As you read this, I’m celebrating another year on earth in the best way I know how: a long run with these two, a quiet morning with my teapot in a sunny room, and a dinner tonight with all my guys. It’ll be mellow and relaxing…and that’s exactly what I need right now.
The last year has been one of the busiest, most exciting, and transformational in my life. It hasn’t always been easy for me to find time to relax – even though I know how important it is! But these past 12 months? There have been lots of lessons – sometimes learned the hard way.
Here’s what I discovered this year.
1. Turmeric stains like crazy
If we ever meet in real life, just pretend not to notice that the tips of my fingers might be yellow. This was the year that people fell in love with my creamy turmeric latte – it was even served on the The Dr. Oz Show. (It’s true!)
If you, too, discovered the anti-inflammatory health benefits and staining properties of turmeric, here’s how to remove the beautiful golden hue from your skin.
2. When you hold on to the vision and do the work, good things eventually happen
After years of persistent, dedicated (and not always glamorous) work, I was approached by a publisher to write my first book. I can’t tell you too much, but it will be filled to the brim with healthy & delicious recipes (of course!)… and bite-sized mindset shifts to help busy people finally make the time to nourish themselves properly. (That’s all I can say, for now.)
I wish I could go back in time and tell 2011 Elise to keep her chin up! Exciting things are coming!
3. Choose to do the important thing – even when it’s challenging
Almost three years ago, I envisioned and then created a series of hands-on workshops for the Children’s Inn at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for caretakers and brave, young patients receiving groundbreaking medical treatment. In each session, they learned how to make healthy eating & nourishment more of a priority.
Every few weeks I’d lead the classes, sometimes teaching three people, sometimes thirty. And (I’m being honest here) there were times when I really, really didn’t want to do it. Was it worth it? Planning the curriculum, prepping for hours in advance, lugging the equipment across town, printing 35 packets when only eight people showed up?
But after every class I felt happy. Fulfilled. And I knew down to my bones (especially after seeing these sick children so engaged!) that I was doing some of my most important work – even if it wasn’t always easy.
In fact, the program has been so successful that it got approved for a grant! CookINN Together is now in its second “official” year, and I’m glad I stuck with it (and didn’t quit!).
4. Having a healthy gut can change your life (really and truly!)
As Hippocrates once said: “All disease begins in the gut.” When your gut is healthy, you have better immunity, more efficient digestion, balanced hormones, clearer focus…and the list goes on. I became even more committed to growing a good “gut garden” after creating 70 (!) gut-healing recipes for Dr. Robynne Chutkan’s upcoming book The Microbiome Solution (August 2015).
Of course, if you can’t wait until then, my Cabbage Crunch salad is flavorful, delicious, and great for your gut.
5. Animals can be our greatest teachers
Well, I knew that… but it became especially clear after caring for and losing two dogs to cancer last year. Willow and Jaxon taught me to appreciate the fragility of life, realize the importance of living in the moment and cherish the gift of unconditional love.
And now, we have two gorgeous, gregarious golden retrievers, a mother and son pair named Monty and Cadence. In addition to the important life lessons, my new teachers also bring out a more playful side and remind me not to take everything so seriously. (Who says that the weekends are the only time to have fun?!)
6. You need to put your time where your values are
As I become increasingly aware of how the world around us affects the world within us, I’ve thought more & more about human health and the environment. This was the year I decided to actually do something with those ideas. I’ve long admired and been involved with the Environmental Working Group. In October, I solidified my commitment and joined their board of directors. I’m thrilled and honored to be a bigger part of the amazing work they do.
7. Make your health a priority
No matter how much you know about nutrition and overall wellness, it doesn’t matter unless you make your own health a priority. Like so many people, I fell into a bad habit of allowing emails and other people’s needs to take priority over my own meals, workouts, and downtime. And then…I became cranky and irritable as a result.
My birthday present to myself this year? Walking my talk and getting my health priorities straight!
Now it’s your turn. What have you learned since your last birthday? I’d love to hear your insights in the comments!
P.S. Last year on my birthday I told you 10 of my secrets and you shared some of yours – so fun!
My favorite part about this time of year? The enthusiasm that swirls around health & wellness goals. Whether you want to lose weight, eat better, start a new fitness program, quit sugar, nothing is more energizing than a proclamation to feel great – inside & out. My least favorite part about this time of year? […]
With the holidays in full swing and 2015 barely a champagne toast away, it’s the perfect time of year to reflect. Maybe that means reviewing what worked in this last trip around the sun… and thinking about what didn’t. Or contemplating the obstacles you faced, and the odds you beat. You might try to predict […]
“The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you’ve got to have a what-the-hell attitude.” ~ Julia Child Creating simple & beautiful meals is my passion. I’m certainly not a gourmet chef. I don’t wield a knife like the culinary greats. I don’t care about the difference between bâtonneting & chiffonading. I’ve […]
Back by popular demand! A Thanksgiving unstuffed survival guide that allows you to savor your family favorites without falling into a food coma. Thanksgiving is a time to celebrate with family & friends and honor special traditions. The scrumptious aroma of Grandma’s famous pumpkin pie filling the house. Your “secret” family stuffing recipe that you […]
The holiday season is upon us, which also means an absolutely dizzying array of demands: extended family descending on your home, upholding traditions, preparing larger-than-life meals, figuring out how to make a healthier version of everyone’s favorite dessert (that won’t have them throwing a tantrum), and finding the oh-so-perfect gift in a sea of stores […]
Can a single question at the right time shift and shake your world as you’ve always known it? Yes. It can. And for me, it did. I still remember the moment as if it were just last night, despite the decade that has passed. I had just sat down to dinner at a NYC hot […]
With all the celebration over kale last week, the other side of Kale & Chocolate felt a little left out. (Okay, just an excuse to share my newly created, melt in your mouth Guilt-Free Chocolate Orange Truffle recipe.) But first, it really got me thinking about what it means to live a Kale & Chocolate-inspired […]
Wednesday, October 1st is “officially” National Kale Day. That’s right, National Kale Day is an actual annual holiday, celebrating the eating, growing and sharing of this cruciferous super-veggie. As you know, kale is jam-packed with phytonutrients, antioxidants, and fiber. And whether you’re a green smoothie worshipper, plant-based lover, or just like to toss some extra […]
Recently, one of my awesome clients came to me with a situation: She nourishes her body regularly with vibrant, nutrient-dense meals. Fitness is a fun part of her daily regime. When it comes to her health, she feels better than ever. Except… Every night, during family time, her husband heads into the kitchen to pop […]