My wake up call came when in college when my dad suffered a heart attack, and my mom insisted I have my cholesterol checked. When I did, the health center told me I was 1. young, 2. female, and 3. and athlete…so no risk. I was thrilled to report my “no risk” status to my mom, but she was less thrilled to receive it. “Go back!” she insisted. Days later, I learned that my cholesterol was through the roof. Living on cafeteria food and delivery pizza was not going to allow me to improve my health, so I moved into an apartment with a kitchen and started teaching myself how to cook and eat.
Armed with a cutting board, a food processor, and a soup pot, I started experimenting with real food. Most of those early meals consisted of brown rice, canned beans, and chopped raw vegetables. I had two techniques. I would either make rice and toss it with beans, chopped vegetables, and salad dressing, or I would throw everything in a pot with water, simmer, and make (what my family lovingly refers to today as) “Goodness Soup.” Even the healthy cookbooks at that time were filled with dairy and sugar, so I was figuring it out on my own. Fortunately, my cooking has come a long way since then!
The more I learned in the kitchen, the more I understood the power of food, and the more I craved deeper knowledge. I dove into classes in macrobiotics, integrative nutrition, and ayurveda. I gave birth to two amazing daughters and parenting them demanded that I learned about food sensitivities and gut health. And I continued on my own journey with food, discovering first hand the connection between food, body, mind, and soul.
Most people thought I was a little crazy (and they were probably right), but a handful were curious enough to ask me to teach them how to cook with these “unusual” ingredients, and thank goodness they did. Twenty two years, four books, and hundreds of cooking classes later, I have that community to thank. Together we continue to find our way through an ever-changing food system, dig deep to understand our changing constitutions, support each other, shared countless hours in the kitchen, cook clean food, bake sourdough bread, ferment vegetables, eat, and embody the true meaning of nourishment.
Whether you are interested in classes, health coaching, corporate wellness programs, cookbooks, or sharing the journey to good health, welcome.
10 Questions with Terry
What do work and life look like for you when you’re not writing books? Are you writing more books?!
My work is my passion, so work and life are not just intertwined, they are literally the same thing. What I write about, what I post, what I cook, what I teach, my running, hiking, gardening, family, healing, intention…it’s all there in everything I do.
Every day is different. Somedays I linger in bed longer than other days, but most days start with snuggling with the dog, catching up on the news, and playing the Wordle. Then I’m out the door for a long walk, a run, or to ride my bike. Exercise is as much about fitness for me as it is about centering myself and clearing my mind. Mornings are my most creative time.
My days are filled with classes, health coaching, writing (and the less glamorous parts of being a business owner). I’ve been teaching for 22 years and never imagined that the virtual platform would filled my days and evenings with connections near and far through cooking classes, corporate wellness programs, health coaching sessions, and circle gatherings.
I am always trying new foods and combinations and am always writing recipes. I’m super excited about my newest book, NOURISH, and feel as though the recipes, the insights shared, the tools, and the inspiration are more relevant, more inspiring, and more needed now than ever. Due out in October of 2022, it features 200 all-new plant-based recipes, a DIY section on fermented foods for gut health, beautiful photography and original artwork, and even some of my own poetry – a medium I’ve just recently started to explore. I’m thrilled with it and can’t wait to share it!
Where does the inspiration for your recipes and work come from?
So many places! I am forever inspired and motivated by my daughters, by this community, and by my own changing constitution. I feel great connection and purpose when I am on the tops of mountains, deep in the woods, in my garden, and at farmers markets and farms. And time nature, on foot, on skis, with a backpack, in a kayak, digging in the dirt, growing food, and with my family feeds my soul more than any food ever could.
Do you have any personal food “always” or “nevers”?
Kombu, added when cooking grains and legumes to alkalinize, tenderize and reduce gas.
Mirin, when cooking greens to add some sweetness to balance the bitter.
Fermented Hot Sauces
Kimchi, whenever possible.
Avocado, same as kimchi.
Sourdough, cuz making it is truly magic, and eating it fresh out of the oven is the same.
