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Meet Trailblazer Jean Choi

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jean Choi.

Jean, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
It was about seven years ago when I was suffering from painful digestive issues and felt bloated all the time. I couldn’t find a doctor who could pinpoint what exactly was wrong with me.

I then decided to do my own extensive research and learned about food sensitivities and the paleo diet. I decided to try the paleo diet just to see if these sensitivities applied to me, and I was seriously amazed at how much my symptoms diminished in just a week!

I never looked back since. I started a blog to share my journey and a new way of eating, and it grew from there. I was able to make a full-time income after three years of starting my blog and had so many amazing opportunities along the way!

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
There were definitely challenges along the way. Starting a blog is hard work and you continuously have to learn and grow with the changes that come with being in an online space. On top of that, you feel like no one is listening or reading at times.

My biggest advice is to not give up. Be consistent and be vulnerable. The more you can be true to who you are and focus on why you do what you do, people with resonate with your voice and start following your content. Keep exploring your various interests and find ways to serve your community. There’s always someone who can benefit from what you have to offer!

Please tell us more about your work, what you are currently focused on and most proud of.
I’m a recipe developer, food photographer, and a cookbook author. I focus on making healthy, allergen-free recipes that are easy and approachable, especially for busy moms and professionals. I’m a true believer that healthy eating can be delicious and you don’t have to be a skillful cook to create yummy dishes in the kitchen. This is why you’ll find easy recipes on my blog that aren’t too time-consuming. I want cooking to be accessible for everyone and I hope my recipes reflect that.

I recently wrote a cookbook, Korean Paleo, to bring the food and culture I grew up with into other people’s homes. There are many people who can’t eat Korean food, myself included because they contain allergens like soy, wheat, high fructose corn syrup, and MSG. The cookbook contains 80 recipes that do not contain those ingredients while staying authentic to the traditional flavors. I’ve been dreaming of writing this book ever since I started my blog, and I’m so proud that it’s finally out in the world! I hope that my diverse background in cooking sets me apart from others.

We’re interested to hear your thoughts on female leadership – in particular, what do you feel are the biggest barriers or obstacles?
The biggest barrier that I found for myself and for my fellow bloggers is being assertive with our worth and value. There are so many brands that try to take advantage of us and our “influence,” to get the most out of us for very little money.

What they and many others don’t fully realize is that blogging is hard and emotional work. Many of us do not give ourselves full weekends and we work well over 40 hours a week. We deserve to be paid for our work fairly. I’ve made so many mistakes in the past, but I’m learning more and more that I have to stand firm to what I believe my worth is.

When I used to work a 9-5 job, I didn’t speak up about this as much but having my own business changed all that and I love how it shaped me into a strong and outspoken woman I am today when it comes to my business.

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