10 Years of Blogging

10 years ago today I hit publish on the first ever post on this blog. The blog, at the time, was called The Muffin Myth, and the recipe was called The Muffin That Started it All

super close up photo of a bran muffin split in half

My photography skills have improved just a little over the past 10 years

Although I have spent much of the last two years either updating and re-publishing old content, or culling posts that I know I won’t bother redoing and are dragging the site down, I’ve left this one intact for posterity’s sake. I don’t think the recipe is that good, to be honest, and as a recipe that replaces all of the fat with apple sauce (but still calls for plenty of sugar) it doesn’t really align with my core values today. 

But it does mark the beginning of this journey, and so I think it should stay. 

When I hit publish on that first post 10 years ago today, I was newly married, sitting in a new apartment in a new country with no friends, no phone, no job, and nothing to do. I was part way through my BSc in Food, Nutrition, and Health, and I wanted to start this blog as a way to share recipes and nutrition knowledge with the world. 

I had been planning on starting a food blog for some time and actually owned the domain for a couple of years before I published that first post, but I didn’t quite know how to do it. I didn’t have a digital camera, and I didn’t know how to start a website. Shortly before I moved to Sweden my friend Jenn handed me her camera and said, “just start your blog already.” 

I wrote this post, a Halloumi Sandwich for Jenn P, to thank her. 

close up of a halloumi sandwich

It would take me *years* to learn to back away from the freaking food

Those were the good old days of blogging, I tell ya. Just blah blah blah, story about my life, awkward segue, here is a recipe! 

A couple of months after Jenn gave me that camera, someone finally told me that I did not, in fact, need a web developer to build the site for me and I could just use a free template in WordPress, I think I had the site up and running within a week or so. It looked like this:

screen shot of a wordpress website with a close up of muffins in the banner

Love the close-up of muffins in the banner, the pre-loaded font, and the blogroll set up 😂

A couple of years into the blog, my friend Alison decided to take me on as a pro-bono branding project. She helped me to start to refine the blog’s concept and develop a consistent tone of voice, although this is a process that would take many years to truly get to the point where I am today. 

Alison introduced me to the enormously talented designer Emelie Cheng Pollard, who has now taken this site through three design iterations, and a fourth (just an updated homepage) that will be launched sometime in August. Exactly eight years ago, on June 29, 2012, we launched the first version of the site with a proper identity. 

Gone were the muffins in the header, replaced with the first logo, a proper colour scheme, and several other design elements. 

screen shot of a web page with a banner reading the muffin myth

Because I’m an idiot (and because you don’t know what you don’t know) I actually talked Emelie out of a more magazine-style homepage and insisted on keeping the blog scroll. I also had her code a blue line that wrapped around the recipes so that they looked like they were printable, rather than moving to a self-hosted platform where I could start using printable recipe cards and things like that.

Progress takes time.

In 2014 (maybe ’15?) I finally migrated to self-hosted and had a web developer apply the design elements that Emelie created to a proper, professional food blog template. Remember this?

screen shot of a web page with blue and orange icons on it 

I was really proud of that version of the site. It was polished and sleek and professional for the first time. There was only one problem, which started nagging me more and more as the years went on… the name. 

I called the blog The Muffin Myth, which was short for Deconstructing the Muffin Myth, as a sort of hyper-intellectual way of talking about how people don’t understand nutrition. You can hardly blame me as I was eyeballs deep in academic papers for the 10-ish years I studied nutrition, but I had to explain the name Every. Dang. Time.

Most people assumed it was a baking blog, or just plain didn’t understand it. I think only once in the eight-ish years the site had that name did someone say, “Oh is it called the muffin myth because people think they’re healthy when they’re really not?” 

Ding ding ding!

A pancake on a plate with syrup and butter

Please enjoy the styling in this picture

I had wanted to change the name for quite some time, but hadn’t landed on anything right. I considered “50 Weeks of Lunches” at one point since I’m so into lunch packing, but boy am I glad I didn’t paint myself into that corner of a niche. 

One night as I was writing out this post for Turmeric Latte Mix, I found myself typing the words, “hey Nutrition Lady, why is there black pepper in my turmeric latte mix?” and I had a light bulb moment. Within an hour I owned the domain (I seriously could not believe it was available) and was squatting on all the social handles. 

A lot of people tried to talk me out of changing the name, and my little brand team in particular was very attached to The Muffin Myth, but the decision was made, and I’m SO GLAD to have rebranded just over two years ago.