Pizza, my perfect food, especially when I make it on my sourdough crust. How better to get in all the colors of the rainbow?!
Maple syrup, or liquid gold as we call it in my home. My sweetener of choice.
Apple cider vinegar, most mornings.
Watermelon radish and purple daikon. So much pretty color added to anything.
My most recent addictions – roasted fennel and za’atar – each on their own but also together. Soooo delish.
My Lodge cast iron skillet.
Things change, people change, is there anything you have written in print that you have a different opinion about today?
The world and nutrition are changing at warp speed. Our oceans are changing, our soil, our entire food system. Yet, I haven’t changed my mind on my core beliefs since day one. For me, it has always been about empowering ourselves with knowledge and doing the best we can to make healthy choices. That looks different from year to year, sometimes from day to day, but the intention is always the same. That’s what feeds me, and what I hope resonates with those who share the journey, either through my books, my classes, my social media…or this interview.
What was the last thing you ate that wowed you?
The best part of eating seasonally is getting to rediscover favorites foods from season to season. That first taste of delicate squash each fall, the sweetness of kale and collards after the first frost, winter’s fork-worthy stews, spring’s bitter asparagus and sweet sugar snap peas, and summer’s juicy tomatoes and peaches – I have favorites in each season and they are constantly changing! No matter the season though, sourdough bread amazes me every time I take it out of the oven – something so beautiful and delicious from just flour, water, salt and love. Oh, and my new recipe for coconut macaroons drizzled with chocolate is pretty lit too.
Have you always had a healthy relationship with food?
What even IS a healthy relationship with food? I do my best to make healthy choices, sometimes I make choices that serve things other than my best nutrition, and I try hard not to judge myself as a result, but I’m not always successful. One thing that’s consistent in my relationship with food is gratitude. I feel so lucky to be able to do this work and to be surrounded by farmers who are stewards of the land, healers who share their wisdom, and a community with whom I can share this clean food journey. I’m always learning and trying to meet the changing needs of my body, my family, my community, and the land, and always trying to figure out how food can better support our healthcare system, racial equity, our global economy, and a sustainable future.
With two daughters, how do you help them nurture a healthy relationship with food?
I’ve always focused on teaching my kids how to make healthy choices, and then stepping away and letting them go it on their own. When they’re home, they eat what I prepare, or I eat what THEY prepare! I’ve always wanted them to know that what they put in their bodies directly influences how they think and feel. It’s about choices, and you can’t make a healthy choice if you don’t know that you have a choice in the first place. They impress me with how they negotiate their choices, in food and in life.
What is your favorite thing to give?
Anything made with love that makes the recipient melt with gratitude. I think it matters less what you give and more simply that you give. Grow kindness whenever and wherever possible. For me right now, that feels like the point.
What is your favorite thing to receive?
When I published my first cookbook, dinner invitations quickly disappeared. So truly, anytime someone is willing to cook for me, I’m beyond grateful! Aside from that, I’m moved by acts of kindness, meaningful connection, shared time in nature, my dog’s full-body-slam wake-up each morning, healing from others, and love.
Speed round FAVORITES (for extra points)!
Restaurant: KITCHEN TABLE BISTRO (sadly, now closed) and MAD TACO (Waitsfield, VT)
Dessert: CHOCOLATE PUDDING (or Vicki’s lemon squares…or maybe her carrot cake)
Ocean or Mountains: MOUNTAINS (by a lot!)
Junk food: JALAPENO POTATO CHIPS
Dinner: ANYTHING MADE BY SOMEONE ELSE (well, not quite anything, but I do like to be a guest)
Food: PIZZA (is there a food that’s more perfect?)
Cake or Pie: GOOEY COOKIES!
Song: FIX YOU by Cold Play
Last song you downloaded: Sweet Honey by Slightly Stoopid
TV show: SHITT’S CREEK
Movie: It’s Complicated (I want her kitchen and her café!) and maybe Moonstruck, cuz Cher.
Season: FALL or maybe WINTER…definitely not spring and summer.