My name is Maida Ference. I’m 48 years old, the wife of a career soldier, mother to two teenagers, and a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner. This is the story of how I overcame decades of food addiction, discovered the joy of knowing and nourishing my body without shame or judgement, and was led to my passion for empowering others to improve their quality of life.
I grew up in a big, loving Mexican family and food was at the center. My most cherished memories were punctuated with food: Fried burritos my cousins picked up to take to the drive-in movies, hopping in my favorite uncle’s Jeep to go out for raspas (shaved ice), tortillas made from scratch and served hot off the comal in my tia’s kitchen, my choice of candy and soda pop from my grandparents’ grocery store. The pan de polvo (Mexican wedding cookies) made by my great aunt could be found at every wedding, anniversary, and quinceñera. Being surrounded by the people I loved the most was accompanied by food.
I was a little chubby, but so was nearly everyone else in my family, so I didn’t give it much thought until I was in the fourth or fifth grade. My female classmates had started wearing makeup and vying for boys’ attention and I started to become self-conscious. Despite taking dance and gymnastics classes since second grade and walking to and from school every day, by fifth grade I weighed 106 pounds. My self-esteem started to take a nose dive. I can still remember the boy would ride by me on his bike, laughing and calling me “bubble butt.” My solution to teasing was being extraordinarily friendly. I believed if everyone liked me, they wouldn’t make fun of me. For the most part, that turned out to be true. By the time I was 14, I weighed 172 pounds, too heavy to be on the drill team despite all my years of dance training (the weight limit for my height was 140). It was then that I went on my first structured diet, along with my mom, dad, and sister. We drank shakes for two meals a day, avoided red meat, and took handfuls of supplements. In the photos from our summer vacation in Europe, we were all the thinnest we’d ever been. Soon after returning home, we also returned to our pre-diet way of eating. This was the start of decades of roller coaster dieting. I tried medically supervised diets, weight loss centers, meal replacement bars and shakes. I counted fat grams, carbohydrates, points, pounds, and inches. Every month it seemed there was a new right way to eat. I hated my body for being bigger than I believed it should be and for being hungry. I felt powerless, depressed, hopeless, and I blamed myself.
By January of 2001, I’d had my gall bladder surgically removed and had reached 339 pounds. That was the day I was given my OB/GYN’s approval to start trying to have a baby and it’s also the day we conceived our first child. During my pregnancy, I had only one rule for myself regarding food, whatever I put in my body had to have nutritional value. That act of love for my child, with no other restriction, resulted in a healthy 8 pound 11 ounce baby and a complication-free pregnancy. Six weeks postpartum, I weighed 295, down more than 40 pounds from my pre-pregnancy weight. I adhered to the same rule while I was nursing and during my subsequent pregnancy. My son was born 6 weeks after his sibling’s first birthday, same weight and near identical in length. While I nursed him, I nourished my body with the knowledge that what I was eating was feeding him and my weight remained stable. However, once he was a year old and weaned, I returned to my pre-pregnancy cycle of dieting. I was either on a diet or overeating in anticipation of the next one.
By the spring of 2007 I was back up to 325 pounds and had been told I was pre-diabetic. I started researching weight loss surgery and that November I elected to have gastric bypass surgery (Lap RNY, for those in the know). That March, I had my first post-op alcoholic drink. I was nervous about it, because I’d seen a talk show once on which people who had had bariatric surgery expressed their regret, because their addiction to food had evolved into other addictions. By February of 2009, I had my first alcoholic blackout. I spent the next three years trying to control my drinking and not understanding how I could go from being someone stopped drinking when she started to feel the effects of a cocktail to not being able to stop once I started. It didn’t make sense. In April 2012, in an effort to appease an angry friend, I went into a recovery program. It took me several months, repeated relapses, and some fairly hefty consequences before I finally understood. Whether it was the change to my anatomy impacting how I metabolized alcohol or simply trading one substance for another to change how I felt, I was now an alcoholic. And, like a person who had been diagnosed with a chronic illness, I would have to take steps to keep it from debilitating me, one day at a time, for the rest of my life.
