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Why Does Nara Smith Make Food From Scratch?

Why Does Nara Smith Make Food From Scratch?

We wouldn’t exactly call Nara Smith’s immaculately curated content relatable. When we’re craving a PB&J, most of us aren’t kneading the dough to our own sandwich bread or cutting up homemade cinnamon cereal square-by-square. Smith’s peaceful aesthetic deliberately trims the excess fat off of inherently messy experiences — rarely a dirty dish or clothing stain in sight. The recipes are so involved, some argue she plays into it, consistently outdoing herself with recipes like homemade salted caramel marshmallows and hand-rolled gumballs (#easyrecipe). It may surprise you then, that one reason for Smith’s made-by-scratch lifestyle may actually one of the most relatable things about her.

Experts Featured in This Article:

Lauren Manaker is a registered and licensed dietitian.

Despite the innocuous nature of her content, Smith’s exquisite cooking videos seem to attract an unprecedented amount of criticism, particularly around her religious affiliation (her husband, Lucky Blue Smith is Mormon and was reportedly raised in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints) — with some people saying Smith promotes an antiquated “tradwife” lifestyle. But according to Smith, she’s “still learning and figuring out” her own faith, and one major reason for her elaborate meals actually has more to do with her health than religion.

In a March TikTok, Smith said that, although she’s always loved cooking, her passion really took off in the past year due to an autoimmune condition. “It all started when I was dealing with really severe eczema, and I had to make sure that what I put in my body would be good for my body, and that’s kind of how I got into nutrition and food and cooking,” she said. More recently, in July of 2023, Smith also spoke about her lupus diagnosis and explained that her journey to diagnosis included some serious dietary changes.

In each post, Smith only briefly mentioned the link between her autoimmune conditions and her diet. And admittedly — when it comes to her over the top recipes — some of Smith’s current content seems to be in on the joke. (Did her husband really wait a few hours for her to “whip up” a homemade solution to his takeout burger craving?) Her recent sunscreen video is another prime example. “Okay now they playing with us,” one person commented as Smith calmly narrated a DIY sunblock recipe.

Homemade SPF aside, based on her past statements, Smith’s initial attraction toward a made-from-scratch lifestyle seems to be at least somewhat related to her health — and that’s something many people with chronic conditions can understand.

In a TikTok with over 800K likes, creator Liv (@glitterboness) defended Smith against ongoing criticism, including a clip of Smith talking about one of her flare ups. “The thing that upsets me the most about people that attack Nara Smith is they don’t understand why she started. They don’t understand why she started making food from scratch,” Liv said.

“If you have allergies, eczema — a lot of making your life easier and reducing flare ups is down to your diet,” Liv said in her TikTok, explaining that making food from scratch is often a strategy to mitigate symptoms and reduce stress. Several people in the comments agreed, writing that homemade meals have helped with everything from PCOS to psoriasis.

To shed more light on this connection, Lauren Manaker, MS, RDN, LD, CLEC, further explains the relationship between food and autoimmune conditions.

“Individuals with autoimmune conditions may choose to prepare their own meals for several reasons, primarily to have full control over the ingredients used,” Manaker tells PS. “A diet tailored to support someone with a chronic illness can contribute to minimizing flare-ups and encouraging remission.” She notes that certain foods can either calm or irritate the immune system. Some of the foods that help support the immune system and reduce inflammation are:

  • Fish and flaxseed for omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Berries and leafy greens for antioxidants.
  • Fermented foods (like kimchi — one of Smith’s favorites) for probiotics.

On the other hand, foods high in refined carbohydrates and added sugar may make flare-ups worse. “By making their own meals, individuals can ensure that they are consuming fresh, nutrient-dense foods that support their immune system and overall health, avoiding ultra-processed foods that may contain ingredients that could be a concern to those with autoimmune diseases,” Manaker says.

Of course, you don’t need to have an autoimmune condition to enjoy a homemade meal (or Smith’s undeniably calming content). Even if you don’t deal with flare-ups, there are plenty advantages to making your meals from scratch. “Preparing your own meals cultivates a deeper understanding of nutrition, enabling individuals to make informed choices about the ingredients they consume,” Manaker says. As Smith demonstrates in her own videos, making your own meals also takes time and effort. By the time you finish, you may realize you’ve formed a deeper appreciation for the food on your plate.

We’re not saying anyone needs to whip up their own ice cream (and especially not sunscreen) anytime soon. But before you judge Smith for her intricate recipes, just know that there may be more to her homemade meals than meets the eye.

Chandler Plante is an assistant editor for POPSUGAR Health & Fitness. Previously, she worked as an editorial assistant for People magazine and contributed to Ladygunn, Millie, and Bustle Digital Group. In her free time, she overshares on the internet, creating content about chronic illness, beauty, and disability.

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