Two Anniversaries

This is going to get personal.

The first anniversary.

Dine In Personal Chef Service is 10 years old this month! That’s the name of the oldest part of our business. 

Ten years ago, I was working as a dietitian in a dialysis center. Diet is very important in kidney disease, and especially so in dialysis. I mostly enjoyed the work, but the administrative duties began to chafe.

I knew that some people had jobs that were just plain fun. Why not me?

Then I realized the only one holding me back was me. I was very fortunate, working part time and making my own schedule. So it was easy to try out a cooking business.

I joined the United States Personal Chef Association, read all the literature, every post on their list serve, and was on my way.

After about 3 years, the job schedule got in the way of the business schedule. So I quit the job and worked part time as a personal chef for a few years.

Vince joined me in the kitchen a few years ago. Over the years, we have also worked full time.  We hate to turn down a client.

What has this business meant for our clients?

Healthy after school snacks when the kids get home.

Having time to exercise, rather than make meals.

A smaller size.

A pregnancy for a client with Type 1 diabetes. Her goal was to have very tight blood sugar control so she could be “approved” to get pregnant.  We just learned today that they are pregnant, and are overjoyed!! There were many hugs all around.

Being well nourished for IronMan competitions.

Preventing a fourth heart attack.

Staying at home instead of having to move to a nursing home.

Preventing frightening shortness of breath from fluid overload.

Having a food referee. If Linda says it is OK, than it is OK.

Enjoying  a variety of gluten free dishes, not just a bowl of gluten free cereal at most meals.

Finding out that they like quinoa, even though they can’t pronounce it.

What has it meant for us?

The utter satisfaction or nourishing our clients.

Making our own schedule.

Becoming part of our clients lives.

Spending our days surrounded by the sizzle of chicken in a hot pan. And the heady scents of zested lemon peel, freshly chopped cilantro, and toasted nuts.

The fun of culinary vacations. Including a cooking school in Mexico, a week in Paris, and wine tours across the US. 

glowing eiffel tower

Eiffel tower photo by lsimon

Winning recipe contests that have paid for national conferences.

Speaking at national conferences.

Sharing our experiences in this blog and getting to know you.

Working with my husband, side by side in other people’s kitchens. Completing each others moves.

The freedom to temporarily close the business. To help my far away parents during my father’s cancer treatment. And then during my own.

The second anniversary.

This is my 5 year anniversary from a rare form of cervical cancer. Both anniversaries are all tangled up together. The happy and the sad.

I missed my 5 year business anniversary because I was dealing with cancer, my dad’s and my own. Sadly my dad died a few weeks after my surgery.

I am well now, thank you. But it took several years for me to really believe this.

Having cancer changes you. I went from feeling fine, to being a patient. Going to a doctor monthly it seemed. I had a gynecologist, urologist, dermatologist, oncologist. That is just too many “gists.”

Every appointment generated another. I began to tally up the costs. It was often over $40,000 a year, for several years. Thankfully we had and have insurance.

In the last year, I have made the conscience decision not to pursue every symptom. And to question every recommendation. OK, that part is not new.

To my delight, my mental health is far better when I stay out of the doctors office.

Watch out, she is getting on her soap box.

I am a DES Daughter. I believe my cancer was influenced by a prescription drug my mom took when she was pregnant with me. Thousands of women took these drugs. And the consequences didn’t show up until decades, or generations later.

How is this similar to gluten intolerance?

These are different diagnoses with some similar problems.

The effects of DES are discounted or ignored by many physicians, just as gluten intolerance is.

I have spent years educating my docs, just as you may have.

They look at me and say, “I have never seen a DES daughter.” Just as they might have said they didn’t know any celiacs, let alone anyone with gluten intolerance.

Both DES and celiac can effect fertility and pregnancy.

Both conditions lack adequate funding for research.

Working with the gluten free diet is the perfect place for me. I believe in the Hippocrates’ principle of “Let your food be your medicine.”

I know there are times when drugs are the best and only solution. For example, insulin is absolutely needed in Type 1 diabetes. And there are others.

But I am saddened when people hope for a drug to treat celiac disease. Not to deny the challenges, but we already have a great treatment. Diet.

I am deeply distrustful of big pharma. It often feels like we are in a giant drug experiment. How many big name drugs have been pulled off the market due to unforeseen side effects?

So I revel in food. Nourishing, delicious, beautiful food. I love the creativity of working with new ingredients. I love improving the nutrition of the gluten free diet. I love that there are no drugs involved.

Anniversaries are about celebrating, marking time, and looking back. I am ready to celebrate now. But I am also looking forward. We have plans. And I am hoping the next 10 years will be as sweet as the last.