Gretchen Tseng Morning CoffeeI believe food is the ultimate medicine.  I am a Functional Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (FNTP),  Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist (CFNS), certified in Plant-Based Nutrition through Cornell University, certified in Blood Chemistry Analysis, and am in the midst of being certified in the Morphogenic Field Technique.

The summer after 5th grade I began experiencing unexplained health problems.  Despite numerous doctor appointments and tests, no one had any answers as to why I was so sick.  My health issues continued through high school and college and at times were debilitating.  My Senior year of college, after having been to many specialists, resulting in multiple wrong diagnoses’ (along with suggestions that my health problems were psychosomatic), my parents convinced me to try one last specialist,  Dr. Arnold Kresch of Stanford University.  Dr. Kresch finally had diagnoses for me; endometriosis and Hashimotos.  After performing surgery to remove my lesions, Dr. Kresch encouraged me to research how nutrition could be a powerful force in my quest for health.

I am a wife and the mother of two amazing kids.  My youngest has suffered from various allergies since she was quite young.  While she has outgrown many of those allergies, she will most likely always have an issue with gluten and dairy, thus everything I bake or cook is gluten and dairy-free (most often Paleo).

As a fluke, when we discovered that my daughter was allergic to gluten at 2 years old, I gave it up in solidarity with her and that led to learning that I was Celiac; I felt SO much better (another piece of the puzzle solved).  In 2011 I was diagnosed with the autoimmune skin condition, Lichen Sclerosis.

For the past 25 years, I have been able to manage my autoimmune conditions through diet, exercise, and partnering with amazing Functional Medicine practitioners.  I have personally experienced the healing powers of nutrition and mindset work and have been able to achieve even better health than before as a result.  I lead a very full life and do not allow my conditions to define me.

In April of 2019 I had my breast implants explanted by Dr. Jae Chun in Newport Beach and it was one of the best decisions I have ever made.  It has been almost 2 years since my explant and my compounded thyroid meds have been reduced 11 times!  The peace of mind I have now knowing that the implants can’t cause me any issues is priceless.

From May 2010 – July 2013 I followed a plant-based and gluten-free diet (which included eggs) and then in July 2013 I began craving meat again. The meat and eggs I consume are organic and pastured; meat from animals raised as nature intended.  That being said, it is not possible to eat this way all the time (traveling, restaurants, other people’s homes) and that is part of living a “balanced” life.  Eat as well as you can when you can and don’t sweat it when you can’t.

Having tried many, many diets over the years including AIP for 18 months, which was extremely helpful to me personally, at the present time I feel best eating a diet that is grain-free, heavy in vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, wild fish, pasture-raised eggs, meat and the occasional Paleo baked good.  I stay away from gluten 100% of the time.

I would love to help you achieve health as your nutrition coach through my company, FitQuest Nutrition.  For program information and pricing, visit FitQuest Nutrition Coaching.

Peace and health!


Founder | Editor-in-Chief | FNTP | CFNS

Follow me on Instagram for daily glimpses into my life.

Featured as a nutrition expert on SHAPE Magazine.

57 responses to “ABOUT

  1. Good for you Grettie!
    I look forward to following your blog and staying inspired to stay healthy :)!

  2. Tina

    Good luck Gret!! You have so much knowledge on healthy living, I’m sure glad you can share it with all of us!

  3. Steve

    I can’t believe you got Tina to eat Kale! It speak volumes on your skills!!

  4. Kayleigh

    Gret, your website is great! I cannot wait to try some of your recipes out!

  5. Gretchen

    I love your website and your name!! LOL- cant wait to read more posts

  6. Hey, I discovered your blog via The Kind Life and I love it. I think of myself as being relatively but I know I can eat so much better – those vegan treats should remain that, a treat! I’m gonna put you on my blogroll. I’ve already earmarked several of your recipes. Keep up the great work!

  7. melissa

    I found your website by noticing how often you replied to things on the The Kind Life Diet pages. I am VERY unhealthy, overweight, tired all the time and depressed about it. I really enjoyed the Kind Life Diet Book and have bought several others on veganism and on being a vegeterian. I have been trying for serveral months to convert and keep “falling off the wagon”. My cholesterol and trigs. are over the top. If you can offer any advice about staying true to this lifestyle change I would appreciate it. I WANT to change to be healthly and to life a long life. Thanks for your website I can’t wait to try out some new receipes.

  8. Fresh & Fit

    What an inspirational story, It goes to show just how important eating clean is! I look forward to learning more from you!