Right about the same time that I admitted I was an alcoholic, an acquaintance posted on social media about his wife’s vision improving as a result of diet and lifestyle changes. I wrote to him and asked if he would share what they had done. While I had maintained a 150 pound weight loss, I only felt smaller, not healthier. I still suffered from depression, anxiety, migraine headaches, and hypoglycemia. It was this conversation that would end up changing the course of my life, right alongside my sobriety. He told me about the paleo lifestyle and, while what he described seemed extreme, he simplified it to a book recommendation and a small, simple first step, magnesium. Soon thereafter, I eliminated gluten and my digestion completely changed. As the months passed, I noticed that I no longer had migraine headaches, my last which had lasted two weeks and was impervious to even IV medication. The more attuned I became to my body and eliminated foods that weren’t serving me, the better I felt. The depression I’d been suffering from for decades subsided, as did the anxiety I had been experiencing for a few years. In 2015, I tested positive for Celiac Disease and started on the autoimmune protocol (AIP). I had adopted a way of eating focused on nourishment and supporting my body in healing itself, rather than restriction or changing how I looked.
While listening to a paleo podcast, I heard about the Nutritional Therapy Association and researched the programs they offered. I was afraid I wouldn’t be a good student, but obstacle after obstacle was removed from my path and in the fall of 2016, after 15 years of being a stay-at-home mom, I entered the NTA program for Nutritional Therapy Practitioner certification. I learned that there was not one right way to eat and that I had been hungry all those years, because the food that I stuffed my body with was lacking nutrient density. My body had simply been asking for the nourishment it needed.
Over the past 5 or 6 years, people have commented on how I “keep losing weight.” Truth be told, what they see is a reduction of inflammation, a change in body composition, thicker hair, a brighter complexion, joy, energy, gratitude, and confidence that have resulted from my program of recovery and finally giving my body the abundance of nourishment I had previously only afforded it when it was carrying or nursing my children. My weight has changed very little and even so, I tend to think of it as a range, fluctuating depending on exposure to inflammatory foods (by accident or by choice), sleep, and hormonal fluctuations. I have learned that healthy and pleasurable need not, and dare I say should not, be mutually exclusive. Talk to me for a few minutes and it will be overwhelmingly clear how passionate I am about replacing a restrictive mentality with one of abundance and choice fortified by self-awareness, free from judgment and dietary dogma. And, I love guiding folks to the point where I tell them, “It’s time for you to trust yourself more than you trust me.” Regardless of your age, genetics, history with food, or disease state, you can improve your quality of life, living authentically, treating your body and spirit with the love and respect you deserve.
You can find Maida on Instagram or Facebook at @nuancednutrition, www.NuancedNutrition.com , or contact her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a free 20 minute consultation to determine if Nutritional Therapy is right for you. Mention Superseed Well for a 20% discount on services. She can also be found March 9-10 at the SXSW Wellness Expo at Palmer Auditorium and March 29-31 at the New Story Festival on the Huston-Tilloston campus where she will be both presenting and have a booth. Her presentation is entitled Loving Yourself Healthier.
As soon as September hit we were ready for all things pumpkin around here! We used our amazing 7 Seed Flour (of course!) making these muffins grain free and gluten free! They are insanely moist and pack a perfectly sweet punch that will satisfy your pumpkin and chocolate cravings for sure. Here's what we did....
As with most baking recipes- first mix all wet ingredients in one bowl, and dry in another. Make sure to mash your banana and slightly beat your eggs before adding to the mix. (Or forget to do that like I did and spend extra time mashing as you mix everything together! Ha!)
Next add wet to dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
This is a sticky batter, so don't be alarmed! The easiest way to fill your muffin tin is with the help of a cookie dough scoop like this one. They aren't very expensive and if you're a baker, you'll never be sorry you bought one. I reach for mine often, whether it's for baking or for scooping out home-made meatballs!
I lined my muffin tin with liners but I would recommend spraying the tin with non-stick spray instead. I found that many of my muffins stuck to the liners even when cool, and sucking muffin liners isn't cute...but I did it anyway because these muffins are that good. Therefore, fill your non-stick sprayed, 12 count muffin tin 3/4 full. Also, sprinkle a few extra mini chocolate chips on top because CHOCOLATE, and because you're a fancy baker who knows how to make things that not only taste good, but look good too!
