#JustBakecauseCommunity Feature: Rezel Kealoha

Welcome to Part 2 of the Just Bakecause Community Series!

Today I am beyond thrilled to introduce Rezel Kealoha, a food stylist, recipe developer and blogger!  I met her through Instagram and actually just had the pleasure of attending one of her seasonal intimate gatherings at her lovely home.  Her food is not only visually stunning, it's delicious too! 

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Read below to learn more about her:

What is your most favorite memory of food?

Coming from a Filipino family, everything was centered around food.  My favorite memory is being in the kitchen with my grandma and my aunt when I was still living in the Philippines.  They made everything from scratch.  I mean everything.  Today I take for granted getting cans of coconut milk from my pantry.  My grandma would get my grandpa to cut down a coconut from the tree and then have him open it and grate out the hard flesh.  Then I would watch her rinse and squeeze out the milk by hand over and over.  I just loved watching her cook with no recipes and she always tasted everything along the way and at dinner time we would always have an amazing spread of food.  

Is there a certain food or dessert that you go to when you’re feeling down?

I wouldn’t say there is a food that I go to when I am feeling down, but I will admit to being obsessed with chocolate chip cookies.  

When did you decide on living a healthy lifestyle?

A year after my daughter was born.  Before then I was a total Bay Area foodie snob.  I was all about the cheese and butter and deep fried desserts.  I aways associated flavor with fat and sugar and didn’t realize how much it was harming my body.  I was diagnosed with preeclampsia, which is pregnancy induced high blood pressure as a result of that my daughter was born 2 months early and she had to stay in the hospital for 2 months to grow big enough to come home with us. 

I spent that first year just caring for her and pumping around the clock to give her milk.  I didn’t workout and ate really bad.  I didn’t really think about my health again until I started getting chest pains around new years eve.  I had to go to the emergency room and my blood pressure was sky high again.  I had to be referred to a cardiologist.  I was a mess basically.  After she turned one I could stop pumping and turned everything around.  I started working out.  I pretty much cut out sugar for awhile and I jumpstarted everything by doing Whole30.  After the 30 days were up I sticked to a mainly paleo diet, but wanted to bring in the treats back so off to Pinterest I went and found this whole new world of healthy baking.  

I’m a year and 8 months into this new healthy lifestyle and I feel so much better about everything and has also lead me to my blogging.  

How has being a mom affected the way you view food?

My daughter is always watching what I eat and always wants to taste everything on my plate.  My husband and I made a decision to not stock our house with junk food.  We also limit her sugar intake to just what she gets from yogurt and apple sauce.  She has yet to try candy and I’m quite proud of that!  I also want her to experience food the same way I did so she is always in the kitchen with me and sometimes she also helps me with my photography.  

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When did you start your blog?

April 2017!  It seems like I have been doing it longer, only because I love it so much.  I love creating concepts, especially the photography side of things.  That’s one of the areas I want to grow in more.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

I love cookbooks.  I have an obscene collection.  Before I started blogging my focus was on the ingredients list and the recipe method.  Now the first thing I look at is the photography and what props they used.  I also watch heaps of Food Network!  The Kitchen is an amazing show.  

If there is one healthy dessert that anyone should master, what would it be?

A really good brownie and of course a chocolate chip cookie!

Do you have a favorite cookbook?

My absolute fave from the spring and summer has been Kale and Caramel.  My go to all round is anything from Against All Grain.  Her most recent one Celebrations is amazing especially during the up coming holiday season if you wanted to go healthy for Thanksgiving and Christmas / New Years.  

What is your advice for someone new to healthy baking?

Use a premix with all whole ingredients as a starting point.  It saves you some money and you can test the waters on cooking with nut flours with the correct ratios already measured out for you. I wholeheartedly recommend Simple Mills as a good product to start with.  I’m not a paid rep, but I’m such a fan because they have taken the pain out of replacing flour with nut flours and then you can just focus on playing with flavors, instead of the science of it all.  

Where do you usually shop for ingredients and supplies?

Thrive is really good for healthy groceries at a discount and also amazon as you don’t have to trek all around town to find something specific.  I also love my local farmers market during the weekends and of course Wholefoods.  

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Want to connect with Rezel?

Check her Instagram HERE and her website HERE!

Can you relate to any part of her story or journey?  Comment below!