The Cook Awakening


November 24, 2011
Posted in: Food Sensitivities, Health and Nutrition, Integrating Lifestyle Changes, Living with Health Challenges

Turkey dinner

I love this holiday. Such permission to enjoy food thoroughly and make it extra special, and to think about the deeper questions of our lives in a positive light.

I’ve been struck the last few days by the core gratitude I have. Gratitude that actually led me to create The Cook Awakening.

My oldest boy, who will be 11 years old on Christmas day, is in a band called Wallpaper – five 5th graders with tons of talent, sweet crazy kid energy and not enough sense and experience to be at all daunted at the prospect of being on stage. They sound pretty damned good for 10 – 11 year olds. They even sound okay for adults!

Last weekend at a benefit where the band was performing, a memory surfaced. I was five years back in time, sitting in Jesse’s Kindergarten classroom with his teacher.

“I have no doubt that Jesse will do great things in life,” she was telling us. “He’s very bright, even brilliant.”

“I don’t know how he’s going to do in first grade, though. He’ll be expected to sit at a desk. And at the moment, he’s not able to settle for longer than 10 seconds..”

I was scared. I had noticed that Jesse was more active than a lot of his peers. But I was tired. At 45 years old, having one in diapers and another who couldn’t sit still was pretty taxing. Plus I had some as yet undiagnosed health challenges of my own. Fatigue was a part of that picture. So, really facing the fact that my oldest boy was not in the range of “normal” was more than I had the capacity to face prior to this conversation.

Denial is a very useful coping mechanism when it’s appropriate. When it’s not, though, it will come crashing down in a lovely heap. If you’re lucky.

The journey that conversation began has been long, convoluted, complex, rewarding and heartrending. I’ve written about our journey with Jesse here, and my own here.

I have not yet written in depth about the journey with my youngest. Suffice it to say, Cirrus’ chronic mild digestive symptoms finally made it to the top of the list of family health puzzles. He has something called Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth, or SIBO. When we finally got his diagnosis I had a number of clients with this complaint, and had studied nutritional approaches for treatment. Little did I know I’d actually be bringing the diet home.

I will chronicle Cirrus’ struggle and how we implemented the diet in a future post, but for now, all I need to say is that he’s a different child. It wasn’t quite as quick a change as Jesse went through five years ago, but it was just as dramatic. He has more energy. He is amazed at the changes in his digestion. Did I say he has more energy?

Back to the benefit concert. Here is Wallpaper playing Sweet Home Alabama – Jesse is the curly blond mop headed guitar player in the flame shirt.

I’m sharing this particular number because Jesse really worked hard on it. The guitar part he chose is not simple, and he could not learn it in one sitting, the way he often has with other songs. And for that, I am particularly proud of him. Because five years ago, he couldn’t sit still for more than 10 seconds at a time.

Can we attribute all our healing to diet? I don’t think so. We develop on physical, emotional, cultural, social and spiritual levels. Jesse’s, my own, and Cirrus’ healing are supported pragmatically and esoterically, with love, honesty, and radical responsibility for ourselves.

If getting healthy were just about learning some new recipes and finding the right prescription, we’d all have done it by now. Getting healthy is really about living life on life’s terms. Eyes open, keeping a sense of humor, and being fully engaged.

As I’m preparing a very different Thanksgiving dinner than those I grew up with, I am grateful to witness all of us in this process. Myself, my family, my community, my clients.

May your Thanksgiving be filled with gratitude for your gifts, your health, and your life, exactly as it is.

(If you want to see all six songs the boys performed, just email me and I’ll send you the links. I’m shamelessly proud of them all! As you could tell by my crowing and singing in the background, I’m sure.)

This entry was posted on Thursday, November 24th, 2011 at 2:07 am and is filed under Food Sensitivities, Health and Nutrition, Integrating Lifestyle Changes, Living with Health Challenges. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


8 Responses to “Thanksgiving”

  1. Suzanne Says:

    Wow, what a ride you have had with your kids and family nutrition. I read all the stories. I am pretty much grain free — it helped to remove over 30 years of headaches for me. I don’t have beans too often either although I may try to make the brownies. I will definitely make the grain free granola.

    I’ll look forward to seeing your newsletter more often after you return from your travel with your teacher.

  2. admin Says:

    Wow, thanks for reading all of them! You have fortitude.

    Grain-free is an amazing way to live. Couldn’t imagine it for so long, and once I did there was no turning back. Not saying I never indulge, but the indulgences are so few and far between they’re pretty inconsequential. When I know what it feels like to feel good, why would I want to feel bad?

    Those brownies were a hit. You could probably make them with white beans, which would be GAPS compliant. Still pretty starchy, though.

    I look forward to connecting further. Happy holidays!

  3. Suzanne Says:

    PS: I’m a holistic nutritionist outside of Philadelphia. I just came up with my niche which is gluten-free and weight loss and I may change it to grain-free and weight loss.

    So thanks for giving me the inspiration.


  4. cathy Says:

    sharing our stories is how we find our way through life and to others who want to be apart of those stories. It’s how we learn about life and each other. I am thankful you are willing to open up and share yours and I am thankful I am willing to listen and share mine.

    This is a special time of year, just open up to the grace of it all.


  5. admin Says:

    Go for it! More of us are needed.

    I was nervous that I was limiting my audience too much when I started focusing more on the low carb/paleo/GAPS/SCD, but the truth is I felt inauthentic when I talked about grains. I don’t outright discourage clients from eating grains unless there’s a health issue that really calls for that, and I still share the gf sourdough recipes, but I don’t write about it much. It’s hard to be enthusiastic about things that make me feel bad. And truth is, there are a lot of health issues that can be ameliorated by reducing or eliminating grains.

    I’d love to connect. Please share your website and contact info here!

  6. admin Says:

    Thank YOU, Cathy. You are a blessing. Your understanding and willingness to drop into the deeper meaning is vital.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  7. Ashara Love Says:

    I really saw the changes in Cirrus during our Solstice visit-NOT the same kid at all. He was pure delight (eevn WITH that meltdown the last day), and I truly deeply enjoyed spending my alone time with him. Jessie was more of a free radical the whole time, but he was so sweet & full of mannerful appreciation. I am blessed to know your sons, and to watch their healing journey inspires me as I have begun my own. Sharing my little secrets & confusions with you, I feel so much more CONFIDENT. The awful gyrations of my mood, digestion, ÷ health are now more like schoolyard swingset than Niagara Falls barrel diving. It is wondrous. I searched & prayed & didn’t get what you had to offer til the time was RIGHT. So grateful & so joyful that you figgered it out so I can follow along. Much love & light, dearest Durga, SisterGoddessCoach extraordinaire!

  8. admin Says:

    Ashara, you make me cry. Your willingness to really engage with life on life’s terms is beautiful.

    Thank you for being in our lives!

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