Welcome to The Soulful Spoon!
I am so glad you are here!
My name is Heather McClees, and I’m a plant-based nutritionist from SC who is passionate about inspiring others to embrace natural health and a diet rich in whole, plant foods. I love all things about food and always have. As I grew up and began to realize how my food choices also affected my health, I began researching the topic of nutrition and later started creating healthy recipes. Years after, I started blogging and then discovered the benefits vegan, plant-based diet which I live by today. As a result over the years, I’ve been amazed at how my health, mind, and body have all changed due to this amazing way of living.
I also love learning how simple, whole foods nourish our bodies on a deep level. Sharing this passion with others through this blog is one of the greatest gifts I’ve ever been given, and creating delicious, easy recipes for others to enjoy along the way is so much fun. The creative process around food is one of my favorite parts about blogging.
What’s with the name? The name The Soulful Spoon was created when I first decided to start a blog in 2009. I knew then that I wanted it centered around compassionate living and eating while also focusing on healthy foods and fun recipes. I have always had an old soul with a heart for animals and a fierce love for learning about nutrition and food, so I came up with The Soulful Spoon and instantly knew it was perfect. I’ll also admit, I also have a slight fixation with discovering unique spoons and finding them in fun sizes and shapes (weird, I know). The “soulful” part also gives nod to my desire to live and share the benefits of a compassionate lifestyle along with my lifelong passions for reading and writing, which I’ve had since I was just 5 years old.
Healthy living has been my passion for over a decade, but it hasn’t always been that way.
In other words, I didn’t get here easily, to say the least….
A Little About Me and How I Got Here: A Long, Hard Road
Eleven years ago I began my health journey and have overcome epilepsy, autoimmune disease, hormonal acne, and clinical depression by discovering the power of natural health and real food. Like many other people back then, I ate the Standard American Diet and was treated for illnesses with nothing but pharmaceutical drugs that got me nowhere. Knowing nothing about health at that time, I began my own path and discovered an immense passion for real food nutrition, fitness, natural health options, and the power of the body to heal itself.
Later I decided to change my major from journalism to nutrition. In 2010, I received my B.S. in Nutrition Science and Dietetics with a minor in journalism and then attended the Institute for Integrative Nutrition where I learned how to coach others towards living a holistically centered life. Now I’m a writer and blogger on plant-based nutrition, wellness, and natural health through this blog and various other outlets.
About My Recipes:
My recipes are always inspired by real, whole, plant-based food with a creative twist. I love to make food fun and easy while still being healthy and nutritious! I advocate a plant-based, vegan lifestyle made up of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes (beans, peas, lentils), raw nuts and seeds, herbs, spices, and simple, whole food ingredients. I also advocate a vegan lifestyle free of animal products and animal by-products (honey, eggs, milk, gelatin, etc.), added oils, refined grains, and refined sugar. I don’t aim to imply that perfection is necessary (or optimal) in order to be healthy because it’s not at all. I simply believe (and know) that what we eat has profound effects on our mental and physical health.
I eat a plant-based vegan diet because it makes me feel amazing, it allows me to live according to my ethical values while being incredibly healthy, and because it’s one of the number one scientifically proven ways to prevent and reverse major types of disease, including heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and more.
My motto is, “Real, whole plant food is always the answer,” so that’s what I live by in my kitchen and my life.
I believe that any step a person takes towards eating more whole, plant foods in their natural form is just wonderful! I hope to inspire others to start (or continue) experimenting with whole plant foods in the kitchen as much as possible and to eat a little more of these amazing foods each day.
My goal here at The Soulful Spoon to show people how delicious healthy eating can be while still being doable and simple, so that’s how I design my recipes. I never share recipes I would not eat myself, and all my recipes are always inspired by foods I love and keep in my own kitchen.
You can see all my recipes right here!
But this blog is not just a recipe blog.
The Soulful Spoon is also a blog dedicated to seeing food as more than just calories and about embracing all sides of wellness.
For those of you who don’t know me personally, here are some quick facts…
Fast Facts to Know Me Better
- I’m a 32-year-old southerner with a creative spirit and an old soul who loves to write and create things on almost any level.
