Posts in personal
Nomshell's 1st Birthday and what I've learned this year...
All photos courtesy of  Miaou Photography

All photos courtesy of Miaou Photography

OH My G! Nomshell's 1st birthday is here! I can't even believe it! Cue the music, put your party hats on and I'll do a little dance!

This little blog all started with an idea... What if there was a space to share vegan recipes, nutritional information, as well as lifestyle and beauty tips that would all help save our planet!? Having no previous experience in the world of blogging, much of this year was a trial and error sort of a deal. Through it all I gained some valuable insight into entrepreneurship, relationships and life in general that I'd like to share with you...

What I've learned this year

This year has been full of changes. Ups and downs. But isn't every year that way? I feel that the most important goal in life is to continue to learn and grow. I did a lot of that this year. 

I've learned it's ok to let go. In the process of implementing more of a minimalist philosophy in my life, I have learned that some things just aren't worth the stress. When running your own business while still having a day job and other side projects, it's important to know when to let things go. There are all kinds of people out there who will try to tell you how to run your blog or business. While they may have great advice and the best of intentions, it's really important for you to decide what's right for you. All those details we stress over, often don't make much difference in the long term. It's ok to let them go. 

When we moved to our new apartment, we knew storage was going to be a big issue. We both knew it was time to let go of some our physical "things". Sometimes these objects have sentimental value... but I've learned, if it doesn't add any joy to my life... it's ok to let it go. 

It's okay to let go of people and relationships too. Everyone comes into our lives for a  reason, to teach us something or to help us view a part of ourselves... but that doesn't mean they need to stay around for a lifetime. It's important to recognize when a relationship, or friendship is unhealthy, and know when to let it go. I'd rather have just a few close friends than be in bad company.  

I've learned that taking a step back is not failure. There have been many times this year that I have not been able to keep up with the strict deadlines I gave myself at the beginning of this blogging adventure. That's okay! Taking time to step back, evaluate and take time for self care is important. Often I find the demands of social media to be unsustainable. Not posting everyday is NOT a failure. I like to create content that is meaningful and informative, and that takes time. Sometimes it's more important to take your time, and enjoy your life rather than post to facebook or instagram, allow that time for yourself. 

I've learned that the flexible won't break. When running a business, it's important to be flexible. Sometimes things just can't happen the way we want them to and that's okay! Take a deep breath, and work around it, re-evaluate or change your plan of action. Don't let inflexibility be your downfall. 

It's okay to ask for help! Asking for help and advice is NOT shameful. We can't all know everything and in general, most people WANT to help! When starting your own business, there's a lot to think about. We all make mistakes. Having a few peers as a little support group is the BEST thing! I am so fortunate to have some former classmates and close friends as a little support network. 

Finally, there is no straight line to success. A plus B doesn't always equal C. It's important to know that just like there is no straight path to nutritional healing, there is no straight line to success. It takes much trial and error to figure out what works best for you. Get out there, try some new things and see what works. 


I would also like to thank some very special people for helping make this first year of business so memorable!

To Eric, you have been my biggest supporter and cheerleader, all through this year! I am so thankful to have you in my life. For all the little things, and the BIG things you do... THANK YOU! 

To my family, thank you for always being there, through thick and thin, I am grateful to have you. 

Thank you to Dr Ellen Simone for helping me grow my clinical practice, you have made the transition from student to practitioner an easy one with all your support and encouragement. 

To Becka yates, you are my biggest super-fan and you make this blog possible with all of your beautiful photos, I couldn't have gotten through this year without you. 

To my RHN friends (you know who your are), thank you for always lending your ears, offering advice and making me laugh when I need it most. What a wonderful thing it is to help one another. 

To Anna Jonas and  Ottawa Life Magazine, thank you for featuring me in your Vegans of Ottawa article series, I am so lucky to be a part of such a beautiful vegan community here in Ottawa. 

Finally to all of you, yes YOU! To each of you who read my articles, share recipes on facebook, instagram or pinterest, and come out to the clinic for workshops and one on one nutritional coaching... You are the ones that make this humble nutrition blog what it is. I can't thank you enough for all your continued support! 

There are a lot of exciting things on deck for Nomshell in 2018... thanks for joining me for the ride! 

xo KL

Be YO Self
I'm far from perfect as you can plainly see...

