My name is Karen Marley. I’m a business writer and author/editor of this site. Why did I do this? I love spices! Their authentic flavor and fascinating history has an irresistible allure. Spices are about more than food — they resonate with culture, places, and people. And today, they are part of eating real food. Not to mention the incredible health benefits they deliver.

Spices are your key to a life full of flavor. This kind of flavor is more than food…it’s fueled by food. All those daily choices of what to eat, what makes you happy at that moment and later that day…week…month…and year(s).

Karen jumps 2015

Yeah, that’s me. Spring skiing 2015 at our local hill.

Skiing with my kids (on moguls…over jumps), horseback riding with friends, hiking the hills, running the trails, playing games, mountain biking with my husband, even working for the paycheck–these are just as much of life’s flavor as what we eat. And what we eat fuels HOW we live. I eat very clean so when that perfect moment of opportunity arises — where the stars align and eating that whipped-cream topped Godiva chocolate cheesecake or wood fired cheese pizza made in my nephew’s homemade pizza oven — I can dive in and smile through every morsel and still feel great for that surprise 5k.

But that everyday clean eating? OMG — it tastes so good. Every since I booted the bad boys from my plate my cupboard has overflowed in even more spices and mixes. It’s awesome. It’s fun. It’s just so dang delicious.

Keeping It Real

Here’s the deal: My Dad and Grandpa were both diagnosed with Type II diabetes. Alzheimers is considered Type III diabetes. Diabetes is ultimately a disease of inflammation — a result of sugar spikes and crashes that overwhelms your body. A few years ago I ended up with frozen shoulder…another condition caused by inflammation. Many factors contribute to stressing your body but the food you eat shouldn’t have to be one of them! And since my frozen shoulder, food has become a major source of feel-good power. Lost weight. More energy. Better athlete. Better sleeper. My allergies are gone. Mellower mood swings (c’mon…we all have them).

I lost my Dad way to soon to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. There is absolutely zero doubt in my, my mother’s and my sister’s minds that his diet was a huge contributor. He exercised regularly but he loved his breads, grains, high sugar foods. Every day. Every meal.

On Sugar

I’m not against sugar. Really and truly and pinky swear. But it’s just so pervasive. It’s in your ketchup, sriracha sauce (yep, 2nd ingredient), your canned soups, broths, cereals, salsas, deli meats, bacon, sausages, drinks, pasta sauces, dried fruits, canned fruits, meat marinades, sauces and rubs, salad dressings, peanut butters, energy bars, protein powders, flavored milks, drink mixes, baking mixes, dinner mixes, flavored drinks, and some spice mixes. It’s even in cans of Bumble Bee minced clams. Grains (and whole grains) have the same affect on your body — wheat, corn, rye, amaranth, quinoa—again…that insulin spike…inflammation.

It’s not about calories. It’s not about weight loss. It’s not about gluten. It’s about empowering your body to be its best, long-term, happiest version. You can’t exercise your way to good metabolic health. It comes from food. Glorious food that you’ll want to eat because it tastes so damn good! And why? In a large part, because of your herbs and spices.

Look, I’m human. I look forward to the occasional loaded treat. Cream? Sugar? Flour? Yes! Yes! Yes! All at once! But it’s a treat. And a treat, indulgence, reward, splurge (whatever you want to call it) is not for everyday eating. Then it’s not a treat. It’s a habit.

You’ll find all sorts of sweet-loaded treats on these pages. (Many make great DIY gifts!) You’ll also find recipes that are quite clean and useful for everyday eating.

On Being Lazy

People often ask if I love to cook. I do, but paradoxically I don’t like to spend hours in the kitchen. A good recipe should be easy, uncomplicated, and delicious. Spices allow cooks to gain a lot of flavor without a lot of effort. Strangely, cooking cleaner foods has made both shopping and kitchen duty easier.

On You!

I’m not a spice merchant nor a retailer. But over the years my interest in spices has given me a knowledge base that I enjoy sharing and growing. (Always more to learn!)

This site will give you creative ideas, cooking inspiration, and a few moments of enjoyment. You can send me questions and I will answer or point you in a direction where you can find an answer. Visit often, as this site is growing all the time! If there is something you don’t see, let me know and I’ll address it. Ultimately, Spice Sherpa is for you.

Oh yes, you can reach me here: