I have a deep appreciation for food, and aim to integrate the wisdom from various lineages to create the most optimal nourishment plan for myself, my family, and my clients. This post takes an honest peek into what a brunch at my place looks like (with a very special guest), links to some fabulous recipes, and the essential tricks I've found to be the most useful to uplevel nutrient density while not ignoring comfort, decadence and taste.
If you've been following me for a while, you know that I love to cook! It's a creative expression that not only nourishes my body, but truly feeds my soul - and it brings me great joy to share my favorite recipes with you via this platform.
You also probably know that I don't subscribe to any particular nutrition dogma exclusively. My recipes (and client recommendations) span the gamut: from raw-vegan-crackers to liver pate to healthy gummies to grain free pumpkin muffins and a delicious warm-winter-smoothie.
The Flexible Cook
It can be dizzying to navigate the spectrum of health-food trends - gluten free, dairy free, low fat, low carb, high fat, whole-grain, paleo, grain-free, vegetarian, vegan, SCD, GAPS - you name the restrictive diet out there and I've done it. Some I found transformative, and others not so much - but none have "stuck" as my permanent cuisine.
Rather, I've gleaned information on how to enjoy, prepare and appreciate a variety of foods as an integrated part of my nourishment plan. I've also learned what foods in particular I'm sensitive to and when I'm sensitive to them (seasonally or cyclically are the most common) so that I can integrate empowered nutrition choices.
A teacher of mine calls herself a "flexible foodie" - and I LOVE this term! Other colleagues use the "80/20" rule, holding fast to their unique nourishment plan 80% of the time, and allowing for "cheats" 20% of the time. In both cases there is reverence for commitment to what most nourishes you, but also taking into account the other aspects of nourishment that can come through food: such as emotional connection, being in community, comfort or appreciation for culinary artistry.
I truly believe that the vast majority of us are meant to be able to eat all kinds of food, and that restrictive diets are most therapeutic when used for a specific period of time. In many cases, once chronic inflammation and gut dysbiosis are healed, many of us can interact with our nourishment on the inclusive, yet balanced, level of the "flexible foodie".
Certainly, there are individuals out there who just can't include certain foods into their nutrition - and may never be able to. Whether its physical or spiritual, these reactions must be honored and adhered to if you are affected my food allergy or deep sensitivity.
Healing Acne, Weight Gain and Fatigue
For myself - I was a vegetarian for spiritual reasons for eight years, for which I had to recover from for nearly a decade (that, and nutritional deficiencies from hormonal birth control use - it was a perfect storm!)
As a result, I had to avoid gluten for several years and dairy for six months to resolve digestive imbalance that was causing skin reactions (acne), weight gain and fatigue. I also found a short period following the GAPS protocol to be extremely beneficial.
Now, I can most foods in my diet in moderation, and I've also learned when my system can't handle certain foods or which products are best tolerated (for example: a white or whole grain sourdough is much easier on my system than non-sourdough breads; and raw dairy is much easier for me to digest than pasteurized dairy).
I now appreciate sprouted, soaked and soured grains or legumes with raw butter or cheese as much as my mug of bone broth or weekly green juice.
My deep love of cooking stems from being in the kitchen with my mother and grandmother growing up. While most of our food was homemade, there were certainly a plethora of refined or processed products that crossed our plates in mid-western America. Many comforting foods of my childhood - like Jello, pasta salad or homemade muffins - don't actually leave me feeling all that great.
But the smell of baking sweet-bread in the oven, or the chewy-tang of perfectly cooked pasta invoke such a visceral memory of my childhood.
While traversing the terrain of various exclusive diets, I've learned ways to re-create some of the favorite recipes of my childhood that reduce inflammation and provide more nutrition - satisfying not only the nostalgia but not compromising nourishment. After a few renditions, I can also say I actually prefer my updated replacements to the recipes of my childhood (dare I say it! Sorry, mom!).
I'd much rather ignite the comfort and memory of my dad's homemade tapioca pudding with Coconut-Milk Chia Pudding and avoid the blood sugar roller-coaster, or a moist blueberry muffin made with coconut or cassava flour instead of refined white flour. With a few simple adjustments, you can easily take what's nourishing for your soulful nostalgia and also make it nourishing for your body - saving room for those few items that just can't be replaced (like my mothers rhubarb cobbler...I've tried).
Brunch At My Place
With my love of cooking comes my love to entertain. So when Katie Hess of Lotus Wei told me she was spending a night in my small mountain town - I knew I had to have her and her team over for a meal. After confirming there were no food-restrictions, I got to preparing.
Here's the menu, with links to some of the recipes that were a real hit:
- Chai Tea with Turmeric Honey
- Toasted Coconut Coffee with Coconut Cream
- Local Greens with Olive Oil and Balsamic
- Local Sourdough Bread
- Gluten & Refined Sugar Free Banana Muffins
- Chicken Liver Pate with Pastured Butter
- Pastured Eggs with Cheese and Green Chili's
- Spicy KimChi
- Sauteed Elk Sausage with Thyme
- Pastured Bacon
- Dark chocolate covered almonds
- Vegan Cherry Cheesecake (with Infinite Love elixer added to it! Loosely based on this recipe - I'll post mine soon)
I'll Have What She's Having
I've known about Katie for almost a year now, and we've connected on several occasions over email and video-chats. But meeting her in person was a deeply nourishing experience in and of itself. She is a woman who walks her talk. It's clear that she creates her products with every fiber of her being - not just with integrity and strong purpose to make the world a better place, but from a place of appreciation, learning and play for the vibrant plant tapestry around us.
Meeting her is like drinking a cup of the stillness, wisdom and curiosity that surfaces when taking one of her flower elixers. I got it. Each of her elixers bottles up a piece of herself, and her healing wisdom. I'm so grateful to have been held in her presence long enough to understand the deeper meaning behind her work.
It is my hope that she and her team felt as nourished my by food as I did by their presence and their products that my family and I use daily (my girls now ask for their "flowers" each morning).
I hope this post inspires you to re-create the way you think about food, and to find creatives ways to make food for yourself and your families that not only provides nutrition but also emotional nourishment. Thank you for being here, with me, on this journey.
May we each continue to find that which provides us with deep joy and purpose and find ways to intersect that with our nourishment and our work so the world can benefit from this vibrational rising.