I'm far from perfect as you can plainly see...

Let go of the desire to be anything but your truest self.
... But I gotta be me...

... But I gotta be me...

... I just gotta be me, goofy faces and all!  Photos courtesy of  Miaou Photography

... I just gotta be me, goofy faces and all!

Photos courtesy of Miaou Photography

Society keeps trying to tell us “just be yourself”? While at the same time meaning... “just be someone else”... confusing right? I feel ya.

We've all heard it. “Just be yourself”.

A little background...

I was taking a nap the other day and while I was starting to fall asleep, my mind wandered onto the subject of authenticity... and what does that really mean? Immediately I jumped up, headed to my laptop and decided I need to write down everything on my mind in that moment...

I began to think about how other people perceive me, the ways they describe me and the judgements we all make.

I've been told a lot of things, some are positive, others are funny, others have been downright hurtful.

  • I've been told I'm a “hipster”, an “activist”, a “girly girl”.
  • I've been told that I’m super smart, the human encyclopedia, or dictionary. I'm almost too nerdy to function.
  • I've been told that I'm strong willed and opinionated.
  • I've been told I’m too sensitive, overly concerned about the welfare of other people, animals and the planet. I'm a bleeding heart.
  • I've been told my sneezes sound like mice exploding, rodents fighting or miniature laser battles (squeak, pieeeew pieeew pieeeeew).
  • I've been told I make baby pterodactyl noises, I’m the clumsiest person in the world, that I make funny faces, that my laugh is contagious and I have a terrible sense of direction.
  • I've been compared to Jessica Day (Zoey Deschanel's character on the show “New Girl”), Sometimes I like to sing or dance or make funny voices for no real reason.
  • I've been called "Ned Flanders"... that one took me by surprise!
  • I've been called names, I've been victimized, I’ve been demoralized.

I could go on...

When I think about all of these statements, I know deep down that I just wouldn't be me without any of them. Each joyous moment, each painful challenge and each quirky trait has made me who I am today. It is what it is, I am who I am, and I accept that.

But acceptance and pride in one's uniqueness doesn't come easy in a world that tells us how we should look, what we should wear, how we should eat, and who we should be.

The dictionary defines authenticity as “not false or imitation, true to one's own spirit or character”.

How do we become true to our own spirit or character, how do we achieve a place of “not false”?

I believe these are the steps that helped me achieve a place of authenticity:

  1. Forgiveness: Forgiveness is not about excusing, it's about letting go so you can find peace. Before you can move forward, you must make peace with your past. Many years ago I began to forgive, I forgave my bullies, I forgave my ex's, but the most challenging thing to do is to forgive yourself. I still occasionally struggle with this one, regret is a powerful emotion. When I catch myself dwelling on a “mistake” I remind myself “You did the best you could with the information you had at the time”. Doing your best is all you can do.

  2. Accept: Each day accept a part of yourself without resistance. One at a time, embrace your “flaws” and “quirks”. There was a time I found sneezing in public to be horrifyingly embarrassing. Now I laugh and shrug it off... I know my sneeze is “unconventional” but generally it makes others laugh, so I now see it as a gift.
  3. Find Your Voice: Say what you mean and mean what you say. Just find your voice and speak your truth. Talk about your thoughts, feelings and ideas in a constructive way, but don't hide them.

  4. Be Vulnerable: Because as Brene Brown writes “Authenticity is a collection of choices we have to make everyday. It's about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen.” We cannot let our true selves be seen unless we allow ourselves to be vulnerable.

  5. Let Go: Let go of the desire to be anything but your truest self. Your truest self is the most beautiful expression of you. 

These are the lessons I have found to be most helpful. I strive everyday to do what feels good and right to me. I of course take outside influences into consideration, but ultimately, if it doesn't feel right, I don't take it on board. This is how I stay true to myself, this is how I embrace my authenticity.

I challenge you to forgive, accept, find your voice, be vulnerable, and let go of the desire to be anything but you. I know you can do it, cuz you're awesome like that!


Why a Plant Based Diet Worked For Me

I believe it is important to note, that while no diet can cure an autoimmune condition, one can live symptom free the majority of the time. A plant based diet didn't work for me simply because It excluded animal products. It worked for me because I started eating highly alkalizing, whole, organic and plant based foods. While it is becoming easier and easier to be vegan in today's society, it remains challenging to be a whole foods vegan. 

