Greetings to each of you. This blog will focus on the kitchen– the heart of our HH home and the gardens. Two wonderful “weavers” Ann Lovejoy and Deanna Minich who contributed their expertise in enhancing nourishment of the Body and the Spirit via Harmony Hill’s Kitchen and gardens will be featured.
I knew from growing up on a large dairy farm, as well as volunteering at St. Andrew’s, the importance of feeding people delicious healthy foods—if they are not fed well they won’t return. My beloved Mom was an excellent cook and always made extra’s as it was common for people to stop by unexpectedly just in time for a wonderful noon meal.
In HH’s early start-up days I did much of the cooking, often with volunteer helpers, e.g. Carolyn Olsen came on numerous occasions to help with breakfast for bigger groups. Once Cindy Shank came on board and ever since then we have had a kitchen staff crew of wonderful cooks and bakers who see themselves as an integral part of the Hill experience. Their approach to work is intentional, conscious of the important essential role healthy food is for those we serve. The kitchen staff creates inviting colorful meals that guests have been known to take photographs of the buffet. Many guests return home with stories about the “amazing” food they enjoyed. Harmony Hill has made an art of preparing and serving healthy, organic, and delicious foods, mostly vegetarian. Even the most committed carnivores have expressed delight in the variety and quality of the meals. Many are surprised to realize they hadn’t even noticed the meals were meatless. The kitchen provides thousands of nutritious and delicious meals each year, using fresh, whole ingredients, locally grown whenever possible.
Meals can be challenging for those who are dealing with a cancer diagnosis. The effects of chemo, radiation, and other treatments can upset digestion, impede appetite or alter one’s ability to taste or swallow. The cooks at Harmony Hill, in consultation with nutritional and medical experts, are accustomed to working with special dietary restrictions or creating new menus to help those for whom food has become a challenge. Two amazing “weavers” are Ann Lovejoy and Deanna Minich. Both are excellent nutrition consultants who contributed immensely to Harmony Hill including lectures during the Cancer retreats and writings for our cookbooks.
Ann Lovejoy came to HH for a CR with her beloved husband Bud. Ann commented “like many others Bud and I found that cancer brings many gifts in its wake. Bud was always quick to add Cancer is a gift but the wrapping sucks.” They had a transformative experience in the CR and quickly became amazing ambassadors for HH. Ann is an expert organic gardener and organic cookbook author. She taught a number of classes at Harmony Hill. She wrote articles about the Hill and edited the 4th version of a HH Cookbook. Her advice, consultation and work in the gardens of Harmony Hill helped transform them from beautiful to breathtaking. Ann also secured donations of thousands of dollars’ worth of perennials and helped the Hill fulfill its commitment to sustainability and organic practices. Ann has written more than 18 gardening books. As a garden and food columnist for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, she has written numerous books on kitchen and healthy cooking. Ann also created an annual calendar The Organic Kitchen Garden wall calendar. It featured beautiful photographs of kitchen gardens and the lush produce they offer, this calendar pairs images with twelve months of recipes and tips inspired by the bounty of kitchen gardens and local farmers’ markets. Each month offered a simple, seasonal, and healthful recipe along with tips on growing, harvesting, canning, and cooking all with an emphasis on the importance of an organic approach.
Deanna Minich — a treasured former faculty for our CR facilitating a deeper understanding for participants of the healing power of food. Dr. Deanna Minich (www.drdeannaminich.com) is a wellness expert and author of five books. Having had health issues in her teens and twenties, she looked for solutions to feel better and understand her relationship with food. She embarked upon a scientific path to study nutritional biochemistry, while at the same time, explored other disciplines like psychology, spirituality, and philosophy. Her journey to find answers ultimately led her to combine her studies to develop an integrated, complete, lifestyle system called Food & Spirit™. Currently, she offers training to practitioners of all types to learn this color-coded method for full-spectrum health. Pearls from her book The Rainbow Diet: A Holistic Approach to Radiant Health is currently being offered at her Gig Harbor clinic in a 14-week course which several of us are taking. Dr. Minich is a Fellow of the American College of Nutrition, a Certified Nutrition Specialist, a Certified Functional Medicine Practitioner, and faculty for the Institute for Functional Medicine and the University of Western States. Her passion is teaching a whole-self approach to living and bringing together the gaps between science, spirit, and art in healing. Deanna has a tremendous following and has many students she is mentoring via her online Certified Food & Spirit Practitioner program. Several of Deanna’s Food and Spirit practitioner graduates are now in process with our lead Chef Jesse Gregor to create the next HH Cookbook. Hopefully, it will be available later this summer.
Quotes from CR participants thanking donors who provide support for the retreats:
- Words cannot begin to explain my gratitude to the people who made it possible. My grief was such a burden and when I left, my soul was changed so I could come back to living again. I love them all.
- Thank you so much for this opportunity! To me, this means that other people recognize how difficult the cancer journey is and have chosen to honor people who are affected by cancer.
- I wish I could hug them and thank them in person, though I’m sure I would cry and barely get out more than “thank you”. I would not have been able to experience this peaceful healing had it not been paid for by someone else. Harmony Hill must continue to do what they do. Thank You
Thank you again for following these blogs. It is an honor to be sharing the “weaver” stories. Blessings to each of you. Gretchen