By Amanda Paa – Updated January 12, 2021

You know those situations you look back on and remember your hesitations, yet are are so grateful something told you to “go”? Such is my reflection on collaborating with the team at Prescribe Nutrition for the past six months, developing recipes and food photography for their Prescribe Balance programs. If you’ve read the blog before, you know I only write about things I truly believe in and stand for, and when I say the work of Megan & Katie had a large {unexpected} impact on me, I say it from the heart. As we’re gearing up for the next session, it seemed like perfect timing to share this post with you, and elaborate on a few things I’ve mentioned lately about wellness. At a time I needed it most, working alongside them made me realize that yes, food plays a big role in our health, but life balance is even bigger.

Prescribe Nutrition - Life is about balance.Many of you know that my philosophy is rooted in whole foods, nourishing and healthful, never sacrificing flavor, and embracing a table shared with others. I discovered this lifestyle almost by accident 6 years ago, when learning that a gluten-intolerance was the culprit of several nagging autoimmune issues. Although I would say I ate pretty normal, I didn’t cook much, let alone know where my food was coming from. Having to adapt to being gluten-free, I quickly discovered that when you’re eating unprocessed food, it’s not nearly as difficult as you would think. At the same time I fell in love with exploring the farmer’s market, getting to know the people behind what was on my plate, and decided that I would start my blog, Heartbeet Kitchen. It became my kitchen journal, a place to share inspiring recipes and the stories behind them.

About three years into writing, I realized that someday I wanted to make it my career. There was nothing as satisfying as having a reader share their joy of making a recipe from my blog and sharing it with their family, or how wonderful it was for them to recreate one of their favorite things in a gluten-free way.

Finding Balance.I was then given the opportunity to write a cookbook, and I couldn’t resist. Even though I was working full-time at Target Corp. and trying to grow my blog, I felt like it was a once in a lifetime chance.

But when I look back on, this is where things started to get out of balance, a downward spiral fueled by wanting to follow my passion. That drive is certainly one of the reasons we are successful. But it can also be overwhelming, especially when we try to do it all and be it all.

We arrive at the same crossroads – the should and must.

My days were filled with trying to fit everything in. The computer & camera became my best friend, the kitchen my 2nd office, and leisure time was non-existent. Living with the chaos I had created, self-care and even nourishing myself properly took a back seat. There were way too many days with missed lunches or snacks because something else came first. Over the next year and a half I continued to push on, and as a result, new health problems started to pop up. If you read many of my posts during that time, you know I searched high and low for the answer, daily life becoming a struggle. Mentally I was exhausted, just trying to find an answer.

Balanced life.Flip back the calendar to December of last year. I was still working in the corporate world by day, trying to develop my freelance work as a recipe developer, food photographer and social consultant by night even as my health continued to suffer.

An email from Katie and Megan about collaborating with Prescribe Nutrition landed in my inbox as I was rushing through the skyway. I read it later that night as the clock ticked midnight once again, and they’ll be the first to tell you – my response to them was quite hesitant. I shy away from rigid rules when it comes to food, and without knowing what their framework was all about, I thought it wasn’t quite the right fit.

They invited me to sit in on the next Prescribe Balance program to see for myself that this wasn’t about a diet, yet a journey to better health. I decided to give it a go, acknowledging our common goal of wanting others to know more about their food and the impact it has on their bodies. And just maybe, it would give me insight into what was happening with my own body.

Little did I know I know how much I’d learn, that spending 20 days with them was going to give me a personal timeout at the time I needed it most. Hormonal imbalance, our adrenals, stress hormones, sleep patterns, a normal eating schedule, the clutter surrounding us – all additional factors that I had pushed along the wayside. And probably the most important one for me: the brain/gut connection, and the effects of stress and anxiety that can actually lead to autoimmune issues, which popped up in my life as small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO).

Balancing Life.And yet not one of my doctor’s had prescribed balance.

Soaking everything in, I began to make subtle changes and take control of the things I could. Little by little, I saw things start to change and some of the fog clear.

It wasn’t something that could be fixed in 20 days, but it gave me the foundation.

A little effort every day is completely worth it, which is why I think of balance as the prescription we should have in our back pocket. The one that would have never been written for me had I not crossed paths with Megan and Katie.

With Prescribe Balance, I think you’ll find knowledge and empowerment, a combination of self-love, mindfulness and the nourishing recipes I’ve created to support your beautiful body. Maybe you know you need a reset, or you could be hesitant like I was, but know this – you’ll walk away with a whole new outlook on building a healthy you.

Amanda ~ of the Heartbeet Kitchen blog

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September 3, 2015


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  1. Sara @ Cake Over Steak

    Oh yes, this is so important. I think I’m kind of reaching that point where you were: trying to follow my passion outside of my day job, but in a way that’s starting to take over and affect my health. I’ve had a few random health issues pop up recently, and I can tell that they’re directly related to my lack of sleep. Right now I’m trying really hard to remedy that, but it’s difficult when you are excited about where you want your life to go, and you know that in order to get there you need to work as hard as possible. But I’m realizing now that I can’t sacrifice my overall health for those things, and I’ll probably be able to accomplish them better if I get adequate sleep and pay attention to my health. I’m currently reading WomanCode (please tell me you’ve heard of this!!!), and it’s reinforcing everything I’ve been noticing about myself. I think there’s a big push online to sacrifice everything and work as hard as you can to achieve your goals and be an entrepreneur, but people aren’t talking enough about making time for health and play. We work too hard these days. I need to schedule more time to relax with my husband, cook for the sake of trying a new recipe rather than recipe-testing, and taking a random evening off to go outside and enjoy the weather, etc. Thanks for sharing your story, Amanda. We all need to hear this! xoxo

  2. Aimee

    LOVE this post. I have gone on a very similar “health journey” as you, after a Celiac diagnosis a few years ago and the ebb and flow of autoimmune flare ups that followed. I think women especially feel the need to overcompensate, take on to much, and attempt to be Superwoman, when what we really need to accomplish all of this is a solid night’s sleep, lots of deep breaths, and a quiet space to just be. :) Thanks for continuing to share and inspire me!

