I’ve been smitten with food for as long as I can remember. My Southern grandmothers were my first culinary and nutrition instructors; I learned to cook in their sunny kitchens, and they taught me to value and respect food, family and the connection between the two.
In the South, meals were elevated to a quasi-religion. Every day was a food-drenched event, starting with hot biscuits and homemade butter, and ending with the inevitable peach cobbler.
Most of the food came from our backyard: the beans and corn from the fields, tomatoes from my grandmother’s garden behind the kitchen, eggs from the chicken pen, and baskets of blackberries and pecans gathered by my small cousins and me.
Inspired by the magic of growing plants, and having watched one chicken too many meet its demise in my grandmother’s kitchen, I became a vegetarian at the age of 11. I read my first nutrition books, and took my first culinary arts classes. And then I spent the next four decades devouring information about health, nutrition and the deep and abiding magic of food.
Over the years, I’ve professionally trained and certified in nutrition and culinary arts. I also have a master’s degree in journalism—my earliest career was as a newspaper writer and investigative reporter, and I spent more than 14 years working for the Los Angeles Times and other large dailies. But during that time, I never stopped learning about food, health and nutrition.
Ultimately, I swapped investigative reporting for food writing and nutrition research, and have since written five books and hundreds of articles on food and health. I began appearing on nationally televised cooking shows and taught nutrition classes around the country. Eventually, my passion for food and health led me to co-found three food and supplement companies and develop dozens of products in the natural and organic arena.
As I began working more with individual clients, I was driven by a longing to learn what really makes people eat—the deep, emotional aspects of eating patterns, especially troubled ones. After years of study with some of the leaders in the field, I earned my certifications in the Psychology of Eating and in addiction counseling.
Through it all has been woven an undeniable thread of spirituality. I’ve studied and become certified in a number of spiritual and body-mind disciplines, including Sivananda yoga and pranayama (breathwork), Avatar training, Reiki, firewalking, traditional Lakota practices and Buddhist studies. My deepest passion is martial arts: I’m currently a second-degree black belt in ninjutsu, and teach women’s self defense classes in the Boulder area.
What does all this have to do with food, you ask? Everything. I believe there is an unbreakable, if often unacknowledged, connection between food, body, mind and soul, and I have deep and passionate desire to inspire others along the way.
Now, I innovate healthy, sustainable food products for companies. I develop recipes and write articles about nutritious eating and living. I teach cooking classes and occasionally cater small events. And I help people find healing and peace around eating.
Because there’s magic in food, in the growing and preparing of it, in the packaging and distribution of it, in the gathering around a table to share it. I want to inspire you to feel that magic, too.