Curious to learn more about the girl behind the blog? I’m sharing my food philosophy, my 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 on the internet is where I share my recipes and random musings about my life that I share with my husband, Neal, and our rescued mini-Australian Shepherd, Dobby (yes, he is 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 India in Indiana, but that just seemed like a tongue twister.
Where to start
- First, you should sign up for my email list to have every new post delivered 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 you should eat delicious food that nourishes the body and makes you feel good. All my recipes are gluten free with an emphasis on whole, unprocessed ingredients because when I eat that way, that is when 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
I grew up with digestive issues and was diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) when I was in middle school. I would take lactic pills as the doctor suggested, and while it 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, and my skin cleared up. 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. After some googling, I learned gluten was the culprit.
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.
Note: I am in no way a doctor or medical professional, I’m only sharing what has helped me. Please talk with your family doctor if you’re experiencing digestive issues before implementing any dietary changes.
My History with Food
Growing Up Vegetarian
My relationship with food has been complicated to say the least. When I was 5, I ordered chicken nuggets at McDonald’s. When I bit into my first nugget, it looked golden and crispy but was 100% 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 3 years, 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 many young girls and women, 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 began hating my body for how it looked and 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 completely life-changing. It helped me change my relationship with food and my body.
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.
- I grew up as a vegetarian. When I was 5, I bit into a raw chicken nugget from McDonald’s and was traumatized so much that I cut out meat entirely. It wasn’t until I was 15 and on a spring break trip to Belize with my mom when I started eating fish and seafood. I started eating chicken when I was 17 and only started eating red meat within the past 2 years.
- #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 settled down 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 to change my name to Pocahontas legally. When she refused, I didn’t talk to her for four days. Honestly? I’m still a little bitter. Just kidding! Thank you, mom for not changing my name!
- I was the yearbook Editor in Chief in high school my junior and senior years. I learned the basics of print layout design, writing, digital photography, photo editing, and how to use PhotoShop and InDesign while working on my yearbook. These skills have benefited me so many times as a professional.
- I can’t get enough of audiobooks. I listen to them basically all the time — while walking, running, working out, cleaning, getting ready, and driving around. The OverDrive app makes borrowing audiobooks from my library so easy! 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, and is so easy to wash in the dishwasher.
- I’m a natural blonde. I did dye my hair a dark auburn once in college after a particularly bad breakup. I loved the change! But didn’t love the upkeep. But sometimes I want to go back to that auburn color.
- 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, emotions it can evoke, and when it combines various genres. My favorite composers are Ludovico Einaudi and Alexis Ffrench.
- 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’re out of our price range, 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 play in my heart <3.
Enough about me, tell me about you!
Questions? Comments? Random ramblings? Email me at IndiafromIndiana@gmail.com anytime; I’d love to hear from you.
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