It’s hard to believe it has been over a year since I’ve sat down to write anything. When I look back at the year itself, I’m in awe at all that we’ve endured. Never in my life did I think I’d be living and leading in a global pandemic. There truly is no course that would have prepared me for this.
My last post was May 2020 and at that time I was deeply grieving the loss of my beautiful mother. She succumbed to COVID in early April at the height of COVID-19 outbreaks. After that, I feel like I was swallowed up into a black hole. Life continued, at a ridiculous pace, in my position as a Principal of an Elementary School. Every day felt like a month, every challenge felt tough, every event unchartered territory with no guidelines or support to be had. Yet, I am one of the fortunate ones as I work in a community that banded together and stood strong. I never would begin to tell anyone how to move through something like this and that may be one of the reasons why I stopped writing.
I decided this summer to begin to process what I’ve experienced this past year and a half, which is something I’ve avoided. To disconnect with any expectations and take the summer to relax, recharge and begin again. I decided to not let the lessons of this pandemic be lost on me. To do that would feel like I’d not been changed by it. I am not the same person who existed on March 12, 2019. I’d like to think I am stronger, wiser and better, but those would be lofty goals. What I am is more aware of the fragility of life, both in length of time and on this planet.
Like many people, during COVID lockdowns, I found myself making poor eating choice healthy and not engaging in exercise. Seriously, it was hard enough to get through the emotional exhaustion of most days without it, so why bother. I didn’t miss any time at work, even during the loss of my mother, as being absent just didn’t seem to be an option. I worked through all holidays and the summer that followed, as did most of my colleagues. We were able to bank the vacation time for use at a later date, which in hindsight was a blessing. This June 2021, I decided that taking time off was essential to my emotional well being.
I spent the summer engaging in deep personal reflection around the events of the past year and their impact on me. I returned to the gym in late June and found that the lack of exercise had taken a huge toll on my health. I was determined, but way out of shape. I dabbled in healthier eating, but still was not motivated to cook, despite building a state of the art kitchen in our renovated home. I lost 20 pounds and am proud of that, but know that I haven’t given it my best effort.
I have wanted to go fully plant based for a long while, but just couldn’t seem to take the plunge. I increased the amount of plant based meals I was eating, but without cooking, I grew tired of endless salad offerings. Rather than give up, I began to drill down. What could I do to make this more doable and motivate myself to cook again.
I found a wonderful woman, Chef Cynthia Louise, who has many cooking and plant based offerings. I had not heard of her, but seemed pulled toward her food offerings. They were realistic – not a ton of ingredients; holistic – organic, plant based foods; easy – not too long from prep to table; and delicious. I joined her 14 day plant based challenge, which comes with shopping lists and recipes. I’ve made two days worth as of this writing and none have taken more than 30 minutes to prepare. All have been delicious, like really delicious. I just made a salad dressing for a salad that truly left me wanting to eat more salad.
I have cooked the past two days and actually enjoyed it. My kitchen has been done since February and I have only cooked one meal a week at best – Sunday sauce. I’m super excited to feel like cooking again and hope this continues now that I am returning to work tomorrow. The ease of these recipes makes me feel like it will. The early morning offerings at the gym make me feel like that is doable as well. Stay tuned for my weekly blog to return.
To learn more about Chef Cynthia Louise visit her website at
I get no compensation for my recommendation to her website, just the knowledge that you are possibly going to engage in a healthier journey. If you do, let me know as I’d love to hear about it.