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Are you a full-time blogger?
No, I operate a small-scale culinary business called The Cooking Collaborative, LLC. We offer personal chef services, corporate wellness, culinary classes for children & adults, as well as creative consulting which involves recipe development, photography, chef consulting, and specialized hospitality services.
The Healing Connective is a secondary portion of my career that I created to be able to share recipes and my lifestyle in more depth. My main job is working for and with families as a personal chef. You can find out more about my culinary & creative services by clicking here.
Did you go to culinary school?
Yes. I went to Johnson & Wales University in Miami, Florida, and received an Associate of Science in Culinary Arts as well as a Bachelor of Science in Food Service Management.
Did you go to a design university too?
Yes. I went to The Savannah College of Art & Design in Savannah Georgia. I studied Interior Architecture/Design and received a Bachelor of Fine Arts prior to reentering college a second time for my culinary focuses.
Lifestyle & Health:
Where can I find more information about Ehlers Danlos Syndrome outside of your blog?
I will always recommend The Ehlers Danlos Society for the most up-to-date information for this syndrome and it’s related syndromes and/or comorbidities. Keep in mind that Ehlers Danlos Syndrome will present itself differently in every individual and understanding the complexities may be difficult to diagnose and manage. You can find out more information about my experience by clicking the “Living with EDS&Co.” tab under my Lifestyle tab.
When were your diagnosed with hEDS?
I was diagnosed in 2018 after a year of testing and a severe bout with pneumonia that brought my symptoms to the surface. I struggled with various health problems since my early 20’s but did not get diagnosed until 2018.
Food & Eating:
Do you follow a specific diet or would you recommend one?
I do not follow a “specific” diet as I know my body will change, along with its needs. I practice intuitive eating and I am personally gluten & dairy-free due to the symptoms I have found with health problems. I do have severe allergies to specific foods due to Mast Cell Activation Syndrome however with awareness, and management I hope that one day this will change. As a chef I am able to modify my recipes and the recipes that I share to suit my personal needs to reduce anaphylaxis symptoms.
I do not recommend any diet as a one-size-fits-all as I believe we all have various nutritional needs/wants/desires and nutritional variety will vary as we age.
Following my intuitive eating approach, it has allowed me to eat without feeling many restrictions while building a positive relationship with food, even if I feel it’s against me some days. My diet is rich in nutrients and I listen to my body’s cues as clues to the way I continue to eat. I feel satisfied with the relationship I have created with food and the voice I display to clients and followers. Please DM or email me if you feel you need improvement in this area. I would love to help.
What kind of blender do you use?
I use a Vitamix 5300 Blender – Professional Version. I highly recommend using a Vitamix. It has so much versatility and I promise you that you will not regret this investment!
I also use this immersion blender for smoothies as it’s easier to wash and minimizes excess dishes! I absolutely love this for soups and dips as well!
Another option that is affordable (and a smaller option) is my Magic Bullet which is great for smoothies, but not much else. I would not recommend this as your main blender purchase as a Vitamix is by far unmatched in it’s power!
Do you have any lists of the kitchen tools you use?
Yes! You can find almost every item I use at home or in client’s homes on this page.
What is your favorite restaurant?
I typically do not go out to eat very often as I have some serious allergies but if that were not the case I’d frequent Byblos in Miami Beach! I tend to frequent restaurants that have Middle Eastern undertones.
I will update this page often as more generalized questions roll in. For now, feel free to check my instagram highlight here that answers a few more culinary-based questions.