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Healthy Cooking Class
The Cooking Class That Changed My Life

As a psychotherapist always focusing on the mental, spiritual and emotional parts of my health, I have often neglected my physical health. Like many Americans, I get that internal nagging to take better care of myself, but I have often gone for that quick microwave dinner or passed on working out.

As I often follow my intuition, I was getting a very strong message that I needed to take the time out of my busy schedule to attend a healthy cooking class locally. So, I decided to go, and on the way there, I heard a little voice within me that said, "this is going to change your life." I smiled and looked forward to the new adventure, but had no idea what was in store.

Lisa Lawless
By Lisa S. Lawless, Ph.D.
Psychotherapist & Sexuality Expert

CEO & Founder of
Holistic Wisdom, Inc. & NAASAS

Copyright: Holistic Wisdom- Do NOT Copy Warning

Copyright © Holistic Wisdom, Inc.

After two classes, and a private consultation with the teacher of the class and years of research ever since, I am here to tell you about my dedication to a healthy diet. My physical struggle has often come from feeling like I was always starving, even though I have struggled with keeping excess weight off. The truth was that I was starving... starving for nutrients that I was depriving my body. I was eating way too much sugar and processed foods; my body was saying "yeah, where is what I really need?" So it kept sending signals that I was hungry. Don't get me started on the sugar highs and lows I was experiencing either as it was a roller coaster My favorite way to describe myself when I would walk into an acupuncture session to get 'fixed up' was to say "I am wired and tired."

In this cooking class I learned how to eat well, while making delicious food. Rich grains such as millet, quinoa, spelt, brown rice, vegetables, soy, legumes and fruits have replaced my daily ritual of sugar, bleached flour, meat, and dairy. However, the most amazing part of the class for me was when the instructor showed us a huge glass beaker and he said that inside of it was the same acid levels as the human stomach. He then held a small tube with 39g of sugar (that is the equivalent of a 12oz soda such as Coke). He poured it into the beaker and it overflowed with foam. He explained that sugar causes serious acid reflux (as does dairy) and it is why so many Americans are taking drugs for it when in reality they just need to eat healthier.

I sat there with my mouth wide open thinking back to years before when I went to my doctor complaining of acid reflux. After two upper gastrointestinal (UGI) series where they looked at the upper and middle sections of my gastrointestinal tract using liquid barium, fluoroscopy and an X-ray, they recommended a prescription antacid and told me that while they could find nothing wrong and to take the pills. Not once did they ask me about my diet, sugar or dairy intake.

Having worked in psychiatric hospitals as a therapist, I knew how the medical industry worked. I knew how drug reps came into the hospital and wooed doctors with huge vacations and financial incentives and then the next day every patient that could be put on the medication they were promoting was on it. I knew how insurance companies worked as I worked for two that specialized in mental health and suddenly I realized that it was all about the money. Telling someone to eat healthier does not make the doctor, the hospital, or the drug companies any money. They are failing us in the most basic ways by ignoring the most fundamental factor there is when it comes to influencing our health... food.

This does not even tackle the issues of soil depletion, GMO and pesticide poisoning to our bodies. I now understand that to be educated is more than just being an empowered consumer, it can literally save your life. Let me say, that I have read many an article, book and heard the testimonials of the physically healthy who have preached these eating practices for years, but it never really motivated me. I tasted a few vegetarian meals and thought them horrible. I have to have food that tastes good and it has to be quick too as I live such a busy life.

During one of the classes, when I put the first bite of the vegetarian chili into my mouth, my taste buds applauded. That was one of many incredible dishes that were prepared for me in this class. These dishes took very little time to make, they were very healthy, low in calories, and tasted wonderful.

At the end of my first class, I sped home to tell my hubby that I had found enlightenment in a bowl of chili of all places. I have replaced my milk with rice milk, I no longer eat refined flour products, sugary foods, dairy and many other terrible foods. I lost over 50 pounds after having my son and I found myself again.

I also found something remarkable. The more I ate healthy, the more I craved healthy food and I actually enjoyed things that I used to dislike such a vegetables in general. One thing that I learned was that the processed foods we have in our diet are all very high in flavors like salt, sugar and artificial tastes that make healthy food taste bland to us. However, once you stop eating those foods, your taste buds begin to appreciate the natural, non-chemical tastes of healthy foods the more you eat them.

