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You think you know someone, and then …
"I'm Rachael Sullivan. I've been married to Tom Sullivan for three and a half years. And just about over a month ago, I found out my husband has a secret Instagram account."
One day, Rachael was scrolling through the "People You May Know" section on Instagram when she saw her husband's name pop up under the account @mealssheeats.
"I'm like, 'Who is this she??'" (Rachael's mom even thought Tom was being impersonated on Instagram!)
"And then to open it up to find that it's just meals he's been cooking for me left me completely shocked," Rachael says.
"Last year, I was diagnosed with PCOS—polycystic ovarian syndrome," she explains. "I had my hormones tested and I had an ultrasound on my uterus done and all my hormones came back out of whack and there were cysts near my ovaries. It's painful. Your periods are really painful. I had really bad migraines, some really bad mood swings, as well. After I found that, I did a lot of research, including my doctor telling me that one of the things you could do is do a gluten-free and dairy-free diet."
That's where Tom—and his secret Instagram account—came in.
"I got into cooking probably 12 or 13 years ago," Tom says. "I started with the Crockpot, and probably [over] the first three years of that, you would never want to eat a single thing I made. As years went on, I got better at it and the food started tasting good. Her finding out the PCOS and that there's foods that could help balance her hormones made me really look at every single thing I put into a meal."
"I had these recipes all over the place from Pinterest to notes [and] bookmarks and would cook her meals based on foods recommended to us by a doctor that would help her health," he goes on. "And every time she wanted something, I had no idea how I cooked it, so I'm trying to find somewhere to put all of these. Instagram seemed like the easiest way to do it."
When Rachael first discovered the secret Instagram account, Tom had less than 100 followers. But after she created a now-viral TikTok video adorably "outing" his account, he started creeping up to 200, 300, 1k, 3k, 6k and ultimately—20 days later—46k and counting!
"A lot of people talk about social media negatively," Tom says, "[but] the love and support ... that people have shared has been just absolutely amazing."
Our friends at Misfits Market love what Tom and Rachael are doing as much as we do—and they want them to keep cooking and inspiring people—so they're giving the couple a year's supply of organic produce and groceries!
And that's not all. "I definitely am inspired by Chef Joe Flamm," Tom tells us. "He's actually from our same hometown and the high school we went to and I think he does a lot of things I like. He takes very simple ingredients and makes them taste great."
So, naturally, we surprised Tom with a special message from Chef Flamm himself. Watch in the video above.
This year, we’re celebrating our wonderful viewers and the kind and generous things they do, and we’re calling them "2021-DERS!" For another feel-good story like Tom and Rachael's, check out this couple that started van dining date nights to safely support restaurants after husband's cancer diagnosis.