Hey there! I’m Renee Byrd: photographer, food blogger, poet and yoga babe. I grew up in what we call the “757” aka Virginia Beach, a sprawling city known for blue crab soup, the boardwalk, surf kids and a heavy Navy influence. Actually, I grew up in Sandbridge — an isolated peninsula at the border of Virginia and North Carolina. It’s ocean on one side and bay on the other. A wildlife preserve was a stones throw from my childhood window.
I now live in Charlottesville, VA with my wonderful husband Logan. You know, Thomas Jefferson’s Charlottesville. The one with UVA, Monticello and lots of other beautiful historical landmarks. Oh, and apples. Heirloom ones. We also have an absurd amount of breweries, wineries, organic farms and yoga studios.
We live in a tiny house in the downtown of our quiet city, surrounded by mountains. Our piece of property is planted with blueberry and huckleberry bushes, a pomegranate tree, a sour cherry tree, a mulberry tree, a persimmon, asparagus, strawberries, roses, camellias and honeysuckle! This year I’m planting raised-bed gardens full of culinary herbs, veg and flowers! I’m determined to become a plant lady.
I’m a highly sensitive and introverted gal. I prefer a good book and tea or a glass of wine in the garden over a raucous party. I’ve always been quiet, enigmatic and emotionally-aware. My dad frequently reminds me that I’ve been a little old lady since I was in the womb. What I’m getting at is: I learned the value of self-care from a really young age. I feel the suffering of the world in my bones. Cooking became my salve, my retreat. It’s how I take care of my spirit. I cook when I’m anxious, scared, feeling alone. I cook when I’m happy, celebrating, feeling in love. It’s my panacea.
When I went plant-based, my life changed. You can read all about my real diet story here, where I get deeper into why I made this radical shift (and how everything changed as a result).
I see every meal as an opportunity to play, improvise, connect with spirit, create magic and act lovingly toward myself and others.
Try to imagine me as a combo of your nona, an alchemist and stevie nicks. Go on, hold it in your minds eye.
Yep, that’s me in the velvet pants and hair wrap listening to Earth Wind and Fire while holding a frosty maca chocolate milkshake, vegan meatballs frying on the stove. Inviting you to have a sip, take a bite. And then wrapping you in a giant hug.
Will Frolic for Food is all about eating to live… live inspired, live well, and live joyfully.
The food of course comes first, as through the exploration of slow meals and conversation I catch hold of something willfully kind, good natured and whole in the human spirit. Joy between souls that can only be known through sharing a divine sensory experience together.
More than that, WFFF is about community. We come here to touch something peaceful and bright, something that heals us from the inside out. Reach out to your fellow bloggers, commenters and food-lovers. Lock eyes. Touch hands. Hold each other. A good meal can be a salve for the spirit. And can act as a bond of kinship. I encourage you all to explore making meals for friends for the sake of play, for the sake of creating friend-family. At the very least, for the sake of having a reason to open that fabulous bottle of wine.
On WFFF you’ll find plant based food with a bent towards magic. That is, I love to play with unusual healing ingredients like maca, bee pollen and turmeric. This is not to say that recipes with fancy ingredients are the core of WFFF. Mostly you’ll find accessible, quick recipes that are just really damn delicious.
I think it’s important to note that this blog is very much so meant to cater to everyone who wants to eat more plants and live a happier, healthier and more mindful life… regardless of the why. True, I believe a diet focused on whole plant foods is the best for our bodies and the planet. But this space is for all the people, and I don’t give two shits about diet labels. Find what works and love yourself. That’s it.
The vast majority of the recipes on WFFF are dairy free, vegan and gluten free. Almost everything is refined sugar free (except a handful of recipes way back in the archives). Occasionally you’ll catch me using goat cheese, eggs, spelt or einkorn. The recipes are reflective of the way I eat. What you see is what you get.
Because food should be nourishing, easy and most importantly: FUN!