I think so many of us think that we can put health off until after the weekend or next month. We often think of ourselves and our kids as indestructible as we repeat the mantra, “that won’t happen to me”. Or, we figure we will deal with disease when it comes. Well, there is nothing like being surrounded by story after story of parents, siblings and children suffering or dying from cancer to wake a person up. The last three days I prepared food for healthy people. I prepared food for doctors trying to learn this therapy food for the staff at Gerson. There are two full time chefs, Jen and Eric, at Gerson for the sole purpose of making food for staff. The 20+ staff members drink one green juice, one carrot-apple juice and eat a “Gerson” lunch every day because they believe it is important to stay well.
So, I will be honest, when I pictured Gerson, I thought of a tall white building with tons of glass windows. I imagined the kitchen, stark white with stainless steel tables and appliances sprawling across massive floors. I imagined the chef in “chef clothes” with a white hat. I imagined a commercial kitchen with places for everything. And then there was reality. A kitchen the size of my tiny kitchen, approximately 15×12 feet. An additional 20×20 prep room. Too many dishes to fit on the shelves, piling one on top of the other. A dishwasher that can move around to be out of the way, but is always in the way. A small stove, a smaller sink, a Norwalk juicer (amazing). Bottles of distilled water to cook the food in, sitting all over the place. In the prep room I was comforted to see two stainless steel prep tables. The tables were covered in overflowing boxes of produce waiting to be washed, chopped, juiced, and cooked. It was like being in a chaotic family kitchen but not because of the mess of utensils and mixing bowls, but the laughing, chatting, eating cauliflower florets dipped in “potatonaise” and bits of chopped apple while we shared stories as though we had been friends for life. No detail was spared from divorces to lost family members. From recipes to the whispers of secret crème brule that the chef’s snacked on that weekend, as though they had committed a cardinal sin. Throughout the three days, volunteers ( each with a huge heart and an equally huge story to share) streamed through the doors and within moments, they were invited into Jen and Eric’s family and their excitement for life.
This amazing energy and excitement for munching on raw kale and steamed beets is the only way that I can explain how the lunches of steamed veggies, salad and soup tasted deep, delicious, nourishing and so so so satisfying with no salt, sugar, sauces or seasoning. Jen and Eric do wonders with garlic, onion and herbs. Here is the downside, I feel like crap. I always forget that you have to pay the price for putting nasty food in your body. You don’t notice until you take it out and replace it with the good stuff. So, I am effectively in cleansing mode now.
Last night I drove up to Encinitas along 101 by myself and studied while munching vegan food at Lotus Café so I could breathe the ocean air and soak up the California sun. If I were to relate this moment to the circulatory system, I would say that I feel like the tired old blood that just passed through the lungs being oxygenated and sent back to the heart, rejuvenated and ready to shoot out of the aorta to the rest of the body. (If this seems really odd, just know that I am studying for an anatomy practical tomorrow) So, this is where my metaphor is going…I am in the Reno airport heading home to Portland after being restored by organic whole foods, incredible people and 20 hours of cooking at the Gerson Institute in San Diego. I can’t believe how hard it was to say goodbye to my new friends after only three short days. I still have beet juice and orange staining under my nails and I hope it sticks around for a few days. Big thanks to Jen and Eric for making me feel at home. Big hugs to Jules who became my fast and furious friend and hooked me up with a place to rest my weary head! XOXO