The Evolution of Pure Sustenance
Pure Sustenance is a natural extension of my Italian roots, extensive experience in the field of food and health, and my own journey toward wholeness.

From Italian Roots...

I owe much of my passion and philosophy about food to my Italian culture and my family. Food  was a central part of my upbringing.  Whatever the event, we all found ourselves eventually migrating to the kitchen.  It wasn’t all about food but food was the bridge through which we connected to each other.

 Both of my grandfathers were Italian immigrants. Both of my grandmothers were of Italian decent.  I fondly remember the smell of my grandmothers’ kitchens.   There was always something cooking and often it was homemade chicken soup or pasta; two of my favorite foods.

My maternal grandfather, Grandpa Pete, came to America at the age of 16.  He settled in Detroit Michigan, and became a fruit and vegetable peddler. I still remember Grandpa Pete’s big red truck and his garage which was filled with the distinctive smells and colors of fresh produce.  The garage was like an artist’s palate from which I could literally eat color!    Produce has become a natural part of my diet not just because “it’s good for me,” but because it was readily available, artistic and a way that I connect to the flavor of my childhood -specifically my grandfather’s love and American journey.

Experience in the Field of Food and Health

In our diet-driven culture, the joy, art, and camaraderie around food can quickly be squeezed into a processed and empty relationship with food.   Most people don’t think joy when they see “dietitian” or “eating well.”  I believe food should be a delicious experience and I invite my clients to explore a new paradigm around health and food.

In the 20 plus years that I’ve been a dietitian, I’ve worked with hundreds of clients who embarked on a dietary/lifestyle change only to find themselves in a chronic cycle of on-off healthy eating, exercise, dieting and/or weight cycling.  Regardless of the person’s size or the presence or absence of health conditions, these people got stuck and became guilt ridden and negative about food, themselves, and their chances for success.

Often, they had isolated food and/or themselves as the enemy when the dieting system was the culprit.  A system that gave them diets and rules as if every BODY was the same, their body’s signals didn’t count and their EATING existed in a vacuum.

Despite technology, people seemed more disconnected.  They wanted a product when what they really needed was a process.  A process that was practical and that would reconnect them to food, their body’s internal wisdom, and their life. 

As I honored the concept of wholeness around the interconnection between food and life, my clients’ eyes began to light up.  It was as if I had discovered something that nobody else had gotten before. We still talked about nutrition, new products and lab work, but also explored other aspects of people’s food world, such as their paradigms around food and self-care, food upbringing, stress levels, and how life might be affecting their relationship with food and vice-versa.

I began seeing a shift in my clients. They stopped listening to diets so much and began connecting more with the wisest part of themselves.  They developed more patience and compassion for themselves and more realistic expectations.  People were more willing to experiment with different fuels, were more in tune with their own hunger and fullness levels and developed a better understanding of what was fueling their food thoughts, feelings, and actions.

Once I started understanding nutrition this way, I knew I couldn’t go back to presenting nutrition information without looking at the whole picture. This integrated process has helped people bridge the gap between knowing what to do and doing it in a way that is safe, practical, and life-giving.

 

Personal Journey to Wholeness

Feeding the Whole Self is a concept that emerged out of my own struggles with food and life as well as the wisdom gained from working with hundreds of clients.  Feeding the Whole Self is rooted in the discovery that wholeness around food (and life) is rooted in nourishing all parts of ourselves: body, mind and spirit.

There is no exact formula for a balanced and meaningful life.  Yet there are some nutrients we all require, such as adequate rest, work-life balance, and connection to others to be whole.  When these life nutrients are missing, inadequate, or out of balance, it may show up in our lives and in our relationship with food in interesting and sometimes destructive ways.


When I find myself thinking about food or sticking my head in the refrigerator after I just ate, I know I’m hungry, but it’s not about needing more to eat.  Alternately, when I don’t stop working to eat or play, my blood sugar, energy level, and attitude get out of whack.   I used to think that life’s goodies were the reward for getting my work done.  Now I know that I must make a point of indulging in life’s goodies (for me art, nature, movement, etc.), so that I have the energy to live. 

I believe that the ”foods of life” are powerful nutrients.  They are every bit as essential to good health as the food we put on our table.   In order to figure out our unique mix of life foods (whole foods, rest, movement, renewal, relaxation, creative time, etc), we must listen to our soul hunger, stay connected to our body’s feedback cues, and be willing to entertain new paradigms.   For me, it means practicing discernment and being as selective about how I spent my time as what I eat.  It means limiting “junk foods” such as negative self talk, media images and out of balance consumerism.  In the end I don’t give up anything I need to be whole, except my old way of thinking.

In today’s  24/7 society, our lives can be stuffed full  but lacking essential activities that promote wholeness.  It is also true that our stomachs can be full, but lacking nourishment.  In today’s world, it’s easy to lose our way.

Pure Sustenance encourages people to expand their definition of food and to honor the interconnected nature between food and life.   In doing so, one’s relationship with food and life has the unique opportunity to become more whole and satisfying.