Surprise! I have a bonus post today in honor of being picked for a Sunshine Blogger Award.
I want to thank Chris from Living Healthier and Happier for nominating me as a Sunshine Blogger. This is a blog award given to bloggers by fellow bloggers for spreading a little sunshine out into the world. As a person who promotes overall wellbeing, it’s nice to be appreciated for bringing some happiness to the internet.
What we do with our food and our fitness are not the only factors that impact our quality of life. There are so many other things that can be beneficial. Some of these include smoking cessation, getting adequate sleep, and (trying!) to have a positive outlook.
Unfortunately, a lot of nutrition messaging in the media is very negative. It seems there’s always a news story about the latest “fad diet” or how eating X food is going to lead to chronic disease. Much of what I read feels like a lecture telling people how they are doing everything wrong.
One reason I decided to transition this site from nutrition information to recipes (plus a little information) is that it’s more positive. I’ll show you how I eat and how I’d modify a recipe to help with different dietary preferences and health goals. My aim is to show how nutrition can be applied, not to lecture.
And if you don’t want to do things my way, that’s fine. If I’ve got you thinking about how you can create a health-promoting diet in a way that fits your life, I think that’s great.
Food is something that unites us all. Unfortunately, varying viewpoints on nutrition are a source of negativity and division. I’m delighted that my little space on the internet is bringing some folks joy.
What are the Rules of the Sunshine Blogger Award?
The Sunshine Blogger Award comes along with some very simple rules for those who wish to participate. They are:
- Thank the blogger(s) who have given you the award and link back to their blog.
- Answer the 11 questions you were asked.
- Nominate 11 new bloggers and ask them 11 questions. Inform the nominees that they’ve won the award by leaving a comment on their blog or contacting them by social media.
- Display the rules and a Sunshine Blogger Award image in your blog post.
Here are My Answer’s to Chris’s Questions
1. How long have you been blogging?
Here’s a reverse chronology of my blogging adventures. I have always enjoyed writing and have been blogging for nearly 15 years now on different sites.
I started writing at Summer Yule Nutrition in September 2018. For a few years prior to that, I would occasionally post easy meal ideas on Simple Weekday Food. I no longer add new content to Simple Weekday Food, but I’m leaving the site up for anyone interested.
I believe I started Simple Weekday Food back in 2016. Before that, I was running a site where I posted a lot about my cancer diagnosis and wellness. I think the writing was especially cathartic as I was going through the healing process.
Getting diagnosed with cancer at a young age, at a time when I felt “healthy” was fairly traumatic. I went through various stages of emotion, including a period where I was wallowing deeply in self-pity. Having that space to work through my feelings and share ugly truths about cancer was IMHO helpful.
That site is no longer public because it offered a lot of personal information. It contained things like details of my surgeries that I decided would be best kept private. I still re-read some of my entries from time to time; it reminds me of how far I’ve come.
I don’t like talking about my cancer diagnosis much. Hopefully, it is a piece of my past that will stay in the past. Setting that blog to private felt (and still feels) like the right decision.
I believe that my very first blog was in the early-mid 2000s. It documented my son’s younger years. I ended up turning the posts into a print book and then deleting the site.
2. What inspired you to start a blog?
As mentioned above, I’ve always had a passion for writing, so I’ll talk about why I started this site. Back in 2018, I noticed that the domain name for my unusual name was available, so I purchased it.
If my memory serves me correctly, I think SummerYule.com used to be a site promoting a certain alcohol. (I really transformed the type of content that visitors will find when they type in my name!)
I had recently passed the registered dietitian's examination, so I decided to start posting nutrition information on the site. I was maintaining the website as a fun hobby, but it also became a way for clients to contact me for paid freelance work. Eventually, I monetized the site so that it pays for itself.
3. How much time do you spend blogging each week?
The time I spend on this site varies greatly, ranging from zero hours in a week to nearly full-time. I work on the site whenever I have downtime from my commitments as a freelance writer and research assistant. It’s easy to provide consistent content by writing posts ahead of time and letting WordPress auto-post them on a schedule.
4. What is your favorite topic to write about?
Ummmm… FOOD. Were there any surprises there? I think not. Haha
5. It’s the Sunshine Blogger Award, so how do you spread rays of sunshine on your blog?
The purpose of Summer Yule Nutrition is not to give personal medical advice. I don’t necessarily recommend that people achieve their weight management goals the same way that I did.
Instead, I think this site spreads sunshine by showing that moving towards a healthier lifestyle is possible. Most of my recipe posts explore the ways that food can play a role in health and wellness.
If a reader is moving toward their goals using some of the food inspiration here, my mission is complete.
