From Broken Woman, To Breaker Of Recipes

Meet Nina Blake

The Grain-Free Lifestyle Coach

Since 2012, I’ve been the lady who comes home from work, and goes to the kitchen to replicate her favorite foods without gluten, grain, dairy, egg, soy, corn, almond, cashew, peanut, or sesame.

I teach Grain-Free cooking and baking classes, and share Exclusive VIP Recipes with my Grain-Free VIPs, and offer coaching services to help my Grain-Free VIPs organize and simplify their Grain-Free Lifestyle.

Today I’m taking a break to tell you a little more about what brought me here.

What Made You Start Breaking Recipes?

This is the question I hear most often. It’s an honor to share this tory with you.

Does anyone ever want to miss out on easily available delicious foods prepared by others without good reason? No; no, they do not.


It’s just some infertility” I heard the nurses whisper as I waited for the doctor.

At 31 years old, I had been trying to conceive for a year. And at my annual visit with my doctor, that is where this all started. I was trying to do the most natural thing a female body can do, and it wasn’t happening…

I was told to exercise, and book an appointment with my gynecologist.

So there I sat going over what we had tried, and I was told to use ovulation kits. I asked about my recent weight gain, my clothes were tight. The doctor said, “that happens when you turn 30.”

I cried foul! You gain 3 pounds when you turn 30.! Gaining 24 pounds in a year is a health concern! But no one other than me saw it this way.

3 months of using ovulation kits and exercising 3 times a week had caused me to gain more weight, my clothes were tighter, and we hadn’t gotten pregnant. Back I went.

The OBGYN said I was “just bloated”, but I could work with a nutritionist if I was really concerned. The weight gain was 24 lbs, or 17% of my body mass. It had started about the time I got off birth control, and I asked about a connection between the two.

“Oh, no. That has nothing to do with it” I was told. The doctor asked to see the app I was using to track the dates of my cycle, bleeding, and daily temperatures. I explained that things had been regular after getting off birth control, but had been returning to the irregularities I experienced in my teens before getting on birth control.

I was told those irregularities had nothing to do with it.

Each month the bleeding got longer, each month it got more painful, and I gained more weight.

I started seeing a nutritionist. I tried doing things her way, but I gained more weight and felt worse! So, I did what sensible people do, I asked if I could be having a problem with the “healthy foods” in my diet plan…whole grains, dairy, potatoes, eggs, to name a few.

No, that isn’t the problem. You’re under reporting your food, and over reporting your exercise. I’ve seen this happen before.

This was the last thing the nutrionist said before I threw her out of my house. I was not paying her to belittle me or the problems I was having.

Addressing The Infertility

My husband and I were diagnosed with unexplained infertility, and were told to pursue IUI. I went on clomid, had an ultrasound, got an HCG shot, and we went for the procedure.

I felt so sick, but I did it all because I wanted to be a mother.

My body was swollen, I ached, I had a perpetual headache, acne everywhere, joint pain, it felt like I had the worst flu of my life and it didn’t go away. After two rounds, we hadn’t conceived.

I got worse after each round. Until I decided not to even try the third round. I was a mess, and there was no way my body was going to be a healthy place for a baby to grow in that condition.

A friend suggested I see her NaPro Technology doctor. It took months to get in, but he was able to diagnose my endometriosis in minutes. And when he gave the standard line “do you have any more questions” I asked about my weight gain. What did I have to lose?

He looked at my food diary and diagnosed me with a grain and dairy allergy. He also thanked me for firing the nutritionist.

Score one for listening to our bodies!

In one appointment, I got the answers I had been asking for! An allergy to grains and dairy was causing the weight gain, and I had been diagnosed with endometriosis. I was told I needed surgery. (It gave new meaning to the term power hour!)

While I waited for my surgery, I started eliminating one grain at a time out of my diet. First wheat, then rice, then the rest. Easier said than done!

Starting To Eliminate Grains

Grains were everywhere! In deli meat, medication, candies, lotions, sauces, soups, you name it!

I saw a naturopath who tested me for food allergies…and there were so many foods causing inflammation in my body! Grains, dairy, egg, soy, almonds, and corn just to name a few.

