During the past few weeks, Healing Natural Oils has conducted a number of interviews and here is the third in the series with Rachel who lives in Southern California.
Rachel, thank you so much for agreeing to this chat and to begin with, please could I ask you about your professional and/ or work background?
After university, I worked as a counselor to at-risk youth. My focus was young teenage girls who were choosing to have babies, some multiple times. I found myself burning out after a couple of years of that work. I was pushing to make a difference in the lives of the girls, caretaking and caregiving a group of teens while losing track of my ability to separate my profession and my own life. My work became consuming and I decided to make a change.
Becoming a chef had always been a dream. I took it further while in college, really wanting to attend culinary school. The opportunity happened quickly. I called a school I was curious about but they had no available space until the following session. This was on a Thursday. Friday I received a call that someone had dropped out and was I able to start Monday? Yes! When opportunity knocks (or bangs at your door) - I say yes. And I met my darling husband on the first day, the very first moment I walked into the kitchen classroom.
I was blessed to study at The Natural Gourmet Institute for Health and Culinary Arts
in New York City, with Annemarie Colbin, as well as macrobiotics at the Kushi Institute in the beautiful Berkshire Mountains of Massachusetts. Following my professional chef training, I worked as a personal chef to clients primarily in the entertainment industry. This was before all of the hoopla swirling around chefs today. As I write this, I realize I was on the Food Network before I had an email address! It was a long time ago when the Food Network was first starting out but I did have a great 3 year run filming TV shows. Then I realized I didn't want to be famous!
I have always noticed that you are interested in a healthier lifestyle. Has that always been the case with you or did you change along the way?
As a young child I proclaimed my status as a vegetarian, and have been exploring healthier lifestyles ever since.
Do you find that family and friends follow your example or do you have some challenges in persuading them to do so?
My mom was so supportive when I was a young child and wanting to be vegetarian. She did lots of reading, made granola and sourced vegetarian kids cooking classes and recipes that the whole family enjoyed. Our family moved more towards a vegetarian lifestyle (my brother tolerated it!). Along the way, friends and family have consulted me but I've been more of a lead by example rather than being a persuade kind of girl.
Are you a fan of Farmers Markets and certified organic food?
Living in San Diego, we have a fantastic Farmer's Market every day of the week. It means I can visit a great neighborhood and buy beautiful organic food. I'm pretty committed to eating organic and feel it's really important for my children. My husband Josh is a ceramic sculptor and his studio
is in the Little Italy neighborhood. We love to park at the studio and walk to the Saturday Farmer's Market, called The Mercato, and pick up grassfed meats, freshly caught uni, beautiful locally-grown fruits and vegetables. And some gluten-free cookies too.
I'm a fan of raw dairy. Here in California, thankfully, we can legally purchase raw dairy. In New York , and other parts of the country, people buy raw dairy in secret, as though it is an illegal substance!
Do you use any natural remedies, herbs or supplements and other ways to boost your health?
I include massage, acupuncture, Chinese herbs, homeopathic remedies, elderberry (our wintertime saviour), colloidal silver and of course vitamin D amongst the ways to boost health. I heard Dr. Sears lecture on the importance of vitamin D, acting as an essential hormone in the body promotion for health and well-being.
I have noticed that California is often an innovative state regarding breaking ground legislation so I wondered how interested you are in the forthcoming ballot in California to say yes or no to labeling GMOs and do you have an opinion on GMOs themselves?
Say NO to GMO!
Monsanto is an incredible threat to a natural lifestyle. It is disturbing how big business can infiltrate the government and get what they want. This is such a hot button and I am thankful that good people at Millions Against Monsanto
are fighting the good fight.
Do you feel comfortable about discussing vaccines and whether you are for or against or somewhere in between? What is your opinion about Governor Brown and his legislation regarding giving Gardasil shots to school children without their parents' permission? Also on the vaccine subject, do you feel parents should be able to choose whether or not their children are vaccinated?
I don't see how children can be given any medicine or medical procedure without their parents' knowledge and permission. I'm not for or against vaccines. We have chosen not to vaccinate our children and thankfully they are growing up healthy and strong. I am researching vaccines now to see if it makes sense to vaccinate at the age our children are now. But it doesn't seem to. Instead, I focus on strengthening my children's immune system with whole foods, herbal supplements and natural remedies. Parents have the right to choose whether or not to vaccinate. It's what their situation calls for and what works for their family.
Everyone has different interests but I wondered if you had any special causes that you particularly supported and why?
I am agitated these days about all of the processed foods - especially food geared toward children not really being food. These days I am focused on what's right in front of me - my children. I am particularly interested in children understanding their food sources and choices as well as promoting downtime, daydream time and cuddle time. Not over-scheduling our family leads to plenty of that.
Thank you, Rachel. We do hope you enjoyed this interview. You can find our previous two interviews published here and here.
There will be more to follow in the coming months.