Hopefully, those who visit my site are inspired to get adventurous in the kitchen and try new foods and culinary techniques. I’m not afraid of sharing my recipe disasters and also how they do not deter me. I’m aiming to show that if I can cook, they can do it too!
Another little thing I do is wander into the blogs of strangers and wish them good luck if they share their health journey. I want people to feel that there is a lot of kindness in the world. Sometimes even those we don’t know are wishing us well and cheering us on!
6. If you were to impart some words of wisdom about blogging, what would they be?
If you want folks to be able to find you through search engines, don’t neglect SEO! Additionally, it’s worth learning about SEO in the beginning, so you don’t have to go back and fix things later.
Take it from me; I’ve spent hours doing things like changing file names and adding alt tags to photos in old posts. It would have been wiser to have been doing these things from the get-go.
7. What has influenced your blog most?
The content of my site is heavily influenced by a combination of my education and life experience. Aside from being a dietitian, I am also a person who has sustained a 70-pound weight loss for many years, following a battle with cancer.
I think I have a unique perspective regarding the science of weight loss and the personal struggles that can arise. I hope that I can inspire others who are on a weight loss journey and on into their maintenance phase.
8. What do you like best about blogging?
Some of my favorite blog-related activities are developing new recipes and then eating the delicious results! Haha Seriously, I like all of the learning that accompanies running a website. It’s definitely not solely writing about food.
Photography, SEO, promotion, site design, and development are all aspects of keeping my site ticking. I’ve been learning more about each of these as I go. It’s never boring!
9. Describe your blog using only five adjectives.
Hmmm… Delicious, fun, health-promoting, honest, science-based
10. What advice would you give a new blogger?
Write on your blog because you are passionate about it, not because you are planning to become rich! I’m not saying this to be discouraging, but I think it’s important to be realistic about things. I view my site as a fun hobby/side gig.
I remember a full-time food blogger commenting once that with all the time they put into their site over the years, they only average $10-11 per hour. Though they currently appeared to have a comfortable annual income, they put in a lot of unpaid hours for years beforehand.
11. Which blog topics are your favorites to read?
I love blogs written by folks who love food and want to share what they’ve learned. I’ve learned so much about international cuisine, interesting kitchen gadgets, and what to do with tasty new-to-me foods from blogs.
Lay people (non-nutrition folks) are often a rich resource of tips on how to apply nutrition information in everyday life. For example, those who have been following a gluten-free (GF) diet for celiac disease for years often know about new GF products. They know the ins and outs of managing the diet in different situations because they’ve been living it for so long.
In addition, I also like to see what nutrition scientists and other dietitians are up to on their blogs. They are my top pick for learning about new studies I may have missed and other nutrition information.
My Sunshine Blogger Award Nominees
There are so many amazing content creators out there; it is easy to miss out on some terrific ones! Nominees of the Sunshine Blogger Award can pass the award on to 11 of their favorite blogs, if they wish. This helps to increase the recognition of bloggers who are putting some great things out into the universe.
I’m nominating the following sites for a Sunshine Blogger Award because I find them to be creative, inspiring, motivational (or all of the above). Drumroll, please…
- Terrified Amateur
- Homeschooling Dietitian Mom
- Evelyn Parham
- Skinny Spatula
- The Wacky Spoon
- Saji’s Secret Recipes
- The Cooking Spoon
- Freelance Nutrition Writer - SaVanna Shoemaker
I hope that this nomination brings a little extra joy to your day. You are not obligated to participate by answering the questions. I just wanted to give you a shout out and let you know that I enjoy your site!
11 Questions for My Nominees
Again, you are under no obligation to answer these questions, or you could just choose to answer a few, if you wish. This is a fun way for your readers to get to know a little more about you.
- Why did you start your blog or website?
- How much time do you spend on your site each week?
- What is something that you wish you knew when you first started your site, that you only learned later?
- What helps to keep you grounded when you are facing life’s challenges?
- If you are working towards any health goals at the moment, what are they?
- What is a food or dish that you have not tried yet that you would love to try?
- What is one of your favorite recipes? (Feel free to provide a link to the deliciousness.)
- If you were only permitted to use one kitchen appliance for the rest of your life, which would you choose?
- What is the strangest food that you have ever eaten? (Go ahead, bring on the weird!)
- What is your top tip related to food or nutrition?
- How is your site spreading some sunshine to your readers?
I hope this post has brought some happiness to your day. There can be a lot of negativity on the net, particularly on social media. I’m loving this grassroots effort to bring others joy!
Oh, one more thing before I wrap things up. You can still join in on the fun even if you were not formally nominated. Just answer question #11 in the comments below!
Thank you for taking the time to learn a little more about me. May your day be filled with people you love, activities that bring you joy, and (of course) delicious food.