If you’ve been following me for the past six months, you’ll know that my wife Terreeia has been on a major transformation and healing plan! To date, she has lost 66 pounds, is almost pain-free and off most of her medication. Her blood pressure is back to normal and most exciting of all (for me the life-long vegetarian) is her palette has changed too; see her Instagram stories for highlights of 2021.
See the IGTV video where she’s sharing more about it here.
Terreeia says a whisky and steak is still in her future at some point but in the meantime, her ability to add flavour and make anything taste good has moved to her new whole foods, plant based diet.
This is Terreeia’s guest post where she’s introducing her brand new, Morning Reset Facebook page.
What does it take to really go after what you want in your life?
This is about having the life you want, being confident, and in control of your life. I didn’t get obese from an eating disorder, or because I ate too much. I had a medical condition that caused sudden extreme weight gain.
Then the extra weight put strains on my body which caused more illnesses. I lived like it wasn’t my fault so I became a victim.
I was in a loop. For years I tried almost everything to get back to my normal and nothing worked. So I became resigned about it and gave up hope until I read the next book or saw the next Youtube video or heard from a friend who heard from a friend about a doctor who has the answer.
And if I’m being honest, I didn’t help myself and refused to diet because I knew in my heart that I would have to do something extreme and unsustainable, so I avoided it all, while secretly wishing for the next miracle to help me.
The turning point
At the Fresh Start retreat I made some discoveries about myself, the food industry, the body and how it manages toxins. When that happened, I couldn’t unsee it and I was catapulted into a path of wellness.
When I got home I knew I needed to find a way to be in control of my new life direction and it started every morning where I had a talk with myself that went like this:
This is HOW it’s going to go today, this is WHAT you are going to do and this is WHY you’re going to do it.
And it’s working! I owe it all to Flavour.
Terreeia at 5 years old
How I learned about flavour
You see, when I was 7 yrs old my parents divorced and my Mom was a single parent with three kids until she re-married 5 years later. Those 5 years were some lean times and I remember the cupboards were often bare. When we opened the fridge, we learned to be creative with what was there.
When I was 8, I remember making what you would call rice pudding. We didn’t have all the ingredients so we called it rice & milk & sugar so I added blue food colouring to liven it up. It was glowing and delicious.
My mother is a beautiful black woman from Nova Scotia who moved to Toronto, married a Hungarian Jew and quickly had to learn to cook Kosher and Hungarian food. We lived in an Italian, Portuguese and Chinese neighbourhood and after the divorce she became obsessed with what our neighbours were cooking.
My Mom trapped my friends
Whenever I brought friends over after school, she would pull them into the kitchen saying “Now tell me dear, what did your mother make you for dinner last night? How did she make those broad beans?”, or “What did your mother put in that dumpling? Trapped, they had to start talking fast.
My Mother had a wok before anyone knew what a wok was. Not only did she have a wok, but she had multiple cast iron pans used for different dishes. Food became an adventure and she was obsessed with learning how to cook anything and everything.
Our cupboards were filled with herbs and spices from around the world as she took us on a daily culinary experiment.
Then she found Julia Child
Enter Julia Child and she was off again but now with a French accent!
Every day we were on a food journey in another country right at home with the dishes she would make from around the world. I learned at a very young age, how to elevate anything, by mixing foods and seasonings and spices and adding flavour.
My mother was famous in her circle and family for mixing cultures, serving up Hungarian cabbage rolls, potato latkes, black eyed peas and rice, collard greens, bouillabaisse or fish cakes.
She always had ready made staples in the fridge so if there wasn’t any cereal, we’d just have black eyed peas & rice for breakfast. To this day, I can eat anything, anytime of the day, which is why it’s not unusual to see me eating salad for breakfast.
The day my stepfather challenged my cooking
I’ll never forget, I was 12 years old. At the time, we lived in an apartment building, above a European bakery with the best bread and rolls. All I ate was sandwiches. I liked them because they were fast. I was athletic and on every team and in those days, we didn’t get driven to games, we had to hop a city bus or a streetcar so I was always in a hurry. For breakfast, lunch and dinner, sandwiches became my go-to food, I became known for them.
As a result, I ate so much peanut butter that I haven’t been able to eat it since.
One day, my stepfather was watching me make a sandwich he said ‘Girl, I’ve never seen anybody eat so many sandwiches. You better hope the man you marry likes sandwiches or learns to cook, because no man is going to marry a woman that can’t cook’.
I was offended. And I responded “I can cook and I will prove it”. So one day, I made a plan when my parents were out and I made dinner for the entire family.
My debut dish was chicken cacciatore with egg noodles. It was a jaw dropping hit and I was never teased again but it sparked something in me.
I know a lot of people say this about their Mom’s food, but she really is the best cook and made the best food I’ve ever had. I’ve tried many times to make her signature dishes and I still can’t make them as well as she did but I learned some of her magic.
Here I am at 40 right before I was diagnosed with low thyroid
Let flavour be your saviour
Fast forward to today and my extreme healing regime, my ‘no’ list for the past 7 months is no dairy, coffee, caffeine, alcohol, meat, fish, gluten, sugar, salt, oil, or anything refined. I eat whole food plant based only and I needed help if I was going to do this for a year. It turns out that Flavour is my Saviour!
The bottom line is this: Flavour. You don’t have to be fancy or wild in the kitchen. Just add Flavour.
Everyone can learn to make food taste great with a few simple techniques with food you already have. Start with staples in your cupboard or fridge or start with beans and rice or a noodle.
If you’re not a scratch cook, even basic condiments like mustards can be added to a pan sauce or a cream sauce. You can doctor up ketchup. Mayonnaise is a canvas that you can add any flavour too. Add flavour to mayonnaise and now it’s called aioli.
Maria’s two cooking ingredients
Some people get in a rut, where they only have certain spices, or they never use herbs because they don’t know what to do with them.
Maria’s not a cook, so she was fascinated to learn that you would rarely just add dried basil AND oregano to the same dish. Since basil and oregano are often standard in any kitchen, she would sprinkle them on food that she thought needed flavour without giving it a second thought. She didn’t like it and everything started to taste the same. If you’re like her, I am here to tell you that you can change that. And I’m happy to show you how.
The key is to discover the flavours you really like; buy those and start experimenting with them and be disciplined to not put them on everything. In addition to herbs and spices you can buy readymade spice mixtures, sauces, pastes to give instant flavour to anything you make.
Before I became an executive coach and consultant I was in the hospitality industry for 30 years serving food from first class to fast, so I know my way around kitchens and restaurants and over the years, I’ve helped many people set up and organize their kitchen so they could make good food for their family.
I can help you
Because of my restaurant background, I have helped friends with menu planning and prep and helped clients with weight loss plans, however no one goes to an overweight person to learn how to lose weight, I wasn’t credible, until now.
Down 66 pounds since June!
So join me on my Facebook page for a minimum of 30 days to immerse yourself in a plan to fulfill your goals! I will be going live every morning starting January 6 at 7:00 am PST time to support, celebrate and make each day a great day!
This will be an interactive community, please bring YOUR gifts, talents and insights to contribute to the group as well! And this isn’t just about weight loss, bring your goals and dreams that you want to have happen in 2021 and at the same time, I’ll also be talking about how to add flavour to a whole food, plant based diet as a bonus.
How to sustain and maintain focus on what you want to accomplish in any area of your life!
I’ve been alone on this journey for 7 months and I’ve done really well but I’m lonely and I’d like some company so come join my MORNING RESET Facebook group here.