Curious to learn more about India from Indiana? I’m sharing all about my food philosophy, personal history with food, and 15 random things you may not know about me!
Hi! I’m India, and welcome to India from Indiana!
Welcome to my blog. This little space of the internet is where I share my recipes and the occasional random musing about my life that I share with my husband, Neal, our daughter, and our rescued mini-Australian Shepherd, Dobby (named after the infamous house elf in Harry Potter). I started India from Indiana in late 2017 right as my husband and I were packing up and moving from Indianapolis, Indiana to Bentonville, Arkansas. In August of 2019, we moved back to Indianapolis. I guess technically I should rename my blog to India in Indiana, but that just seemed like a tongue twister.
Where to start
- First, you should sign up for my email list to deliver every new post straight to your inbox. It’s completely free, and you can unsubscribe whenever you wish. Plus, I promise never to spam your email or send annoying messages.
- Visit my recipe index for menu ideas that are all gluten free with a focus on healthy and fresh ingredients. You’ll find lots of seasonal recipes, dairy free, vegan, and vegetarian recipes as well.
- Connect with me on social media. You can like me on Facebook and follow me on Instagram!
My Food PHILOSOPHY
I’m a major food lover. I’m hungry nearly all the time and love to eat. I believe food should be easy, nourishing, delicious, and make you feel good! All my recipes are gluten free with an emphasis on whole, unprocessed ingredients because when I eat that way, I feel my best. I cook with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fragrant spices, fresh herbs, and limited amounts of refined sugar and dairy.
Why Gluten Free
Growing up, I had digestive issues and was told by doctors there wasn’t anything they could do and that I could take lactaid pills to combat discomfort. While they helped a little, I would still feel bloated and uncomfortable most days. I just thought it was a normal feeling! In college, I did a two-week elimination diet and felt phenomenal! I didn’t have any uncomfortable bloating, my skin cleared up, and my headaches drastically reduced. When I started eating my normal diet again, I slowly realized that pasta, pizza, and bread made me feel unwell, while rice, quinoa, and other gluten free carbs had no adverse effects. I had no idea what gluten was, but after some googling and trial and error, I realized gluten was the culprit to a lot of my discomfort.
I spent the rest of my time in college following a gluten free diet for a few days, then grabbing pizza or Chinese food on the way home from the bars and feeling bad the next day. It wasn’t until I was visiting my now husband in Boston and after complaining about my stomach bothering me after eating ramen, he said, “if you know you have problems with gluten, and it makes you feel sick, why don’t you just avoid it altogether and you’ll feel so much better?” What a smart man! I’ve done my best to be 100% gluten free since then.
All recipes on my blog are gluten free as written and are created to be enjoyed by all, not just those required to follow a gluten free diet. I love making cozy classics that remind me of my childhood, quick weeknight meals, and inspired dishes that are best when shared with friends and family.
My History with Food
Growing Up Vegetarian
My relationship with food has been complicated, to say the least. When I was 5, I was served chicken nuggets at McDonald’s that looked cooked on the outside but were raw on the inside. 20+ years later, I still vividly remember the texture of the chicken nugget and running to the trash can to throw up. After that, I was too terrified to eat meat and became a self-declared vegetarian. It wasn’t until 10 years later in high school that I started eating fish, slowly ventured to chicken and poultry, and just within the past 5 years have started to eat red meat. Because of how I ate growing up, it’s always been natural to be to incorporate plant-based, whole, unprocessed ingredients in my meals.
Like so many other people, I struggled with body image growing up. I remember starting my first “diet” when I was 9 and started to associate some foods as “good” and some foods as “bad.” I developed an eating disorder in middle school, first by restricting my food and increasing my exercise and then binging and purging. In 8th grade, my mom found out and flew me from Indiana to a small town in Arizona for an in-patient treatment facility. I’m forever grateful to my mom for taking such drastic measures because the 2 months I spent in rehab were life-changing. It helped me change my relationship with food and my body. It also helped change my mindset to think of food as nourishment and fuel for life.
