Nurture Education Program FAQs
We welcome all questions. Answers will be structured to help people understand how The Natural Cook® Training would suit their concerns.
Question: I want to try a vegan diet. How does is it different from vegetarian and plant-based diets?
Answer: The simple answer is Vegetarian diets include eggs and dairy products, which are by-products of animals. No animal dies to be able to eat these by-products. Honey and ghee are also animal by-products. Sometimes Vegan diets will not restrict these ingredients. A plant-based diet is foundational by relying on ingredients that are ‘seed’ based. In other words, they grow vertically, planted in the earth and their seeds are harvested. Basically, Plant-based and Vegan can be the same ingredients.
When we take the position of “Vegan” it is often for the intention of NOT eating animals. It may not necessarily have the intention of using energetically whole, plant-based ingredients for healing.
I think some questions to ask yourself are: Why am I activating a Vegan diet? Am I concerned about animals? Health? Spirituality? The planet and environment? All of these are good reasons.
The Natural Cook training is 100% Vegan, plant-based and whole food focused. The whole food concept is different from Vegetarian and Vegan, because the power of food is in the wholeness. When we prepare nature’s energetically whole ingredients, we have more control on the quality. There are many products that are “Vegan” that are manufactured. You really never have to cook and can live a “Vegan” lifestyle. But I encourage you to be aware of manipulated ingredients created in laboratories, made to stimulate your pallet in all the ways we need satisfaction. Like the Impossible Burger. It’s delicious. It was born and raised by man’s brain altering the chemistry by growing the tastes and textures in a lab. Mother nature was the inspiration.
Question: I don’t really have time to study cooking. I eat a lot of restaurant and packaged food products. I’m 28, physically active and feel like I need to change my lifestyle around food. How can I think about this problem to inspire me to get serious about actually cooking my food. I live alone and I don’t like to cook.
Answer: What I am going to say is only one perspective. I speak from my own experience and not another dogma. Developing a culinary training that can be valuable from any perspective, has taken years of living life and a multitude of detailed observations. As I write this note, I have lived 72 years. We each follow the compilation of our experiences and collection of things we have learned. I hope you might find a little inspiration from my observations, looking back over six decades.
Food is the one element of living that we all would benefit from understanding. That many people have choices and many people don’t have choices. Some people don’t pay attention to what they put into their bodies and are at peace with their quality of life. And others make use of what is available. The key is to follow your own curiosity of why you are seeking to be inspired.
Food that heals needs to match the person choosing the food. The energy of the ingredients are not “one kind fits all.” There are different requirements a body has throughout life. When we eat whole ingredients with what I call “original quality” meaning as close to nature, the gardens, the farms as possible; and very important, the soil that grows this food is not toxic, we can mediate health problems over a lifetime. I’m a purist. I like to taste the simplicity and personality of the ingredients.
Food can affect our physical, emotional, and spiritual aspects of living. I caution about making rules in this area. If you choose to upgrade your food intake by cooking it yourself, there are multiple things to be aware of:
- Each decision in the dish can have a purpose.
- Making these decisions can be a “creative process” which will eliminate fear, dislike, and basically being annoyed that you have to cook your food.
- A creative process in itself is healing, empowering, and builds confidence.
Variety, flexibility, and knowledge are the keys to living well, even in a pandemic. Although my staple ingredients are from a plant-based whole food diet of vegetables, vegetable protein, whole dish grain like: quinoa, millet, oats, rice, buckwheat, amaranth, I strongly believe in understanding how all food groups work in my body. By stocking a home kitchen to be able to cook anything fresh or stored it is possible to respond to every situation.
Question: My doctor recommended a plant-based, vegan diet for me. All my cooking is Southern Style. Would The Natural Cook training work for me?
Answer: Yes. If you are wanting to add more variety to your cooking methods and kinds of ingredients you bring into your meals. We call it ‘up-grading’. Up-grading both to quality of ingredients and wholeness of the energetic nutrition value. That said, some of the best ingredients come from Southern USA traditions. Corn, Greens Rice and Beans to name a few. I think the methods we teach can translate comfort food into wholeness. You will control the quality of ingredients; one small example is simply choosing which oil/fat to use, and how much to use.
Question: Can you tell us what is your favorite dish?
Answer: My favorite dish is the one I am inspired to make quickly, with ingredients onhand, without stress. I know I can balance a dish if it is off, where something seems not quite right — which I often slip into disappointing restaurant dishes. But it takes about six months studying about ten hours a week to gain this skill using The Natural Cook training.
