You Gotta Nourish In Order To Flourish

You Gotta Nourish In Order To Flourish

One of my “favorite book” recommendations is a book that I used to gift to my health coaching clients. It is called “The Mindful Diet How to Transform your Relationship with Food for Lasting Weight Loss and Vibrant Health (Wolver, Ruth, et al.,2015). The cover is a little tattered and torn, but no worse for wear, as they say!  Deeply rooted in Psychology, I like it because it helps you understand your relationship with yourself–from many angles. And we, the readers, are gifted with tools and easy ways to create sustainable changes for a healthy life.

I am on day 4 of a 7-day detox, in which the first two days are an herbal liquid fast. When you don’t eat for 68 hours, it’s an easy way to understand and know your cravings! You can even write them down if you want. It’s an excellent way to check in with ourselves.

During this time of fasting, I realized that I had ebbed away from the things that brought me actual physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. I know how I feel when I take care of myself in all those ways, And I also know what it feels like to neglect myself in those ways. Holistic health is the Tao of Happiness!

I have also decided to give up alcohol for the time being, if not forever. And not just because it’s awful for my body. My reflux and weight gain are directly correlated to my alcohol consumption. But I am rebelling against our cultural love of alcohol. Alcohol is poison. It is not medicine. Though I believe many people use it that way.  It numbs, but it’s also death to more than just brain cells. I know someone in a coma RIGHT NOW because of a drunk driving incident.I saw a great quote: “Alcohol is the only drug that if you DON’T do it, people assume you have a problem. Now, that’s a problem.   But it’s everywhere. EVERYWHERE!

And I want to fall in love with good nutrition again because guess what? It can also taste good! That idea is what made me want to become a professional chef. I also know that I want to eat good food and not just eat what tastes good. Oreos are vegan! And guess what? Our healthy tastebuds have been hijacked!

Our entire understanding of what to eat has been conflated and confused. We are disconnected between what goes in and what comes out of us! But no wonder we have commercials for “Arby’s—We got the meat.” The next damn commercial is for Lipitor or Viagra. I just read that the average 40-year-old takes two long-term prescription medications daily. It goes up A LOT the older we get. The number of pills my 82-year-old stepdad takes is staggering. Watch the documentary “Game Changers.”

Change is possible, but it is also incremental. One of the things that I always say is, “Think Evolution, not Revolution. Change takes practice. Like anything else, it takes a desire and effort, but pace yourself. I tend to take off quickly! Also, we need to get out of our way. My friend did the Hard 75. Her advice is, like Nike, “Just do it.” Hey, monkey mind, stop thinking about it and go do it already!

In psychology, we talk a lot about the mind all the time! But how many of us understand what it even is? Ha! Here’s a quick Psych 101 lesson. The first layer of our mind is the waking mind, also known as the chattery mind. It’s the always-thinking, mile-a-minute mind that likes to achieve satisfaction!

The second layer of our mind is our reactive mind. The “what do we do mind.” “Do I go home and fix dinner or run yourself through a drive-thru?” This is the judgmental mind that loops all of us! This mind can trick even the most experienced of us!  “Eh, I’ll make dinner tomorrow night.”

And the third and final mind is the wise old owl mind. The mind simply does what it needs to do, even if it’s hard, because it knows it’s essential. It is also the practicing mind.  Repetition and practice are what allow change to change us!

Excerpt from The Mindful Diet How to Transform your Relationship with Food for Lasting Weight Loss and Vibrant Health. Wolver, Ruth, et al.,  2015


In effect, it is from this perspective that one can become a teaching mind. It takes discipline as well as desire to achieve “real” change. From now on, my hope is to share what I know. And I promise to practice what I teach. I love cooking. Food is life. But there is so much more to proper health and well-being than what we eat. Don’t worry. I’ll still share recipes because I will never stop cooking!

From this day forward, this space will be all-encompassing, holistic, and from a place of authenticity and selflessness.  It’s not about me, yet it is about me. This is why I share my cooking videos, but I’m not in a bikini doing it!  In fact, you’ll rarely see my face. I believe in plant medicine, and yes, I am pro-marijuana.  I believe in moving and stretching the body, but I don’t think that has to be in a gym. I will explore topics in alternative medicine, psychology, and spirituality.  I believe in a higher power. In practice, I am an omnist; I don’t believe there is one path to transcendence (though much of my practice is rooted in Buddhism), and I am not here to judge or deny anyone for their beliefs.