There are some great books that may help you get started by Dr. Joel Fuhrman and my favorite is Eat to Live, although I have to admit I add salt to his recipes as I have not conquered that need yet. Another one I really like is a funny and saucy cookbook called the Thug Kitchen: The Official Cookbook: Eat Like You Give a F*ck. For those that do not mind some strong language and a funny approach, it actually has some great recipes.


Here are some additional things that I have integrated into my life which have drastically improved my health-

Apple Cider Vinegar Dehydrating Veggies Fermented Vegetables
I drink this daily as it is a natural appetite suppressant and has amazing health benefits. It is important to drink one particular brand - Braggs as it contains what is called "The Mother" which is the most nutritious part. You can mix it with water or get one of their new pre-mixed drinks with Stevia which are so good. My favorite- Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar All Natural Drink Organic Concord Grape and Acai.

One of the oldest methods of preserving food, dehydration removes moisture and unhealthy microorganisms. For me, one of the things that I missed the most in eating healthy were chips. I love eating crunchy, salty snacks and felt that was missing until I started using my dehydrator to make my health, crunch, salty snacks. My favorite is asparagus with salt and one cup is only 27 calories so crunch away!

Fermented vegetables are great resources for nutrients, fiber and digestion-enhancing enzymes. They provide your intestinal tract with a healthy balance of flora by increasing beneficial bacteria. My acupuncturist introduced me to this health movement and I was skeptical that I would like them, however, now if I do not have a plate full daily I feel like my day was not complete. I love the taste and you can buy them at most health food stores and super markets in amazing blends, but also make them quite easily and for very little cost.

Broccoli Sprouts Juicing Vitamin D3 & Turmeric
I am sure you have heard over and over how healthy broccoli is for you, but it is strange that no one talks about how much bang for your buck you get when you eat it while still in the sprout stage. They look like bean sprouts and taste like radishes. They have very high levels of nutrients and enzymes, in fact they have up to 100 times more enzymes than other vegetables when eaten within the first seven days of spouting. These powerful antioxidants fight free radicals that reduce aging and prevent cancer. Juicing allows me to get in vegetables that I know are good for me but I am not as crazy about or just do not want to spend a lot of time eating so many. Yes, it removes the fiber but when it comes to just getting the nutrients, it is a great way to go. I often put in fresh ginger, dandelion greens and other things that I know will give my body extremely healthy nutrients. Just make sure you drink the juice right away before the plant cells die. It is why buying juice at the store is not anywhere close the same level of health drink. These are the two must have supplements I take for health. There are tons of articles on the web that outline the health benefits of these so I just say that you should make sure you get Vitamin D3 as Cholecalciferol as it is absorbed by the body without having to take calcium and the safest as it is not made from fish oil. Turmeric is also healthy but in order to be absorbed by the body properly, you will want to make sure it is Turmeric Extract Curcumin C3 Complex with Bioperine.
DIM L-Serine Eat for Health
Losing weight can cause hormones to fluctuate. I found that taking a supplement called DIM (Cruciferous Vegetables & DIM with Broccoli Extract) helped keep that under control. Basically the body has three types of estrogen - E1, E2 and E3. The one most women hate the symptoms of is E1 which is what most associate with PMS. The body can convert E1 into E2 and E3 estrogen which is what will help relieve those symptoms and the DIM helps to naturally do this. I had a mirconutrients panel done to see where there may be holes in my nutritional intake and noted that the results indicated a deficiency in the amino acid L-Serine. I began taking the supplement and noticed that I began losing weight even more quickly. It really comes down to making sure that you are getting the nutrients your body needs for optimal functioning. You can get a micronutrient panel done at a local lab and do not need a physician to order it for you, however, in most cases your insurance will not cover it, but it is very informative and may be a worth while investment as it was for me. A book I highly recommend for healthy eating is by Joel Fuhrman M.D. called Eat for Health as it talks about what really matters when it comes to nutrition and I agree with everything that Dr. Fuhrman discusses in this book. He also has a weight loss plan and recipes in it so it is a great resource for people wanting to make a lifestyle change.

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