Cod Liver Oil

Tara, Holistic Nutritionist

I’ve been diagnosed with asthma, allergies, anemia, temporomandibular joint disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, panic attacks, osteopenia, osteoarthritis, and more. I know what life is like to be uncomfortable.

I grew up the middle of 5 kids and a busy family. From a young age, I was anchored in my body by a dripping nose, itchy eyes, tight lungs, fiery brain, and sitting still was out of the question.

My mother drove hours to source organic …. this was 1980 and good food hard to come by. She kept a garden and chickens and her effort is likely where my desire to feel better stems from. That and a desire to get off medication.

Took me a long time to connect the dots between what I ate and how I felt; longer to understand the stress that permeated my childhood. I have come to believe that our emotional landscape is often more difficult to sort through then food when healing rears; especially if trauma is involved. I understand the importance of emotional health and well-being.

Growing Up 

When I was 12, I opened a home kitchen restaurant in my family home with friends. We called ourselves Fat Mama’s and served a healthy menu. At 14, I created allergen-free recipes for my mother’s Montessori school kids and later bound a cookbook. In college, I really tuned into food for healing. I started working at Whole Foods in Boston and felt at home there. People were relaxed, easy-going, wore loose clothes, seemingly happy and free. I spent my extra money on good food and stopped eating in the school cafeteria. I started fasting, doing wheatgrass shots, and colonics while keeping my nose buried deep in books about healing and nutrition. I started to feel better, more in control of my health issues. 

Yin & Yang

On graduation day, I traveled to California where I found the book, Zen Macrobiotics, by Georges Oshawa. The words moved me north to apprentice with Cornelia Aihara, a Japanese teacher, who taught me about yin and yang. I cooked medicinally for people who arrived in wheelchairs and left with canes. I chanted, walked barefoot, applied ginger compresses to those with terminal cancer; watching as the water turned black from discharge. I understand how to use food to heal.

Esalen

In my 20’s, I studied massage and baked bread for the Esalen community in Big Sur. I cooked with more flexibility and maintained the inner discipline I’d come to cherish. During this time I had an opportunity to cook at Tassajara Zen Monastery where stillness permeates movement.

Pregnancy

In 2001, I became pregnant and suffered hyperemesis gravidarum (HG). I was unable to eat anything unless I craved it, nor was I able to drink more then a teaspoon of water without vomiting. In 2006, I became pregnant with a baby girl I miscarried. Months later, my dad died of a heart attack. The grief of losing my baby and dad overwhelmed my system and I dove into being pregnant again; experiencing a full 40 weeks of HG.

Motherhood

My experience as a new mother was one of fatigue, low blood pressure, stomach issues, and 21 cavities from the excessive vomiting in pregnancy. My immune system was certainly compromised and my asthma/allergies flared. The medication needed meant I was no longer able to breastfeed my son and I was in and out of the ER to keep my lungs open. I lived in constant challenge with my health and my sensitivities to the environment (i.e. pollen, dust, mold, dander).  

Celiac Disease 

When my oldest started eating solids, he became bloated with diarrhea and vomiting. No doctor knew what to do. Everything I’d learned about healing was out the window as I was too busy being a single mom working 65+ hour weeks with a sick child. At 2 years old, I admitted him to intensive care for weight loss, listlessness, and dehydration. He was diagnosed with ‘borderline Celiac disease’ and I was told to avoid giving him too much gluten. 

Personal Therapeutic Chef 

I changed our stressful weeks by working as a Personal Therapeutic Chef …. something I loved, cooking medicinally and this swung life into more balance so that I could focus on my son. I eliminated the top food allergens and soon a pink returned to his cheeks. His transformation motivated me to continue learning how food can heal (and harm). 

Prayer

I studied with Cynthia and David Briscoe, counselors and parents of six and wove all I learned into my cooking service and healing my son (and myself). By this time, I was 34 and a single mother who was zapped at a cellular level. My anxiety spiked and I began having panic attacks. This was my rock bottom. I had more health challenges then I’d ever had at once and felt swallowed up by the demands of life. Soon after I was diagnosed with systemic yeast overgrowth which turned out to be a poignant source of many of my issues. I used The Body Ecology Diet for 3 years to swing my body back into balance and in 2011, I attended The Culinary Business Academy to receive a more formal training as a chef and continued to use food to heal while simultaneously attending Bauman College to become a Holistic Nutritional Consultant.

Today

I no longer take medication to control symptoms and I meditate daily. I have not had a panic attack since January of 2018 and am committed to living a slow life in Vermont where my husband and I have built a home made with materials that do not trigger my allergies/sensitivities. I am able to eat more widely and am in a good place in health. My interest in healing runs deep as ever as does my desire to support each person I work with to function harmoniously as they heal on an emotional, mental, spiritual, and physical level.

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

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