The Happy Tummy Co came about because of three main things.
One, I fricking love bread!
Two, I LOVE being happy!
Three, I had serious tummy issues until I was 25.
The person you see today has spent 6 years working hard at understanding how to eat, how to move and how to be, to extend life and happiness. And the honest truth of it all is I didn't look to anyone for advice or even encouragement. Truthfully I've always been anti traditional medicine. I will never ever ever forget a moment I had aged 10 out in the fields behind my home in Cork helping my Dad and his workers plant thousands of trees over the Easter break. I remember about 6 hours into a day of bending over again and again to shovel another hole in which I would place another beech sapling how incredibly lucky I was to work with the earth and give something life. (I know, I was a very thoughtful 10 year old!) It's hard not to get completely inspired by nature when you're out in it every day and my child form was completely lost in long grass singing and dancing when not helping out in the nursery or doing the long list of extra curricular activities that made up my life. And so there I was aged 10 with a beautiful brown back from all the bending over when I thought whatever I do when I'm older I will use the earth as a form of preventative medicine and I will help as many people as possible through all the good things we grow from soil up.
Flying over Cork, my childhood home.
The family business that inspires what I do.
A summer evening at home in Cork with friends and family and Dad on BBQ.
The lane to the nursery I used walk to think through so much shit!
A couple years back celebrating the man who made me fall in love with roots.
You never really know when your vision is to become a reality so you just go with the flow and keep an eye out for the signs right?
I got that sign one evening during my 25th year when I began thinking about my Mum who had only lived another 25 years on top of that. And from there grew a process in which I developed and researched foods and science to get rid of my life-long IBS and begun to feel happy with how my tummy looked.
The looks part is interesting though. If I had focused on looks I absolutely believe I wouldn't feel as healthy as I do today. For the past 6 years I have completely focused on feeling. Yes I moved throughout that 6 years (carrying 25 kilo sacks of flours up and down stairs by yourself will definitely give you strong arms) but toning up and working on a particular type of fit physique were not options I began to consider. I wanted to first understand how my body was at processing the new foods I was feeding it and build a life-long relationship with the foods that were right for me. Food has been my foundation. Everything I put into my mouth I know has an effect on my life.
Reaching a place where you begin to own this consideration is life.
Now, aged 31 and going on a new journey I'm ensuring I have the right advice and encouragement around me for a new phase into strength. I know my food, I know my tummy. What I don't know is what I'm capable of physically yet. And for this I need a teacher, support and guidance.
By the end of 2017 I want to be able to do a handstand by myself. I'd also like to have a boxing fight. I've never done either.
The reason I tell you all this is to showcase that what sometimes looks like effortless perfection is in actual fact years of visualisations, motive, strong coping mechanisms, growth, patience, non-judgement, work, observation, lack of sleep, tears and every day trying to be kind to yourself.
When I first started getting up at 3am to bake and obsessed over every single dough!
Before the age of 31 I didn't have a single photo of myself in a bikini. Not because that would be the worst thing ever but because I grew up with a Mum who played down looks and obvious sexuality and played up strength of character and femininity. The down side of that was that when I began to suffer with my genetic IBS really badly aged 14, it for the first time in my life brought looks into the equation. I began to really resent the look of my tummy and body because of how I was feeling.
Aged 31, first ever bikini shot of me is taken.
Appropriately capturing 31 in February in a toilet having conquered my genetic IBS.
And here lies the problem for so many of us. If you ignore bad feeling for too long you will eventually see it and then you've got two problems - feelings and looks. I see women and men try to tackle these two problems together and my heart breaks for them. It's almost impossible to tackle two issues as impactful as these two together. I see customers get upset over not being super hero and I just want to hug it all away!
Healthy, happy foundations are not built quickly. They take time and they rely on your ability to cope and grow.
A morning looking out my bedroom window from my childhood home in Cork.
At The Happy Tummy Co we want to inspire you to adapt the way you eat for a happier you and better bowel movements.
Once you feel very happy from the foods you are eating I guarantee that like me you will then be able to focus on a stronger core or whatever else it is that physically motivates you.
Nourishing the mind and body is absolutely done through food and movement. But movement relies on food. So start there. Get it right and overtime you will get to be your own super hero, I promise you!
Go at your own pace, marvel at how well you cope, then feel and see the beauty in you and those around you. And if you ever need encouragement make sure to hit us up!
Big Love, Your Baker Girl, Karen xxx
The most incredible, chewy sourdough eaten at Padella for lunch on my 31st birthday.
And then back in nature with my guy Biggie Smalls.