While I was looking for safe recipes I could not find any for breads, cakes, or pastries that excluded grains, dairy, egg, soy corn!

I tried substituting…I made a lot of bricks…Sometimes when I substituted for multiple ingredients the recipes tasted like shingles, other times they tasted like sheet rock, and once I made cookies that smelled like socks.

God bless the sweet woman at church who gave me the recipe. She really tried to help me.

I ate a lot of salad…watched a lot of people eat…I got asked a lot of questions and they weren’t always kind questions.

No one eliminates grains, dairy, egg, soy, corn, almond, and other foods from their diet without a reason. And a burning call to motherhood was mine.

Addressing The Medical Causes Of Infertility

I had a laparoscopy to remove the endometriosis and my body got so much relief! Finally, I wasn’t being strangled from the inside! It was wonderful. I truly did not know the pain I was in before that!

I knew I had raging PMDD and extreme fatigue, but my doctors had just said it was typical before that.

After the surgery, the extreme PMS and fatigue went away. I started monitoring my hormone levels through monthly blood draws. Each month they got better, my fertility was indeed being restored.

Meanwhile, I quit dairy…and I was cooking my way to health. I created a bread recipe, a cookie bar recipe, and everything else I was able to do without. It was hard, but I made it work.

Stress was building up in my life at the same time my fertility was restored. I had just finished my master degree and it should have been on the decline…and yet it wasn’t.

Finally Conceiving!

I took a leave of absence and lo and behold, we were pregnant. Words cannot express the joy I felt when I saw that positive test…it held, my hope, my dreams, my future.

The same friend who suggested I see her NaPro Technology Doctor also suggested I see her Naturopath. I was a few weeks pregnant, and I on Christmas Eve Day, I had my lab review appointment with the Naturopath.

In November, I went to see an amazing Naturopath who said she could help me. She ordered tests, talked about food allergies, eliminating them to get my body on the road to healing.

Who goes to see a naturopath on Christmas Eve Day? Me, that’s who!

I was pregnant and I wanted to do everything I could to have a healthy pregnancy. This was my dream coming true before my very eyes!

At the appointment, I received my list of allergens learned that I had 2 different MTHFR mutations and a few other things. I got the right prenatal vitamins, learned all the foods expectant mothers should avoid, and was on my way to having the healthiest pregnancy ever!

Happily, I agreed to avoid all the allergens and had the best Christmas of my life!

My husband and I told our parents on Christmas Day. I made special ornaments for our family celebrating our baby.

And then in January, it was time for the ultrasound…no one would tell me anything. I went back two weeks later and got an answer that cracked my heart in half.

The Worst Possible News

There was no heartbeat. The baby had not grown, instead it had gotten smaller. My baby had passed and there was nothing I could do.

I cried rivers of tears…For the baby I lost, for the life I had lost, for the dreams I lost, for the family I lost.

There’s no play book when you lose your baby, not for you as a mom, not for your family, your husband, or your friends.

If you are reading this and wondering how you can support a friend or family member, the best advice I can give you is to ask them what they want…

Every woman’s journey is different and doing what the article you read advises…might not be what your friend or relative really needs.

The best advice I can give you is to treat your friend like a person and let her know her loss is real and her child mattered. If she says she doesn’t need anything, respect that. Then check on her in a few weeks by asking her to do some of things she enjoys doing. Even if she says no, she’ll know you’re there and that you didn’t forget about her.

Coping With The Loss

My body didn’t play by the rules…I bled, and I bled, and I bled, and I bled some more. The same way I couldn’t stop crying, I couldn’t stop bleeding. It wasn’t hemorrhagic bleeding, it was a period that kept on bleeding.

My hormone levels were dropping. My body was doing the best it could to not be pregnant.

But in my heart, I felt the kind of pain that is so deep, few ever speak of it.

I started seeing a therapist. She explained I wasn’t depressed, I was grieving. My grief was in response to a traumatic, unanticipated loss, and it was something that I could manage but not control. No one controls grief.

Friends and family quickly got tired of me not “being back to myself.” It became clear that my grief was an inconvenience they were tired of dealing with. The implication was that after a few months I should have been over it.

