to my kitchen
The "Standard of Care"
In medicine we are taught to offer the “standard of care." Taking creative liberty is not encouraged. Medical boards want to be sure that the practice of medicine is evidence based, consistent and not based on a personal whim. However, in this model, patients with a constellation of medical issues are too complex for the system. They are passed along to specialists or given prescriptions to “treat” symptoms without getting to the root of the problem. This is particularly true with regards to nutrition. There was no time to discuss in depth eating patterns in visits and frankly, medical school did not offer ANY practical curriculum in it either. There was so much more I wanted to offer in visits as I increasingly saw that we no longer connect to natural rhythms of healing with ease.
Food is your best medicine or primary source of disease
80% of chronic diseases present in America are now predicated on how, what and when we eat. When it comes to creating a sustainable pattern of eating, we are failing. Depleting our land, pillaging the goodwill of farmers, overeating and under-nourishing are the norm. You have been fed incorrect information and have moved away from an innate capacity to know what is best for your body. Like the idea that USDA guideline that pizza, as perfect as it is, is a vegetable. So, the question remains, where can we go to get the “right information”?
I believe that now is the time to invest in your health and the health of the planet by making a change to plant based eating. You will find a wide array of resources for you on this site to support this journey. From recipes to setting up your plant based kitchen, I have you covered.
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I’m in the 45th grade. Since I started school at Ms Matthews pre-K program at St Lukes, I have been busy gaining academic accolades and credentials. From attending one of the most prestigious high schools in the country to a MS in biology to a residency in Internal Medicine at Mayo Clinic, I have been engaged in a comprehensive course of study. And yet, once that process was completed, I wasn't done yet. I started phase two diving into even more my unanswered questions. This led to two years of full time Ayurvedic study with master teacher, Dr. Vasant Lad, a yoga teacher training, reiki master training and a formal fellowship in Integrative Medicine. From seeds planted in my long term study of Ayurveda, I began to understand why i had observed that there was no "perfect food plan" that worked for everyone.
Interested in knowing more about all the training I have done… check it out here.
In 2018, I returned from the most amazing 3 week trip with my husband across the Western states. I had just left my primary care job to pursue my passion for teaching culinary medicine. Burned out and exhausted from trying to exist in a dysfunctional medical system, I had leveraged my savings to take 6 months off to create my dream career. I arrived home excited to think about the next steps but within 10 minutes of coming through the door, I received a call from my mom, “your dad is in the ER with a heart attack and sepsis." I urgently hopped on a plane to support them and he died an agonizing death a week later. Needless to say, everything fell apart.
I have lived the problems | I have lived the solutions
Over the following two years, I unexpectedly endured a barrage of symptoms from crushing migraines to severe systemic pain. My only solace was in cool dark places, alone or watching mindless TV. Social isolation become my deferred normal as it was too complex to try to explain what was going on in my body to anyone. I was not even able to photograph food through most of this time as lifting the camera trigged a sensation of an ice pick stabbing me in my back. I had all the testing without a concrete diagnosis. Time did not heal me. On the brink of divorce and losing my marriage with the most amazing man, I realized I needed help to get better. Through a few dedicated practitioners and the healing power of nature I began to flourish again.
Enter COVID 19, where social isolation was now the norm, and you guessed it, another healing lesson. I got severely sick with a viral illness (probably COVID) and developed pneumonia with significant breathing difficulty. In conjunction with western medical treatments, I prioritized healing and implemented the other modalities that I had only partially offered myself in the past. I started cooking 3 meals a day. Over the course of 40 days, my health turned around. The migraines finally let up, my energy returned, and I found a vitality that had not been present since before my medical training in my early 20’s. I also saw that even though I had all the insight and tools needed to be healthy all along, it was tough to make it happen in real time. As I began solving this problem of how to do this for myself, it was increasingly clear that I need to share these concepts with others.
Kitchen techniques can be fun in bite sized pieces
I will be sharing techniques to make you more confident and less overwhelmed when planning meals. From batch cooking to food prep to novel flavor combinations, it can be an efficient AND creative process. I have been studying techniques since I was a child starting with The Great Chefs of Europe tv series on PBS. That’s right, you remember, before the food network when there was only 4 channels. And my love of food (really eating) has continued through nutritional and Ayurvedic training as well as developing curriculum in nutrition at the founding program in integrative medicine in Tuscon, Az.
How can anyone ever figure out what the best choice is?
Through ideas shared here, you will have resources to know how food is produced, favorable profiles of macronutrients, fasting basics, cooking techniques, stocking a healthy pantry, incorporating mindfulness, and digestive pearls. Food choices are deeply personal and depends on skills, tastes, budget, time and so much more. My training in Ayurveda has given me a global perspective on understanding the delicate balance that resides between our inner and the outer ecologies of producing food that can be a guide through the “maize” of modern nutrition. Just look at the exploding science around the microbiome. So many elements of microbiome health and its systemic effects were right in front of us in Ayurvedic texts that are hundreds to thousands of years old.
I am not going to solve any of your problems.
You are. Since no one can actually accompany you to the grocery store to buy food for you, we are all accountable for the food that goes into our body and how it was produced. I am providing skills that rely on evidence, practical tools and a framework that will spark your ability to intuitively create nourishing meals. Honoring our interdependence with nature and other communities is the basis for solving the larger problems.
He's gotta have a moment in the sun here too. He is the kitchen helper and all around master of scent. Perhaps someday in a future world he will be a sommelier. He is my right hand man and accompanies me through the garden, to the market, hanging out with his feet in the air when I am writing, and of course, tasting.
Lessons learned in the kitchen include patience while waiting for tastes and that there is art to the best crunch in potato chips.
Dr Vasant Lad
The Ayurvedic Institute
"There is order in the disorder"