About Me

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『A girl who got an eating disorder but saved by “food.”』

I’m Nora, the writer, photographer, and creator behind Barrel Leaf’s Toast Notebook.

I’ve been through 1- 2 years of eating disorder, but, a little surprisingly, saved by “food.” Starting my blog in 2009, more than a third of my life has been with this blog, and I’m still loving it!

Sharing my experiences, life, cuisine, and baking recipes that makes me feel happy and even happier when people tell me they’re loving it, too!

Nora Hsu @barrelleaf

My Start

I actually started blogging on a platform called Wretch when I was in fifth grade, around 2005-2006. At the time, I just blogged about my life, my feelings, and some personal things.

My first “food-diary” was born in 2009 after I graduate from junior high school. I want to have a special name that’s one of a kind, so I just created a nickname call Barrel Leaf and called my blog “Barrel Leaf’s Toast Notebook” because I was eating toast bread almost every day.

“Food diary” indeed saves me from my anorexia and eating disorder. I fell in love with writing reviews about different foods I ate on my blog and I almost write every single day.

Sadly the Wretch fell apart, so I moved my blog to another platform called Pixnet in 2012. I still love food and I also felt like baking and cooking on my own, so I also initiated my baking and cooking journey.

By the time, May 2017, I felt the platform having set too many limitations, so I moved out and build my own website, here! (If you’re also interested in that, you can find some information in This Post.)

The Eating Disorder that Almost Broke Me Down.

Let’s talk about the eating disorder that almost took me down when I was 15 years old. Originally, I just wanted to lose weight because some people called me “fat”. At that time, I was also facing some life challenges, such as The Basic Competence Test and the divorce between my parents. I was under a lot of pressure and I often resorted to food.

It lasted for 1-2 years until I started to read “food diary” on the internet where I found the beauty of food as well as my passion for cooking and baking. Then I told myself to put it together and saw food differently. I also started to write food reviews and recipes and shared them on my blog.

Now, I appreciate every food I eat, every chance I got to enjoy them. Eating is not a thing that I’m afraid anymore. On the contrary, it’s one of the blessings that I have and I should cherish.

My eating disorder started haunting me again in 2015 when I was facing graduation. I also noticed that I often got reflux. This is another turning point in my life. Thanks to the internet, I learned about the plant-based diet, so I also started to share whole-food, plant-based, vegan recipes.

The transformation didn’t happen overnight. But after a while, I started to feel good again, and I also found that vegan recipes are also or even more delicious than the traditional animal-involved recipes. I also started my YouTube channel in late 2015.

Nora Hsu @barrelleaf

“Barrel Leaf”?

I had a nickname called “Yeh-Tz” (Leaf in Chinese) when I was in elementary school, but I found that many people had the same nickname. Then I wanted a name that’s one of a kind, and I thought about the image of a barrel, which looks plentiful, so I just made things up: Barrel Leaf. Yet I’m still more comfortable when people call me Nora or “Yeh-Tz.”

Whole Food & Vegan

You probably have noticed that there are some articles on this site that are not “vegan.” That’s true because I was not a vegan until July 2018. The motivation of starting to write vegan recipes is that I’ve noticed there are a lot of vegans in Taiwan but not so many vegan recipes out there.

On the other hand, I always love veggies and fruits since I was a kid. If you ask me to choose between an apple and a steak, I would definitely go for the apple.

My diet was mainly vegetarian in 2017. The turning point of me becoming a vegan is in July 2018. The reason is simple, for the humane and ethical cause. I respect life and don’t want to cause harm to animals and the environment. That’s a big decision and also the best decision I’ve made in my life. Let’s get thrive and mellow with plants together!

Now I’m devoting myself whole-time and whole-heart to do this and would appreciate financial help to maintain my website and let me keep creating and sharing vegan food & life. If you find my recipes/articles helpful, you could go to my Patreon Page to support me with a small amount of money with exclusive content attached. I really appreciate the opportunity and support. 🙂

Love & Peace,

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