Throw these babies in the oven for 25-30 minutes. I know this seems like a long time for muffins, but this is such a wet batter I found that mine still weren't done at the 20 minute mark. Ovens vary though, so check yours around 20-22 min and see how they look.
They come out smelling like heaven, and other people in your house will emerge from their rooms and ask what you're up to. Feel free to use the power of these delicious treats to bribe said people to do things in order to taste one. Or not, just saying!
And your last step is take some Instagram worthy photos of your muffins and tag us so we can see! We hope you enjoy!
Pumpkin Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins
(recipe adapted from Jen Eddin's Pumpkin Banana Muffin)
- 1 medium banana, mashed
- 1/2 c pumpkin puree
- 1/3 c maple syrup
- 2 eggs
- 2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 c 7 Seed Flour
- 1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
- 3/4 tsp baking powder
- 3/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 c mini dairy free chocolate chips
- Preheat oven at 350 and spray 12 count muffin tin with nonstick spray.
- In a medium bowl, combine mashed banana, pumpkin, maple syrup, lightly beaten eggs, melted coconut oil and vanilla. Whisk to combine.
- In a larger separate bowl, combine 7 Seed Flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir to combine.
- Add wet ingredients into dry plus add chocolate chips. Mix until just combined.
- Evenly distribute batter in muffin tin, about 3/4 full.
- Place in your 350 degree oven and bake 25-30 min.
- Remove from tin and cool on wire rack.
- EAT AND ENJOY!
It's that time of year around here! When everything gets better with pumpkin! Thank goodness for the canned pumpkin for all the of the delicious pumpkin goodies! I can't imagine having to roast a big pumpkin every time I wanted to test a new pumpkin recipe - can I get an amen?! And truly, canned pumpkin is not cheating! It's purely 100% pumpkin - no added ingredients or fillers, so don't feel bad, and yes, you can still consider yourself a culinary master :) - even if you have to whip out the can opener!
This pumpkin recipe went over really well at our house, because it isn't over-the-top pumpkin. The rich and fudgy chocolate brownie is a delicious balance to the earthy pumpkin and cinnamon.
These will definitely be in Guiltless Goodies rotation this fall season! A real treat that will win over everyone!
1/2 cup Coconut Oil (measured in solid state)
8 oz Dark Chocolate (your preferred %) chopped or chips
3/4 cup Coconut Palm Sugar
3 Large Eggs
1 tbsp Vanilla Extract
1 cup Guiltless 7 Seed Flour
1/4 tsp Sea Salt
1/4 cup Dark Chocolate Chips
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1 whole egg
3 tbsp coconut sugar
1 tspn cinnamon
1 tspn pumpkin pie spice
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray an 8x8 inch (or 9x9 inch) square pan with non-stick cooking spray. (Lining pan with parchment paper helps brownies to come easily, too, but not necessary.)
2. In a small sauce pan on low heat, place coconut oil and 8 oz of dark chocolate. Melt together, stirring frequently.
3. Once chocolate is melted, pour into a large bowl to cool slightly. Whisk in coconut sugar.
4. Add eggs, whisk together. Whisk in vanilla.
5. Add Guiltless 7 Superfood Flour and Sea Salt, and whisk until well combined.
6. Transfer brownie batter to prepared baking dish, and spread evenly.
7. Make Pumpkin Filling: whip together all filling ingredients with an electric mixer.
8. Drop spoonfuls of pumpkin filling over the top of the brownie batter. Using a butter knife, swirl the pumpkin into the brownie batter, trying to work some of the pumpkin down and some of the brownie batter up to make swirl marks. Sprinkle with chocolate chips.
8. Bake for 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs attached and edges are darkened.
9. Cool completely (at least 10 minutes) on a wire rack before cutting into squares.
10. Cut into 9 squares for larger brownies or 16 squares for smaller brownies.
Hey, friends! Happy October!
We're so happy to bring you another Guiltless Pumpkin Recipe for pumpkin season! These are delicious, light and rolled in cinnamon and coconut sugar.
If you want more of a pumpkin flavor, you can add more pumpkin pie spice. We keep the pumpkin flavor on the light side, so it's not too overwhelming. But you can do whatever your pumpkin lovin' heart desires!