I was proud of the content on The Muffin Myth, but it always made me cringe a little bit when someone asked me what my blog is called. On the other hand, Hey Nutrition Lady is a site that I’m incredibly proud of in every way.

Shortly after rebranding in 2018, I had a professional SEO audit done of my site, and the list of things that needed fixing from the previous eight years was daunting to say the least. I’m in a Facebook group for food bloggers, and I noticed another blogger who was, shall we say… vocal. 

She had also been blogging since 2010, also just rebranded her site, and also was working her way through the post-audit to-do list. I low-key stalked her in the FB group for a while, checked out her blog and found out that she, too was a mom to two boys, and then reached out to see if she was interested in an accountability partner. 

Hitting on Sarah (from Sustainable Cooks) in the FB groups turned out to be one of the smartest things I’ve done in the last 10 years. Having someone who understands how much work goes into each and every blog post has been invaluable. Having that person be a type-A organization nerd who inspires me and keeps me on track? Even better. 

Having that person turn into a real life amazing friend who drives up to see me in Canada whenever I’m back? Best of all. 

two hot ladies in the kitchen

A lot has happened in the 10 years since I published that first recipe. I’ve finished two nutrition degrees, had two kids, owned two apartments, and had at least five different jobs. I’ve grown this site from a clunky little hobby blog to a professional revenue-earning site, and one that I’m really proud of. 

My friend Alison asked me recently how much time I spend on the blog each week, and I told her that it’s somewhere between 20-30 hours. Between recipe testing, photo shoots, editing photos, writing the post, social media, email marketing, and everything else that goes into running the site, it’s essentially another full time job. 

“Dang,” she said, “I knew it was a lot but I never really did the math before. How do you fit it all in?”

I explained that I don’t get nearly enough sleep, don’t get nearly enough exercise, and have just found ways to work in the margins as much as possible. It’s exhausting, I said, but I can’t seem to quit it.

“So it’s sort of like Brokeback Blogging, then?” She said.

That’s exactly what it is, Alison. That’s exactly what it is. 

Top 10 recipes

I took a look through my analytics to find the top 10 recipes of all time. 

1. Mung Bean and Coconut Curry

It should surprise no one that the Mung Bean Curry is the number one post of all time. Here’s an original photo of it from 2015:

a metal bowl of mung bean curry on a wooden table

And the current photo (from 2018):

two silver bowls of mung bean curry

2. Black Bean and Quinoa Freezer Burritos

These Black Bean and Quinoa Freezer Burritos are definitely one of my favourite recipes as well. Original photo from 2014:

black bean and quinoa freezer burritos wrapped in foil on a white plate

And the updated photo from 2018:

vegetarian black bean burrito on a piece of foil with foil-wrapped burritos in the background

3. Curried Cauliflower Chickpea Wraps

These Curried Cauliflower Chickpea Wraps got picked up in a Buzzfeed roundup in 2015 and I have yet to beat that day for the most page views in a single day. Hopefully soon! Original photo from 2015:

curried cauliflower chickpea wraps on a wooden tray with celery

And the updated photo from 2018:

A metal bowl with chickpea wraps on a grey background

4. Chocolate Black Bean Smoothie

This Chocolate Black Bean Smoothie has always been insanely popular. Even with this old crappy photo from 2014:

chocolate black bean smoothie on a wooden table

Updated in 2017:

chocolate black bean smoothie on a grey background with bananas, black beans, cocoa, and dates in the background

5. Indonesian Black Rice Pudding

I’ve always loved this Indonesian Black Rice Pudding recipe, and it has performed well year after year. Original photo from 2015:

Indonesian black rice pudding in a wooden bowl topped with chopped bananas

And an update in 2019:

Indonesian black rice pudding in a large blue bowl topped with banana and coconut chips

6. Chia Fresca

I first posted this recipe for Chia Fresca in 2014. That styling is really on point 👌

chia fresca in a glass jar with a couple of limes to the side

Updated in 2018:

A glass of chia fresca with lime and cucumber and a glass straw, with a jug of chia fresca in the background

7. Amazing Vegan Gravy

This Amazing Vegan Gravy recipe performs well all year round, but crushes it during Thanksgiving and Christmas. Originally posted in 2014:

a plate of mashed potatoes topped with vegan gravy with a yellow gravy boat to the side

And updated in 2019:

overhead photo of mashed potatoes topped with vegan gravy on a blue plate

8. Is Popcorn Healthy?

Is Popcorn Healthy is the only nutrition post to rank in the top 10 of all time. I first posted it in 2014, and updated it in 2019. 

a wooden bowl of popcorn with garlic and nutritional yeast in the background

9. Turmeric Latte Mix

I really really want to update this post (and the photos!) for this Turmeric Latte Mix, but it ranks #1 for that keyword and you’re not supposed to touch anything that’s in the top three. I’ll have to wait until it ever has a fall from grace before I can take better pictures. 

