Cod Liver Oil

Tara, Holistic Nutrition Consultant

I’ve been diagnosed with asthma, all kinds of allergies, ADHD (Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder), anemia, anxiety, panic attacks, and osteoarthritis. I understand what life is like to live in a state of near constant discomfort; to be in a near constant state of self care.

If you can move, you can dance.

I grew up smack in the middle of 5 siblings and a busy household. Though we ate mostly organic, definitely ate different then anyone I knew, my nose was near constant running, my eyes itchy, lungs tight, and brain hyper. My mother drove hours to source organic food from health food stores in nearby cities. This was 1980, when real food was hard to find. She kept a small garden and chickens too. Her efforts are likely where my desire to eat well, feel well stems from, that and the desire to get off the medication.

I took a long time to connect the dots between what I ate and how I felt. Even more time to make sense of the stress; most of it unspoken. The suppressed emotions. I think emotions are harder to sort then food actually when it comes to a person healing. I understand the importance of emotional health and well-being.

There is a dance that only you know how to do. ~ Gabrielle Roth

Growing Up 

When I was 12, my friends and I opened restaurant in my parent’s kitchen called ‘Fat Mamas’. We invited neighbors and served a healthy menu. At 14, I created allergen-free recipes for the kids at my mother’s Montessori School; later which I later bound to a cookbook for the parents.

In college is when I really tuned into food for healing. I worked at one of the first Whole Foods in Boston where I felt at home. I liked how people felt; relaxed, easy-going vibe in loose cotton clothes, happy, free. I spent my extra $$ on food and stopped eating at the school cafeteria. I started fasting, doing wheatgrass shots and colonics with my nose buried in books about healing. I started to feel better, more in control of my health issues. 

Yin & Yang

On graduation day, I traveled to California and found Zen Macrobiotics by Georges Oshawa. I drank up every word of this book and pored through all I could find on the topic of healing with food. I traveled further north to apprentice with Japanese teacher, Cornelia Aihara, whose teachings formed my understanding of yin and yang principles. I made medicinal dishes for people who came in wheelchairs and wobbled out with canes and hopeful eyes. I chanted, walked barefoot in morning dew, applied ginger compresses to people with terminal cancer; watching the water turn black from toxic discharge.

Esalen

In my 20’s, I baked bread and allergen-free treats for Esalen, a community of 200+ people. Here I let loose and cooked with flexibility while maintaining an inner discipline I’d come to cherish. I also had the good fortune to cook at Tassajara, a zen monastery, where kitchen-life is infused with such depth of peace.

Pregnant

A dream come true, I became pregnant. Unfortunately, I was one of 1% of women to suffer a rare prenatal condition (hyperemesis gravidarum). I let go of my desire to eat well. I ate what I craved. If I wasn’t salivating for a food, the I wouldn’t keep it down. Days passed before a craving hit …. often for mashed potatoes, big macs, bagels. Meanwhile, I leafed through food magazines, took endless antibiotics for yeast infections, and received intravenous fluids. 

Motherhood

My introduction to motherhood was full of fatigue, low blood pressure, TMJ (from vomiting), and 11 new cavities. My asthma/allergies flared from weak immunity and the medication prescribed meant I had to stop breastfeeding. Our home was poorly insulated and ridden with mold and dander; my worst allergens. When my baby was 8 weeks, I packed our car, moving place to place until settling in California. The good news is I successfully breastfed my son until he was 3. The flip side is my dream of writing about healing with food and homegrown way of living went out the window. I was too busy, life too full.

If you want to give birth to your true self, you are going to have to dig deep down into that body of yours and let your soul howl. ~ Gabrielle Roth

Celiac Disease 

When my baby started solids, he became bloated with diarrhea/vomiting. No doctor knew what to do. Everything I’d learned about healing was not put into practice because I was too busy surviving as a single mom, raising my child single-handedly. At 2, I admitted him to intensive care for weight loss, listlessness, and dehydration. He was diagnosed with ‘borderline Celiac’ and told to avoid ‘too much gluten’. Allergies were not understood the way they are now.

With my nutritional background, I knew to do more than avoid gluten. First though, I knew I had to change our busy lifestyle. I took a position as a Therapeutic Healing Chef which swung our days into more balance, so I could focus on my son’s health. I eliminated gluten and top food allergens (soy, nuts, eggs, peanuts, crustacean, dairy). I watched his health return and this transformation motivated me to continue my studies on how food can heal (and harm).

Medicinal Cooking 

I studied with Cynthia and David Briscoe, healing counselors and parents of 6, and cooked medicinally as a chef for many families. In 2007, my family and I moved to Vermont where I miscarried a baby girl and a year later gave birth to my youngest son. I also attended The Culinary Business Academy to receive more formal training as a chef. After a few more years cooking, I hung up my chef hat to study at Bauman College to step into a counselor role. 

Today

I’m now a Holistic Nutrition Consultant and offer nutritional support and healing meal plans to those with health issues, dietary restrictions, and/or on B.E.D. My interest in healing properties of food is still strong as is my desire to support each body, each person to function harmoniously. My perspective is wider …. I see how changing what one eats is important, yet food is not always the end all, be all. Time and experience has shown me that healing happens simultaneously on an emotional, mental, spiritual, and physical level. We are whole beings; intricate and simple all at once 💜

If you just set people in motion they will heal themselves. ~ Gabrielle Roth

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