by Millie Drum
“With deep appreciation for the sunshine you have brought into my life after the big storm.”
— A Wellness Kitchen patron
Since completing her studies at Bauman College in Santa Cruz in 2009, Nancy Walker has watched her profession as a Therapeutic Chef unfold in ways she never imagined. Unlike other culinary programs geared for the restaurant industry, Nancy chose to study natural, holistic cooking methods and ingredients. She fondly recalls, “I learned about the love that you put in to the food with your hands. We blessed the sun for the color of the food. We blessed the farmer’s hands for growing the food. It was amazing and the most loving place that I could ever imagine.”
Her longing for knowledge about good nutrition began with her family and caring for her own health. Nancy reveals, “I lost my father to cancer. My mom has beat cancer twice and is a diabetic. She lost her mother and sister to diabetes. And I’m diabetic. My mom is my hero; tackling everything with grace. I knew that I wanted to do something because I saw what she had done and continues to do at almost 80. It is my intention to help people realize that good health is nutrition, positive thinking and gathering supportive people around you.” With sensible planning, setting her intention with wonderful inner strength, Nancy lovingly conveys the significance of good nutrition as the Founder and Executive Director of The Wellness Kitchen and Resource Center.
She adds, “We envision the day when The Wellness Kitchen can deliver nourshing meals to everyone in our community who is facing a health crisis.” Since re-locating to the heart of the North County medical community, the response from Twin Cities Hospital administrators, physicans, nurses and staff has been overwhelming. They refer patients to us as well as utilizing our food and education programs themselves. One of the goals of TWKRC is to teach the next generation about the benefits of whole food nutrition. And finally, we hope to reach those facing cancer and other acute and chronic illness with the message that “you’re not alone.”
Above all other programs, the Healing Foods helps those in acute need. The recipients are facing a health crisis (particularly cancer) without the financial means to purchase the food or support by family or caregivers. Recipients are referred by their doctors and other health professionals. The food is comforting, nutritious and easily digested for individuals in critical need, recovering from surgery, going through chemotherapy or suffering from food allergies. Items include a Mineral Broth, the Re-building Bone Broth, Healing Tea, porridge, soups, muffins, grain/vegetable salad and a vegetarian entrée. This program is funded through grants and donations and the Pay It Forward program that encourages those who can afford to pay a little extra to donate to those who cannot. The monthly Soul Kitchen also benefits Pay It Forward. Nancy often describes the soups as a “hug in a bowl” – warm, comforting, nourishing and made with love and kindness. Others who have been touched say, “I cannot believe my good fortune to experience this magical, loving, amazing, beautiful, peaceful niche in this world.” Nancy knows this to be true, “When I see how much love goes into this food prepared by the kitchen volunteers, I know that love is what people are feeling. We hope to reach those facing cancer and other acute and chronic illness with the message that “you’re not alone.” For a closer look at “The Kitchen,” visit www.TheWKRC.org for classes anytime and stop in on weekdays for lunch!