Posted in 2017:

turmeric latte in a black mug with oat milk and turmeric latte mix in the background

10. Carrot Apple Smoothie with Ginger

This Carrot Apple Smoothie recipe does really well all year round. It reminds me of a sad time in my life as I shot the original photos after having a miscarriage in 2014:

carrot apple ginger smoothie in a glass bottle with apples and carrot in the background

But was pregnant with my second child when I redid them in 2018:

two glasses of carrot apple smoothie on a grey background garnished with apple slices

This 10 year journey has definitely been about progress rather than perfection. Every time I redo a crappy old post from the blog, especially one with terrible photos, a rambling post about nothing, and no recipe card, it feels so good. I still have hundreds (!!) of old posts to fix up, along with fresh new content that inspires me. 

By the time I get through it all it’ll probably be time to go back and start all over again. But you know what? I have fun doing it. 

Thank you, dear reader, for being along for the ride. Without you, none of this would be possible. Thank you for showing up, reading my posts, and making my recipes. Thank you for your comments, your social media shares, and your emails. You are the literal best. 

And for all new bloggers just starting out, know that it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Learn everything you can, pick your battles, and make friends who are bloggers. You’ll be better off. 

Comments

  1. Hazel says

    10 YEARS!! Congratulations, Nutrition Lady! I remember walking across that dodgy crosswalk on NW Marine Drive with you after a Sociology class while you told me about your blog idea. I have followed you ever since, and there is rarely a week that I don’t turn to one of your recipes at least a couple of times. I constantly tell people about your blog and about your refreshingly grounded and empirically informed approach to nutrition. I love so many of your recipes, but am I alone in my adoration of the spicy red lentil soup!? It’s brilliant. You’re brilliant. Thanks for doing what you do 🙂

    • Katie Trant says

      The spicy red lentil soup is on my list of recipes to redo this year! It’s too good to be stagnating back in the archives with terrible photos and no SEO. Oh those were the days, walking way back from the far corner of campus after Sociology. Fun class, though!

  2. Emily says

    Happy blog birthday! I’ve been on the ride the whole 10 years and have made countless recipes and read every story along the way. I love it and I constantly share it with friends and colleagues. The peanut butter oat bars will forever hold a place in my heart, both for the recipe and for the original (now replaced) post.

  3. Becky says

    Wow! A decade of blogging. You’re hard work is inspirational. I have no idea how you function so well on such little sleep!!! I’ve always been a fan or your writing and recipes. We have a handful of favourite recipes we use regularly in our kitchen. You’re vegan waffles are insanely good. The banana branner and the carrot, pineapple muffins are delish. The freezer burritos saved my life after baby #1. Looking forward to more growth and success over the next 10 years.

  4. Joy says

    Congratulations on your 10th Blogging Anniversary Katie. Yes I read each post you write and have learned so much about good nutrition with a flair (ok, some good humour additions too!)
    Joy

  5. Maggie says

    Congrats & happy 10th birthday! Love your posts, and have enjoyed the ride these last 5 years. Keep going……,❣️

  6. Heather E says

    I’m so glad I found your blog several years ago. I love your recipes and nutritional content, but it’s your honesty about life and motherhood that make me a fan. Thanks for all you do!

  7. Ginny says

    Happy anniversary! My days really do run together, as I had no idea I’d been following you for so long. I really enjoy your blog and the recipes are the best. Cheers to many more!

  8. alice k mynett says

    Before I rush off to make a carrot apple smoothie (thanks for the reminder!) I must compliment you on your professional development, as well as your personal development, your sense of humour and your ability to be a blogger, Mom, wife, daughter and sister while at the same time keeping me up to date, well fed and always entertained. Thanks for all.

  9. Christine says

    Love this post!!! Thanks for doing what you do, sharing great recipes and being funny as hell. You are my fav food blogger!!

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