Hi there, and welcome to my website! Let me tell you a little bit about myself. My name is Hannah, and I am a 17 year old Senior in high school. I was born and raised in Sussex County, New Jersey. I basically love all things having to do with animals, nature, art, and spirituality. I have been a hooper for half of my life, performing with a local group, the Spirit Hoopers. I am  passionate about physical fitness and self care (I will explain why shortly). Although it may look like I live a pretty normal teenage life, I have been through quite a lot.

My life has definitely been an unpredictable roller coaster. When I was around 8 years old, I was diagnosed with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis. Growing up with this challenge at such a young age was pretty hard for me. I wasn't able to do all of the stuff my friends could do; I was in constant discomfort. Over the years, I have been put through different medical trials and been put on many different drugs, ranging from oral anti-imflammatories to TNF-blocker injections.

I recently underwent a pretty big ankle surgery in June of 2017 to repair lesions in my left ankle, which were caused by erosion from my auto immune diesase (for better words, they discovered potholes in my bone, one being about the size of a quarter). My doctor actually discovered that I have the same lesions forming in my right ankle as well, but they are not as severe yet. For my surgery, bone marrow was taken from my hip and put in the lesions, and they drilled into both sides of my ankle to stimulate cartilage growth.  Since I have an auto immune disease, my body is always trying to fight itself for no given reason. This delays my recovery time by quite a bit, making it very hard for my body to heal itself. I am still slowly recovering from my surgery, which can be frustrating at times... but "I do not get where I want to go in one leap, I get there one step at a time."

  
   

I genuinely love the life that I live, and I feel that my experiences have shaped me into the person I am today. I hope you enjoy my website, and find some delicious inspiration from my recipes!!

  
   

It took a while for my family and I to understand my diagnosis and what was happening inside my body... but just when we thought we had a grip on the situation, everything was turned upside down again. A few years ago, I was diagnosed with Systemic Lupus Erythematosis. Lupus is quite similar to Arthritis, but much more serious. Knowing that I have Lupus means knowing that every day is not a given; this disease can be extremely unpredictable.

Dealing with this disease has definitely been hard on me physically, mentally, and even socially. A lot of the time, I don't have the energy to go out and do fun things with my friends. A lot of people don't realize that living with this disease is as much a mental struggle as it is a physical one. It is very hard for people to fully understand my everyday challenges, because they cannot SEE my pain, nor can they FEEl it. Only I can.

  

A big turning point in my journey happened earlier this year. We discovered that there was something up with my kidneys, which could've indicated that I have Lupus Nephritis. This was very scary to hear. I was also told that I would probably be put on strong steroids to stop the disease progression (which had some pretty nasty side effects). I remember having to go see the kidney specialist hours before my Prom... This was the moment that I realized I needed to stop sitting back and watching everything from the outside... I had to take control! 

I have found myself doing countless hours of research about my disease; what causes it, what triggers it, and how other people are dealing with it. Throughout my research, I discovered a concept that really stood out to me; what you feed your body can affect how you feel. I discovered article after article of people with similar situations to me who basically changed their lives by a change of diet. This was shocking to me... but also made so much sense. 

As of July 14th, 2017, I changed my diet completely; I am now totally vegan. Even though this change of diet is relatively new, I have already started to notice changes; I have more energy, I am hardly ever bloated, my skin looks great, I feel happy, and my inflammation has decreased. As I was noticing these changes, I kept thinking, "why don't more people know about this??". I needed to speak out and share my story... and just like that, my website was born!

Often times I find myself kind of feeling upset and overwhelmed about my situation, and scared because I do not know the sure fate of my disease. However, I do not let this stop me.

(This is where my passion for health and food comes in!!) 

I use the gym as an outlet for me to turn off my brain, let out all of my stress and pain from the day, and feel STRONG. The gym has acted as a form of therapy for me these past few years. Similar to being in the gym, the kitchen serves as a great distraction for me, too. If I am ever feeling in pain or down, I can really be myself here and be as creative as I want to be. This website allows me to share my healthy, creative, plant based creations with everyone.. And show that eating healthy can be fun, delicious, AND rewarding too!