What makes Theresa Nicassio’s award winning book YUM Plant-based recipes for a gluten-free diet a unique collection is the flexibility that each of its recipes offers in terms of being applicable to people with different food intolerances or who follow particular dietary regimes. But how did this fabulous and much needed book come about. Theresa Nicassio shared her story with Healthynewage.com.
“I’m a psychologist by training, a mom by practice and a Gourmet Raw Food Chef and Nutrition Instructor by accident! The truth is that I’m also a Certified Integrative Energy Healer, and student of several other osteopathic healing modalities (e.g. Craniosacral Therapy, Lymph Drainage, Visceral Manipulation, and Neural Manipulation). However, becoming a chef was a very unexpected development.
While I’ve always been a great cook, historically I never really liked to cook! Especially coming from a very gender-typed family, I grew up associating “cooking” with “women’s work”. As a strong and opinionated woman, it is not difficult to appreciate my lack of affection for the activity. This all changed, though, when I became extremely ill and debilitated and didn’t know if I would live long enough to keep my daughter from becoming motherless before she graduated high school. It is pretty incredible how motivating and potent the desire to stay alive and to be there for others can be.
It was in 1997 that the challenges began. It was really scary – my immune system was kaput – gone! Every pathogen possible ravaged my body and my poor respiratory system had difficulty offering me the breath of life. It was a long and winding road, filled with multi-organ inflammation and dysfunction, including my joints, skin and neurological systems, as well as my respiratory and digestive systems. I was in pain in every cell of my body, with high levels of toxicity within me, due to natural as well as pharmaceutical inputs. It was ugly.
After over a dozen years of profound struggling, I accidentally discovered that at the root of my debilitation was my body’s disapproval of some of the food that I ate – most notably, gluten, dairy, and potatoes. Once this awareness came to the light, my health finally began to turn around. It was a long journey, but an important point along the way was when I decided to shift my perspective about my food restrictions to focus on what I “could” eat, instead of what I had to live without. I thought of the compatible food as a tool, a painter’s palette to create new art and embraced the creative challenge.
At first, the process seemed grim, but being the persistent solution-seeker that I am, nothing could stop me on my mission. After years of experimenting, I successfully created insanely yummy and healthy plant-based food concepts that everyone in my family could love, even without gluten, dairy, sugar, eggs, potatoes, and many other foods that can give lots of folks a tough time.
This was not my plan, but it was my Destiny – and one that I would never want to change. Because of my suffering, I have been able to create a gift for others – the resource that I wish I could have found when I was so sick. I want to optimally help others prevent themselves from having to go through what I did, if possible. If it is too late for that, I want to help those who are struggling find respite, ease and joy in their life again.
Many others are like me – the symptoms are there and may have been throughout their life. For example, I had had migraines, rosacea, asthma, digestive problems and anaemia since childhood, but never knew that the food I was eating was causing it. The crazy thing is that I know that I am not unique in this. Countless people have gas, skin rashes, headaches, heartburn, etc. and think that these symptoms are just a necessary part of living – when oftentimes, they actually may not be. Knowing this, I am committed to share what I have learned so that even children can avoid this dark and lonely pathand instead live a vibrant and healthy life. This is what YUM has been created to do.”
Dr. Theresa Nicassio is a registered psychologist (1541) & author of the award-winning book YUM: plant-based recipes for a gluten-free diet – a delicious and sensually delightful gluten- and sugar-free vegan-friendly cookbook that is heart-healthy, anti-cancer & mostly diabetic-friendly: www.yumfoodforliving.com.