Hi! Thanks for stopping by. My name is Jessie Monds and I am a Culinary School graduate and 500 hour certified Yoga Instructor.
I used to work as a private chef, logging 60+ hours per week, for a select group of affluent and eccentric clientele. I was making the big bucks in a career I thought I loved. At some point, though, my life became out of balance and I was no longer happy.
Each evening, between 7 and 9 pm, I’d stop at Central Market for a healthy dinner of red wine and chocolate then head to my best friends house to complain about my awful day and terrible life. Something needed to change.
I pulled back my hours at work and began taking better care of my body. I needed to find a different way to unwind so dusted off my old yoga mat and began taking classes again.
There was an instructor, Kurt Johnsen, at American Power Yoga that suggest I join their next Yoga Teacher Training. I knew my main client would be out of town for the month of April and the training began in April. I also knew I would talk myself out of it if I spent too much time deliberating so immediately handed him my credit card and paid for the training.
This was a very pivotal moment in my life, shifting from a person that liked to check out to someone that began checking in, learning about myself, changing behaviors that are not life supporting, and digging through the trenches of old wounds, unquestioned behaviors, and negative self talk to begin the process of personal transformation and becoming the kind of person I always wanted to be.
My specialty as a chef is in healthy cooking. This is why I became a private chef instead of a restaurant chef. Restaurant food is generally not healthy. It is made to taste good so you want to come back for more, which is okay and fun every once and awhile, but I didn’t want to be around it on a daily basis.
I began to realize that working for one or two families in Dallas was not going to make a large impact in the world and I wanted to transfer my energy to something that can help more people. I am not suggesting that the average person eating the Standard American Diet needs to all of a sudden become a raw/vegan; however, it is my intention to bridge the gap from unhealthy eating to healthier lifestyle decisions in a way that tastes great, is easy to do, and allows you to feel satisfied and happy with food.
With a health care system that has been coined a “Sick Care System”, obesity rates on the rise, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer up each year, and knowing that the foods we eat can have either a positive or negative impact on these diseases, this is a great opportunity to take preventative care into our own hands and build our bodies up for success.
One of my favorite quotes is an old Ayurvedic proverb. ”When diet is wrong medicine is of no use. When diet is correct, medicine is of no need.”
As a yoga instructor and a member of the yoga community, I know there are many yogis that are vegetarians, vegans, and/or eat a mainly raw diet. There are also yogis that eat french fries, hamburgers, and donuts so there are no consistencies across the board.
For me personally, I have suffered from every eating disorder in the book. Anorexia, bulimia, amnesia bulimia (overeating to the point of misery and forgetting to binge), body dysmorphia disorder, hating my body, hating myself, hating food, and, sometimes, hating even being alive.
I know in this I am not alone. As women, especially, we suffer in our bodies, trying to look and be ‘perfect’. It is a dark and lonely place to reside. Developing a healthy mental attitude about food is another lesson the yoga has helped me with. Finding the place inside that is listening to the thoughts in my head, listening to the breath in my chest, is the real me. And when we find out what and who we really are, then we always have a place to go to feel safe, and feel good enough.
And because I have had so many strange and unhealthy thoughts about food, I do not do well to cut whole sections of food out of my diet. It makes me obsessive, angry, and miserable. I am not vegan, vegetarian, or raw, but can go for several days without eating meat, incorporate raw foods whenever possible, and eat the highest quality meats I can find. After living in this body for 32 years, this is what works for me.
Yoga helps put us in touch with our bodies so we begin to feel more and may notice how certain foods that we once loved no longer make us feel physically good. It helps cultivate a natural progression from an unhealthier lifestyle to a healthier one.
The practice of yoga has helped me, has changed me, and so I believe in its ability to transform. Yogaglo is a great website that offers a variety of classes, of varying styles and levels, taught by some of the best teachers in the country. Try it out if you are curiously apprehensive about yoga and not quite ready to go to a studio. They offer a two week free trial so it costs you nothing today! If you live in Dallas, come practice with me! Here is my schedule, and I offer private lessons as well.
It takes time to reprogram our brain (and tastebuds) to make different decisions. Begin one day at a time and with something small. Replace diet Coke with water, walk 30 minutes 3 times per week, eat vegetarian one night a week, only eat half of your portion at a restaurant, and so on. Small changes have a large impact.
My goal is to offer a variety of recipes and they are categorized under the Food tab of this site. I didn’t want to be a total sell out and only have unhealthy “popular” (popular is anything with lots of cheese, chocolate, and sugar) recipes on here, so if you are gluten-free, vegetarian, or vegan, there are recipes on this site for you. If you are one of the thousands that have clicked on here because of my Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie, there are recipes for you too.
If you are not sure about how your body works or what you should be eating, it may be helpful to have your DNA tested. This simple test will tell you exactly what to do, what to eat, and what to take, according to your own unique DNA. More information here.
All comments are greatly encouraged and appreciated. Please let me know if there is something you would like to learn more about. Thank you for your time. Namaste.