Plant the Seed and Watch it Grow!
One of my earliest childhood memories is a scene in which
my father would completely gross out my grandmother by saving
the tastiest morsels of every meal for his children. He would
lovingly hand us the most tender, flavorful bites of dinner
as my horrified grandmother muttered something to the effect
of: “Wouldn’t peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
do?” My father balked. “Open your taste buds!” he
would bark. He knew that developing an appreciation for good
food was not limited to adults.
I grew up traveling the world and tasting local cuisines.
My dad was right, I grew to love food—and not just
eating but exploring and cooking the world of culinary arts.
I took my first formal cooking class at the age of 10, at
a Rec Center here in Oakland. We were taught to make “pigs
in a blanket” and I was completely confused. Hotdogs
rolled in packaged pastries were considered “food”?
And I was encouraged not just to eat it myself, but to make
it for others? To me, pre-packaged and preservative -laden
muck just did not seem like something delicious to eat. I
knew there had to be something better.
As a teenager, I shifted toward vegetarianism and took up
wholesome cooking in earnest. I wanted food that tasted great
and that also made me feel good. I got jobs in restaurants
and cooked for my family at home, experimenting with recipes,
forever trying out different ingredients and seasonings.
Once in college, I got catering gigs and lived in a co-op
where I happily rustled up meals for 30 roommates and friends.
In Search of Optimal Health
In my search to feel great and love life, I discovered
yoga, and by my mid-twenties, I had turned my own diligent
practice into becoming an instructor. I thought I had achieved
optimal health, but despite healthy eating habits and exercise,
I found that my pants were uncomfortably snug.
Then I looked around. My father and I still tickling our
taste buds with mouths wide open. We were happy, but both
of us were overweight. Our health was in jeopardy, a lot
of jeopardy. He was 100+ pounds overweight. I was 30+ lbs
overweight. Dad suggested we go to Weight Watchers, so we
went. He didn’t stay. I did.
Weight Watchers is a holistic and nurturing program, and
I quickly reached my goal weight. But I had a very hard time
staying there. Even after several years my weight was bouncing
around more than I wanted. Where was I going wrong? I had
been eating vegetarian for years and avoided junk foods.
I exercised plenty (in addition to my yoga practice, I am
also a master’s swimmer) and was able to manage stress
in my life. So what was the problem? And where was the solution?
I did not want to go on any diets. I wanted life habits
that would nurture my spirit and support my personal goals.
I continued to look to my eating habits as a source for optimal health.
Several years ago I went to a vegetarian cooking class where
we were taught to make “healthy” recipes – and
most of the ingredients were vegetables in a can. Again,
I was shocked. “In the Bay Area we are surrounded by
nature’s bounty and the best we can do is eat vegetables
from a can?” I asked myself. “There has to be
Introduction to Whole Foods - Raw and Living Foods
After a curious experience in the deserts of Jericho, I
learned about raw foods and their positive effects on the
human body. I realized that I was not relying enough on whole
and living foods as my main nutrition source. Right there
in the desert—on New Year’s Day 2007—I
made a commitment to whole foods as my main source of food.
There are so many benefits to eating whole foods in their natural state.
I have written about some of them here. Raw
foods, when lovingly and thoughtfully prepared, can taste BETTER than
cooked foods. And you feel better afterwards! (Try out the simple recipes
here—all you need is a blender.) Today, as both a raw food chef and
instructor—and as an Iyengar yoga teacher (you can find my complete
I am dedicated to helping others find a holistic and well -balanced life.
With my “cooking” classes, – I offer my students outrageously
delicious recipes and accurate nutritional information that they can incorporate
into their everyday lives.
I do hope to see you in class!