CANDIA LEA COLE'S JOURNEY
(From Learner to Leader)
Hello, my name is Candia Lea Cole, and I'm known in the holistic health community as "The Eco-Conscious Cook" and "The Eco-Intelligent Lifestyle Mentor." Personally speaking, I see myself as a visionary and a birther of creative ideas that offer to support humanity in nourishing its innate eco-intelligence. Eco-Intelligence is the intelligence that I believe all people and living things are born with that guides us to live in ecological balance and harmony, and make choices that protect and sustain life rather than destroy it. I've created dozens of educational products, including books, info-graphics, videos, podcasts, leadership trainings and more, all of which center around using our food and lifestyle choices as a form of medicine to heal environmental illness in our bodies and the earth.
As the author of three whole foods cookbooks and a prize-winning organic cook, I developed a passion for healthful cooking and eating during my teenage years, when I found myself dealing with health challenges that allopathic doctors were ill equipped to understand or treat. Unbeknownst to me at the time, I was suffering from "dirty genes" as well as a variety of infections, chemical sensitivities, and immunity issues.
Because doctors didn't have the answers that I needed to get well, my mom embarked on a personal quest to find answers. She began her quest with an exploration of the role that food and nutrition played in creating health and disease. "Like mother, like daughter", I found the topic fascinating. I began to read the books she was reading, and then took it upon myself to expand my interests. Herbal medicine and Chinese 5 Food Element Theory captured my interest, as did other traditional forms of medicine such as acupuncture, massage, chiropractic medicine, and functional medicine.
I realized during my studies, that my health and well being was inextricably linked to the earth's health and well being. I learned that if industries dumped toxins into the earth, in the process of developing the food and lifestyle products that I used each and every day, those same toxins would circle back to me and put my health in harm's way. That's when I decided to adopt a non-toxic green lifestyle, --one that had the power to detoxify my body as well as the earth's!
Learning about the medicinal values that are contained in nature's whole foods, empowered me. My discoveries led me to experiment in my family's kitchen with the creation of meals that I imagined, would be therapeutic for my health, as well as the health of plants, animals, and eco-systems. Being a very creative individual since childhood, I found it natural and easy to imagine and craft delicious new recipes, --one that I prepared from plant foods, as well as organically raised animal foods.
During this very fruitful time on my self-healing journey, my mom was invited to be on the board of an organization whose mission was to provide education about alternative forms of health care to people living with cancer and other disease conditions. Lucky for me/us, our home became a Bed 'n Breakfast for some of the health experts that the organization had hired to speak at our local meetings and conventions. As fate would it, I met Dr. Paavo Airola, N.D. and Dr. Richard Barmakian, N.D., (pioneers in the field of bio molecular nutrition), both of whom were destined to become my friends and health mentors. Meeting these doctors helped me to know what a healthy doctor- patient relationship is all about. It was these two doctors who prophesied that my health hardship was preparing me to (one day) serve others with similar health issues.
During the late 70's and early 80's, I use my newfound knowledge about food and nutrition to establish a natural foods catering service known as Gourmet Gatherings. Through this service, I prepared artistic gourmet food buffets for a variety of health care professionals living in my community. I later added Meals That Heal to my catering services, and cooked for people with special dietary needs.
In 1989, I was awarded the top honor in a cooking contest that was sponsored by the governor of Minnesota, to promote organic food and agriculture. I used my prize-winning recipe to get noticed by a California-based publisher, (formerly known as) Woodbridge Press, which then published my first cookbook "Not Milk...NUT MILKS!" The success of my first title led to the subsequent publication of two others, including: "Gourmet Grains: Main Dishes Made of Nature" and "Super Smoothies! Taste the Nectar of Life!"
Throughout the 1990s, I was a guest on a number of national radio shows and local community cable TV programs. I also collaborated with grassroots organizations such as VRG (Vegetarian Resource Group) and FARM (Farm Animal Reform Movement) to produce school-related educational events that promoted eco-sustainable farming and eating. In addition, I served as a freelance food writer and food stylist, for popular magazine publications such as Vegetarian Gourmet, Woman's World, Vegetarian Times, Llewellyn's Gardening Almanac, Veggie Life, and numerous newsletters such a Dr. Julian Whitaker's Health & Healing Newsletter.
During the mid 90's, after being invited to serve as a guest speaker and entertainer at a corporate green event, my soul's mission was awakened in me. That mission, which I am fulfilling today, is to support young people (and the people who care about their health and happiness), to awaken their innate eco-intelligence, and create healthy, non-toxic lifestyles that nourish their physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being, and guide them to cultivate a healthy and loving relationship with the earth and all living things.