to nourish oneself is not simply
to give ourselves food to eat,
but to delight the tastebuds,
find peace within the mind
and express the deep
creative ache of our spirit
Practice and experience
Some of Jean's earliest memories as a child were gardening with her father, as her grandmother sat beside them watching them plant, weed, and water what grew into bountiful vegetables. She recalls being so proud of the plethora of cucumbers, and curious enough of the tomatoes that Jean tried one after the other! Unfortunately, this did not set her up to be a plant-based eater, or even a healthy adolescent eater, but it did instill a passion for working in the soil to grow vegetables and herbs for family and friends. Raised beds and container gardens have been a natural part of any place she has lived since her college days, and have served as fertile, educational, and fun “play areas” for her three children!
More than 15 years ago, Jean suffered for close to a year with painful, and at times, debilitating GI problems. She spent a great deal of time, money, and energy working with doctors in Boston —circulating through various diagnostics and prescriptions. Jean found little to no relief until a trusted friend whispered the name of a functional nutritionist an hour from her home. She had nothing to lose, and this began her journey with nutrition response testing, applied kinesiology, and a transformative awareness of the food and beverages Jean was consuming, and just how inflammatory they were to her overall mental, physiological, and emotional well-being. Since then, Jean has worked with a number of naturopaths and functional nutritionists as she has transitioned and shifted through various life stages (i.e. pregnancies, perimenopause, and environmental illnesses). Jean has tried elimination diets, herbal supplements, and juice cleanses. She has been vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian, a full-on carnivore, and eaten raw for periods in her life. What each experience has provided Jean is an education and awareness of our food systems —"big ag”—regenerative farming —sustainability —and the nutrient-dense foods that have been healing our bodies for decades upon decades!
Six years ago, Jean spent her birthday at Kripalu Center for Yoga + Health and attended an eye-opening conference titled, Food as Medicine. She left with a deep impression of how we can nourish the cells, mind and soul with nutrient-dense foods. When Jean learned one of the keynote speakers, Dr. Mark Hyman, was an integral part in the Mindbodygreen Functional Nutrition Coaching certification, she knew it was the next move in her personal and professional journey with food. As a gardener, sustainability champion, mindfulness and yoga educator, learning the science behind functional nutrition and integrating it with her offerings feels complete.
With a strong foundation in mindfulness, it’s ironic that Jean has lived much of her life as a mindless, emotional eater. Through the years as her mindfulness practice grew, she had an awareness of a few emotions that would regularly send her to the refrigerator i.e. frustration, sadness, self-doubt. So Jean worked on this from a mindful space: notice, label, and investigate with curiosity and kindness, ask herself if she was really hungry (usually not), and walk away.
When Jean read this quote in a superfoods guide, “Eat according to your purpose,” it struck a chord. What is the purpose of each piece of food I bring to my mouth? And with this line of questioning, she began to think not only about the purpose of the food (to fuel my body), but also about the connection our food has to history, to cultures and traditions, to family and friends, and the connection to the source—to the how’s, who’s and where’s of our food. This includes how was it made, who was involved in its creation, where was it grown or raised, and most importantly, how does it make me feel? Do I feel differently eating greens from a local farm vs eating a bag of chips? When Jean eats with purpose — with intention —the outcome and experience is positive for her mind and body.