I went back to work…and I worked…and I was exhausted at the end of every day. My body hadn’t yet healed. I was still bleeding. I was exhausted, I was grieving.

There was no way to explain the level of physical, emotional, or spiritual pain I felt. I did the best I could to explain it saying, “It feels like I’ve been rubbed with sandpaper-inside and out.”

The Worst Part…

People got tired of me not feeling well.

One person asked, “So that’s what you’re going to do, just be negative for the rest of your life?”

Someone whom I had supported through many difficulties, made it clear that they would never support me. They made it clear that my grief and illness were unacceptable to them. I felt betrayed and I was speechless. A week later I had a D&C.

I had miscarried in January. The process of grieving the loss of my child, my body losing the pregnancy, and my heart being broken, was too much for many people.

I lost friends and family members. It hurt to know their support was conditional. To put it simply, I am thankful they are no longer a part of my life.

I had not shared the news of my pregnancy with many, I knew the risk of miscarriage. Imagine my surprise when people, whom I had chosen not to tell, attempted to console me.

Again, I felt betrayed. This time, by people sharing my personal information without my permission. I had asked that this information not be shared.

Many family members and close friends decided that the loss of my child was not something to be kept private, as I had indicated. Instead they went against my wishes and shared my personal information.

I will never forget those who shared my business without my permission, used my illness as conversation fodder, or decided that my grief was an inconvenience to the endless wealth of positive energy they were accustomed to receiving from me.

One of my greatest fears was being the woman “who was never the same after her miscarriage.”

I’ve come to a point, where I am now thankful that I am no longer that person. I’ve learned a lot since then. And I’ve shed many unnecessary burdens.

The Beginning Of Healing…

As my body healed, I did what I always do. I cooked.

I had my D&C on Good Friday, cooked Easter Dinner, and went back to work on Monday.

When my newly limited circle of friends and family asked how I felt, I laughed,

“It feels like someone came in, vacuumed, and hit every piece of furniture”.

I was feeling well enough to joke. It was nice. My heart still hurt, as I dealt with the newly revealed betrayals, and continued to grieve.

Even though my body was no longer pregnant, somehow the betrayals intensified the feeling of being rubbed with sandpaper– inside and out.

I felt an emptiness in the place occupied by friends and family members who would have been there, but I had no words to even explain the depth of the pain caused by their betrayal.

Up until that point, I had never drawn a line in the sand and held it. But that was my line: my grief at the loss of my child, my health at the worst moment in my life, my loss; and it would not be gossip in their mouths ever again.

I could either be devastated by the betrayal or enjoy not being flooded by pregnancy hormones. It was hard, but I tried to have a nice Easter holiday.

I was still avoiding grains, dairy, almonds, soy, most eggs, and other allergens. I had close people there with me, and I made it through the day with a smile.

I kept cooking.

There wasn’t much else to do. I worked, I did some of my favorite crafts, and I cooked. At that time, there weren’t any grain-free pastas or breads commercially available, so I made my own!

I had no reason not to. That bread machine I got for my 30th birthday was getting some major use! I did use eggs in my bread, because I couldn’t figure out another way to make bread.

I knew that one of the worst things I could do was be anxious and worry. My body had to heal. So crafting, cooking, going berry picking, making homemade jam, all those things helped me heal.

Trying To Conceive Again

We tried to figure out what caused the loss of our child…

  • Could it have been the MTHFR mutations, which I only learned about after I was pregnant?
  • Could it have been a “blighted ovum?”
  • Could it have been something about me we hadn’t yet identified?
  • Could it have been something about my husband we hadn’t yet identified?

When you’re a couple who desperately wants a child, you’ll do almost anything your doctors tell you to help you conceive. After the loss of our first child, we got my body healthy and fertile.

According to the numbers, I had done from sub-fertile, to fertile, to optimum fertility. And yet more than a year after the loss of our first child, we hadn’t conceived again.

Knowing that a woman is only half a couple, my ex-husband agreed to look into his health. He agreed to make dietary changes…and all of a sudden I had a reason to go beyond the meat, veggies, safe bread and pasta and cookie bars I had been eating.

He agreed that he would abstain from certain foods if I could find substitutes that didn’t taste like substitutes.

So I cooked.

