You cook with a wide variety of healthy, organic and nutritionally dense foods. What do you think is the most underrated or underutilized food that we should all be adding to our diets?
Vegetables! Even though eating healthfully is trendy now, most people are still not eating enough vegetables. I know, that’s not one food, but rather it is a very underutilized food group.
I also think beans are underutilized. People tend to be afraid of them due to digestive issues. They are a great source of protein and many other nutrients and if they are cooked properly and you eat them regularly the digestive issues will generally not be an issue.
You offer cooking classes at The Nourishing Well. What can participants expect when attending?
I offer both hands-on and demonstration-style classes.The class size is always kept small to provide personalized attention. This allows plenty of time for questions and for getting to know the other participants a bit. Some long-time friendships have developed with people who have been regular students here. I love it when that happens!
Healthy food has a bad rap and many people think it’s not delicious. That is in no way true. As we say at The Nourishing Well, “food that creates health should be delicious!” In my classes participants are often introduced to new foods they would never have tried before and are delighted to find out just how delicious healthy food is.
Most of my classes are vegetarian or vegan and gluten-free. I am none of those. I’m one of those flexitarians. But, since I feel strongly about eating a plant-based diet and since so many people need to eat a gluten-free diet these days, I keep most of my classes within these guidelines.
It’s interesting to note that many of my students are not vegetarian and don’t necessarily need to eat a gluten-free diet, but like me, they value eating a plant-based diet. When I am making dishes in classes that are delicious with either meat or poultry, I explain how those ingredients can be incorporated into the dish. This has proven helpful to many families where one person is vegetarian, one person eats poultry and/or meat and someone else is gluten-free. People learn how to make a basic dish that can be created in multiple variations to keep everyone happy.
One of the best things about the classes—they are fun and lively and there’s always plenty of food to taste.
The Nourishing Well also can provide private chef services. What types of foods do you prepare for clients and how can readers access this unique resource?
As a personal chef, I am client-led. By this I mean whatever type of diet my client follows, I can cook for them. I cook for Paleo, vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, and macrobiotic clients and for those who eat just about anything. I can create foods that are hot and spicy and foods that are simple and plain.
The reason I’m able to do all these different types of diets is that at some point in my life I have followed all of them, experimenting with them to see how I felt when I followed the diet.
Some of my clients have had some serious health concerns and are on very restricted diets. My goal for these clients is to create delicious food for them so that they will be satisfied as best as can be on their restricted diets.
I have cooked for people with various types of cancer, ulcerative colitis and Crohns, diverticulitis, after a bone marrow transplant, gestational diabetes, heart conditions and for elderly clients who need all pureed foods and want them to be tasty! One of my favorite things to do is cook for women after they give birth. This is such a crucial time for a woman to rest and take care of herself and it’s a great time to have someone cook for you.
The one thread that continues through all of my cooking is that it is always organic, locally sourced as much as possible. Quality of ingredients and food preparation is essential if we are to have quality in our health and life.
Can you share a recipe for something that is both nutritious and delicious?
I have many recipes on my website. Since we’re talking about kids a lot here, the herb-crusted zucchini is a favorite for some of the families I’ve cooked for. It is delicious either baked or pan-fried and a great way to get the kids to eat some zucchini. This also works well with yellow summer squash and pattypan squash.
Ready to get healthy with The Nourishing Well? Register for classes or find out about personal chef services by calling Marilyn at (610) 853-2050 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Classes range in price from $45–$75 and are expected to sell-out so snag your spot soon!