The idea of transitioning to a plant based diet should challenge you to eat more fruits and vegetables. With an ever increasing number of vegan and gluten free foods popping up on grocery store shelves, it can be enticing to reach for the convenient option. However, beware of nutrition "buzzwords". The words "vegan" and "gluten free" are not synonymous with health. All packaged and processed foods can contain harmful ingredients. (I will address some of these ingredients in future posts.)

Be a savvy consumer, and don't fall victim to the hype. Selling "health foods" has become a billion dollar a year industry. Remember that the healthiest foods are the ones that have gone through the least amount of processing to make it to your table. These foods, the ones free of additives, dyes and preservatives are the one's that will support your body's natural healing processes. 

Who Am I?
KLG-NS13 (1).jpg
All photos courtesy of  Miaou Photography

All photos courtesy of Miaou Photography

Hi I'm Kara-Lynn,

Kara or K-L for short, and I am many things in this life, as most of us are. I am a woman, a vegan, a cat lover, a tree hugger, a hairstylist, a make up artist, a yogi, a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and most recently, a blogger. 

If someone had told the 17 year old me that I would one day be a vegan nutritionist, I would have laughed wholeheartedly! As much as I wanted to be vegan at the time, my efforts were thwarted by my hatred of legumes and love of all things cheese and ice-cream. Actually, 17 year old me worked at a Dairy Queen franchise in my home town, and I probably gained 15 pounds that summer. I was no stranger to weight gain and other minor to moderate health challenges, with digestive issues, eczema, asthma, and budding allergies being at the forefront. I honestly don't remember a time in my youth where I didn't have "tummy troubles" as my mom called it. Although I would have bouts of extreme abdominal and joint pain (severe enough to render me in the emergency room) no doctor could seem to diagnose a problem. 

Fast forward a few years... after high school graduation I went to beauty school and became a hairstylist. I loved my career so much, and I still enjoy doing hair part time today. A good friend I met through work encouraged me to join a gym with her and talk to her dietitian. I agreed and almost immediately I saw results. Although I lost weight... I still never felt great. Those minor health problems persisted and I needed to find answers. Being the inquisitive person I am, naturally I began to research and experiment with food. After much trial and error, I found a diet that worked for me and my digestive health began to improve slightly. But alas a piece of the puzzle was still missing. 

In 2012, at the age of 29, I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis and Fibromyalgia. The pain I had been experiencing, had become a full blown autoimmune condition. For a moment, I felt like my life was over. I worried that this would mean the end of my career. As a hairstylist and make up artist, I had a physically demanding job, and I became obsessed with finding ways to lessen and manage my pain. It was through this quest for answers that I stumbled across a plant based diet. I was skeptical, but I knew I couldn't keep popping Advil and Aleve like candy... I fully committed to an anti-inflammatory vegan diet for 30 days and to my complete amazement I began to notice changes.

Throughout that first month I experimented with all kinds of vegetable dishes, I tried new legumes, I scoured blogs for recipes, and I even started sprouting! Within weeks my energy improved, I started shedding a few pounds and my pain improved so much, I started back to the gym, doing gentle exercise. I was convinced that the vegan life was the life for me! 

I knew my discoveries were not a coincidence, and yet I had to go through all these crazy trials and errors to find a path to healing. I became frustrated with our current healthcare system, and wondered why no one had told me that food could make such a difference in one's life... Like seriously, why isn't this common knowledge?! I knew I had to find a way to share my new found knowledge with the world!

Enter the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition... In September 2014 I set foot in my first nutrition class at CSNN, and I knew I was in the right place. I was so inspired by my instructors, I immediately started brainstorming about what I might do upon graduation. It was during my studies that my passion for not only our personal health, but also the health of our planet deepened and the Nomshell philosophy was born.  Upon graduating as valedictorian in the fall of 2016, I realized just how much I wanted to help others, and right away began to build this site. 

I am so pleased to be able to share my passion with all of you, I hope I can inspire you, empower you and help you on your own journey to wellness. 

Healing can be a long and winding road, but if we help one another, we just might all find our way.