Meet Your Chef
I am so very honored and excited to announce I will be joining Kelsey Stoll, founder and leader of Compass Hiking and Yoga Retreats, as a hOMe Chef and Mind Body Eating Coach (Institute for the Psychology of Eating Graduate, May 2018).
I want to tell you why joining Compass Hiking and Yoga is such a personal, alchemic place to land in 2018.
I love to eat. In fact, I've eaten every day since April 29th, 1977. And my powerful food revolution journey began in 2012; In case you're new to my story, you can catch up here! Over the past 6.5 years, I have been learning, cooking and teaching up a storm in homes, schools and community kitchens. Good food education = a life long passion.
When I was 12 years old, my parents took us on our first road trip out west to Colorado to vacation with friends. I'll never forget driving into the mountains for the first time (in my parent's sweet "dust buster" mini van), listening to my super cool walkman. I remember the feeling of being swallowed into a warm blanket of rocks and pine trees. So different than driving into the city (which I also love!). The energy was so much slower, calmer, almost dreamlike. I felt enveloped in a warm, nurturing "womb" - I never wanted to leave. Goo goo ga ga. I remember so clearly announcing to the entire car, "That's IT! I'm living in the mountains someday! Forget flat, boring Chicago!!!”
I felt wonderful so high up in the mountains. More conscious, more connected to myself, to the beauty around me, to the aroma of the forest. I am ALWAYS that kid who would rather wander in the forest for hours than do anything else (even if it meant getting a little lost). It's magical being inside a forest, hiking on trail, climbing up or down a mountain. My heart sings, my face is in constant wonder. I feel truly alive. Even when I am home on the Diamond, my favorite mornings are when I look out my window and see a distant mountain range of clouds above the trees. The mountains call to me more than any other natural wonder.
Being a former college student-athlete, I was used to intense practices, running, cardio-workouts and weight lifting but never really thought that yoga was something I would enjoy regularly or that it would give me the same kind of physical benefits. I preferred fast and "hard core." A few years ago, I decided to start practicing yoga more regularly in several different studios. I had always admired yoga-ness and I was on a mission to find more grace, balance and "centeredness" in my life; I was sick of feeling like an animal on a hamster wheel running nowhere fast. I figured yoga could maybe help me slow down in my fast pitch life? Maybe, ya know, like, find that "zen" thing that everyone talks about? As I focused more of my workouts on yoga, my flexibility & strength started to grow but my ping-pong brain never seemed to settle down the way I imagined a "good yogi's" brain should.
Then I found vinyasa hot yoga practice a little over a year ago. I was a little shocked at how much I enjoyed it. I certainly had no idea I was capable of sweating that much! I was also surprised at how I could get my heart rate up for an entire practice AND continue breathing slow and deep. I felt my younger college athlete come out to play with my present #thisis40. A love for intense exercise was found again in something paradoxically sloooooowwwwwww.
Around the same time, I began my hesitant journey into meditation by following a 21 Day Mediation Course. 20 minutes a day was definitely doable and a guided meditation really helped my crazy brain focus. I still wonder if I'm doing it "right." And even so, the rest of my day seems slower, more grounded, and less frenzied around managing my work & family life. The practice of meditation has become something I try to do every day like cooking and moving.
Mindfulness & Food
Last Spring, Kelsey approached me and asked if I would be interested in partnering with her for a Mindful Eating Series. It was one of my most powerful food education experiences to date because it added in a missing element: the power of our mind-body connection. I remember so vividly thinking to myself, "OMG this.is.it." THIS was the connection that I had found deep inside myself, and I wasn't alone. It clearly, profoundly resonated as I observed every participant's facial expression and listened to their personal food-life experience during those four amazing sessions. Without hesitation, I enrolled in the Institute for the Psychology of Eating and began my education into the realms of Dynamic Eating Psychology and Mind Body Nutrition. I'm officially geeking out over humanity's gut-brain connection and I've never had more fun going "back to school."
"Do what you love" they say.
I love to cook, eat, educate and set the table with candles, and beautiful place settings filled with colorful, soulful food.
I love to move, meditate and stretch my arms out into the big wide open.
I love to communicate and connect with other humans (big and small) on a deep, shimmering level.
Do what you love.
And inspire others while you're at it.
Join us in the mountains and compass hOMe.
While on retreat, I have planned deliciously balanced menus, full of colorful, flavor bursting, GORGEOUS food. I plan to share all of my simple ingredient, nutrient dense recipes so that you will be inspired to create a more nourishing hOMe plate in YOUR kitchen. I am a passionate food educator who believes that my secret sauce can be your secret sauce!
Our dreamy Compass mountain kitchens will warmly and energetically entice you to watch, laugh, learn, taste, sip, relax and linger into a more nourishing and positive relationship with food.