What is CALM?
CALM stands for Culinary and Lifestyle Medicine. It is a philosophy and an approach toward achieving optimal health that utilizes scientific, intuitive, and mindfulness-based skills. The beauty of CALM is that it respects each person's uniqueness. Every person needs something different from their diet, according to his or her family history, environment, lifestyle, psychological, and social circumstances. In today's media dominated culture, eating has become a thing of fashion, as opposed to a time when we treated food as medicine.
Eat real food. Enjoy what you're eating. Use food as your best medicine.
I grew up with a mother whose mission it was to make sure her three active children knew the importance of eating together as a family and to put the right food in our bodies. While nourishing food may look different to me now as an older eater, I always felt mom's love through her Lipton noodle soup and lasagne. The comfort of certain foods can stay with us for a lifetime. Like many people, I didn't always have a healthy relationship with food. As a serious dancer through college, I cultivated some unhealthy eating patterns, like eliminating essential fats from my diet because I had the notion that fat makes you fat. It was the 90 after all! Our bodies pay the price when we mess with nature though, and mine certainly did as I lost a significant amount of weight and my period along with it, had my first anxiety attack, and a dysregulated thyroid. This was one of my first major lessons that food can lead us down a road of health or disease.
The second major experience was in my 20's when I picked up a parasite, which left me with functional gastrointestinal problems that impacted my life in so many ways, including social and spiritual. Unfortunately back then, GI doctors told patients with IBS it was in their head and prescribed an antibiotic. Believing that diet had to be the answer, I started to experiment with elimination diets, taking out trigger foods like gluten, dairy, and soy. My symptoms started to improve. But the body is complex and after a certains levels of stability, some symptoms would come back. I discovered books on how our thoughts and emotions manifest in our physical body. I started to notice the deep anxieties I had around food were keeping me from fully getting better. Hormones and neurotransmitters are produced in the gut, which is why it's considered the "second brain". So in addition to focusing on "what" I was eating to support my gut health, I also applied the "how" to eating through mindfulness tools like mindful eating, deep breathing, and visualization. While I'm not symptom free, I can lead a happy, healthy life in which I have control over my symptoms and I understand what triggers them. My personal journey discovering how to heal through dietary and lifestyle modifications propelled me to become a professional health-supportive chef with a Masters in Nutrition and Functional Medicine.
"I empower people to make food and lifestyle choices that make them feel whole again."
In today's media-driven culture, people are told a gluten free diet will make you lose weight, fat=bad cholesterol, and carbs lead to fat. These are very black and white statements that carry a lot of nuance when you get down to the science and bio-individuality of a person. What works for one person may have very different effects on another. This is why