Faces From The Neighborhood

Liv’s Recovery Kitchen – Compassion and Hope in Recovery

December 20, 2017 | People in the Neighborhood
Olivia Pennelle

When I met Olivia Pennelle of Liv’s Recovery Kitchen recently, I immediately felt her hope and compassion. It starts I think with her compassion for herself. It’s not really something I can exactly put my finger on, but I knew it was there. In a way, Liv glowed from the inside out.

Maybe the glow came from her bike ride over to the coffee shop on a cold winter day. But I think it was something more than that. I believe Liv has discovered a sense of enduring happiness during her journey through recovery, and she finds joy in sharing that discovery with us.

Liv’s kitchen

Liv explained Liv’s Recovery Kitchen started with a blog, Liv’s Locomotion, about three years ago, when she started blogging about her journey through addiction recovery. Now, Liv’s Recovery Kitchen is more an online magazine than a personal blog. The magazine shares inspirational stories about recovery, healthy recipes and resources for eating well, recovery resources, and information about her wellness coaching program. It’s the perfect place to begin your journey to health and wellness.

Liv shares that part of her journey to recovery included changing her relationship to food and changing her diet. The more she read about diet and nutrition and its effect on our wellness, the more she wanted to learn. Liv explains that often we transfer one addiction to another, and food is a common recipient.

Liv learned about brain chemistry and how it impacts eating challenges. She also studied how body image plays a role in our health and its relationship to addiction. Liv began to understand emotional eating. Fortunately for us, Liv started cooking, and now offers menu planning services and shares her recipes and cooking experiences in her magazine. In May 2016, Liv became a certified nutrition coach through Precision Nutrition.

Living her purpose

As Liv shared her story about moving to Portland, I saw a pattern I’ve seen before in my journey writing this blog. Almost as if by magic, opportunities arrived when she needed them. Of course, Liv hustled to get the work she needed to make it, but I also think something else was at play.

Liv arrived in Portland only last year in January. Yet, Liv was able to make a living writing for others in a short amount of time. I think her success is partly because she wrote about her personal journey with addiction recovery. Her writing was authentic and resonated with her audience. So, when she reached out to publications for writing opportunities, they said yes. Soon, she was a contributor to publications like The Fix and Recovery.org, and Liv was getting paid to write all sorts of stories.

Liv attributes much of her success to the book Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. Liv explains reading the book “lit a fire” inside her. Suddenly she believed anything is possible. It takes courage and a belief in yourself to reach out and offer yourself and your services to the world. It is hard to suceed without it.

I believe there’s another piece to the puzzle too, and I think Liv might agree. When we embark on a journey that perfectly aligns with who we are and what we are meant to do, the path clears. While for some the journey is short and for others it is longer, we find the courage, tenacity and inspiration to keep going. We know we are taking the right path because we are living our purpose. And Liv is living her purpose.

Sharing hope and compassion for achieving wellness

Olivia Pennelle has big plans for Liv’s Recovery Kitchen, and I know she’s going to make them all happen. First, she launched a wellness coaching program for anyone in any type of recovery. She helps anyone who is unhappy about their body, struggles with food, or is simply just interested in eating well. She’s also developed a cheat sheet for holiday emotional eating, which you can get here.

Second, she’s collected a long list of helpful resources to share at Liv’s Recovery Kitchen. She’s got recipes for dishes that you’ll want to eat and will keep you motivated on your path to wellness. She interviews other experts in the field to share their wisdom. Liv has a free menu planner you can download from her website.

Third, Olivia Pennelle runs a Facebook Group for women in recovery. She explained this group is open to anyone facing any type of recovery. It’s a safe place for people to share.

Fourth, she’s working on a body positive affirmation project. Anyone who signs up will receive a daily email with an inspirational image, quote, mantra or essay to improve your own body image. What a fantastic and compassionate thing to do! I’m ready to sign up.

Learn more about Olivia Pennelle

There’s so much more to Liv’s story than I can share here.

You can follow her and her journey Facebook.

Lisa Ratzlaff

Lisa Ratzlaff is a web designer who loves telling the amazing stories of interesting people and businesses in Portland, Oregon. Her web design business is Share Your Story Media, where she builds powerful websites for small service-based businesses that help them succeed online.

Lisa Ratzlaff