  9. I agree about how changing diet can impact your life. I was sick for years! Tried everything but refused to just take medicine or it was in my head, found out that gluten was the main event. Love your site!

  10. melissa

    It has been a little over a week since I tried your first tool of eating a pound of raw veggies a day. It does fill me up more than I thought it would. I am still a “in the works” person in regards to changing my eating. I read “EATING ANIMALS” over the weekend, it helped me when I felt the urge to “eat animal flesh” along with my co-workers. I did make a fantastic fresh spinach and tomato pizza and veggies burgers both of which even my meat loving husband enjoyed.
    I am really for my next tool, thanks for all your help and the information and encourgement your website gives.

    • I haven’t actually read that book yet…I need to get on it!
      I am glad to hear that the veggies are helping fill you up. Just think of all those good nutrients you are getting now on a daily basis. Good stuff.
      Before I can give you your next tip, I have a few questions for you:
      1. Do you eat dairy?
      2. What kinds and how much (milk, cheese, yogurt)?
      3. If you do eat dairy, rate milk, cheese, and yogurt) from your favorite (would be #1), to least favorite (would be #3).

  11. melissa

    Ok, dairy is diffently something I do eat, more than likely more than I should. Cheese is my #1 favorite, 2nd would be yogurt and then milk. I will try whatever you suggest. I realize I am making a life change and not something temporary and that it will not happen over night. I also realize that if I want to get healthy, lose weight and hopefully live a fuller, longer life I can’t put off the changes any longer. I am your willing pupil, just let me know what to try next.

    • Ok…here’s what you do. Since milk is the dairy product that you are the least attached to, let’s give it up! There are so many good alternatives out there now. So Delicious makes an AMAZING milk substitute that is a great milk replacer. I find that their unsweetened version is the most like dairy milk. I have tried other brands and I find that they have a coconut aftertaste…this one does not. It is great for putting into cereals and baking with, etc. (I even use it in my vegan mac and cheese recipe). They also make a really yummy Original and Vanilla flavor, but those are a little sweet (which is fine for foods that you WANT to be sweet). Nut milks are also good alternatives.
      I love how you are game to change and that you “know” yourself well enough to know that for you personally it needs to be gradual…we will get you there 🙂
      Try this for a week (or two) and then phase out yogurt. I know I sound like I am a paid salesperson for So Delicious (I am not), but they also have some really good yogurt alternatives.
      Let me know how it goes!

      • melissa

        Thanks for the help, I will give up the milk and try to cut back on the cheese (it is a weakness of mine). Your wonderful for working with me on this and I really appreciate it. By the way, I started this journey at 5’4″ and 224 which is way over the top for what I should be, I am a big boned person (doesn’t every overweight person say that) but I did lose 2.5lbs last week!!!!!! I will keep you posted and check in with you in a week or so, if you come up with any other ideas I read your blog daily just send a note my way. Thanks.

    • I love that you lost 2.5 pounds! Small changes really can make a difference.

    • Dana

      Hi Melissa,

      I came across your post and just wanted to offer some encouraging words. I was once 5’5″ and 230 (last I checked, but I would venture to guess that I was quite a bit more before my weight started to come down) – that was in 2010. I was a TIGHT size 18 and am now 5’5″ and about 150 lbs and a size 6 or 8 and have been about that size for the past year. I hear you on the “big bones” and the truth is some people are just heavier. I will tell you that people guess my weight to be around 130 now.

      And I had been a vegetarian for the previous 18 years and would frequently have cheese, bread and wine for dinner. I was a cheese connoisseur. I think I had cheese on everything. And then two years ago I became a vegan and the whole world changed for me. And then I cheated, and ate cheese – guess what…it tasted like wax to me! In fact, my taste buds have changed SO much that I do not even care to have the “vegan” cheese on my pizza, I just skip it and am just as delighted to be eating it.

      I hope this helps you. I know this is an old post, so I hope that you are much better now. Stick with it!

      PS for sweet cravings, I have found that dates really do the trick. My boyfriend one day came over to my plate in the kitchen where I had 3 dates, opened up and was working on shoving a pecan in the middle. He popped one in his mouth and said, “yum! what kind of candy is this?” haha

  12. Mekkie

    Thanks so much for commenting on my blog! I would have never found you otherwise!

    Endometriosis? Really?! Sounds like a House episode. 😉 I’m glad you found something that works for you. I’m still looking for my panacea, but I suppose my issues are from different sources.

    I’m looking forward to more insightful posts!

