Category Archives: TIOSN

Offerings


At the culmination of my time as a student of The Institute of Sustainable Nutrition program, I reflect on what a profound year of learning, sharing, and growth it has been. This education has given me the opportunity to expand my skillset in a variety of hands on applications-making kitchen medicine, practicing the art of eating, gaining full body awareness in morning mediation, putting my hands in the soil in growing our garden, and learning to identify plants using all the senses on forays. There has been time to put my feet bare on the ground, to laugh and smile and engage with others. This has been as much of a healing space as it has been educational. There has been time to learn in a traditional sense but to also think and be inspired to create, which I believe is where the most valuable personal development happens. Involvement in this program granted me freedom and encouragement to pursue what calls me. I have learned nutrition science in application to the body. Herbs and our communion with plants. Making choices that facilitate a mindset of sustainability, curiosity and empowerment. To have this information not to hold above anyone, but to lay the groundwork for others to step into with ease and excitement.There is so much to say about what I have acquired through this special experience. It is hard to articulate as I perceive it like a web, where the learning has happened between myself and the stunning human beings that are the TIOSN instructors but also the community of my class.Thoughtful connections amongst us have woven what I feel we are all here to perpetuate into the world-encouragement to ask questions and the willingness to provide answers and to help to one another. To build better and stronger as a whole because we are paying attention to our self healing and self knowledge. This is how we will contribute to society at large as well as expand the TIOSN community.

I have become a keen listener and observer. I am more in tune with the rhythms of nature and the seasons. I apply my knowledge of seasonality, soil health, biochemistry, and personal mindset in my understanding of nutrition and the bio availability of nutrients to the body.

With all of this, I extend myself as a healer, mentor, and guide. My platform is the kitchen- your space or mine, and together we will learn how nutrition is about forming a relationship with your body. Creating an individualized plan as to how I can assist you in the journey of becoming capable of making intuitive decisions about your health and choosing what makes you feel good.

Nutrition is beyond macronutrient ratios and food groups. It is beyond the strategies of  negotiating, rationalizing, restricting, and planning-these are the ways we have been taught to understand our food and it limits us. 

To me, nutrition is about choosing a diet of not only what foods will effectively nourish your cells to put you performing at your highest potential, but is also what you choose as dietary input for your mental, emotional and spiritual self. We will observe what words, relationships, and activities you feed yourself. Nutrition is body, mind and soul united. This is the holistic experience of working with someone like myself-learning how to prepare food that shows you how nourishment is  a state of abundance, self love and healing, mindfulness, connection, and beauty. These things will flood through you and your relationship with food and effortlessly into other areas of your life. All it takes is practice, and a choice to put your attention to this awakened place.

I am specifically attune to working with women’s issues but am open to all who resonate with my message. This expertise is sensitive to but not limited to difficulties with disordered eating and body image. My intention is to educate about self sufficiency and resourcefulness, and how this practice in the kitchen extends itself as a strength in and outside of your culinary adventures as well as in taking care of your physical body.

Professional Credentials:

  • Certification in Sustainable Health and Nutrition
  • BA in Psychology with a focus on health, motivation, development and behavior

Personal:

  • 2 years experience in conducting cooking curriculum for youth students, guiding culinary skills as well as knowledge and understanding of seasonality and connections to curricular studies. I utilize a positive youth development approach and encourage active participating, confidence and curiosity
  • 2 years experience working in the field for highly esteemed holistic health professionals. From this I exhibit a working knowledge of resources and fundamental information regarding homeopathy, herbs, and essential oils, all of which I have utilized for my personal healing and integrated into my lifestyle with great success and joy.

Services: Focused on integrated health, mindfulness, nutrient dense diets

  • Private or Group Cooking Workshops
    • Topics include: Traditional cooking methods, fermented foods, food sensitivity accommodations, nutrient dense cooking techniques to compensate for soil depletion
    • One on one education: knife skills & equipment tutorials; cooking techniques-i.e. gluten free baking, smoothies, salads, condiments
  • Mentorship & mindset coaching
    • for young women-guidance & body awareness
    • How to become the best version of yourself, motivation, finding your inspiration and positive psychology
  • Private Cooking
    • Example: weekly service of 10 meals (2 of your choice daily)
    • Hourly rate for specific meal preparation-done specifically to your dietary needs/goals

I believe in the power of play-I apply a lighthearted, sensitive approach to my work. Connection to your food and nourishment offers a well of empowerment and confidence to draw from-please reach out to me if any of my services click with your goals.

