Ten years ago, I woke up to a situation that activated my fear button. My then two-year-old daughter walked into my room and asked me to brush her hair. As I brushed out her beautiful brunette locks, I noticed the left side of her head had a bald patch the size of three silver dollars. <!–more–> Overnight, her hair had fallen out with no explanation. Over the next few months, her hair continued to fall out until she was completely bald. She was eventually diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder called alopecia. As with most autoimmune disorders, the prognosis was that she would suffer from the unpredictability of alopecia her entire life. This was difficult news to accept.

We decided to shift the story and take responsibility for our lifestyle. As a family, we made a decision to take our health back by cultivating connections in the kitchen. As Americans, we live busy lives and access to convenient, pre-made food has become the norm. We are fed the macronutrients our bodies crave, but we have lost sight of the value in preparing food with love, connection, and community. We need love and connection to thrive. Could it be that these lives we live isolate us from true heart connections? Could this lack of connection be the contributing factor to the rise in disease and illness?

When we desire to connect with people, it’s typically over a meal: let’s meet for lunch, come over for dinner, etc. In this microwave generation, we have lost touch with nourishing traditions and intimate connections that happen around the cultivation of slow food.

Slow food is made with intention. Gardening, growing, soaking grains overnight, sprouting, grinding and fermenting can have biochemical as well as bioelectrical benefits that promote health. These traditions that cultivate healthy gut flora and activate healing frequencies in the heart seem somewhat forgotten. Getting the family into the kitchen together participating in these practices can be very powerful and activate healing in a way that pre-made meals cannot.

When we spend time together in a loving environment, resonating each other’s frequency, we can heal together. As we get our hands in the ground gardening, we are able to ground ourselves to the earth

and reduce inflammation. As we take the time to touch our food with love, we can set an intention for the meal. Cooking can be a meditative process if you take the time to slow down and flow.

Many people say they don’t have time to prepare “slow food.” I say that we all are given the same 24 hours in a day and it’s our responsibility to choose how we want to spend our time. Making heart connections around artfully created food carries benefits we can’t afford not to make time for.

My daughters and I have made a practice of turning
on our favorite song, dancing in the kitchen to get the vibe up and shake off any negativity from the day. Together, we chop veggies and make art in the kitchen. Working together makes the meal prep quick and easy and it’s our time to talk about our day. We share our hearts and resonate love. We all have to eat—why not take the time to make our food a powerful healing tool? Let’s do this together.

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food” –Hippocrates

For more ideas on slow food and making connections in the kitchen, visit Tracyduhs.com ✲

HERE ARE SOME PRACTICAL WAYS TO START HEALING IN THE KITCHEN:

1. Soak your grains and legumes overnight. Soaking in warm filtered water helps remove some of the phytic acid. Phytic acid is an anti-nutrient that decreases nutrient absorption. Soaking beforehand also decreases cooking time.

2. Once a week, get the whole family in the kitchen and chop the rainbow. Make it a goal to have every color of the rainbow in fruits and veggies chopped and ready to go in your fridge. After a long, hard day of work, you will be inspired to make art with your food when it’s all prepped and ready for you and your family to create together.

3. Dance in the kitchen! Start creating new neurotransmitter pathways in the brain that make the kitchen a fun place to be.

Photos by Alayna G. Clark