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"Someone's in the kitchen with Dinah ... someone's in the kitchen I know, oh … oh ... oh." The lyrics of this once popular southern hill song are ringing in my ears today. But they seem instead to be saying: "Shaman in the kitchen with 'dinnah'." So there is no confusion, "dinnah" should be construed as delicious mealtime fare--with a drawl. And the shaman in this case, is a lovely young woman named Candia Lea Cole, who, when asked about her work with food, is reluctant to stay within the bounds of either her food processor or her word processor!

Although Candia's angelic appearance doesn't exactly convey the likes of a shaman (“a wounded healer” or “earth-medicine woman” by definition...) she suggests that, symbolically speaking, she embodies the traits and the 'calling' of a shaman. She is deeply rooted in Mother Earth’s healing wisdom, and frequently hears 'the voice of nature' speaking to her. She has experienced painful health difficulties that severely tested her emotional and spiritual strength. And, she has used the lessons that she gained on her own self-guided healing journey, to serve her community and the earth.

It was during her teenage years that Candia found herself dealing with a ‘mystery illness’ that no doctor was trained to diagnose or effectively remedy. She, along with her mother, decided to adopt a non-toxic lifestyle and explore the world of alternative medicine. After meeting a new breed of doctors who specialized in “environmental medicine”, Candia came to understand the source of her suffering, which related in part, to inherited genetic defects, sensitivities to environmental toxins, opportunistic viruses, and unconscious dietary choices and lifestyle choices. After recognizing the connection between her wounds (and wounds affecting the earth; caused by unconscious human behavior and toxic agricultural practices), she turned to Mother Nature for her help. The prescription she was given, led her to begin experimenting in her kitchen with the creation of organic, whole foods meals that she prepared mainly from plant-based foods.

Candia told me that she invites the spirit of ‘Mother Nature’ into her kitchen when she cooks, which inspires her to enter into a healthy relationship with her body and the earth, and turn the daily shore of cooking into an “effort of the soul.” In Candia’s words, “the sun, the rain, the soil, the insects, and all life forms, remind me about the necessity of cooperating with nature, versus dominating it. Nature’s orchards, fields, and gardens, bring romance into my culinary life, and remind me of the precious healing gifts that nature provides for me and all humans.”

As Candia’s passion for healthful food preparation grew, she established two natural foods catering services known as Gourmet Gatherings and Meals that Heal. Years later, she entered a cooking contest and was awarded the top prize, which led to the publication of three whole foods cookbooks, including: Not Milks… NUTMILKS!, Gourmet Grains- Main Dishes Made of Nature, and Super Smoothies- The Nectar of Life. Each of her cookbooks, she says, is unique in that, they weave together poetic inflections about nature, along with nourishing recipes whose purpose is to help us integrate our personal health needs with Mother Earth’s health needs!

"Her culinary work is different in several ways", confirms Los Angeles based food connoisseur and cookbook critic, Grace Kirschenbaum, author of the globally read newsletter,The World of Cookbooks. "Not only do her recipes have an originality that sets them apart from others using similar ingredients, but there is something else I sensed—a purposeful and knowing serenity and a heartfelt desire to share her findings." [if !supportLineBreakNewLine] [endif]Indeed. When on a recent visit with Candia in her kitchen, which had the mark of industry on every spare countertop and open-faced pantry, I had a chance to 'taste' the difference!

* A smooth-sipping serving of her “Apricot Almond Orange Milk” took my taste buds to an enchanted orchard. (The sound known as "moo" never crossed my lips!)

* A gourmet, butterscotch flavored "smoothie," blended from sweet potatoes, sesame butter, rice milk, and maple syrup, tasted simply divine.

* A hearty bite of a banana date muffin featuring ancient grains, healing flaxseeds and slippery elm powder, was a delight.

* Yesterday's meatless dinner entree, tucked away in her refrigerator, was a festive looking platter of millet, seasoned with her prize-winning medley of Mexican spices, vegetables, and legumes.

I polished off another muffin and thought back to the first time I had seen Candia cook, at a party that she had helped me to organize, cater, and design. I had watched her, mesmerized, -as she glowed with confidence, putting together large, party-sized dishes of rice, vegetables, nuts, ghee (clarified butter), and a mouthwatering curry seasonings.

I was watching her create, observing her draw on an awareness and senses that were unknown to me.I knew that day I was watching a master cook in the process of creation--but this seemed a very different cook and a very different kind of meal than what one would expect from the chefs trained at Cordon Bleu! In Candia's warm and hospitable presence, my party guests and I had the opportunity to experience the beautiful and delicious essence of nature on our plates!

Did Kate’s Article Inspire You?

If so, consider purchasing any one of my 3 video cookbook classes for yourself or a friend, this weekend, from my website store or Udemy, and get a special discount or bonus!

2 Easy, Fast, Purchase Options:

OPTION #1) Get my classes at within the next 15 hours, and get a 50 percent discount today!

Pay only $10 for my Gourmet Grains class here:

Pay only $10 dollars for my Nut Milks class here:

Note: My Super Smoothies class is not available on Udemy.

OPTION#2) Purchase any of my 3 video food making classes from my website store this weekend,, and get my FREE bonus book: Eating the Eco-Enlightened Way! (PDF download format) FREE of charge! ($5.00 value)

In my book, I “give voice” to “the shaman in me” that is always present when I cook. Reflect on my insights to discover how YOU can experience greater vitality when you use mealtimes to intimately connect with nature, food, your body, and your kitchen! Here’s a sneak peek at the freebie:

Have a great weekend!

Candia Lea Cole

Founder, Eco-Learning Legacies

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