Category Archives: RecipEmail

The Comforting Spice That Makes Everything Nice


Take a moment to consider the word.

Go ahead, close your eyes.

When you think of comfort, what food comes to mind?

It’s odd to me that the phrase ‘comfort food’ is now associated with the sticky, sickly sweet, gooey or cheesy. All things that defy comfort to me (and my body).

When I close my eyes and think of the foods that connote comfort, they’re the foods I grew up with, the foods that were familiar in my childhood – foods like stuffed cabbage, mandelbrot, and cinnamon toast.

Did any of your comfort foods have a hint of cinnamon?

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tame what ails you with this golden root

Today I’d like to take a moment to tell you a story.

I’d like to reflect on what inspired my road to nutrition; to what brings me here, writing to you today, with scientific knowledge, insights about functional medicine, and the compassion and dedication that it takes to support someone moving from a state of illness to their optimal health.

As you likely know, this part of my story begins with my husband, Isamu.

The path that lead me to the powers of food as medicine began when Isamu was diagnosed with a terminal brain tumor in April of 2000. At the time, we had just learned we were pregnant with our first child.

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a spicy reunion

Last week I sat down for tea with a friend traveling the states on her honeymoon. She was visiting from Israel.

Inbal (that’s my friend), and I originally met on a food tour in Tel Aviv. She was the tour guide! And that day unfolded in delicious and unexpected ways.

There was food, yes, but also history, culture, people and stories like you would not believe. The market (or “shouk” as it’s called), was crowded with towers of spices and what tickled my interest the most were the spice blends.

When Inbal and I sat down last week in PDX (fast friends after a one-day food tour almost two years ago!), she produced a little bag of specialty spice blends, relaying the name of the mixtures and recommendations for their use.

And this spicy reunion inspired me to get spicy with you!

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Everything’s coming up. . . pumpkin!

Everywhere I look, every door step I approach, every market I enter I’m greeted by my favorite color and one of my favorite flavors. . . pumpkin!

Are you a pumpkin lover too?

And are you fantasizing about your Halloween treats over there, like I am?

You might laugh at what constitutes a goodie for me over the holidays. (My body has zero tolerance for sugar).

Yet even with my comparatively tame excesses, I’ve felt a bit tuckered moving into the cold, wet autumn. Fall is a time to turn inward, slow down, and retreat and the start of this season has been anything but quiet.

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roots and shoots

Recently a dear friend asked me what I see in ingredients when I cook them.

When making a mushroom soup am I focused on the medicinal and detoxifying properties of the fungi?

Are the chopped onions on my cutting board to be consumed for their antioxidant attributes?

Do I include flax seeds in my smoothie because they have potent anti-inflammatory benefits?

The answer? yes and no.

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root cause rescue remedy

Have you ever kept a gratitude journal?

Either you shouted a big ‘yes’ or you’re ready to hit the delete button and throw this email in the trashcan before reading on.

I’ll confess, if you were ready to toss this newsletter to the cyber Oscar the Grouch on your desktop, you’re not alone. I’m not usually one to count my chickens. I may give them a nod on occasion, but not with any pomp or circumstance, publication or ceremony.

But today is different.

All day today I drove around the island of Kauai with such a sense of gratitude that I decided to document it, share it, and invite you, even if just this once, to stop in your tracks, right now, and think of just one thing you’re grateful for.

Don’t force it, let it just come! There’s likely one thing that comes to mind.

Savor it!

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Aloha to Aloe

I’m writing to you today from an island.

The skies are fickle, the land is lush and the sea and sand are sweet as can be.

Chickens and kittens run wild and every so often you hit a patch of road that smells of aromatic, rotting fruit.

Can you guess where I am?

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get your digestive system into mint condition

Just the other day I asked my son what his favorite treat was.

The choices? Cookies, cake or ice cream.

I knew the answer.

When I traveled out of town last month and left him to ride his bicycle to camp each day, he took the pocket money I gave him and stopped at the gluten-free, vegan food cart for a scoop in a gluten-free waffle cone every single day on his afternoon travels back to the friends house where he was staying while I was away.

Summertime teenage freedom and a daily scoop of ice cream!

There’s really nothing that can beat that…

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slip into summer with this gut lovin’ super-herb

What do the following symptoms have in common?
* bloating
* allergies
* eczema
* depression

Can you guess what’s at the root of all those expressions? It’s your gut.

That’s right, the health of that long twisting tube deep-seated in your abdomen is a key factor in a host of health situations. And those situations might not be a “condition” in and of themselves, but instead a manifestation that something’s gone awry in your primary organ of digestion.

This summer I’m driving this core initiative home with our gut lovin’ superfoods!

You can consider these symptoms in that same camp:
gas, constipation, diarrhea, sensitivities to certain foods, headaches, asthma, decreased immunity, brain fog, anxiety, and the list goes on. . .

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pick a peck of pectin

July is a big month for me.

Today, July 16th, is my birthday!

But July is also the month of the anniversary of my husband’s passing. This year marks my 49th birthday and the 13th year observance of his death.

The two occasions fall just three days apart.

Celebration and sadness.

I think we all know that both can trigger a hankering for comforting foods and sweet treats that don’t necessarily sit so well in a delicate system like mine (and possibly yours too?). We tell ourselves that we deserve that extra helping of strawberry shortcake or, screw it, tonight I’m going to have that summery mango margarita.

In the years that I’ve now been holding these two occasions so close in proximity, they’ve provoked a deep awareness about the different ways in which we culturally honor, celebrate, and observe.

As a result, I’ve been observing just how we observe!

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