I started analyzing recipes, and the ingredients I used to make them…

It was nice to enjoy these foods together. We both worked very hard to bring a child into our lives.

We got a few recipes that he could enjoy and that friends and relatives enjoyed. People even requested a few of them!

I charted my fertility, I monitored my hormone levels through blood work. My husband avoided foods. According to the lab work, we were both the picture of health and fertility.

And yet we weren’t pregnant.

Failing At Adoption…

We decided that perhaps biological parenting wasn’t for us. The world has two many children waiting for adoptive homes. We would adopt and we would have our family.

But it didn’t go like that. Instead we fostered two school age children, whom we were told were, “normal” kids. In the work we did, we helped them begin healing from their trauma, and got them identified with serious needs which had been ignored before coming to us.

It was a long dark road…because the details are not only mine, this is all I’m going to share.

Falling at adopting left us exhausted and wounded.

Finding Our Feet After Failing…

We were devastated, childless again, and trying to figure it out. I did what I always do.

I cooked

My brief career in parenting made me stretch my grain-free, dairy-free, soy-free, allergen friendly culinary expertise beyond bread, cookie bars, and into cake.

Cooking is the way I express my love and caring for others. As foster mom, I read stories, did craft projects, participated in home therapy, planned family outings, did laundry, played basketball, did homework, problem solved, and of course I cooked.

After I being a foster mom, I cooked.

I focused on work, paper crafts, yoga, my wonderful dogs. And did the best I could to enjoy life.

I doubled down on my wellness, identified new allergens my body was rebelling against, and learned to cook while avoiding them.

Because people enjoyed the recipes I was creating, we hosted a lot of dinners. No one could tell the difference between what I was cooking and what a restaurant served.

But this wasn’t enough.

As you can imagine, in a marriage where a child has been lost and an adoption has failed, things were not the way they once were between us.

I was still seeing my therapist, eating well, finding success at work, and going to church.

I reinvested in the friendships I had. Crafting friends became even more important, as did work friends.

I would love to tell you that’s where it ended and I’ve been cooking and sharing recipes ever since, but that’s not quite how it goes.

Conceiving And Losing Again…

I did my best to cook my way through the grief of losing our first child, process the loss of our foster children, heal my body, build friendships, and give to my community.

And we were expecting for a second time…Yup…Perhaps everything I had been doing for 5 years would lead to a successful pregnancy and a healthy baby!

After losing our first child, I was happy about our second pregnancy, but I was unable to feel the pure joy I felt that first time. I took care of my body, and I waited. I worked, I prayed, I waited for the ultrasound, and I cooked.

And there it was. A second time. The same result as the first, in the exact same way. No heartbeat. No explainable reason. No baby.

Losing More Than A Baby…

I can’t tell you when I knew the marriage ended. I can tell you that after losing our second child there was no rebuilding it. I took me quite a while to figure it out.

When I think about how I was sure our marriage was over, there are a few statements from my ex-husband that stand out.

They say when this happens it’s your body rejecting it.

Please don’t lose your mind like last time.

How could I support you during the miscarriage? You didn’t support me!

The implication that the loss of our children was a personal failure was a shock to me. But I heard it more than once.

Claiming my grief was an inconvenience to him and kindly requesting that I not inconvenience him in that way again…was truly unexpected.

Ending a relationship with a spouse is not as easy as ending a relationship with another individual. I didn’t know how to do it.

Figuring It Out

I’m only able to share my personal details about it. I do so, withholding much to protect privacy, knowing that there’s no way I can tell this part while only speaking of myself.

Again, I cooked.

It hurt, and I felt alone. Alone, while living with a person who had fathered my children.

In an attempt to not to “lose my mind like last time”. I did things. I went out with friends, made plans, did more at church.

This did not spark joy in our home. I did my very best to move forward and find a life where I didn’t need to be a mom as part of my existence.

We discussed private adoption. I said no. I would not parent with my ex-husband again.

“I guess that makes sense since you’re the one who would be doing 98% of the work”

I wish I could tell you we parted ways kindly after that. But we managed to undo things. And I moved forward.

Finding Love

Remember when I wrote I did things and went out friends in the last block?