Inspired by Wholesomelicious
Makes 15 cookies
3 cups Guiltless Superfood Flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp sea salt
11/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
3 tbs coconut oil (soft but not melted)
1/2 c pumpkin puree
1/2 c real maple syrup (or 3/4 cup coconut sugar if you want them a bit sweeter)
3 tbs coconut sugar
2 tbs cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 350.
In a large bowl, mix together Guiltless Superfood Flour, baking powder, salt, and pumpkin pie spice.
In a separate small bowl, whisk together coconut oil, pumpkin puree, maple syrup, and vanilla extract.
Add the wet ingredients to dry. Mix together until wet, and sticky. Refrigerate for about 10 minutes (this allows the dough to get a little more sticky and firm).
In a small bowl, mix cinnamon and coconut sugar.
Form dough balls that are about 1 to 1.5 inches in diameter, roll dough into cinnamon mixture. Place on a cookie sheet. Using a jar or glass, flatten cookies to about ½ inch thick.
Bake cookies for 19-20 minutes (depending on oven and thickness of cookies). Cookies should feel firm on the top, but may be soft in the middle. They will continue to get firmer once out of the oven.
Cool completely on the cookie sheet.
National Donut Day on Friday had us inspired to make a brand new Guiltless Skinny Donut Recipe! I had been dreaming of a chocolate chip Guiltless Donut for some time now. And had recently made this caramel sauce for a banana bread. More on that another time! Decided this caramel drizzle would be just what the chocolate chip donut needed.
These chocolate chip donuts are just the perfect amount of sweet. And the caramel drizzle is made from four simple ingredients! We dipped a couple of the donuts in the caramel first. Then we drizzled the others, and we decided we like the drizzle better. But do what looks good to you!
Mini chocolate chips would probably work better in this recipe. We only had the normal size, but try using mini chips, if you can!
Makes 6 donuts
2 organic eggs
1 3/4 c Guiltless Superfoods Flour
1 T unrefined, organic coconut oil
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t baking powder
1/4 t sea salt
1/2 t vanilla extract
3/4 c coconut sugar
1 c chocolate chips (we use Enjoy Life)
1 c Coconut Milk (canned, full fat, I like the brand "Thai")
4 T coconut sugar
1 t vanilla extract
1/4 t sea salt
Make Caramel first:
In a small saucepan over low heat, stir together the coconut milk and coconut sugar to dissolve. Raise the heat enough to bring to a boil stirring, then boil for 15 more minutes over medium (more than a simmer but not a rollin boil) or until thickened and deep golden brown. Remove from heat stir in 1 tsp vanilla and dash sea salt. Chill in the fridge until ready to use.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Add all ingredients, except chocolate chips, to a large mixing bowl and mix until totally combined. (I used my KitchenAid stand mixer, but a hand mixer should work, too!) Then mix in chocolate chips.
Spray a donut pan with non-stick cooking spray.
Spoon batter evenly into each of the 6 molds.
Bake for 12-13 minutes or until slightly golden. (mine got pretty brown at 20 mins)
Cool for at least 10 minutes.
Remove from pan and drizzle or dunk in caramel.
*I found my donut pan at my local Target. You can also order through this link on Amazon.
Plain Guiltless Chocolate Chip Donuts
Dipped in Caramel Glaze
Drizzled with Caramel Glaze
Caramel Glaze Recipe from Paleo Running Momma
I'm always inspired by what my healthy friends are eating and new Guiltless recipes they'd like to see. This meatball recipe came to me from a dear mom friend, Ally! We chuckled over all the veggies we can hide in these meatballs without our kids even knowing!
There's spinach, onion and garlic in these - and you can even play with adding carrots, kale or anything you'd like!
I usually make a big batch with 2lbs of meat and store the extras in an airtight container in the fridge. They're so easy to make a quick, healthy meal or snack!
I used ground turkey for the meatballs shown here.
2 lbs meat of choice (I usually use grass-fed ground beef or ground turkey)
1/3 cup Guiltless Superseed Flour
3 cloves chopped garlic
1/3 cup chopped spinach
1/4 sweet onion
Italian seasoning (to your taste)
Sea salt + Pepper
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. Form into golf ball size. Drizzle with olive oil on a sheet pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes until browned.