    • Amanda Paa

      Aimee, thanks so much for taking the time to comment. Finding our way when not in the best health can be challenging and frustrating. I feel like sometimes we’re searching for hard for the answer, and some of it lies right in front of us. I’m glad to hear you’re loving yourself in the best way! xo

  3. Dorothy at Shockingly Delicious

    What an interesting story, and I’m taking note of the “finding balance” imperative that we all seem to struggle with. It’s an ongoing effort for so many of us. So, so glad you are feeling better, and more in control.

  4. Julie | Small Green Kitchen

    What a lovely story, Amanda. I’m so happy that you are finding balance. I think I need to take a step back and evaluate what I have going in in my life and find balance. Sometimes I feel like I am going to loose it with all that is going on and it really does take a toll on how I feel mentally and physically. I’ll be sure to check out Prescribe Nutrition. Thank you for the recommendation. :) Enjoy your time in Alaska.

  5. Faith (An Edible Mosaic)

    Balance can be such a tricky (and sometimes elusive) thing. It’s something I’m striving for, but definitely sometimes feel like I could do better at achieving. Thanks so much for sharing your inspiring story. xoxo

  6. Crista

    Awe, Amanda, this post warms my heart. I am so happy for you.
    I don’t always take the best care of my body (eating a bag of popcorn for lunch currently) because I’m trying to do so many other “things” …. thanks for the reminder of balance.

    Enjoy Alaska, my friend! Your photos are BEAUTIFUL!


  7. Sarah | Well and Full

    This post really resonates with me. I currently work full time in a corporate job while also trying to grow my blog. It’s a lot. My blog is still pretty little right now but I’m hoping it will continue to grow, and I’m sure that the time constraints will become more prevalent as time goes on. I’m curious though, what were some of the ways you found balance with your job + your blog? You kind of touched upon that a little but I’d love to know if there’s anything you did that helped specifically!

  8. Julia | Orchard Street Kitchen

    Lovely post, Amanda! I always love reading your thoughts about health, which is so much more than the food we eat (though that’s a very important part!). Leading up to my wedding last year, I was getting terrible stomach cramps every single day. My doctor didn’t know how to help, and none of my diet changes made a difference – but then, sure enough, my pains went away right after the wedding. I must have been internalizing all of the stress of wedding planning without realizing how much of a toll it was taking on my well-being. I’m trying to be mindful of that going forward. I’m hoping you’ve been able to find more balance this year and that your health is on the mend! Xo

    • Amanda Paa

      Gosh, that is so interesting Julia – I bet it was related to the stress of the wedding. It’s good to have an experience like that to keep us mindful. Hope you are doing well! xo

  9. Becky


    Thank you for sharing your journey. I also struggle in finding balance. I also have A.I. issues that I have no idea what to do with. It seems like my body and mind are together in their battle against me. The idea of a life in balance seems overwhelming and scary. This post caught my eye and I’ll think I’ll check Prescribe Balance out. I’m sick of being sick, you know? I’m sick of fighting the prescription for balance in my life. Why fight anymore?

    Again, thank you for your post and your beautiful blog!

    • Amanda Paa

      Becky, thanks so much for stopping by, and I can totally relate to how you are feeling right now. It is so hard when it feels like no matter what you do, the tides just won’t turn. I hope you do check Prescribe Balance out, as I think it could bring new light. Let me know how things are going, xo.

  10. shanna mallon

    Our bodies are so amazing and so complicated and yet so many health resources try to make wellness seem simple: do this diet, eat this food, do this workout and boom everything’s perfect. We’re so addicted to quick fixes it makes sense this pitch works on us. But a more comprehensive approach is so much more powerful and makes so much more sense! I loved reading your story here. I can tell you’re speaking from the heart and I am so rooting for you every step of the way. Here’s to ever learning, ever balancing!

  11. Ella Frances

    I almost started crying while reading this Amanda. Lovely story and I am so happy that you have found the inspiration and power in finding balance. It is a tricky thing to master, always a struggle and effort.. that never goes away, your focus just changes. Love everything about you!! I am following along on your Alaskan adventure in spirit and via IG and can not wait until next week!!! :)

    • Amanda Paa

      Thank YOU for being such an amazing friend during all of this. Knowing that I could reach out to you and share what was on my mind was helpful beyond words. We all struggle with different things, you’re right, and I love how you said sometimes your focus just needs to change. xo

  12. Elaine Paa

    Oh Manda, Reading your blog and what you’ve gone through the last couple of years sure makes me understand more about it. I’m so happy to hear how well you are doing. Your Mom tells me how healthy you look and how happy you are. I wish you would come home (well, New Ulm) so we could spend some time with you. We all miss you so much and we are glad that all things are falling into place for you. I hear you will even be fishing in Alaska. Wow!! Isn’t it beautiful up there? When Sonja and David and Grandpa and I went there we really enjoyed ourselves. Try to take some time to enjoy. Love you so much..Grandma

  13. Amanda

    You certainly have been on a journey! So glad that you are finding your balance and am definitely going to check out the Prescribe Nutrition program!

    • Amanda Paa

      Life is such a balancing act, right? Thanks for reading Amanda, xo.