- I graduated with a B.S. in Nutrition Science and Dietetics and am a certified nutritionist who creates healthy recipes to share here on The Soulful Spoon. I am also a freelance writer on plant-based nutrition and health.
- Two of my favorite memories as a child include being in the kitchen with my mom as she cooked dinner and going to the grocery store with her every single week. My love for food, shopping for food, and preparing food is all thanks to her!
- I became a vegetarian in my early 20’s and have been eating a whole food, plant-based (vegan) diet for 3 years now. My health just gets better and better the longer I have continued to fill my body with plants!
- There is nothing I love more than fresh fruits and veggies, but I also admit that I love pure, dark chocolate as much as I love my greens. I (may) also have a slight obsession with oatmeal/porridge, smoothies, and my blender(s). I’m convinced there’s (almost) nothing a Vitamix can’t do! 🙂
- My favorite ways to move my body are long walks, hikes, yoga, and Pilates. I consider fitness the most powerful form of medicine for my brain and body outside of healthy food.
- I’m a former model who left the modeling industry at age 22 to pursue her true loves of healthy living, writing and spreading the message about health and nutrition. It hasn’t been easy, but it feels more natural to me and has greatly enhanced my wellness journey while also helping me focus on beauty from the inside out.
- I have been a writer since age 7 when I began writing my own books as a hobby. I’m a total introvert and writing has always been a huge way for me to express myself.
- I’m also a major bookworm; my idea of the perfect outing is going to Barnes and Noble (solo or not) to have coffee or tea while sorting through a ton of books from multiple genres. I also have a mild obsession with cookbooks (see my favorites here!). Yes, I’m a huge nerd, I know. 🙂
- Due to living a healthy lifestyle and eating a real food diet, I haven’t been to the doctor in over 12 years–not even for a cold!
- I’m a huge animal lover and health nerd—and very proud of both! 🙂
- I’m in love with discovering new ways to make healthy recipes, plant-based cookbooks, discovering new foods and healthy products, learning about nutrition and the human body, fitness, reading, animals, yoga, trips to the N.C. mountains and New York City, fall, winter, and most forms of music.
- I have a self-proclaimed fascination with food trivia, grocery shopping, the news, kitchen appliances, and kitchenware.
- I have studied nutrition for 11 years and hold a degree in Nutrition Science and Dietetics with a minor in Journalism and Fine Arts.
- I have a dream of owning a coffee and smoothie shop with a bookstore inside someday (maybe in another life!)… or even a healthy vegan ice cream shop! I’d also love to be a published author. Having a book has been my #1 dream since I was a small child and has only grown with time.
- My first job ever was working at an ice cream soda fountain… which is actually where my love for creativity with food (and smoothies) began.
- My favorite foods as a child and teen were ice cream, buttered biscuits, any sort of cookies, nachos, Pop Tarts coated with sugary peanut butter, fried chicken, yeast rolls, and fast food milkshakes (birthday cake, coffee-flavored or mint chocolate chip all the way!).
- Today my favorite foods are foods are smoothies and smoothie bowls, lots of veggies and greens, sweet potatoes, oatmeal/porridge, raw coconut, superfoods, pumpkin, no-bake energy bites, hearty veggie soups, berries, pineapple, apples, and unsweetened dark chocolate!
- I’ve written for many major online websites as a health and food writer, been an editor’s assistant at a New York Times-owned newspaper in my area, am a former model, and used to be a United Way public spokesperson on health and child abuse prevention and awareness.
- I currently serve as a freelance writer for various health sites, food companies, and write nutrition-focused content for a variety of businesses. If you’re interested in collaborating and working with me, please contact me so we can connect—I’d love to hear from you!
- My favorite words of inspiration I love to share with others are Philippians 4:13, Proverbs 4:23, Genesis 1:29, and Psalm 27:14 from the Bible.
- You can also read a bit more about me and my health journey here.
Just for Fun:
Curious what’s in my kitchen? Check out all my favorites here (which I update regularly).
Want my favorite resources or to learn more about plant-based nutrition? Check out my favorite books, trusted websites, and see my favorite blogs here.
Interested in working with me? Learn more here and contact me to get in touch.
Thank you for being here. I’d love to connect with you, so don’t hesitate to reach out with questions or comments. You can also subscribe to my newsletter below for updates and new recipes!