!

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katie September 14, 2012 at 11:56 am

ok. i just emailed you. but i am now thinking perhaps you are a nutritionist rather than a graphic designer.

keep up the good work with your blog. i enjoy checking it.

katie

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granolagrits September 15, 2012 at 5:41 pm

Katie, thank you so much for your kind words! I am thrilled you like the blog and hope you’ll continue to enjoy visiting. Nutrition is one of the things I love to learn about and considered as a second career, but I don’t know that it is really my very biggest passion, you know? Also, I would be nervous about telling someone something that didn’t work for their body and made them feel worse, or something that turned out to be wrong after further research! That would drive me bonkers! :)

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Our Kitchen Inventions October 22, 2012 at 3:50 pm

Hi, We were thinking of attending the Food Blog South Conference in B’ham in January and I saw your name on the list. Just wanted to ask if you had attended before, and if you think it is a worthwhile visit / cost / drive from Atlanta?

Thanks so much!

Susan

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granolagrits October 22, 2012 at 7:33 pm

Hey Susan! No, I have never attended before, so I am really hoping it is worthwhile! The only thing I know about it is that I really like Caitlin Van Horn’s blog, Roost (at roostblog.com). It is gorgeous and I think she does her own blog design as well as incredible photography, so I am hoping her session will be good, and I liked the looks of the other topics. It is only a 1-hour drive for me, and I NEVER thought there would be a food blog conference that close to me, so I just could not pass it up myself. I totally understand your hesitation though- one of my pet peeves is driving a distance and making time for something that turns out to be a disappointment! Let me know what you decide!

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susan October 25, 2012 at 10:22 am

I might be traveling during January for work, so not sure yet. Have you heard of this one?

http://us1.campaign-archive2.com/?u=8d08b9726878f2f5538c40743&id=7c384ce7ec&e=1e511ce3c7

Several of the bloggers I follow attended and gave it really high marks. We are tempted to attend…..

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granolagrits October 25, 2012 at 8:29 pm

Ooh, no, I have not heard of that one! Definitely looks like a great reason to go to London. I know for sure I won’t make that one this year though, because we are planning on moving to cross country at the end of June, so probably will be job-hunting and setting up house in July rather than traveling. That would be amazing though, would LOVE to hear what you think if you end up going!

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Kathleen WaltenspielCook June 3, 2013 at 4:20 am

Have a great time in Santa Rosa, well Sonoma County for that matter. My birth town which I lived until a move to Windsor 20 miles North of Santa Rosa. College overseas and a return HOME. My husband and I are moving with our daughters to Tennessee in August (not the ideal time to move) and will be there for about 5 years on an adventure. So good luck to you and yours on re-location. http://www.pressdemocrat.com is our local newspaper if you want to be in the loop for local news and happening. Kathleen

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granolagrits June 14, 2013 at 8:18 am

Hi Kathleen! Thank you so much for the newspaper link and for your comment! I am sorry to be so delayed in responding- my life has mainly been bubble wrap and packing tape lately. :) Which part of Tennessee are you moving to? We lived in Nashville for 5 years, and it is a great city: not too big, not too small, good food scene, easy access to professional sports and other fun city stuff, beautiful surroundings, etc. I never got used to the heat and humidity, but some people say it doesn’t bother them! If I can provide any Tennessee tips, please let me know! Otherwise, I wish you great luck on your adventure and will be thinking of you. I am thrilled to “meet” a Santa Rosa native and appreciate your comment and your stopping by GMG! Thank you so much!

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