Nutrition and wellness have always been passions of mine. During my 30+ years as an attorney in California, I shopped the farmers’ market, cooking healthy meals with seasonal ingredients at home, gave cooking classes and catered events in my spare time. I envisioned ultimately helping people live healthy, balanced lives as my full-time mission.
I took some classes at a holistic health school, but decided that I needed to know more about the science of nutrition and wellness, so I earned a MS in Nutritional Sciences at night, a major achievement for a former English major to not only pass, but enjoy, biochemistry.
When my kids grew up and left the nest, I decided it was time to branch out from my law career into health and wellness. My first adventure was making organic extra virgin olive oil in Santa Ynez, California. For a year I tended a 1,300-acre, 3,000 olive tree orchard with five varietals. I learned to trim trees and fix irrigation lines and tend my sheep and chickens. When it was harvest time, the olives were hand harvested and milled on-site. My olive oil exceeded both COOC and USDA standards for extra virgin olive oil. That entire year was magical as I observed the seasons, growth and harvest.
In 2018, I lived in a community in Uganda as a volunteer to work with single mothers and orphans, an experience that transformed me. I expected poor health and hygiene, but the people were loving, generous and healthy. Thanks to a plant-based diet with meat once a week, no sugar, junk food, dairy or alcohol, I found diabetes, heart disease, cancer, obesity and other chronic illnesses that plague Western civilization were almost nonexistent. With no refrigeration, food was bought fresh daily at the local market and slow-cooked over a charcoal stove.
After Africa, I visited Florida thinking it was temporary. Discovering St. Pete Beach, I felt right at home with a weekly farmers’ market and growing holistic community where I could write, cook and enjoy the beach. Soon, I started cooking for neighbors on Sunday with my farmers market haul. They clamored to learn my healthy recipes, so I wrote a cookbook to teach people how to use fresh food for easy-to-prepare healthy dishes.
My core philosophy is keep things simple. That applies to not only food, but life. Balance is also a critical theme for me. We can get out of balance physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. Our society is one of constant stimulation or entertainment. We are disconnected from ourselves and our personal needs.
In my book, A Gardener for Humanity, I talk about how people, like plants, have some essential needs that must be met in order to grow and thrive. People, like plants, can suffer damage at different stages of growth. Our words and deeds impact others; they should encourage and support others, not harm them.
People underestimate the power of a smile or a kind word. A Gardener for Humanity explores how we all, at times, need to be tended, and how we can help tend ourselves and others, BUT we must always start by tending ourselves. I would gently encourage you to begin today. Contact me by phone at 727-534-1406 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a consultation or private or group class at either The Centre St. Pete Beach or Peaceful Warriors Wellness Center downtown St. Petersburg.