JER_7913

Advertisements

2 Comments

Filed under TIOSN

Herbal Vinegars

IMG_3289

IMG_3661 IMG_3668

Herbal vinegar concocting is an excellent way to participate in your landscape (as you’ll be identifying & collecting herbs and weeds) and they also are an accessible & affordable nutritive food source to add to your diet. I am learning more about nutritional herbology through my school, The Institute of Sustainable Nutrition. Through nutritive extraction of herbs we can access a broad spectrum of vitamins and minerals in a way that’s much more sustainable and nourishing (body & spirit) than taking a pill supplement.

In this extraction, the menstruum is vinegar and you can experiment with a variety of them: red wine, champagne, rice vinegar, apple cider vinegar.

Herbs that you can use include the wild nutritive herbs (cumphrey, oat straw, red clover, chickweed, dandelion, purslane, raspberry leaf, nettle, plantain) as well as culinary (rosemary, thyme, basil, tarragon, oregano). Play with combinations. You can also add toasted eggshells (heated at 200F to kill bacteria) as a calcium source.

Lightly pack your chopped & cleaned herbs into a quart jar, and cover with vinegar of choice. Let sit for about 6 weeks, then strain through a sieve or cheesecloth. Take the leftover plant matter and add to your compost or spread throughout your garden soil (as I did!)

You can take a shot of vinegar a day for a mineral boost and to alkalize your body. These vinegar extractions can be used for culinary purposes wherever you would normally use an acid-to flavor salad dressings, in marinades, or added to cooked greens.

Another beautiful thing about this process is that it is another means to extend the harvest. The first vinegar I made was made with a medicinal mindset, including red clover, red raspberry leaf, nettle, plantain, and dandelion. The second I was inspired by garlic scapes, using the woody flowering tops that you would otherwise not eat-I also added red clover, garlic mustard leaves, and nettle.

Leave a comment

Filed under Dips & Dressings, TIOSN

Soak, Rinse, Sprout

I’ve been using some new techniques in my food preparation lately.

For some time I have been hearing and reading about the many health benefits of soaking & sprouting seeds, grains, and legumes. I had ignored the knowledge since for a good amount of time, I was incorporating very little to no grain in my diet. I was experimenting with getting my carbohydrate primarily from fruits and vegetables. Nuts and seeds usually make their way into my day, whether they are soaked/sprouted or not, as did legumes.

Usually I’m nibbling on hemp/flax/brazil nuts and those don’t need soaking or sprouting. Even though I understand the importance of the preparation, I find myself scooping up roasted almond and sunflower butter and organic peanut butter and I’m totally okay with that. Despite my laid back approach to this, I am perking up to the benefits of putting in the minimal effort of properly preparing nuts/seeds, grains, and legumes.

The benefits of this technique can be summed up as follows:

better for digestion

greater bio availability of nutrients (soaking washes away the phytic acids, which are the compounds that are meant to protect the plant. When removed we gain more access to the benefits of eating that grain/nut/seed/legume.) My thought here is if you’re going to spend money on quality nuts and seeds, you might as well try to get the most out of them!

sprouting increases the enzyme content, increasing the nutrition, turning a seemingly lifeless food into one brimming with phytonutrients and life (I do this from time to time with buckwheat or chick peas,  or almonds when making almond milk)

Too much phytic acid from eating un-soaked grains and nuts is not an ideal situation. The phytic acid molecule readily binds to minerals (such as calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc) and inhibits the enzymes that we need to digest our food.

If this is interesting to you, read more here!

SO, what we want to do is neutralize the phytic acid in these foods as much as possible. Fortunately for us, this is super easy!

All you need to do is soak the given nut/seed/grain/legume in water and a touch of an acidic medium (fresh lemon juice or apple cider vinegar) for at LEAST one hour or up to overnight. The following day or hours later, simply rinse through a colander (make sure you have a sieve with small enough holes for things like amaranth and teff) and proceed to cook as you would normally.

If you’re in a pinch, at least rinse your grain before you cook it!

