Thank you so much for checking into the newest site of sideofveggies.com!
Hi, I’m Michelle! I am a Florida living, food loving, recipe developer. I’m also the graphic designer, web editor, photographer, content developer and creator of sideofveggies.com. The small window between my daily iced coffee and happy hour consists of getting as much done in the gym, in the kitchen and at my job. Any and all free time is used to think about what creative task to do next and finding the motivation to do so.
Call me crazy, but I am fully invested in being an ever-growing food blogger while working a full time job in management within the hospitality industry. I am an Ohio State University graduate with a degree in art. I am also licensed in real estate and have a background in event management. My biggest passion, however, lies within the creativity that empowers the food and web marketing industry. Honestly, none of that really matters. What matters is what led me to create this site…and more importantly what’s going to keep you on this site.
If nothing else, I’ll introduce you to my four-legged partner in crime, Chandler. (Yes, the name is exactly where you think it’s from…Friends. And so are some references on this site.)
If you haven’t noticed already, I absolutely love vegetables! I am not a vegetarian or a vegan by any means. I still love meat and cheese (don’t even get me started on my love for charcuterie boards!). My journey is a little odd and my story is a little weird. That’s truly why I am here. It’s my goal to show everyone how to incorporate vegetables and lighter ingredients into their favorite dishes. Maybe even gain some credit from even the pickiest eaters…dreaming big….
I’m sure you’re all wondering…is this another website that talks about the importance of eating whole fruits and vegetables in order to lose weight or live a healthier lifestyle? Yes, but also, NO! I think everyone has heard that adding fruits and vegetables to your diet may be beneficial for a plethora of reasons (duh!) but we’re not going there yet. We’re taking this in a different direction and connecting with a different mindset. Hear me out…
Years ago I ventured into the world of eating better and exercising for fun. This was the best outlet for my anxiety. The only reason I turned to these healthy alternatives was because I needed another way to deal with stress. When I turned to that faulty “C” word – CONTROL, I decided diet and exercise gave me routine and identity (which I was longing for in my college years). I MASTERED it! It wasn’t even my intent to drop much weight, but I was in control and it worked. I was the queen of weight loss. I was the Albert Einstein of the dieting equation. I had it down. I could lose weight like it was my job…until it became the new stressor in my life.
There became a point were I was so successful in dropping pounds that my body needed to gain quite a bit back. Here’s the thing… I felt accomplished, however, I compromised my energy, my social life and my real love for being in the kitchen and cooking with my friends and family. I lost time worrying about what foods were going to interfere with my diet equation. I subtracted the enjoyment out of the things that made me whole. I knew what worked…I could teach so many people how to lose weight in the blink of an eye with eating just 20 simple foods. I didn’t know another way or how to go the other direction. I didn’t know how to reteach myself how to live and enjoy my favorite foods without feeling like I was contradicting my previous process. And I think that’s what the world needs and that’s what I needed at the time…
Look, it doesn’t matter where you’re at in you’re health journey (people define health in so many ways). This site is a resource for all. I wish I would have had someone talk to me about the weight-gain journey years ago, in a way that made sense for my mindset. There are a lot of people right now that want to balance what they eat for whatever reason, but GOOD GOD, they can’t JUST live off grilled chicken salads (dressing on the side) for the rest of their lives. That was me. That’s where I was stuck…I LOVED pizza, fries, chicken tenders, tacos…oh yes, the tacos…. but I didn’t know how to add them BACK into my life. So much so that I convinced myself that I could live without those simple enjoyments. And that right there was me living an actual unhealthy lifestyle! That’s where I knew I really needed to work my way out of controlled eating and dip my toes (slowly but surely) in the world of LIVING!
The BEST way I handled this task was making those “guilty pleasures” into “healthified indulgences”. There were moments years ago that I feared never eating a holiday dinner with my family again (thinking I had to plan and cut my favorite dishes). That’s when I threw myself back into the kitchen. I became invested in developing recipes that caught the essence of my greatest cravings and twisted them into feel-good creations. All of which have been mastered and tweaked over the years. Not just for my enjoyment, but for the satisfaction of bringing the fear out of eating what you love, for those who need it…and then some. It was all about regaining the good side of “control”.
BIGGEST DISCLAIMER: For the longest time I told myself I “couldn’t” have something. Now, it took me some time, but I focused on developing recipes that were my favorite foods. I started to give myself permission to take a day out of my week to go get the real stuff. Just do it! One “cheat meal” is not the end all be all. It’s actually everything you need in moderation to tell yourself that you’re ALLOWED to eat those things. And then other days, stick to the leaner versions. You owe it you yourself. It’s a journey…and it’s not always easy. Trust me, I get it.
Growing up and eating dinners as a family, my mom always included a side of vegetables. It was her way of knowing we were balancing our diets and our way of staying healthy. It worked when I started losing weight too. I knew that no matter what, balancing your diet with lighter ingredients, ESPECIALLY VEGETABLES was the mindset that got me one step closer to having a better relationship with food. It’s also the mental comfort I personally needed to make strides towards slowly relearning what I loved (and not what I HAD to have).
Incorporating vegetables in recipes is somewhat of a challenge when your goal is for the majority of the population to love it. Let’s be real…vegetables as the main filling in a taco…not everyone’s go-to! Substituting different ingredients is one way to lighten up your dishes and still satisfy your cravings. We fail to talk about both ends of redeveloping your love for food. Whether your losing or even learning to gain weight with balance, Side of Veggies is committed to helping guests feel good about what they eat and embrace the life they are meant to live!
It is important to know that I am in no way, shape, or form a certified nutritionist or medical expert. This website, as well as all linked social media sites, is simply thoughts and ideas based on my personal journey.
If you are looking to change or enhance your lifestyle through diet, please consult with a certified physician, doctor or a medical expert who has knowledge of your health status and goals.
Sideofveggies.com does not follow or suggest any specific diet. Recipes may reference a lifestyle trend or diet, however, I (Michelle Cerutti) am not a registered dietician or medical expert. When making recipes, I am using wholesome ingredients to navigate viewers through my journey and how I managed to obtain a better relationship with food and drink.
Alcohol is also referenced in this blog. Sideofveggies.com is not directed to those who are 21 and under and does not condone under age drinking by any means. For all recipes or cocktails that use alcohol as an ingredient, please drink responsibly. I am not liable for personal decisions made when creating recipes.
The nutritional information posted on each recipe is simply for reference. I use generic generators and basic math to calculate and ESTIMATE calories per serving.
I make no claims as to using this to lose or gain weight. I, myself, like to read nutritional labels for my own piece of mind and comparison which is why I wanted to offer these suggestions, not facts, to this site.
This is simply information collected and shared for reference purposes only.
Chandler is my sidekick through the making of sideofveggies.com amongst so many other things I’ve encountered in life. He brings a lot of happiness and joy into my day and keeps life light and comical!
I, Michelle Cerutti, am not a trained chef or culinary expert. All descriptions, articles and posts are simply for reference. I, or, sideofveggies.com are not liable for any injuries or errors when making or recreating the content on this site.
If you do feel like you are struggling with stress, anxiety or even an eating disorder, it is critical that you reach out to licensed health professionals for advice. Only you can take the first steps towards a positive change in your life.