by Kimberlea Chabot
With cookbooks in hand, my oldest daughter asks if I am headed to the store. Ever since she was little, cookbooks have accompanied us on our various food shopping trips to check off the ingredients needed to make this week’s meals. However, today I was not going shopping, I was headed to meet the best-selling author of “Clean Food”, “Clean Start” and “Eat Clean, Live Well,” Terry Walters and get the juicy details about her cooking classes, her upcoming book and her weekend retreat at Copper Beech Institute.
As only teenagers can, my daughter gives me a look, something just short of an eye-roll, and says, “Mom, glad you are excited, but just don’t do anything weird like ask her for her autograph!” Terry Walters is well aware of the struggles mother’s face when trying to raise children. She started on this journey for one main reason: her health and the health of her family. She began holding cooking classes in her home as a way to connect with like-minded people and to create meals to nourish her family. She studied health programs to find different ways to approach her high cholesterol and daughter’s allergies. Her passion for healthy eating developed from an intuitive pull toward what the Earth has to offer during each season.
After looking over my collection, I decide to bring along Terry Walter’s “Clean Food,” her first cookbook self-published in 2007. As we sit down with our tea, she notices the cookbook right away and is just as giddy to look at it as I am to show her. Leafing through the pages, Terry reminisces like she’s looking through an old photograph album, stopping to tell stories along the way. At first, I am slightly embarrassed by the sticky pages, the scribbled notes in the margins, and the smiley faces drawn on the recipes that my children stamped with approval, until I realize that Terry is enjoying the obvious signs of how much we have used and loved her cookbook.
I am struck by the genuine warmth of her smile, her energy and her passion for life. It was this same enthusiasm and overall presence that I remember when I first was introduced to her several years earlier. At that time, I had two toddlers and I was becoming very curious about the relationship food played in our emotional and physical well-being. Terry was teaching about the benefits of seasonal eating while giving a tour of a local health food store. Her approach opened my eyes and really resonated with me. “Food is a source of nourishment for our body and our soul. It can fill us up in different ways. If you are eating standing up while rushing to get out the door, it won’t matter how healthy it is.” I loved how adding leafy greens to each meal was a “non-negotiable” in her house. I remember Terry explaining how it may take time to convert your taste buds and to make this your new normal. She offered many new ways to prepare foods. Terry’s talk gave me the permission I needed to enter into a new relationship with food.
In 2007 when Terry self-published “Clean Food,” her food choices and her notion of balancing a mind/body approach were on the cutting edge. Ingredients such as fennel, bok choy, quinoa, and miso were not well known. Most foods became available year-round due to pesticides and preservatives. As a nationally best-selling author, Terry continues to be a leading pioneer in this field today. Her books are as much a philosophy of living as they are about food.
“It’s a lofty intention to strive for conscious seasonal eating that nourishes mind, body and soul, that balances us with the environment and intimately connects us to our communities and the earth,” says Terry. “At the end of the day, if there is any intention worth holding, it is to savor every bite, feed your relationships and that which connects you, and sauté up a healthy serving of love each and every day.”
Terry Walters can be found sharing her gifts through educational and motivational public speaking, conducting cooking classes, and at her upcoming Copper Beech Institute retreat, “Eat Clean, Live Well: Clean Food and Sustainable Health.” She continues sharing her message because it is her personal goal “to create and inspire as much healthy and sustainable change as I can for individuals, families, communities, and our environment.” I am beyond excited for her new book, “Dirty Food” and love the premise. “The foods we want to eat should come from the dirt. In that way, everything is “clean” just like my previous books. Each season will start with dessert because life is short and these desserts are sinful enough to taste like indulgences, but healthy enough to serve as breakfast.”
As our time together concludes, I hesitate to ask for her autograph when she says, “Oh, would you want me to sign your book?” I could honestly tell my daughter I hadn't asked her and was able to just grin and respond with a resounding, “YES!”