This week, we’re proud to feature Nicole Handler of Fitful Focus in the Blogger Spotlight. For those new to the column, every Friday, we highlight a member of The Daily Meal’s Culinary Content Network, a limited group of bloggers who write about food and drink.We look to this group of talented food writers for inspiration and participation in The Daily Meal, whether for restaurant recommendations or new recipes to try out for dinner. Our editorial team covers All Things Food and Drink, and we tap the CCN to keep up to speed on what is happening around the country and the world — from fine dining to home cooking.
In addition to blogging at and creating Fitful Focus, Nicole Handler is a certified personal trainer in New York City.
The journey for Handler and Fitful Focus began in 2012, when a challenge to live a healthier life turned into a passion for fitness and a holistic approach to life. Handler loves to take classic recipes and add her own healthy spin to them.
The Daily Meal: What is the mission of your blog?
Nicole Handler: To help myself and others get fit, keep our tummies full of whole food goodness, and stay focused on leading a happy, healthy life.
How did you get started with your blog?
After college, I started working long hours and realized I was quickly falling down an unhealthy path. I took up running, joined a gym, starting cooking more mindfully, and started blogging as a way to hold myself accountable to this new healthy lifestyle. I quickly learned how amazing the blogging community is, and now I can’t imagine life without my little blog.
What is your least favorite food?
Cilantro, raw onion, fennel, and licorice.
What is your proudest blog post?
5 Ways to Stop Food Shaming
What was your biggest blogging blunder?
Not having a backup plan for recipes that go awry. I once burned a bunch of coconut that was on the way to becoming coconut butter and melted my Vitamix container in the process (yeah, don’t ask). As a result, I was out a recipe, a Vitamix, and a post! I had to scramble to come up with something else last second.
What is your most memorable comment from a reader?
I once received a comment on my Instagram that a reader spotted me at a race. I got so excited that someone actually recognized me because of my blog.
What’s on your cooking playlist?
My boyfriend is the DJ of the house, so I usually let him pick the music. He set up some speakers in the kitchen, so I can listen while I work. Classic rock is always a good choice.
What are your favorite food blogs?
Tasty Yummies, Two Peas & Their Pod, Protein Pow, Fork & Beans, Chocolate-Covered Katie, SkinnyTaste, yeah… immaEATthat, Sandi’s Allergy Free Recipes, This Rawsome Vegan Life.
Favorite food apps?
What is the best thing about blogging?
Being able to share everything I’ve learned about health, food allergies, and fitness with my readers and becoming part of the blogging community! I have made so many amazing, supportive friends through blogging.
Worst things about blogging?
I’d say brands that take bloggers for granted. A lot of companies expect to get free media placement through bloggers when we should be treated just like anyone else they’d pay to endorse their product.
What recipe are you currently obsessed with?
It’s a toss-up between my BBQ Stuffed Sweet Potatoes and this gluten- and lactose-free Thin Mint Ice Cream Sandwich. Perhaps I’ll have the first for dinner and the second for dessert!
What would even your most loyal followers be surprised to learn about you?
I’ve never had an acai bowl! Gasp!
Five of your all-time favorite posts: