Suzanne Landry ~ Fresh Food Chef and Educator
I have been teaching my love and passion for cooking for over 30 years. My own family’s history of health challenges is what sparked this passion. We changed our diet from a S.A.D. (standard American diet) to a more natural diet centered around whole grains and fresh produce. Our health improved dramatically and I have been inspired to continue to grow and learn since. My favorite recipes are in my first cookbook “The Passionate Vegetable.”
I teach with Santa Barbara City College and in Ventura locations presently but have taught in over 50 locations within four states. I am available to privately teach one-on-one or group cooking class parties.
“Without good health nothing else in life matters.”
That was one of the many truths my dad taught me when I was growing up. His 17 years of recurring cancer taught him the value of good health. He died at the young age of 47 years. Soon after, I began a journey of my own healing. My dad’s death at such young age, my own health challenge and my children’s chronic health problems were the catalysts to my journey. It’s been fascinating to explore the connection between food and healing, and 30 years later, I’m still captivated by it.
When I was 28 years old, I suffered from low energy, chronic back problems, digestive disorders, and painful ovarian cysts. My doctor recommended surgery to remove my ovary because of a lemon-sized cyst. At the same time, over an 18 month period, my five-year-old son had more than 10 episodes of ear infections followed by several bouts of bronchitis. The “cure” offered was traditional antibiotics. Five pediatricians prescribed more than 14 different antibiotics. At the same time, my l8 month old son was suffering from an irritating eczema that began when he was only six months old. The only “remedy” prescribed was hydrocortisone cream. I felt helpless, but unwilling to just treat the symptoms. I kept asking “What’s the cause?” My helplessness turned into stubborn determination as I searched for answers.
Even as a child I felt there was a cause for every effect and that nothing ever “just happened.” I knew in my deepest self that there were reasons for everything. This deep searching for truth led me on many paths of study. I came to understand and believe that healing has to be holistic because it addresses the mind and body. True wellness includes both.
We, like most Americans, ate for pleasure and totally unaware of the tremendous influence our food had on our energy levels, our sleep, our health and our overall sense of well-being. I had subscribed to the Standard American Diet (S.A.D.) which is excessively high in protein, salt and saturated fats, and dangerously low in fiber and complex carbohydrates. The S.A.D. diet is truly sad, and I wanted alternatives. My leisure time became study time. I read everything related to health and nutrition, and I implemented dietary changes that changed our lives. Our transition was slow and steady so these gradual changes were easily incorporated into our daily eating habits. Slow and steady progress is what I still recommend for my students today.
The first change to our diet was to reduce red meat and white sugar. Immediately I felt more energetic, especially in the mornings. I became less irritable and more patient. My family started appreciating the natural taste of fresh vegetables and whole grains. Since I had become bored cooking the S.A.D. diet for my family, I began experimenting with new foods, flavors and textures. Cooking immediately became an exciting and creative adventure. My boys joined me in chopping vegetables, making homemade breads and cookies. They began to feel a part of this new adventure.
The best news was that with every positive step we made, more of our symptoms disappeared. After a few weeks, the eczema and ear infections that plagued my sons were gone, and after several months, my cysts disappeared! It seemed like a miracle then and it still does today.
Good health is within your reach. The road to good health is a joyous journey of learning. Our bodies gently teach us each step of the way. We need only to listen and learn. Our bodies tell us what makes us feel good, what gives us energy and what drains our energy. While it’s not always easy to listen and respect these messages, every time we do, we enjoy a greater sense of awareness, self-love and vitality. My journey of good health has been the most important, interesting, rewarding, and yes, sometimes challenging journey in my life. And every step has been worth the effort. “Know thyself” echoes in my mind.
My efforts and commitment has rewarded us. For more than 30 years my family and I have been in good health. None of us have needed medication of any kind – not even aspirin. Even simple colds are very rare, as are most other commonly accepted ailments and doctor visits are very rare. Most importantly, we have an abundance of energy and good health.
My dad was right; good health is very important and without it nothing else matters very much. This fundamental belief guides my work as a health counselor, educator and speaker. Since 1987 I have been sharing my love of cooking healthy, delicious foods through classes, articles, newsletters, my website, television programs and now through this book. Whether you have just starting your journey, or looking for fresh ideas and innovative recipes, I hope you find the inspiration you are seeking within these pages.
To your health!