In 2001 I bumped into my friend Brett at a party. He showed no signs of his battle with lymphoma, and exuded his usual vitality, stamina, and courage, remarkable for a cancer survivor. His enthusiasm for life always inspired me, but when he asked me how I felt my head dropped. “Actually, not that well,” I replied. My list of complaints followed: Reynaud’s, borderline diabetes, hyperplasia, hypertension, anemia, joint pain, cystitis, migraines, back pain, heart palpitations, sinus infections, allergies, and rising cholesterol numbers; all of which I attributed to “getting older.”
On that cue my friend launched into a conversation about his decade-long practice of Macrobiotics, which means “large life.” Inspired by the possibility that this lifestyle could cure at least some of my health issues, I listened intently while Brett drew pie charts with food percentages and explained the yin and yang of food. We were the last to leave the party.
The following morning I implemented my cold turkey approach to better health. Meat, dairy, and sugar disappeared from my plate as well as my shelves. More than a few issues plagued me: “What can I eat? No wine with dinner? No cheese in my macaroni? No chocolate chip ice cream? And where would I get my protein?”
Fortified with a cookbook full of new recipes I proceeded to turn out many healthy dishes. They were hardly three star and many ended up in the garbage.  The worst part was I did not feel better. In fact, I felt worse—not really sick, just overall lousy. Two months later Brett checked in and asked how I was doing with the new regimen. “Not that well, I think I’m doing something wrong.”
“No, no that’s good,” he replied. I decided his diet must be lacking some nutrient essential for clear thinking, until he added, “Your body is adjusting, it takes a little while.” I persisted with the culinary experiments without the things that most Americans eat. I was never one to follow the status quo, so that was not a problem, but feeling better was. Many times in the early months of my recovery from the Standard American Diet I doubted my abilities to cook for this new way of eating, but I didn’t let the doubts deter me.
Three months after embarking on this wellness experiment I woke up one day and thought:

“I didn’t know it was possible to feel this good.”

More cookbooks arrived, and my repertoire of recipes expanded. I realized that my taste buds suddenly came alive. Simple foods like steamed vegetables had flavors I never experienced. The test results were evidence enough that I was on to something. My blood sugar stabilized; my joint pain disappeared, as did the migraines and cystitis; a hysterectomy was avoided; my cholesterol dropped to 160 and my blood pressure went down. All of my complaints disappeared or improved. Perhaps the best part was a feeling that I could actually have an effect on my health and not be at the mercy of an Rx, surgery, or a procedure. The next step was to share my success with others. I completed a certification in basic Macrobiotics at the Kushi Institute, and another in Plant-Based Nutrition from the Center for Nutritional Studies at Cornell University.

Photo ©

Good Natured Cooking® grew up with these goals in mind: clarify information that is confusing and conflicting, use common sense in food choices, and benefit from the growing base of credentialed scientists, researchers, clinical doctors and practitioners on whose band wagon I have happily jumped. I call myself a bridge builder who connects people with good health. Striving to find solutions, not Band-Aids, using reason, simplicity and common sense in food choices are the core of my regimen. Good health is something everyone deserves, but we need the means (or beans) to get there.

It may be hard to imagine that bowls of whole grains, greens, vegetables, legumes, beans, nuts, seeds, fruit, and a few condiments can impact our health in such a profound way, but they can. Wellness is as simple as food—good food!


Meeting with Dr. T. Colin Campbell
E D U C A T I O N / C E R T I F I C A T I O N S

Certified Counselor in Plant-Based Nutrition
T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutritional Studies
at Cornell University (Fall 2016)
Certified Macrobiotic Counselor
Art of Life School / Kushi Institute, Amsterdam (2011)
Certified Kundalini Yoga Instructor
The Kundalini Yoga Center / Altamonte Springs, Florida
Level I (2001) / Level II: The Mind (2011) /
Level II: Conscious Communication (2012)
BS, Skidmore College
Saratoga Springs, NY

Linda with Dr. Neal Barnard

Holistic Holiday at Sea: University of Miami, Miller School of Nutrition (2011–2018)
T O P I C S / Cheese Addiction / Longevity / Acid & Alkaline Foods /
The Food-Mood Connection / Plant-Based Nutrition and the
Medical Establishment / Over Eating / Power of the Mind to Heal /
Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease / Osteoporosis Prevention and Reversal / Microbiome: Health of the Gut in Acute and Chronic Disease / The Gut-Brain Axis / GMO Foods / Evolution of a Nutritionally-Aware Physician / Dietary Supplements: Risks, Benefits & Regulations / Natural Molecular Rheostats: The Future of Treating Chronic Diseases / The Retina: It’s More Than Meet the Eye / The Leading Causes of Disease / Combating Common Diseases With Food / The Food, Nutrition and Cancer Prevention Guidelines / A Real World Approach to Sensible, Practical and Balanced Eating

Plantstock Conference: Claverack, NY (Summer 2015)
T O P I C S / Strong Food vs. Weak Food / Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease / Whole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition / The Pleasure Trap / Power Foods for the Brain / Simple Way to Lose Weight and Reverse Illness / Why Prescribe Food as Medicine
P-POD Conference: UNC Asheville (October 2014)
T O P I C S / Diets in Prevention and Treatment of Diabetes and
Other Chronic Diseases / Meat and Dairy Consumption and the Global Epidemic of Chronic Disease / Effective Cancer Rehabilitation / Carbohydrate Confusion / Cruciferous Greens and Chronic Disease Prevention / Plant-Based Diet and Physical Exercise in Reducing Risks
of Chronic Disease / Plant-Based Athleticism / Nutritional Advisement for Disease Prevention or Remediation in Cardiology / Epidemiological and Clinical Data on Risk Reduction for Chronic Diseases

Booksignings! Above, Dr. Greger / Below, Dr. Esselstyn and family
C O U R S E S / L E C T U R E S

Over the past ten years, I have attended (literally) at least 250 workshops, presentations and lectures—too many to list here! Below are some of the highlights.

Detoxing (and the Microbiome)
Kripalu Yoga Institute / Lenox, MA
VB6 (Vegan Before Six)
Mark Bittmann / Salisbury, CT
Dr. T. Colin Campbell, Dr. Tom Campbell
Kripalu Yoga Institute / Lenox, MA
Current Food Trends
Dr. John Ryan, Head of the Culinary Institute of America
University Club / New York, NY
Younger Next Year
Chris Crowley, health and wellness author
University Club / New York, NY

In the kitchen, behind the scenes, at Kushi Amsterdam
C U L I N A R Y / T R A I N I N G

I’m obsessed with learning new cooking techniques and improving those that I have already learned; and like conferences and workshops, I’ve enrolled in many. Here, too, are a few important ones.

Boot Camp: Cooking Tips for Better Health
The Five Elements in Cooking

Chef Christina Pirello / Holistic Holiday at Sea
Cooking for Diabetes, Hypoglycemia, and Regulating Blood Sugar
Kushi Institute / Becket, MA
Cleansing the Liver
Chef Jessica Porter / Holistic Holiday at Sea
Cooking Techniques for Better Health
Chef Warren Kramer / Holistic Holiday at Sea