Hello! It's so nice to meet you!
I'm Allison, the creator and recipe developer behind One Happy Dish.
I started this food blog out of a true passion (an obsession really) for real food. And cooking of course. But this blog also has a very specific goal: to offer fresh, healthy recipes that are incredibly delicious but that also honor our microbiome and nourish our gut.
And my (not-so-secret) mission is to get that jar of sauerkraut out from under the depths of your fridge and tempt you to use it. 😉
I love food, and microbes
There, I said it. And yes, I also love my incredible family xo. But to me, the little organisms that we carry inside us are like family too.
Why all the microbial love, you say? Well, let's just say that for a long time I was going along living happily healthy...until I wasn't.
I won't bore you with all of the twists and turns in my personal journey to find health again, but I will say that at a certain point, all roads led inward.
And believe me: I tried it all. The diets. The supplements. The functional medicine tests. I also have world class medical care living in Boston, and I'm SO grateful for all of my doctors who 100% put me on a better path.
What ultimately made me feel the healthiest, though, was reconnecting with what I think I unknowingly lost over the years, my own gut microbiota. That amazing community of tiny micro-organisms that symbiotically keep us healthy as long as we keep them healthy.
Gut health: it takes a village
The more I learned about this side of being human (or, less human and more microbial?), the more I wanted to take care of them and honor them.
And so I became obsessed with fermenting and culturing fresh, seasonal foods just like our ancestors did. And I fell madly in love with these flavors along the way. Kimchi and kombucha: you rock my world.
But if home fermentation is not your thing, that's cool! It does require time and patience, even though the steps involved are generally pretty easy.
There are so many great cultured products available nowadays in the produce department; just look for fresh sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha and more in your local grocery store. I'll bet you might find them! And of course: the almighty yogurt and fresh (real) pickles are great choices too.
Full disclosure: I get busy and lazy too--so I OFTEN buy fermented products out and about if I see them. Then I can use them in recipes anytime, no fermentation time required.
But wait...there's more
Still reading? You're awesome! And I suspect you might share my love of all things bubbly and probiotic.
I won't make the back story about this blog any longer than it needs to be, but I really must mention one last thing. (So don't stop reading now! 😬)
The crucial turning point in my health came when I finally made the realization that we not only help our gut by incorporating fermented and probiotic foods in our diets, but also by simply eating more plant fiber (aka prebiotics). Like, a lot more, especially in our overly processed, fast-food world. Because microbes gotta eat, too.
I didn't make this discovery on my own, but rather by reading what the experts have to say like PhDs Justin Sonnenburg and Erica Sonnenburg in their book "The Good Gut", and Emeran Meyer, MD in his "The Mind-Gut Connection" (two of my favorite books on the subject.) It's been nothing short of fascinating to learn about what our microbes actually do and how much we can help them by simply feeding them.
Side note: if you use the word "microbiome" in conversation with me, I will want to talk to you for hours. You've been warned. 🙂
My food philosophy
So, my food philosophy in a nutshell is this: Eat lots of plants, everything else in moderation, and don't eat the same things over and over again. Your microbes will love and thank you for feeding them awesome stuff like a variety of fresh, real, produce and other whole food ingredients.
Oh, and one last thing. If you've stumbled across any of the desserts on the site, you might also appreciate the sweetness and joy these traditional homemade goodies bring to simply enjoying life. I know I do! They remind us of our childhood and bring us together during times of celebration.
The truth is, I think a balance of both can be truly healthy for body and soul. I try to keep things as fresh, whole and healthy as possible most of the time, and I don't stress out about the rest--especially if it involves a homemade cookie or two. 😉
Here's to YOUR next happy dish!