Blogger of the Week: Christine Arel of 'No Gojis, No Glory'

·Editor
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All photos courtesy Christine Arel

For Christine Arel, globe-trotting adventure defines the past 15 years. In that time, the force behind healthy food blog No Gojis, No Glory hopscotched from her native California, to college in tropical Hawaii, to grad school in the subarctic reaches of northern Sweden. These days, she calls New York City home. But Arel doesn’t measure the journey solely in miles. 

"I [had] a lot of back and forth with my dieting habits and the way I ate," Arel told us. In Hawaii, she consumed a good bit of fast food, and became enamored with deep-fried malasadas, a traditional local twist on doughnuts filled with sugary custard. 

In Sweden, inspired by the local cuisine’s emphasis on fresh vegetables, she took up healthful cooking for the first time. Still, by the time Arel settled in New York City in her late 20s, she had returned to unhealthy habits and begun to notice the toll they were taking on her body.

"I gained a lot of weight and I just wasn’t feeling good," she said. "That was really the turning point for me. I said, ‘No more diets and no more quick fixes. You’re going to make a lifestyle change.’"

From that pledge emerged No Gojis, No Glory. Today, more than a year later, Arel is about 30 pounds lighter and, on her blog, continues to share the healthy and vibrant recipes that helped right her diet.

Here are a few more things you need to know about Christine Arel.

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A savory turkey meatball soup chock full of vegetables.

1. Ever since childhood, Arel has had a tricky relationship with food.
"I was a little unhealthy as a kid. I was on the heavier side… and I was present to that fact. One of my biggest fears [as an adult] was inheriting some of the health-related diseases that some of my family members have: Diabetes. Heart disease. Those run big in my family and I did not want to end up like that. I said to myself, ‘You need to do this for real and really change your lifestyle.’"

2. Moving to Sweden changed the way she thought about food… and salad.
"After Hawaii, we—me and my then fiancé, now husband—moved to Sweden, where he grew up. That’s where I learned to make a good salad. Before Sweden, a good salad would be, like, standard salad bar fare. Greens, some olives, and maybe an egg. But in Sweden, they’d make something as simple as tomatoes with olive oil, herbs, and some salt. That’s technically a salad. It was eye-opening. I was like, ‘Oh my God, a salad can taste this good.’" 

3. She started No Gojis, No Glory as a diet tool.
"I kind of needed a way to hold myself accountable. And what better way to do that than to put it out there for everyone to see? It works. And it became something so much more than I thought it could be. I have a great community on the blog."

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Arel’s nut- and seed-packed snack bars

4. She likes to keep things simple in the kitchen.
"If something is too complicated, I’m probably not going to bother with it. I mean baking, for example, has too much precision involved. When I cook, I like to experiment. Do a little of this, a little of that. If I have to be so precise that I can’t play with it, it’s not for me."

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One of Arel’s favorite recipes: turkey burgers with caramelized onions and sautéed mushrooms.

5. Her recipes have gone viral.
"I have a recipe for marinated baked cod that’s been pinned [on Pinterest] more than 70,000 times. I was surprised! But I think it’s so popular because it’s just so simple. You mix some oil, honey, soy sauce, and vinegar and let the fish marinate for 24 hours. Cook it, and you’ve got an amazing dish that you’ll probably be addicted to in seven minutes. It’s a win win for everyone.”

6. She works a 9-to-5 marketing job, but hopes to someday make No Gojis, No Glory a full-time endeavor.
"I’m always working toward that. It’s always been my goal, since I realized how much I love this. I could do it forever."

Other food bloggers who should be your radar:

The 20-year-old pop culture obsessive behind baking blog Glazed & Confused

"Grandbaby Cakes," who could eat gelato every day

Austin-based “Love & Lemons,” whose spirit vegetable is leafy kale

Who’s your favorite food blogger? Tell us below!