Every week, we spotlight a different food blogger who’s shaking up the blogosphere with tempting recipes and knockout photography. Today, we chat with Lindsey Love of Dolly and Oatmeal, whose food sensitivities led her on a journey of culinary self-discovery. Swing back all week for a new recipe from Love every day.
All photos courtesy of Lindsey Love
“It started off normal,” Dolly and Oatmeal blogger Lindsey Love says of her relationship with food. Her childhood home on New York’s Long Island, a mixed Jewish and Italian household, was filled with “bread, cheese, pizza, and all that good stuff.” Another mainstay was oatmeal, which Love’s mother would prepare for her every morning. But for Love, “normal” didn’t mean “good” — her stomach was constantly upset, and once in her teens, Love finally decided to do something about it.
“I really made a concerted effort to feed myself in a better way,” Love told Yahoo Food. She cut out cheese entirely, and once in college, began cooking for herself. "Part of that process was looking at blogs and seeing what was out there. I remember Heidi Swanson’s 101 Cookbooks was one of the first blogs I ever started reading. She focuses on mostly plant-based foods, like vegan-lite. So I started cooking from blogs.”
But Love’s food sensitivities continued to worsen through her early 20s. She tried every diet she could think of: raw, gluten-free, and vegan diets, and even an all-juice and smoothie regiment. “Nothing really seemed to work,” Love recalled. She realized, too, that the packaged gluten-free foods from the supermarket weren’t necessarily healthy — many were still packed with preservatives and other less-than-ideal ingredients. And, frustratingly, the smoothie diet left her feeling weak and tired: “I didn’t feel nourished at all, even though I was eating all these amazing vegetables and fruits. So I sought the help of a nutritionist.”
Upon her nutritionist’s recommendation, Love began making almost all her food from scratch, weeding out ingredients that made her feel worse and documenting everything. In 2013, she started doing it formally, on a blog she dubbed Dolly and Oatmeal. The name is a nod to her mother’s nickname for her, Dolly, and a favorite food that mercifully made the cut. “Oatmeal was something I loved and always ate, and still do,” Love said.
For the most part, Love’s diet consists of whole, gluten-free foods. It’s largely plant based, which means no dairy. But you won’t find those terms referenced often on Dolly and Oatmeal. “I never want it to come across as preachy,” Love explained. “Throughout my journey, I’ve found there are so may things in this world that are delicious and just happen to be gluten free.”
Those things include creamy macadamia-based “ricotta” served with juicy late-summer tomatoes on gluten-free toast points, and twice-baked sweet potatoes dusted with a mixture of pumpkin, coriander, cumin, sesame and fennel seeds. Desserts are in the mix, too, from homemade Ring Dings to raspberry-currant yogurt crumble cake.
The recipes have clearly struck a chord with readers: Dolly and Oatmeal currently has more than 43,000 followers on Instagram, not to mention thousands more on Facebook and Twitter. Last year, Love made the decision to leave her day job to pursue the blog full-time, and recently finished the draft of her first cookbook, which will hit stores in spring of 2016.
“I think for a really long time, in my personal experience, people were feeling really disconnected from their food,” Love said of her readership. “I think people just want to take their health, their food, and what they’re eating into their own hands.”
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