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Meet Ashley Wood

Posted on July 20 2017

Mama to Ivy Elizabeth, 9.5 months old
We are huge fans of your new website and your ebook, "4 Weeks of Sunshine", can you tell us a little about these projects and what you're currently working on?

Thank you so much! I am so happy to be able to share it with the world! My old website functioned as a blog whereas this one is more of a resource, which I am really happy about. My main goal is to provide support and resources for mothers, mothers-to-be and hungry families through pregnancy, postpartum and beyond with the simple message that plant-based nutrition and natural health can be simple, fresh, affordable, full of flavor, nourishing, nurturing and accessible! 

I am currently working on a few projects! I am developing a workshop series that I'll be launching this coming fall as well as writing a few eBooks and a book called "Good & Gracious: The Transformative Power of a Plant-Based Pregnancy." 

(Subscribers to my newsletter will receive the inside details about upcoming projects as well as exclusive content, giveaways and more!)

That sounds exciting! Can you tell us more about your upcoming eBooks and book?

My upcoming eBooks are still a secret (there are a few of them and they'll be goodies!) I decided to write my book Good & Gracious: The Transformative Power of a Plant-Based Pregnancy this past February after I realized that while going through pregnancy, I had healed myself from two-decades of disordered eating. 
As soon as I got pregnant, my world changed. My body was no longer my own; it was a container for my child. I ate a pristinely clean vegan diet, moved my body every day (walking and yoga), meditated and took the best care of myself possible. Only I wasn't doing it for me, I was doing it for my growing baby. 
Through doing this, something unexpected happened to me—I began to love myself in a new, unfamiliar way. I felt a respect for myself that I had never known. I honored my feelings, strengths and insecurities with love and attention. I believed in myself. And not only did I feel strong, I was strong.

Before getting pregnant, I did everything I could to lose weight. It took me thirty-one years and an entire pregnancy to learn that along with a plant-based diet and daily motion, what I really needed was self-love. Good and Gracious is about this - transformation, healing, recovery, pregnancy and self-love. It's a memoir, a cookbook, a fitness guide for the body and mind and so much more. The release date for Good & Gracious: The Transformative Power of a Plant-Based Pregnancy has not been released yet. 

How did you get into food blogging/recipe development?

Let's go back a few years -- to 2013. I was getting ready to fry onion rings in our kitchen one evening for the first time ever and within seconds, the oil in the pot went up in flames. In an instant, the flames spread to the cabinets and throughout the kitchen. I called to my husband to collect our cats so we could evacuate, but he was struggling to catch them. 

In a moment of desperation, I put on oven mitts, grabbed the burning pot, called to my husband to open the door and ran outside with it. As I was running, the fire burnt my face and hair and the oil spilled down my legs and on my feet. Within seconds, my tights disintegrated and half of my body was covered in second degree burns.

The doctor suggested I may need skin grafting surgery, but since oil continues to burn the skin for days after initial contact decided to give it time before making that call. I trusted my body and its ability to naturally heal from the inside out and decided to take the healing into my own hands. Consuming only organic fruits, vegetables and grains and relying on natural healing remedies my body made such a rapid recovery that I didn't need surgery.

I was outside running within three weeks after the accident and my burn scars faded in less than six months.

Not only had I healed from the fire, but overtime, ailments that I had been battling for years went away. My longtime chronic migraines disappeared, my UTI's and yeast infections left without returning, I stopped catching common colds, my hair grew thicker and my skin became brighter. All since eating a healthy and balanced plant-based diet. I felt healthier and stronger than I ever had before. Having experienced the power of plant-based nutrition and natural health first hand, I knew I had something to share with the world. 

A year later, I started my blog, Rae of Sunshine and that's when I also started writing recipes. 

What happened to Rae of Sunshine? 

In early 2016, when I became pregnant, I was charged with a new energy. Throughout each trimester, I nourished my body with whole-food vegan meals and my soul with mindfulness, motion and gratitude. Avoiding all the typical pregnancy 'symptoms' from swelling to stretch marks and beyond, I enjoyed nine craving-free months of high energy and ease.
Nine months later, Ivy was born in perfect health, a testament to a well-planned and balanced plant-based pregnancy. 

As a new mother, I felt I had outgrown Rae of Sunshine and wanted to re-brand. So while taking care of my brand new Ivy, I built my new website and re-structured my business. 

What are your go to recipes as a breastfeeding Mama?
I have a few go-to recipes, but it's important to mention that eating a variety of fresh, organic fruits and vegetables, whole grains (oats and brown rice) and drinking LOTS of water will help with healthy, clean milk production. 

My Superhuman Oatmeal Breakfast cookies are great to have on hand for new breastfeeding mothers. Containing a balanced combination of healthy fats and protein from the coconut, chia seeds and nut butter to fuel the hard working body, the oats also provide iron and support milk production. A perfect snack for mama, the hardworking support partner, or anyone looking to kick off their day with a delicious energy boost.

yield: 24 small cookies
1 cup coconut sugar
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
2/3 nut butter (almond, peanut, cashew)
1/3 cup water
3 Tbsp chia seeds
1 1/2 cup shredded coconut
1 1/2 cup rolled oats
1 tsp pink sea salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup spelt flour 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, mix the coconut sugar, melted coconut, nut butter, chia seeds and water. Add the coconut and oats, mix well. Stir in the baking soda and flour. Roll the dough into small balls (whatever size of cookie you prefer) and bake for 7-10 minutes.
Every oven bakes differently so watch the cookies and take them out when the top is slightly golden brown but still soft. 

You can find more recipes on my website as well as an article on my tips for successful breastfeeding and breastfeeding nutrition

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