Home, Heart, Hands

Some of my favorite memories of my childhood are of me sitting on the kitchen floor stirring a large ceramic bowl of dark brown fudge while my Gram watched and guided me. Although I continued to spend my youth cooking for my family, experimenting with foods from different countries, I struggled during my college years to find a career. I finally enrolled in the Hennepin County Culinary school in Minnesota. An obvious career path as I had enjoyed creating in the kitchen since a young age. Culinary school made me realize the kitchen was my place of "zen". 

The challenges begin

Not even when our first-born's pediatrician gave me a list of foods she could not eat based on her digestive issues did I lose my love for cooking. Little did I know it would become the first of many challenges. I changed that list from what she COULDN'T eat to what she COULD eat. A list that put us on the road of learning to read labels. More challenges followed quickly: my husband's cardio-vascular issues, our son's ADHD/learning difficulties, more challenges for the first-born when the diagnosis of Autism came our way. Finding solutions for my family members's health/wellness challenges kept pushing me to explore and find solutions when it became clear to me that food can hurt or it can heal.

delving into locally grown food

Living in Belgium, I was surrounded by local open-air markets (not so romantic in the rain) and locally produced products. One such place was happy to offer me a platform to supply their clients with organic baked goods, quiches, and cheese croquettes, using the items they sold at their small, locally-owned market as the base for those food products. Raw milk cheeses, combined with our own chickens' eggs, coated with locally grown and ground wheat, quiches created each week using locally-sourced products, my creative juices really flowed. Keep costs down while keeping flavors high; that was pretty exciting to me. Talking to the customers, it became clear to me that many were realizing how food was affecting them and wanted to change the negative to a positive. My products started to expand, offering items using unrefined sugars or alternatives, dairy-free options, gluten-free choices. But it all had to taste delicious.

adding to my knowledge base

Back in Indiana, I enrolled in the Health Coach Certification Program at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. This offered me an expansion of what I had already started to learn on my own. Working a juice bar at a local Wellness center, I offered healthy and tasty juices and smoothies as well as raw food items to patients that came there regularly. I offered similar options by teaching a raw cooking workshop at a spa/salon. Participants were both employees and, all  interested in embracing a different way of eating. I worked with an oncology clinical psychologist and her team at a city hospital providing energy-enriching snacks, lunch ideas and drinks to participants in her Cancer Survivor energy workshops. I also spent a short amount of time with their patients listening to their challenges and offering options to boosting energy through food.

food as medicine

Second-born daughter fell ill and food became the enemy even more so, though what we eat is considered by many to be really healthy food choices.  But this led me to more research, to dig even deeper, leading us to whole, "clean" eating. Going through this myself, our family chose to support her food choices with the adage 'all for one and one for all'. Again, listening - research - learning, repeat. This inspired me to provide this for others by means of education. It is a lot to navigate. I hope to make it easier to apply for those who don't have the training or the knowledge or the time.

I am a classically trained chef. More importantly, I am a relentless researcher, I am a problem solver and I believe in the positive results. Embracing our individuality, what works for one may not work for another. Finding the key to what a body needs, that's what I am all about.