And as to the knowledge I share, I humbly say that most of what I know comes from standing on the shoulders of giants. Those brave souls paved the way for folks like you and me to know and grow!  So you will often hear me reference doctors, researchers, educators, activists, mentors, and musicians.  I will also share personal experiences and stories of my friends and me.

I am an ardent follower of people like Dr. Michael Greger, MD, Dr. Neal Barnard, MD, Dr. T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D.; and Dr. Stephen Cabral, ND.

I hope to impart wisdom and humor from great contemporaries like Maya Angelou and Matthew McConaughey (if you haven’t read his “Greenlights” book, ya gotta); and neuroscientist Andrew Huberman just to name a few.

Furthermore, I will reference activists like John Muir, Sierra Club, Peta…and THAT list goes on and on! Just a forewarning, tho, on the topics of animals and our planet, I’m going to be factual and blunt.

Finally, I encourage people to have reasonable, even heated, discussions!  I am a very passionate person! And I love being in the scrum!  But I will literally block people from my page if they cannot have a dignified and respectful conversation.

Helping others by helping ourselves is the best gift we can give the world.

#The journey of 1000 miles…

XOXO —Steph

“What we seed, we feed.” 

The Mad Dash to the Middle

The Mad Dash to the Middle

It is no secret that our educational system here in the US is far behind its peers. Our investments in healthcare and education have not only fallen short, but they have also fallen short to our detriment. We are ranked 27th in the world, both in health and education. We are 38th out of 71 countries when it comes to math scores and 24th when it comes to science. While countries like Finland, Iceland, Denmark, and the Netherlands currently lead the way, the US continues to fall behind consistently. If the government does not like spending money on education, does that mean should just settle for living in a society where knowledge and power are only afforded by the rich? Suffering of course are the anxious poor wanting more of what they rich have, yet always receiving less? I suppose this is the curse of capitalism, but that is a topic for another day.

Under Trump’s tutelage, the current head (cough, cough) of the Department of Education Betsy Devos, supported $5.6 billion in cuts from its fiscal budget. Thankfully he backed away from his attempt to cut federal aid for the Special Olympics program. But I guess it was a little harder to sneak that one past. Sneak past whom. I’m not sure. Education and healthcare are not topics much-lamented over here in the US.

I don’t want to bash a broken educational system. But like our healthcare system, I no longer wish to be a part of it. This year, with the help of a dedicated community of self-educators, I will begin the academic instruction of my children. Now, this may sound like a lofty aspiration, or even a slow descent into madness; either way, I have no reservations about my decision. I do not want my children happily educated in the middle of a substandard bell curve, so they can graduate and be chewed up and swallowed into the belly of a capitalistic beast.

On our way to dinner the other evening, we saw a woman standing on the side of the road with a broken-down minivan. She looked tired and hot, maybe about twenty-five years old. She had taken her baby out of the warm car and sat her carrier on an even hotter concrete, while a two-year-old boy was making a run for it every time she turned her back. We passed by, and without a word, my husband circled back around. When we got to her, she was sobbing. It turns out she was a single mom living at a weekly rental motel. She had reached her limit. She was not just crying; she was sobbing. The weight of her life was taking its toll. The weight of driving across the state with no air conditioning, crying babies in the back seat, and just enough gas from her step-dad to get them home took its toll. Well, almost home. She was grateful, embarrassed, tired, scared, on her last leg. I don’t think I’ll ever forget her. Her greatest sin? She was poor and likely “uneducated” poor. She was trapped. And I can’t help but recoil knowing that we are considered a modern industrialized society. Imagine the poor, illiterate women in developing countries; it’s mindboggling.

But man, or woman, poverty and lack of education are conscious means of control. My mom always used to say, “they can take the house, or your car, they can even take your life, but they can’t take your education.” Not exactly sure who “they” are…so we’ll call them “the man!” But she was correct. Education teaches literature, math, science; this is true. A well-rounded, solid education should also teach you to think for yourself, to question everything, not to believe everything you hear or see, to examine and reflect upon everything. That will be my goal here on my homeschool page, to be the teacher and the student.
I am looking forward to this new journey.