It’s not a glamorous new trick, but I love reconnecting to the traditional ways of preparing food. I decided to add more grains and beans into my diet because I have observed that I usually feel well eating these foods and alot of animal protein in my diet doesn’t jive well with my system. I also feel that incorporating grains and beans into a few meals throughout the week is a sustainable way of eating (in regards to both the environment and your wallet).

Here are some white northern beans soaking and some rolled oats (both in just water and about 1 tsp ACV)

beansoats

Breakfast this morning: whole oat groats (so chewy and satisfying, and it doesn’t get more unprocessed than this) cooked with water, cinnamon, sea salt, birch sugar, coconut oil. Topped with apple & bee pollen.

Try this with any of your whole grains and dried beans at home. They taste WORLDS better too and I can feel the difference in my digestion when I properly prepare them (my stomach no longer gurgles in protest when I eat oats and beans feel like they give me a whole new layer of nourishment when I consume them) That’s the point here-let’s figure out how we can utilize food in a way that nourishes rather than depletes the body!

Other tricks to enhance your grains and legumes (that I learned from the wise Terry Walters at The Institute for Sustainable Nutrition).

-cook your soaked and rinsed grain with dried mushrooms in the stock/water for extra savory, earthy flavor

-add a cinnamon stick (or other whole herbs) into your grain’s cooking water to infuse it with that aroma and taste

-add a strip of kombu (sea vegetable) to add extra minerals back into the legume or grain (this contributes umami flavor). This also neutralizes the acidity of the grain. Our soil is much depleted and any opportunity we have to add minerals into our food is one to jump on!

Leave a comment

Filed under Advice, Grains, TIOSN

Autumn Olive

Or red sparkle berries, however you prefer to call them..If I were to manifest as a berry I’m pretty sure I would spread my spirit in these guys.
Processed with VSCOcam with p5 preset

Aside from the common dandelion green and herbs in my backyard, autumn olives are my first true foraging score. I learned how to identify them at Holcomb Farm where I’m currently pursuing a nutrition certification.  They grow on the branches of the bush, and the leaves delicately grow in an alternating pattern, with a silvery finish to their underside. The berries are ripest in the autumn and you know you’ve got it right when you see the little gold hued speckles on their plump red skin.  The first time I pulled some off a branch, I thought, “How can this be!” feeling so fulfilled and full of excitement to be pulling something from the earth that I could ingest right then and there. How many people walk right by these berry filled branches on this trail without a clue of the nutrition that is just an arm’s length away?

Now that I am aware of this wild edible, I spot it fairly frequently. I notice it in particular abundance lining the guard rails of the highway. I have to be careful driving these days with my wandering eyes, drinking in the possibilities of what lies in the plants all around me. On walks and long drives as I kid I would often have my eyes glued to the ground thinking that there had to be some use to all the growth around me; at times it seemed like plants were reaching out as if meant for me. I now know that this instinct had some true value and it is in my hands to educate myself and get to know my plant allies.

From Alison Birks, TIOSN: “Autumn Olive-Elaeaganus umbellata: Berries of this invasive shrub or small tree are edible and high in carotenoids, including lycopene, B-carotene and zeaxanthin.  This is a local sustainable “superfood”.  Harvest berries in fall when they are the sweetest.”

After the first weekend at TIOSN, my eyes move quick, scanning the walls of green around me. The past few days as I pulled into my work place, I started tuning into this marshy, lively area about 50 feet from my building entrance. I finally walked over to the little patch of bushes at the end of the day. I noticed little bits of red and silver calling me over. In hopes that my hunch was right I brought over my clean lunch container in case I had  found a hot spot. To my delight I am immediately crouched down, zeroing in and grabbing a bundle of the little aforementioned berries and popping them into my mouth. Sweet, highly astringent, with a fibrous seed (that are high in Omega 3 fatty acids!). It’s quiet and cool with the ground slightly wet. There’s little day light left except a touch of late day golden hue illuminating a branch here and there. The bush branches are dripping with untouched autumn olives and a huge smile spreads across my face. I let out a hearty full laugh, thinking about what someone might think leaving work at the end of the day and being greeted with the sight of my butt in the air and my head in the bushes (this is right within an office building parking lot, mind you). Driving home I was riding high on the finds of my adventure. I love the exclusive feeling of discovering something that requires a little bit of special knowledge to be able to make use of it. It’s also special to think of the exclusivity of this little fruit to the north east region-this feels powerful to me.