15 random things you may not know about me
- I met my husband on Tinder in June 2013. After a few weeks of texting, we had our first date via FaceTime and our first in-person date a few weeks later. It was pretty much love at first sight!
- I have 6 names in total — India Allison Jade Ballard-Bonfitto Olson. I was given two middle names when I was born, had a hyphenated maiden name, and when I took my husband’s last name, I didn’t want to give up my maiden name, so I added it to my middle names.
- Dobby, our miniature Australian shepherd, is a rescue dog. We adopted him about two weeks after moving to Arkansas from Haven of the Ozarks. He’s been the most amazing dog we could have ever asked for.
- Cracker Barrel is one of my favorite restaurants and I love their chicken and dumplings! It was my first meal after delivering my daughter and I’ve worked to create gluten free versions of their Chicken and Dumplings and Gluten Free Corn Muffins so I can enjoy those southern classics at home!
- #Quarantine2020 has made me realize that I am 100% an extroverted introvert. I love being around people to an extent, but I really enjoy staying home, working around the house, catching up on books and TV, and spending time with my husband.
- I’ve lived all over the state of Indiana. I grew up in northeast Indiana in Fort Wayne, went to college at IU down in Bloomington, lived for a summer in French Lick for an internship, went to graduate school at Ball State in Muncie, and have now settled down in the central part of the state in Indianapolis.
- When I was four, my favorite movie was Pocahontas. I loved Pocahontas so much that I demanded my mother legally change my name to Pocahontas. When she refused, I didn’t talk to her for a week. Honestly? I’m still a little bitter. Just kidding! Thank you, mom for not changing my name!
- I was the yearbook Editor in Chief my junior and senior years of high school. I learned the basics of print layout design, writing, digital photography, photo editing, and how to use Photoshop and InDesign. These skills have benefitted me so many times as a professional — way more than algebra ever did!
- I can’t get enough audiobooks. I listen to them basically all the time — while walking, running, working out, cleaning, getting ready, and driving around. My favorite books are those narrated by the author or historical fiction. I love the Outlander Series!
- I’m obsessed with self-improvement books. I’m always reading at least one. In college, my friends always knew where to come for some reading material! My all-time favorites are Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, The Confidence Code, and How to Win Friends and Influence People.
- Ever since I was a lifeguard in high school, I’ve carried a water bottle around with me e.v.e.r.y.w.h.e.r.e. It’s my lifeline. I’ve tried so many different bottles, and I’m convinced the 18 oz Yeti Rambler with the Chug Cap is the ultimate water bottle. I love the color options, how it keeps my drinks cold, never leaks when I throw it in my bag, and is so easy to wash in the dishwasher.
- We invested in the Gozney Pizza Dome to crank out pizzas in our backyard and we love it! There is nothing like cracking open some wine and having friends over for homemade pizzas.
- We bought our first house (a 1918 traditional craftsman) in August of 2019, and ever since, I have been a home improvement ADDICT. There is something so satisfying about making a house into a home. I have so many ideas and plans for the house. We’re trying to do one project at a time, though I’m always thinking about the next project before we’ve even finished the current one.
- If I had to pick a favorite musical genre, it would be classical music. During the workday or while I’m relaxing around the house, I’m almost always playing some sort of classical music. I love the intensity and emotions it can evoke.
- Neal and I got married in Louisville, KY, in November 2016. We knew we wanted a historic venue, and since there were only a few options in Indianapolis that we didn’t care for, we expanded our search to nearby cities and fell in love with Garden Court. We had the most beautiful wedding day! Louisville became one of my favorite cities and will always have a special place in my heart <3.
Enough about me, i want to hear from you!
Questions? Comments? Random ramblings? Email me at IndiafromIndiana@gmail.com anytime; I’d love to hear from you.
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