Before you eat a piece of cake, think about this…
By Brigid Morrissey

Christen hangs out in her apartment with Molly, one of her two dogs. Photos by Melissa Donald 

While gazing into a bakery window on a street in Amsterdam, Christen Malone realized she wanted to be a baker. She was 17 then, a time when most adolescents are thinking about what to study in college. Back in the States some time later, her dream hadn’t wavered. “My parents said I could go to pastry school, but I also had to get a business degree,” she says.

Midway through her studies in baking and pastry arts and in hotel and restaurant management at Western Kentucky University, U of L, and finally Sullivan University, Christen was introduced to the spiritual principle of a universal balance in which everything contains energy. Arising from this newfound awareness were questions nearly every 20-something eventually asks: How do I want to make my time on earth mean something? What is my purpose?

While she was in school, Christen had worked at Rainbow Blossom and Adrienne and Company. She was a bakery manager at Earthfare when she realized that the sugary desserts and gluten-heavy breads she was producing for her customers were not matching up to her ideas and beliefs about living a healthy, happy lifestyle.

“I felt like I was living parallel lives,” Christen says. “Making these desserts and my spirituality didn’t cross. It killed my soul. As a baker, I felt like I was feeding into people’s unhealthy habits about food. I was discovering that those ingredients were making me sick. I’ve always known I had a passion for helping people, and I have a passion for food. I just couldn’t figure out how to blend them.”

In search of answers, Christen journeyed to Central America upon graduation from Sullivan. Along her journey through Nicaragua and Costa Rica, she reflected on a way to channel her energy and live the life she was meant to lead. And now all of us get to benefit from her conclusion: Enlightened Delights.

Mostly found by word of mouth, Enlightened Delights is Christen’s catering business that has the goal of changing the way people think about eating dessert. The menu consists of gluten- and dairy-free concoctions, leaving customers aware and guilt-free about what they’re putting in their bodies. “It’s so important to know what’s going in your body,” Christen says. “Instead of feeling guilty, when I eat my desserts, I think ‘I love myself, so I’m going to give myself this treat.’”

Christen prepares her flourless chocolate cake which contains only three ingredients.

She’ll continue to trust that the universe will illuminate her path from here. “For as long as I’ve felt stuck and stagnant, the universe always provides,” she says. “Having faith is everything. It has and will carry me for a long time.”

Left: Christen sit in one of her hammock chairs from her travels in Nicaragua. Right: She enjoys her Peruvian wool blanket, which she also picked up from her travels.

Have you learned something while traveling that changed your perspective? Make yourself a healthy, refreshing smoothie and share your story with us in the comments.