It's September 1st, the time of New (School!) Year around here. I'm pretty stoked to let you know of a new series I have developed. I call it The VITALITY Sessions. This series has been a long time coming. I am really looking forward to this, and am stoked to let you in on the details!
I should start at the very beginning.
This whole thing started right after I dropped my girl off for her first day of Grade One. A pretty big day in most parents' and kids' books I'd say. I dropped her off, fended off some tears and shone with pride at how beautifully confident she waltzed right in to Ms. Fichter's class. I made my way out of the school, commiserating with other parents, and marvelling at how big of a day this was.
And then I made my way to my car.
And I thought ok. This is good. This is great!
I hadn't even thought about what I would do after dropping her off. How I would plan to fill my days. I mean I had a few contract jobs to tend to; I had worked for many years in the arts & broadcasting sectors and had a few contracts lined up with podcasts, festivals to curate, and musicians to befriend and encourage. But that wasn't full time. And the economy in this part of the country was starting to head south. One of the usual first casualties in this scenario? The Arts.
Yep. I was soon low on work. And soon thereafter, had no work. I had to do something. Dropping my kiddo off to Grade One that day came right towards the end of the no-work-in-the-arts period of my life. 20 years in the Arts behind me, what would I do next?
I toiled around with a few ideas, and took on a job of Teacher's Assistant for a little one with special needs a few afternoons a week. That wasn't enough to fill my plate (nor my appetite for meaningful work!).
I started to dream of something I had put on the back burner many years ago: the idea of making meals for those who no longer wanted to cook. And by meals, I mean healthy meals, from scratch. Soups, roasts, simple dinners. Nothing fancy, but nourishing stuff. And I wanted to make these meals for those more experienced in life than me (read = older/wiser). I mean for those who spent years caring for us, working hard to make this a better world, how could we not look to care for them in return? A can of soup is not the best way to show you care, nor to say thanks for all you have done.
I approached the Chef who was, at the time, leading the Lunch Program at my daughter's school. I asked him if I could take him out for a cup of coffee and pick his brain about this idea I had, and if he would have any tips or recommendations on where to get started. He did me one better. He offered me a position in the Lunch Program Kitchen, helping to pull meals together (from scratch!) for the students of the Calgary Waldorf School.
My schedule worked around my work as a Teacher's Assistant, and provided me with a brilliant opportunity to see first hand the ins and outs of figuring out how to put together meals for big groups, how to make it nourishing and cook from scratch, how to not waste a thing. It was an enlightening experience. I learned how to operate a commercial kitchen, and how to make and serve foods for a wonderful community of littles.
I spent two years in that kitchen. We made all kinds of good things from homemade Mac and Cheese to Butter Chicken, homemade biscuits to Beef Stew. We catered a few big events. We started fermenting (yes we did! preserved lemons in fact!). Based on my initial wish to learn to make easy and simple meals for seniors, Chef Stephen and I started a take-home dinner program for busy parents who were looking for a healthy dinner option they could take home when school let out at the end of the day. I learned a lot. I prepped a lot of whole chickens for roasting, and countless pounds of roasted potatoes and lemon broccoli. I learned some tricks, tried out new recipes (Moussaka! Eggplant Parmesan! Pulled Pork Carnitas! Stock/Broth!) and really was inspired to play with my food. We even hosted a few cooking classes. (So fun!)
But it also led me to so many questions - why exactly were we cooking the way we did? What was the power of the good food, and what was the science behind it all? These questions and curiosity led me to further my education. I took the one year program in Natural Nutrition from the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition, earning the title of Certified Holistic Nutritional Consultant in the fall of 2014.
And I've been dabbling in many things since graduating. I have led classes on fermenting, cooking from scratch, understanding the power behind our food choices. I have put together countless articles and information sessions on a variety of topics, always zeroing in on the power behind our choices when it comes to the foods we put on the table and in our bellies. I've worked one-on-one with clients on empowering them to make those good choices in the grocery store and in their kitchens to best support their sweet selves.
I started a whole series on the importance of our food choices, and how to properly prepare in order to ensure optimal health. (Intro to GoodFoods) But it's time to get back to the thing that got me in to this.
The desire to support optimal health and wellness for our elders in the community, the folks who have come before us is the spark behind this new series.
It's called The VITALITY Sessions, and the first three instalments of the series were a success in the fall of 2017. For this new year of 2018, I am re-running the first three instalments and adding in a fourth! Read on...
Who this series is for: for anyone looking to support optimal health as we age, would also be of value to someone who is caring for a parent or elder. It is also about sourcing our foods well in order to ensure optimal health.
What this series will feature: each class will be tailored to a specific topic, organ or system in the body. The first three topics are BONES, BRAIN and HEART health. A fourth has been added, focusing on the GUT.
What can you expect in a class: we will start with a brief exploration of what the organ or system's work is in the body, and then go on to highlighting those foods and food choices that will best support the organ or system. I will go over teas and superfoods (elixirs!) that would best support. You will receive a folder with the list of these foods and teas, along with five recipes that are aimed at supporting this system or organ.
Will there be food: oh yes there will be food. I will demo one or two of the recipes from the class notes, so that you can see how easy it is to prepare these foods at home and have a taste as well, to know what to expect. We're all about skill-building, you see. And one of these classes (BRAIN) you will prepare your own ferment to take home.
Consider this a health & wellness guide for your body, from the top of your head to the tip of your toes and every nook and cranny in between. Whether you're well versed in life things or looking to make sure your dance card is full with life for a long time, I invite you to join me at the kitchen counter to talk about all things Optimal Health and Vibrant Aging.
Let the Vitality Sessions help light the way. Full details on the run of classes by clicking on the Classes/Events tab up top.
Hope to see you at one of these classes!