Many of us make the same New Year’s resolution — to go on a diet. We deprive ourselves, measure out our portions and count calories only to realize we’re not losing the weight we expected — or worse, we lose the weight, but still feel lousy. By the end of January, we’re curled up on the couch with a tub of Cool Whip and a bottle of chocolate syrup while we watch The Biggest Loser. Not that I would ever do that.
Ok, I lied. I’m typing with one hand while squirting Reddi-wip in my mouth with the other.
However, many people have jumped off the deprivation rollercoaster to test the waters of a plant-based diet. People like Bridgette Kossor, who is using her personal background and nutritional studies to launch FEED (Food, Experience, Energy, Direction) Your Purpose
, a unique six-month educational experience for food-lovers, this February.
For years, Kossor struggled with weight issues, trying every diet trend that popped up. It wasn’t until she stopped “dieting” and transitioned to a plant-based diet did 100 pounds melt off. Buoyed by her experience, Kossor attended the Strengthening Health Institute in Philadelphia for macrobiotic education and created her own program based on purposeful living.
Kossor remarked, “My bird’s-eye perspective on diet mentality is to get away from the end result of losing weight and eating less fat and instead to get in touch with what we’re eating and what are bodies really want. Dieting is a short-term fix that will make you feel better, but doesn’t change anything on the inside.”
Kossor began teaching monthly vegan cooking classes through Whole Foods in Brentwood, but found helping others accept a healthy lifestyle went beyond sharing recipes in a two-hour class — her clients needed to discover an entirely new way to look at food. By expanding her classes into a six-month program, Kossor provides individuals with the tools needed to nourish one’s mind, body and soul.
During the six classes, attendees will be introduced to whole food prep skills, choosing the right foods, following plant-based recipes, and understanding the energy of food. But what makes FEED Your Purpose truly different is that people will learn about maintaining their self-care by healing negative body images and employing mindfulness eating. FEED Your Purpose will be the first time that many individuals will make nutrition choices based on their inner senses as opposed to what others tell them to do.
The positive effect on the body
Kossor is joined by Caryn Dugan, a former student and now instructor who was inspired by Kossor’s principle. Dugan lost her father to cancer in 2008 and, 10 weeks later, “I, too, was diagnosed with cancer,” she said. “I was confused, frustrated and very pissed off. So, not one to sit around and have a pity party, I decided to look at the variables I could control.”
After researching options, Dugan landed on the plant-based lifestyle and began taking Kossor’s cooking classes. Dugan’s instructor also quickly became her support system. “There is one thing that Bridgette says in class that initially made the light bulb in my head go off, and that is: ‘Everything you put into your body helps to create new red blood cells. If you are constantly putting unhealthy food into your body, do you really expect to be a healthy person?'”
FEED Your Purpose provides students with a strong foundation to ease individuals into a plant-based diet instead of pushing them in the deep end head first. As with any new “diet,” if you banish Oscar Mayer and Little Debbie from your kitchen in one afternoon, you may end up feeling deprived — a recipe for disaster.
Explained Kossor, “FEED Your Purpose is a system that makes it a lot easier to walk into a plant-based world. We encourage people not do it all it once. I hear so many people say, ‘I love cheese! How can I give it up?’ No one is asking you to give it up — you might stay with it or it may drop by the wayside. Everyone goes at his or her own pace, to find a plant-based diet that’s best for your life and who you are.”
Registrations are now open for FEED Your Purpose, which begins Feb. 19. The program is $650 for six classes, with a $50 discount if the entire tuition is paid at one time. (To learn more visit www.feedyourpurpose.com.)
At the end of the day, Kossor wants her students to look at food in an entirely new way — that it’s something to savor, not to count, measure and monitor. “It’s important that the organic and plant-based diet spreads and takes off,” said Kossor. “We want people to experience really good food. Real food, real people, real bodies — that’s what FEED Your Purpose is about.”
Bridgette’s Veggie Hash
2 cups broccoli
2 cups cauliflower
1 cup carrots
¼ cup carrot greens, finely chopped
1 cup onion
1 garlic clove
1 cup zucchini
2 Tbsp. olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp. shoyu
1. Chop all vegetables finely, keeping separate until you are ready to cook.
2. Heat a cast iron or other heavy-bottomed skillet to medium-high heat.
3. Add olive oil to the pan, heat it and then add onion. Saute about 2 minutes,
then add garlic with a pinch of sea salt and sauté about 2 minutes more.
4. Add carrots, broccoli and cauliflower; sauté about 5 minutes.
5. Add zucchini and carrot greens. Saute another 2 to 3 minutes.
6. Add shoyu, stirring well to blend and coat all veggies. Season to taste
with black pepper.
7. Serve warm.
You can use almost any veggie you like in this recipe. Just be sure to add it
according to it cooking time: dense veggies first, lighter ones last so it isn’t
mushy. Bok choy, cabbage and corn all work well.
By Nicole Plegge, Lifestyle Blogger for SmartParenting