    “McDonald’s announced it’s considering a more humane way of slaughtering its animals. You know they fatten them up and then kill them. You know that’s the same thing they do to their customers, isn’t it?” -Jay Leno

  13. hi grettie! i am so happy to see you around reading my blog! you have a very inspiring story – i am looking forward to coming here for inspiration on some healthy recipes 🙂 thanks so much for stopping in, and i am looking forward to following you!

    xo, cory

  14. Thanks so much for checking out my blog. And now I have found you! I look forward to following you on your on going journey.

  15. I have endo as well- I think it’s fascinating how much food can affect the body! It’s quite obvious sometimes what I eat and how it relates to how I’m feeling when it comes to endometriosis. For me, dairy and meat is the worst! I definitely stray away from meat- but I’m so attached to dairy. Looking forward to following you!

  16. Now that you mention it, sugar could be a possibility to me too. I’ll keep an eye on it. 🙂

  17. Gretchen, Nice meeting you too! (I figured I’d leave the reply message on YOUR blog instead of mine!) Let me know next time you’re up in the LA area and perhaps we can go to Shojin!

  18. laura vonderhaar

    I became a Vegan 2 1/2 years ago cold turkey. I gave up coffee and sugar at the same time. My teeth are brighter, my face is clearer, I don’t have to wear deodorant and I lost 20 pounds. I found your website from TKD. You have the best recipes! I am glad I found you. People don’t realize food effects every part of our lives!

    • Thank you so much for the wonderful compliments. I am so happy for you that you found veganism and the health benefits it brings. People don’t realize how amazing they could feel if they stopped eating animal products and refined foods. Congratulations on your success and thank you for being a reader…I am glad you found Veggie Grettie!

      Happy Holidays!

  19. I’m excited to find your blog today and I’m looking forward to more.

  20. Hi Gretchen!

    I’m so happy to have found your blog, and thanks for visiting mine as well. It’s amazing how nutrition and exercise can totally change your life. I wish that we could share this philosophy with more people!

    I am so looking forward to reading your recipes. I just had your chocolate molten cake for dessert tonight and I was in awe. It reminds me how awesome living gluten and dairy free is!

    Wishing you well!


  21. I just found your blog and love it! I’ve been a vegetarian for many years, but currently trying to move towards a vegan diet with much less sugar (& possibly gluten-free) to achieve optimal health myself.

    • Thank you so much for your kind words…I am so glad you like what I am putting out there! Be gentle with yourself as you transition to veganism…you will get there and will be so glad that you made the change. Let me know if you ever have any questions.

  22. Your story is so encouraging. I’ve read it before but I like to revisit those things that inspire me, it helps me stay focused on my health.
    Also, I nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award. Your blog is one of my favorites and I could imagine not putting you on my list. The details are at http://myplantbasedfamily.wordpress.com/2012/04/12/the-versatile-blogger-award/

  23. I’ve nominated you for the One Lovely Blog award, congratulations 🙂
    Emily x


  24. Joyce Salisbury

    Hi Gretchen,
    I’m a good friend of your mother Fran’s. I’m traveling the road of a gluten, milk products, and red-meat free diet, with the focus on primarily plant-based meals. I’m looking forward to making your veggie burgers…using your mom’s description of your recipe…I would love to have your exact recipe!

    • Hi Joyce! It is very nice to meet you.
      I think that it is great you are planning on eliminating gluten, dairy, and red meat. Unfortunately I haven’t taken the time to write down the recipe for the burgers as of yet…I have just been winging it (that’s how I cook most of the time). With Summer coming I am sure I will be making another batch soon and I will take the time to write down the ingredients I use and the measurements.

  25. Pingback: SRC: Chocolate Mousse | The Pajama Chef

  26. hi,
    i stumbled upon your blog sort of by accident, looking for new recipes. i, myself, have been dealing with endometriosis since i was a teenager. i’ve been a vegetarian since i was 9, and a vegan for about 10 years. i’m 35 now, and have found that my endometriosis has progressed to stage 4. it has actually infiltrated the lining of the uterus. i believe my diet has probably kept it from getting worse sooner, but i’m now facing some pretty radical surgery to improve things. it’s not what i want, but i feel like i haven’t got a lot of other choices. if you have any advice, i am completely open to it. i’m not sure how bad your case was, or what you did to control the disease, but i am open to anything that would keep surgery (but also the symptoms) at bay. the fact you’ve been able to do it for yourself is really inspirational in itself. 🙂

    • I am so sorry to hear that your endometriosis has progressed so far. I agree that your diet and lifestyle have probably kept it at bay for much longer than if you were eating a conventional American diet.

