1. Share one personal wellness tip you would give women who are just starting on their journey?
The top tip I give women who are trying to change their lifestyle and eating habits to improve their health and well being is: start slow. Eat what you like. Just make it healthy.
Kale salads and green juice are great, but if you're not used to eating those things, you may be less likely to stick to your health goals.
Make a list of your favorite 10 foods and look up recipes for those that fit your dietary needs. Your taste buds will get used to eating more vegetables and less dairy, sugar, gluten, etc. Over time, you will crave these healthier versions of your favorite foods and that's when you've made a lifestyle change.
For example: Pulled Chicken with Clean BBQ Sauce, Gluten Free Dairy Free Mac 'n Cheese, and Apple Cider Braised Greens sounds a lot more appetizing than Kale Salad and Green Juice. Am I right?
2. What inspired you to get started on your wellness journey?
I was suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, eczema, and chronic migraines for years. I had just started working for the Heimerdinger Foundation where I have to write 7 dairy free, gluten free, sugar-free, and soy free recipes a week. I decided I was going to eat this nutrient dense, anti-inflammatory food that we serve our cancer patients each week to see if any of my symptoms would subside.
I haven't had any of those issues since.
So now my passion is inspiring others by serving them this same style of food. The food does the inspiring, really.
3. What challenges in your wellness journey do you face and how does it influence your teaching?
Being a chef and a believer that food is medicine is tough. I teach a lot of cooking classes in the community and 95% of my students are in class because they love food. They want to learn how to make rich, decadent, delicious food.
So I struggle with writing menus that fit my lifestyle and my students' desires.
Since I have to taste everything I make in order to serve it, I try to sneak in anti-inflammatory ingredients as much as possible. Luckily, I've had a lot of success in convincing people to be open minded.
In reality, my specialty is making food not taste healthy. But it is. And once you try it, you'll like it. I guarantee it.
Regiser for “Nashville Farmers Market” class.