Hey there. I’m Hallie Klecker, a nutrition educator, professional recipe developer, author, and passionate foodie. Thanks so much for stopping by . . . I’m thrilled to spend a few minutes with you! People like you—who cook up my recipes in your kitchens and post comments chatting with me about food—make writing this blog 110% worth it. On this page you’ll learn a little bit more about me and the story that led me to launch Daily Bites.
In the Beginning
I’m blessed to have grown up in a very health conscious family. My mom prepared breakfast, lunch and dinner from scratch nearly every day. Rarely did an evening go by when we didn’t sit down at the dinner table to a warm, home-cooked meal. Hours of baking cookies with my mom, shucking corn on the porch, and cracking eggs for Saturday morning omelets speckle my memory.
I grew up with one older sister, and to this day we’re still very close in heart even though we’re now separated by over a thousand miles. Lazy summer afternoons were spent licking popsicles in the August heat. On chilly autumn mornings we warmed our hands over pots of boiling eggs or bubbling oatmeal. I’ve strolled through countless farmers’ markets with my family, harvested pounds upon pounds of garden produce and dined at many a fine restaurant. Food has always been a central part of my life, a hinge on which my whole world swings.
The year I turned fifteen, my health took an unexpected turn. After-dinner stomach aches became regular occurrences. Everyday tasks like vacuuming my room or walking a mile took ten times as much energy. Sleeping through the night—never usually a problem for me, a growing teenager—became a weekly challenge. The changes happened slowly, gradually, almost to the point where I didn’t pay them any attention at first.
But when my weight began to drop without cause, concern set in. Over the course of about two years, I lost nearly twenty pounds. Because I’m a small person to begin with, that was a lot of weight. At one point, my doctor suggested I consider anorexia counseling. Both me and my parents knew that the problem wasn’t psychological. I wanted to eat, but just couldn’t because of the pain. Anyone who has experienced food allergies knows exactly what I’m talking about.
My breakthrough came several months later when I met with a holistic nutritionist. She suggested I eliminate gluten from my diet, something I had not done in the past simply because I thought eating bread and pasta might help me keep weight on. Within one week of eliminating the gluten, I regained two pounds. My body began absorbing nutrients again. Food actually tasted good.
Despite my nearly overnight improvement, the road back to optimal health was still long and winding. It took a good year and half or so to gain back the weight I’d lost and repair the damage done inside my body.
Nevertheless, eliminating the gluten from my diet gave me back my life. While I had grown up cooking alongside my mom and enjoying lots of fresh, seasonal foods all of my life, going gluten-free brought a whole new dimension to my world. For the first time, I approached cooking with curiosity and excitement. Food and cooking became a way of expressing myself and sharing my joy for naturally gluten-free nourishment with others. The dinner plate became my canvas.
The Birth of Daily Bites
After removing gluten from my diet and witnessing firsthand the power of food to both harm and heal the body, my interest in natural healthcare and holistic living grew. I went on to pursue my certification in nutrition education through Bauman College of Holistic Nutrition and Culinary Arts. When I wasn’t immersing myself in textbooks and natural health articles or studying for my personal chef certification from the Culinary Business Academy, I was in the kitchen. Recipe development, trying new foods, and exploring the wide world of natural cooking was greatly rewarding and life-giving for me.
After receiving my training, I operated my own personal chef business and taught gluten-free, dairy-free cooking classes at local health centers. Incredibly eager to share my passion for wholesome food with everyone I met, I simply could not hold back from passing on my joy.
In June of 2009, I launched Daily Bites upon the urging of my sister. She suggested I start blogging about my experiences in the kitchen. I was hesitant at first, and—to be honest—I doubted that anyone would read my posts. But I decided to give it go. I never in my wildest dreams imagined how fulfilling and enjoyable blogging would be for me. The goal was to share my experiences with others, to support them along their journey. I never realized just how much they would support me back.
Where I Am Today
I wrote and published my first cookbook, The Pure Kitchen, in the fall of 2011. It was a labor of love and I could not be happier with the result! I teach cooking classes in the Madison, Wisconsin area and also offer healthy eating coaching services for those interested in eating pure, natural foods. I’ve lived entirely gluten-free and dairy-free for years now, and believe me when I say that I learn something new about food every day! I love the idea of being a life-long learner.
If you’ve stuck with me this far and you’re still reading, thank you! It’s been quite a journey. And I could not be happier that you’ve joined me for part of it. Life has a way of presenting us with challenges that—while unbelievably difficult at first—somehow almost always make us stronger. In my life, this could not be more true.
So wherever you are in your journey, whatever challenges you may be facing in the way of health or other matters, I sincerely hope that you are strengthened through the process.
May you find joy in the journey. That’s what it’s all about. It’s taken me some time, but eventually I found it in mine. And it changed my life.