Guest recipe by Stefanie Sacks, MS, CNS, CDN
You know when you’re on the same path as someone, and you’re aware of them, but you never meet? Stefanie Sacks, MS, CNS, CDN and I were like that. We both did culinary school at the Natural Gourmet Institute, then got our masters in nutrition. I heard a recording of a talk she gave at a symposium, explaining how to use food to help people chronic illness. She was so incredibly dynamic! I reached out to her via email, we talked on the phone (for like an hour! I was in my dentist’s parking lot) and finally met in person when I was in New York and she invited me onto her radio show.
We’ve spent the 8 years since talking about how you can help someone make a healthy connection with food—without being intimidating! Now Stefanie’s developed an inspiring new concept called REBOOT FOOD™, in which she helps people of all ages connect with food in her very smart, sassy and generous way. She’s a motivator—and a kick in the pants! She teaches (both virtually and live) and offers retreats in her beautiful community of Montauk, NY. If you are ready to reboot your food life and would appreciate some guidance, connect with her!
Below, Stefanie outlines her simple steps to rebooting food and shares her process as she mourns the passing of her beloved grandmother, and gratefully acknowledges the nourishment she gave that Stefanie now pays forward to others.
As I’ve said before: food is love. And doesn’t that so often inspire us?
My love for cooking came from my incredible grandmother whose passion for food, life and grandchildren offered me nourishment like no other. Lorraine Schneidman has been my most precious blessing in life—a life filled with a multitude of challenges.
At a young age, I was “hired” for a job that nobody wants—illness. Living with disease (dis-ease) is not something to wish on anyone. But it has given me many incredible gifts. In the 1980’s, realizing that I could take part in my health simply through food choice, my passion for cooking parlayed into a personal quest to get well and stay well.
Cliché or not, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade! So in my 20’s I went to culinary school at Natural Gourmet Institute for Health and Culinary Arts and then obtained a Masters in Nutrition Education from Teacher’s College, Columbia University. Thus I walk the walk, talk the talk, and edible education is just my thing!
While we are never in a place to judge another, given the sum of my experiences, I often question why the task of nourishing oneself is foreign to so many? The answer is extraordinarily layered, like an onion; and I have been doing tons of peeling of my own as of late.
My incredible grandmother, to whom my book, What the Fork Are You Eating, is dedicated, passed away on this past Winter Solstice. Through processing and grieving my loss I have come to this—I would surely not be where I am today on every level if it weren’t for Lorraine. She was my definition of nourishment. And if it weren’t for her, I would have never had the tools to nourish myself and pay it forward to others.
For the past several months, I have been focused on rolling out REBOOT FOOD™—“Stefanie Sacks 2.0”! The 1.0 version ended in the release of my book and the two years of whirlwind that ensued. Life was bottoms up for a while and reconnecting to what led me to write WTF was necessary. And that is…how I can help you gently and lovingly (with some humor drizzled in) make small changes in how you think about food, what you eat and how you eat so you can learn how to nourish yourself and be your healthiest you.
A Nigerian proverb recently caught my attention:
No matter how dark,
The hand always knows
The way to the mouth
REBOOT FOOD™ is meant to lighten your “darkness,” offering guidance as you aim to refresh your health. And it boils down to three “simple” steps:
You are what you eat. It’s simple. But at the same time, it’s not—there are many factors that influence food choice. While conscious consumption is surely on the rise, people are increasingly confused. Recognizing that shifting is needed, yet knowing where and how to start, is a great challenge. Recognize is your gentle edible awakening. Through discussion and activities, these ideas are explored:
1. Powerlessness + unmanageability
2. Need for help
3. Surrendering to help
4. Identifying behaviors to change
What is the true meaning of eating healthfully? Everyone’s interpretation is different and must be honored if change is to occur. It’s the small changes that make big differences. Welcome to your new toolbox! Through culinary exploration, education and skill building, these ideas are explored:
1. Understanding “right” from “wrong” (your Food Truth)
2. Openness to change
3. Ready + willingness to change
4. Honoring + respecting where you are at (small changes)
Diving into the kitchen for some hands on cooking will give you practical tools to renourish. Long -term sustainable success is the goal—not failure. Through skill building in the kitchen, cooking and eating, these ideas are explored:
1. Explore yourself through food
2. Create new habits + rituals around food
3. Accept true, practical + sustainable nourishment
4. Make peace with food
As my grandmother held my hand through my 48 years, I am here to hold yours—we all need love and support! So I invite you to join me for my first ever REBOOT FOOD™ Retreat at Breakers in Montauk, New York this May and/or my REBOOT FOOD™ Workshops at Sang Lee Farms if you are local to Long Island. And feel free to invite me into your home (in the flesh or virtually) with REBOOT FOOD™ At Home.
Never forget that you are what you eat!
Here’s one of my favorite comfort foods, and one that warms my heart as I process the loss of my grandma.