This was supposed to be about the heartwarming day I watched my daughter teach my niece how to make challah. But last week, as I was in my car listening to the radio, an old Jim Croce song came on that got me thinking. And when I sat down to write, I realized that some things are more important even than challah.
Every holiday, I try to think of what would make the perfect gift for each person on my list. Often there are homemade gifts (vanilla extract, mason jars of homemade granola, dehydrated herbs from my garden, and this year a bottle of dried astragalus root for my mom – shhh….). But as I think about the gifts I gave and received this past year, what I remember more than anything else is the time – the time shared gathered around the dining room table celebrating birthdays, the time in the kitchen kneading sourdough with friends, the cheering on the sidelines, the clapping in the audience, the hikes, the skiing, the laughter, and even the crying. Time is the gift that leaves the biggest imprint on my heart. Time is the gift I want to figure out how to package this year and give to everyone I love.
So thank you Jim Croce for reminding me. Because as a child, I knew all the lyrics and sang about time in a bottle without giving it another thought. But today, when I realized what I wanted to give to those I love this holiday season and always, I was reminded that I had been singing it all along.
If I could save time in a bottle
The first thing that I’d like to do
Is to save every day
‘Til eternity passes away
Just to spend them with you
If I could make days last forever
If words could make wishes come true
I’d save every day like a treasure and then,
Again, I would spend them with you
These are among my most treasured gifts of 2016, and it’s the promise of more time shared and more memories created in the year ahead that I already cherish.
If I had a box just for wishes
And dreams that had never come true
The box would be empty
Except for the memory
Of how they were answered by you.
With thanks to all for helping to make clean food memories together.
When I self-published CLEAN FOOD, it was thrilling to discover how far it was travelling. I received emails from all over the country and world. Every email touched my heart and inspired me even more to continue writing and sharing my clean food recipes and journey. But one email in particular stands out even to this day. It arrived on January 8, 2008. Here is the heart of that email:
I was just in Connecticut over the holidays visiting family and my sister, Sarah Leathers,
gave me and my sister-in-law copies of your wonderful new book…. I am the founder of
The Ceres Community Project out here on the West Coast. Since we launched in March of
last year, we’ve provided 4,200 meals to 28 local families — all at no cost to them.
Many of our clients are vegan and, despite having cooked professionally for 15 years and
having been a vegetarian and/or vegan for most of the past 35 years, I still appreciate
Blessings to you,
Founder, The Ceres Community Project
Years later, I visited the Ceres Community Project in California, taught a community cooking class for them, signed books, and was inspired by their work and intentions – supporting those in need and helping their community heal.
Today, I am thrilled to complete the circle by sharing with you the Healing Meals Community Project. A sister organization of Ceres Community Project in two ways – first as a Ceres affiliate partner, and second as founder Sarah Leathers is the sister who gifted my books in the letter above!
Based in central Connecticut, Healing Meals started in March with a handful of volunteers working out of commercial kitchen space generously donated by Kim and Scott Morrison, owners of our beloved local New England Pasta Company.
And today, not even a year later, Healing Meals Community Project has served:
• 5,000+ meals
• 92 people
• 36 families
• 15 towns in Connecticut
They have trained more than 65 youth volunteers in cooking, nutrition and leadership, and have been supported by more than 70 adult volunteers who have served as mentors, Delivery Angels, administrative support, gardeners and more.
Nearly ten years after receiving that first letter from Cathryn Couch, I received these words in an email from her sister just weeks ago:
This has truly been a dream come true for me and I cannot thank you enough for
giving me the push to take that step and just start. I know this is what I am supposed
to be doing and I have never looked back.”
Founder, Healing Meals Community Project
What a thrill it has been to see this organization take off, and what an honor to part of this healing community. If you would like to join me in supporting Healing Meals Community Project this holiday season, please visit their website here. Donations in an amount help individuals and families in need to…
Eat clean and live well.
Imagine someone telling you “Here’s exactly what you need to eat to be healthy.”
Then imagine that the recipes are all written by an award-winning best-selling cookbook author, and…
“Here’s a shopping list for the week.”
Oh, how I wish someone had shared this information when I embarked on my own clean food journey all those years ago! This fairy tale may not come with an in-house chef, but it IS a dream come true.
I met Darlene Clarkin after she had taken an early retirement from her first career and was pursuing her interest in holistic health. When she combined her business acumen with her passion for whole health, WholeLife HealthTech Inc. was born. Today, she has a brand-new app focused on supporting people who are gluten intolerant, and I am honored to be part of the team that created it.
MyHealthyGut App helps people manage and improve their overall health and nutrition.
Personally, I have spent 30 years exploring how to eat clean, live well, and teaching others how to make doing so easy and delicious. Fortunately, you don’t have to spend 30 years figuring out how best to eat to support your own good health. Now it’s all wrapped up in one app that’s accessible to all.
I loved developing the meal plan for MyHeathyGut, and am thrilled now to learn that so many people are loving not only my recipes, but the helpful information about foods to eat and foods to avoid, advice on supplements, and a food journal to help negotiate their own clean food journeys with success.
MyHealthyGut App represents collaboration between a Health Researcher, a Registered Dietician, a Holistic Nutritionist, and me, with the support of The University of Calgary (Faculty of Kinesiology), Canadian Celiac Association (Calgary, Vancouver and Kamloops Chapters), Mitacs and the Calgary Foundation. This is the real deal.
So stop spinning your wheels figuring out how to fuel your best nutrition and health. Check out the app today, reap the benefits every day, and check back here to share your experience to help make this app even better.
Helping all to…
Eat clean and live well,