Question: Is The natural Cook training a diet? How can I use it for the diet I am on, like paleo, where we do not eat starchy vegetables, sugar, or carbohydrates.
Answer: No. It is a gateway to all diets. With plant-based ingredients as the base line, all foods are adaptable to work in our training the Art of Intuitive Cooking. The training is suitable for all diets because of the following:
- You will choose the ingredients you want to study. You are not following recipes. You are learning to discern which ingredients are good for you and how to cook them. Vegetables, legumes, and grains are my favorite ingredients. Where classic French cuisine provides the thoughts needed to cook animal food groups well, The Natural Cook training is the new classic, go-to operating system for understanding and cooking everything that is not animal.
- To apply our training to any restricted diet you would simply study the food groups that work in your current diet. For example: Vegetables: mostly the ones that grow above ground, except maybe radishes. TNC is very organized by the function of the ingredients and how to make the dishes taste good. Being satisfied on any diet is always the best medicine. Any diet you chose is aiming to heal some problem. If the food isn’t satisfying there is potential of over eating, seeking satiation, and that can cause another problem. The energy that comes from seeds has powerful energetic and nutritive power. Think of a bean’s power to reproduce. One seed grows to produce a hundred. That energy is more available in plants than in animals. If you choose to eat animal protein for a time while using a diet to loose weight for example, then you could use TNC training in following ways to have mastery over your cooking and never be bored. You would also have a powerful support tool if you need to eat a forbidden food group to go after the extreme diet is no longer a benefit.
- 28 cooking methods for vegetables
- Knife skills
- Meal design for all diets
- Understanding how to use whole sugars
- And you would know the addition to your daily food would be whole and delicious.
Question: I work full-time. I want to be more vegan but my husband and oldest child (age 8) want meat while I and my youngest two children (ages 5 & 3) are leaning towards plant-based meals. I’m really overwhelmed when it comes to making meals. I’m concerned about our long-term health and finances, while relying on packaged food and restaurants.
Answer: “Covid” may also be adding to the problem if you are having children at home full-time. Your mind is perhaps working over-time loaded with scheduling and organizing.
Setting up the kitchen: I’m going to recommend that you — and maybe together with your family members — take on the project of organizing the kitchen. Arranging ingredients into groups that will facilitate creating meals and snacks quickly will be the first step in organizing your mind to be efficient. The Language of Intuitive Cooking takes a little practice and study, but in the long run, these categories of ingredients almost “fly off the shelf” to help you make balanced meals your family will enjoy. Adjust how to use your protein category in order to reach the meat eaters and the vegans easily. If you focus on protein dishes separately from the rest of the food groups, the grain and vegetables dishes with our methods will be yummy for all, in every kind of diet, even if they are prepared without dairy or animal fat. Very easy to do.
The next category to organize is dairy. Think of dairy as ‘fat/oil’ category. Yes, there is also protein in dairy products. And then, replace the dairy products with nuts/seeds, a category that can be used for all diets. Nut allergies may be general or specific. If they are specific, you may be able to substitute another nut in place of the one stimulating an allergic response. Another alternative could be a pumpkin, sunflower or sesame seed butter, like tahini.
Think like a one meal cook when you are accommodating different diets. Here are some examples on how to think like a one-meal cook when you have two different diets. Training in the simplicity and variety of cooking methods will help organize the mind to be efficient. For example, making Chili: A vegan’s proteins are beans, nuts/seeds tofu, tempeh and seitan. This stew can be very satisfying with good technique. Make enough for the entire family. Ground or stew cut meat prepared by dredging and sealing or not, can be added to the vegan base and simmered into the already delicious soup/stew. This approach can also be applied when making Chicken soup, and Minestrone. The rest of meal can easily be without animal products and be satisfying.
Think like a Natural Chef – Timing is part of the organization and process: Although vegan cooking might take a bit of study time and practice to make the dishes acceptable by meat eaters, most vegan dishes will be able to be used over a week’s span. How you design them can quickly be decided with the organized mind. Ask yourself, where is the grain, the vegetable, the protein? Do I need or want a sauce? When you cook without recipes and apply The Natural Cook® intuitive cooking system, the mind works in the creative, receptive mode. This is not only important for the dish to more delicious, but if you are able to organize your personal time to give yourself the process of bringing ingredients into a dish, you will experience a kind of peace that is soothing and satisfying for the cook.