I’m Susan. I’ve been cooking professionally since 1993, always specializing in wholesome, natural foods. When I started teaching cooking classes and taking occasional private clients in 1996 The Natural Kitchen was born.
My culinary journey has had its twists and turns. I was vegan for close to 8 years, macrobiotic for about 6 of those 8 years, including a month-long immersion course where I resided at the east coast’s premier school for macrobiotics and went through their level-one training.
And I was always hungry. All those years! I would eat and eat and still feel like I was “starving” (well, if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck)… I finally came to realize those grain based, high-carbohydrate lower-fat menus just did not work for my physical body. I also tried an ayurvedic-leaning vegetarian diet, and a raw vegan diet for a short spell, always trying to find a way to be healthy and strong while not eating any foods that had a face. I finally had to admit that a purely vegetarian diet just does not work for me.
I participated in various online health and diet discussion forums in the early 2000’s which led me to dabble with paleo eating before paleo was such “a thing” as it is today.
I became acquainted with the Weston A. Price Foundation around 2002, and ended up serving as the first WAPF chapter leader for NY’s capital region, around 2006, after living in Europe for a spell.
I’d also played around with the Blood Type diet recommendations over the years. Some of the detailed recommendations didn’t make sense to me though. For instance, anyone with blood type O should avoid chocolate and avocados. As a person with O+blood type I always felt great after eating avocados. Same with dark chocolate.
I’d been hearing about Metabolic Typing as a way to help target dietary recommendations on an individual basis. I got certified in Metabolic Typing in 2007. It’s a fascinating test to perform, and clearly demonstrates how the same food (well, a glucose-potassium drink actually) affects different people in different ways. What I didn’t like about it was the barrage of supplements that we were trained to recommend to clients following the test results. I believe in supplementation in certain circumstances, and use supplements myself when I feel I need the extra help, but signing people up for a recurring delivery of private label metabolic type supplements just seems too “canned”. What Metabolic Typing did do was open my mind to more of the “science-y” stuff going on with how our bodies function. If you have ever heard the term bio-individuality you know what I’m talking about. Or if you have a friend, a spouse, or a sibling who feels great eating a bowl of oatmeal and an apple for breakfast while you feel better eating poached eggs with avocado on a bed of greens for breakfast, you see what I mean.
Over the years I’ve reduced grains and legumes in my own diet as I always felt better when I wasn’t eating them as much. To the point now where I rarely eat grains or legumes at all and I don’t miss them in my menus. That said, I do go out for sushi now and then with my kiddo, and we treat ourselves to wood fired pizza occasionally at a local spot that uses excellent ingredients and makes a killer mushroom pie. Because, it’s pizza, and I’m a New York kid.
These days, for myself and my clients I focus on “mostly paleo” menus, with a dash of my own culinary influences thrown in. What I appreciate about the paleo community is the supportive, inclusive vibe that gives everyone the green light to do what is best for them. There’s a general sanity to the whole approach I find refreshing. When you know what works best for your body and you can see and feel real results, you tend to want to eat and live that way as much as possible. But why not go out for ice cream now and then if it makes you happy and you don’t wreck yourself doing it?
Of course, when you’re this into natural foods, you tend to gravitate toward natural products for the body and the home as well. I’ve tried countless concoctions for skincare, toothpaste, household cleaning products, etc. so I’ll occasionally be featuring products I love that really work for me, too.
Basically, The Natural Kitchen Table is where I’m sharing recipes and ideas to help you keep healthy, delicious foods on your menus, and great resources to round out a naturally healthy lifestyle.
Let’s make it real! : )