Since my first mini harvest I’ve been eating these straight and have also popped some in the dehydrator where they have developed a deeper sweetness and will keep for much longer with some of their moisture taken out. I was taught that you can make fruit leather out of these and use the sour-sweet pungent juice for the acid in salad dressing or as part of an elixir of some sort (perhaps mulled with cinnamon, lemon, vanilla bean would be amazing…) I hope to get out again soon to collect more of this special berry.
IMG_1395

Leave a comment

Filed under Nutrition, TIOSN

What’s Happening, as Nigel Would Say

IMG_0925
My heart is sending out messages, alive and buzzing. I feel anxious, excited, and overwhelmed. I feel opened up and awakened. So many things have shifted and changed. This also brings fear; I’m choosing to move towards it and it is exhilarating and fulfilling to finally be doing so. I feel extraordinarily calm and present in the new environments and social situations I have brought myself into.

I have so much to share as to where my head is at and all that I’ve encountered (new knowledge, beautiful people, self discoveries) but I will keep things somewhat simple for now to establish how this all started before my cascade of sharing begins.

I’ve chosen to pursue an alternative nutrition program for the year (a certification in sustainable health and nutrition) from The Institute of Sustainable Nutrition held at Holcomb Farm in West Granby, CT. I’m going to describe my experience thus far but you can learn more here: http://tiosn.com/

A series of serendipitous opportunities & connections brought me to the institute. I attended an open house on a whim & with no intention or interest. I left feeling inspired and couldn’t stop thinking about it. Prior to enrolling at this institute, I narrowed my options down to a certification program and an MS (which will perhaps be discussed again  in detail & up for further review at the end of my experience). None of the options I had researched inside and out set a spark in me. I was stuck in no man’s land, paralyzed with indecision. Upon graduating UConn, I was fervent about pursuing opportunities that furthered my self exploration and supported my interests in this food/holistic health field, hoping that would lead me to taking a step that would put me in a challenging and future-building place. I realize now perhaps I’ve been dancing around that. Choosing the TIOSN program is my first jump forward into that place, and it’s an unfamiliar one. I think I was enjoying the feeling safety of my indecision. With this I’m taking that away and granting myself expansion.

This program meets one weekend a month and is designed for a small group (this year it’s all women) to compliment the experiential, hands on components. The nutrition science (instructor Alison Birks), plant medicine (Joan Palmer), culinary/food education (Terry Walters) and plant/soil education (taught by Nigel whom I refer to in the title-he truly know “what’s happening” at every level i.e. planets, stars, local birds…)is integrated throughout each weekend. We will be in the classroom, cooking, making different herbal tinctures and extractions,  and working in the garden. A example as to how this works would be how we will learn about the significance of probiotics for digestive health in a lecture, then go out to the kitchen to learn how to make different ferments. I will be studying a vegetable and herb to study in depth, will grow it and write a paper on my experiences with it. At the end I’ll present a capstone project as how I plan to utilize my education.

I have learned more in one weekend than I know I would have ever been able to acquire through self study. Topics included an indepth look at the plant model (analyzing air/sun/energy flows/ biology of soil), to truly organic gardening (mineralization methods), to plant medicine and wild edible identification. The energy and passion of my teachers is what I’m also grateful for and it is even more reinforcing to see that the way these individuals teach is how they live their lives.

The community feel that I was desiring and lacking in all my other schooling options is alive and well here.  I know I will learn so much from my classmates just as I will the instructors (who are all lovely & extremely valuable resources).  There is so much variety in life experiences here yet we are all tied by common interests which is so revitalizing to be around. It was gratifying to be present for everyone’s story at the opening dinner. I loved hearing what brought the other women to the school; gut feeling & intuition was brought up at almost every turn. I knew I was in the right place when those two words came up time and time again.

I am  infatuated with the synergy of everything at the school. I look forward to what I will  learn for and about myself, therefore expanding the capacity of the service that I can bring to others. The big idea I’ve taken away thus far is that for change and nutrition shifts to be sustainable, we must also not be in a place of depletion. This is also reflected in the health of our soil, plants & food. Plant health = our health.

It also doesn’t hurt that Holcomb Farm is beautiful. It is surrounded by so much goodness. I’ll be learning to forage and hopefully identify lots of local botany. So much newness. Feeling full.

10641189_10204205224025930_5571706694966073288_n

2 Comments

Filed under TIOSN