It turns out that in the middle of figuring out how to live without being a mom, I also found the love of my life. I fell in love with my best friend.

I had one person who asked me what I needed.

And I needed to cook.

We cooked, together.

So that’s what he did. He spent time with me, and talked with me, in a way that I was able to.

I knew I was in trouble when he couldn’t make one of our cooking days, and I offered to bring him bread. Does cooking count as a love language?

So my best friend, became my boyfriend. He decided to eat the same way I do, and he cooks! He’s also an amazing dog dad.

He encourages me to cook, Break Recipes, and when they don’t go so well, he happily eats them.

In this new life, we laugh a lot. We have a few close family members and a few close friends. We cook a lot and we enjoy our time together. In 2023, we married and I’m so thankful to have him as my best friend, husband, and number 1 tester!

Continuing To Heal

I’m still trying to figure out why my body does what it does. In 2019, I learned uterine fibroids were the most recent cause of pain. So I evicted my uterus!

That beast did nothing but give me trouble since I was 11 years old! No one has ever been as happy as I was to have a hysterectomy!

In my post divorce life, I’ve received much encouragement from friends and family.

You should write a cookbook!

One bite of stuffing, brownies, chocolate chip cookies, and that’s how it goes. I can’t blame them. In fact, I started to believe them. I researched how to write a cook book…and I learned a few things…anyone can publish a cookbook and share it with their friends.

But the more I learned the more I realized that if I published my recipes myself they would never get into the hands of people like me who needed them!

Breaking Recipes And Sharing Them

Ten years after my allergies were diagnosed, I still don’t know of a single resource that has recipes for all common foods made without gluten, grain, dairy, eggs, soy, corn, sesame, almond, cashew, or peanut.

So I created a this blog…a place were I could connect with people who need the recipes I create. I had no clue how I was going to do it. But I knew I had to try. There was a lot of praying.

I have not been given this talent to keep it to myself. I feel compelled to find those who need these recipes, and that meant I had to learn to reach them.

While I’ve l learned to write blog posts, and other things, I’ve met some amazing people who enjoy the recipes I’ve created.

Each time I hear that someone’s child can eat their favorite food safely I’m reminded why this mission is important. Because everyone deserves to eat safely!

Thank you for joining me on this journey as I Break Recipes and share them with you!

How You Can Help

Thank you for reading this far! I am truly honored that you have taken the time to get to know me. Here’s how you can help bring these recipes to people who need them.


Connect with the Foodie Friends in our Facebook Group, Grain-Free Lifestyle and Support Community. Not only is this fun, but engagement in the group shows cook book publishers that there’s a need for the recipes I create.

Come behind the scenes with me as I Break Recipes and join my free newsletter. Not only will you be the first to see the new recipes I’m breaking, I also share tips and exclusive recipes with my subscribers.


Enjoy the recipes here. Prepare them and share them with the people in your life. Commenting on the recipes helps these recipes reach the next person who needs them.

Let’s Connect

I’m on a mission to help you pack your Grain-Free Lifestyle with flavor and variety!

Breaking Recipes, teaching cooking classes and helping Grain-Free VIPs simplify and organize their Grain-Free Lifestyle is my passion!

My Grain-Free VIPs learn to Break Their Family Recipes so that they can once again enjoy them without grains and other allergens!

When we start working together, I teach them about Grain-Free Ingredients and how they work together to create recipes with the appearance flavor, and texture of the foods they’re craving! I’m always impressed with how my VIPs break their favorite family recipes so that they can enjoy them safely!

If you’re ready to add flavor and variety back to your table, use the link below so that we can connect.

If you’re ready to save time, become a confident Grain-Free Cook, and ease the anxiety of transitioning to the Grain-Free Lifestyle, then I would love to connect with you!

Thank you again for reading this blog post. I look forward to connecting with you soon.

You can also find me on Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest using the links below. I really enjoy your feedback and comments. I can’t wait to hear how your recipe turned out!

Come connect with others who cook without grains. Life’s better with Foodie Friends. We’d love to have you join us in Grain-Free Lifestyle And Support Community.

Wishing You Safe & Delicious Foods,

❤️ Nina Blake, The Grain-Free Lifestyle Coach