      While I have learned a lot about nutrition and have employed what I learned on myself, nutrition and exercise are not solely responsible for controlling my endo. When I was 21 I had laser laparoscopy to remove my lesions and I believe that surgery was crucial in order to give my body a fresh start. When my doctor performed the surgery and later showed me pictures you could see that in addition to the lesions, my abdominal cavity was just filled with a rusty brown liquid…ick.

      Throughout the years I have also used bio identical hormones to keep my hormone levels where they should be and I think that has been key for my too. My doctor tests me (via saliva tests take. On a specific day of my cycle) quite regularly and adjusts as necessary. I use a compounding pharmacy so I make sure the hormones are made in exactly the same proportions as my body needs.

      At the time of my endo diagnosis it was also discovered that I had hypothyroid (and still do). My doctor at the time (he has since passed away) told me that there is a high percentage of people suffering with endo that also have thyroid issues…maybe something to look into.

      I have also found that exercise is so important for me. When I don’t exercise I feel myself getting “stiff” even on the inside (if that makes any sense).

      Another really important factor for me has been avoiding sugar. There seems to be a HUGE connection for me between sugar and endo pain. When I eat sugar my periods are excruciating, heavier, and longer. My body craves the sugar, so I have found alternatives that don’t seem to bother me… I sweeten with dates, stevia, maple syrup at times, etc.

      For me personally I also feel so much better not eating gluten.

      I also find that not eating processed foods helps me as well.

      I wished there was something I could do to magically make what you are goin through go away. I know how frustrating it can be.

      Please remember that this is simply a re-telling of my experience and not a substitute for medical advice. I hope some of the information is helpful and I encourage you to work with a doctor who is open to exploring what you are expericing from all sides.

      I wish you the best of luck and hope your quality of life improves very soon.

      Peace and health!

  27. thanks for your reply. i have implemented a lot of the lifestyle choices into my diet already. i don’t eat a lot of refined sugar or gluten already. like you, it was just eating it, and seeing that my body just didn’t feel the same as when i did eat it. it felt “off”, so i avoided it eating it, and felt better. i also run marathons and swim, so i feel like i’ve got exercise nailed down. i haven’t found a doctor who is willing to treat my endo as an actual disease that needs management when it’s not presenting symptoms, though, and that has been the biggest hurdle. i’ve had many laser surgeries, seven i think, since i was a teenager, but i just haven’t been successful in finding a way from keeping it under control. :/ thanks for your insight. i understand that your experience is just that, and not medical advice. i am just interested in what has worked for other women in this situation. thanks for your reply.


  29. Gretchen,

    Hi! Just stumbled on your blog… wanted to know if you’re married to someone who’s Chinese? If so, how do you navigate all of the dinners and dim sum? I’m transitioning to low fat vegan and my fiance is Chinese.. as of now I can really only rely on choy sum and other veggies… what do you eat when eating out with your in laws?

    Thanks so much! 🙂

    • Hi Kayleigh!

      I am married to a Chinese man (he was born in Taiwan and moved to America when he was 4). My in-laws are wonderful and always prepare dishes I can have. They also talk to the kitchen for me when we go out to restaurants to make sure there is vegan food for me. The kitchens in Chinese restaurants have been very willing to make me vegan dishes.

      When we go to dim sum I usually eat the vegetable dumplings wrapped in the skins that are made with tapioca starch (since I am also gluten-free). I keep packets of gluten-free tamari in my purse to use in lieu of soy sauce

      We are so lucky to be able to share in their amazing culture!


  30. What a wonderful site! Changing to a gluten free, diary free diet has improved my health tremendously. I can’t say enough about the connection between health and what we eat. The recipes all look amazing. I’d love to share some of them on my site – allcalledcatering.com. The site is still under construction and will be launched in a few weeks.

  31. Hey Gretchen! I’ve been plant-based for a year and a half and I love it. It’s helped my husband and me in so many ways. Unfortunately, however; it hasn’t helped with my allergies. I’m currently experimenting with going gluten free to see if this has an impact. Anyway, I was so excited to discover your blog because you’re both plant-based and gluten free. I look forward to more of your posts. Celeste 🙂

  32. Teresa Brake

    My friend, Elizabeth Mullins, told me to check with you about finishing out a program that she started with you. I have Hashimotos Thyroiditis and have been heavy all my life. I’m interested to see if you can help me lose the weight that is ruining my life.

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