November 27, 2011

A Very Special Thanksgiving-With Our Family of Intention

For many, Thanksgiving is a time of year where people head to the homes of their childhoods and celebrate with their families of origin. Turkey, sweet potatoes and stuffing await. And, of course, leftovers.

For many people, this simply isn't their reality. Or if it is, it certainly isn't the experience depicted in the famous Norman Rockwell painting.

For many folks, especially those in the LGBTQ community, the holidays are a time when they gather a family of intention around them--because they aren't welcome at "home" due to their sexual or gender orientation or because of the way they live their lives. Political, religious and lifestyle habits can make family gatherings difficult at best, so many folks choose to avoid the situation entirely, and the discomfort that can come with it. Endless years of being singled-out as the lone vegetarian at the table (despite the fact that the only thing I wasn't eating was the turkey, itself) or chastised because I was the lone liberal-minded queer convinced me that making the long trek home wasn't worth the hassle. Forget about asking if the turkey was grass-fed and organic.

Then there are folks who can't afford to fly long-distances several times in a couple of months to celebrate the holidays with their loved ones or aren't able to for job-related reasons. Where are those folks supposed to go? What are folks to do when faced with the reality of an orphan holiday?


This Thanksgiving, I found myself seated around a table enjoying one of the best meals I've ever eaten. Why? Because it was food that I felt 100% good about and I was sharing it with people I felt 100% comfortable to be around. My partner and I shopped for ingredients that were either locally-sourced or organic (ok, except for the marshmallows) and we prepared meals based on these values. We knew our guests share our intentionality when it comes to food (and most other things), so we prepared ourselves for their incredible contributions!

Canned cranberry sauce (jellied?) that is about 76% sugar? Why not spread cranberry jelly on your turkey?

Stuffing made with bread that only makes you feel stuffed from all the wheat flour halfway through your meal? No thanks. We made ours with quinoa, mushrooms, diced apricots, apples and herbs!

What about greens? How many American households had a homemade green salad made with shredded Brussels sprouts and red kale? Not too many, we're pretty sure. ;)

And our friends. We invited some hetero folks who recently moved to Boston and weren't able to fly to the Midwest for the holidays this year. What a bummer! Imagine moving to a new city and having no one to chill with for Thanksgiving?! No way! We scooped up those pals as well as another friend who wasn't flying to the West coast for the holiday and we all successfully made our way through 6 bottles of wine.

Talk about holiday cheer!

If we said it once, we said it 1,000 times---"this is the best Thanksgiving I've ever had--the food is so good for us, tastes amazing, and you can't beat the company". It was unanimous. We were truly so very grateful to be fed by a dinner of natural foods and surrounded by kindred company and conversation.

We felt blessed and grateful that we broke the mold and created a very special Thanksgiving--with a new family of intention.

PS if you want any of these recipes--hit me up! You can rock out next year! ;)

November 21, 2011

Sweet Squash Soup*

Serve this sucker at Thanksgiving on Thursday.


1) easy
2) seasonal
3) delicious

That's what I always promise, yes?  ;)


November 19, 2011

Gaying it Up at the Rainbow Center at UCONN

On Wednesday, November 16th, I drove myself and my Lesley University interns--Emily and Jillian--to UCONN to speak at the Rainbow Center.

Big thanks to Fleurette King, Director of the Rainbow Center, for inviting me to speak at the Out To Lunch lecture series.

Taking The Leap

So, last month I clicked on a craigslist ad (no, not that kind) and found myself applying for an audition for a brand-new-to-Boston improv troupe coming this Spring.

Got a warm, welcoming reply to apply from the creater/founder and then what did I do?

I froze. Paralyzed by limiting beliefs.

"I have no improv experience"
"I have no time"
"I won't get chosen"
"I haven't been on stage since I was 17 years old"
"They won't create space for LGBTQ advocacy"

For about 2 weeks, I sat with these thoughts and didn't apply.

And then, I decided to take a step forward, realizing that nothing ventured equals nothing gained.

November 7, 2011

Which Wolf Do You Feed?

If this blog is all about eating---let's talk about feeding feelings.

There's a story attributed to the Cherokee (but I don't know it actually came from that tribe*) that goes something like this:

A Cherokee Legend
An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. "A fight is going on inside me," he said to the boy.

"It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil - he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego." He continued, "The other is good - he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you - and inside every other person, too."
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, "Which wolf will win?"
The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."

Super true. I have read this story many times during the past few years, but it really hit home last week. 

Update from Emily and Jillian, Lesley University Rockstar Interns!

Emily Scolaro:

My update: the only word that can I use to describe this experience this far is unreal.  I choose unreal because it is exactly that.  How many people get the opportunity to intern and learn from such an amazing person in their undergrad?  Not many!

Throughout this journey I have learned skills and gained knowledge that I could not have gotten from just reading a book, or going to a class.  Working with Dillan on a weekly basis has opened my eyes to a variety of opportunities. Engaging in a professional environment has made me become more self-aware.  I have learned how to place limits in certain aspects of my life, which has helped with my overall health; mentally, emotionally, and physically. The constant feedback of positive affirmation and constructive criticism from Dillan has driven me to be more passionate about everything I’m learning.   I can see my future more clearly now and I’m hoping that one day I will be in a job where I feel so inspired and self motivated.

Dillan encouraged Jillian and I to attend a talk that was held by the Integrative Health Collaborative of Boston. They were hosting “an evening of networking with integrative health colleagues and a presentation from Dr. Darshan Mehta.” He talked about mindfulness as a tool for healing and staying healthy and how practitioners at the Benson-Henry Institute use and teach mindfulness as a treatment strategy.  After seeing his presentation I was in awe, mostly because I could not understand a good portion of the words he was saying.  Aside from that, the networking and knowledge I gained was amazing.  Jillian and I were probably the youngest people there, but we were treated as if we were just as equal as everyone else (whether one was a doctor, medical student, pharmacist, cook, health coach, etc.).  I felt honored to be at this amazing place, with a breathtaking view of Boston, and have remarkable people with common interests around me.  The networking aspect of the whole journey was probably the most beneficial.  I saw how Dillan advocated for herself and for her business, listened to others and what they had to offer, and could gage where to place her energy and focused attention.  This is one of the moments that I will look back at this internship and remember the impact it had on me.

I plan on continuing my internship in the spring so that we can proceed with some amazing ideas that we are developing. 

Jillian Clarke:

Holistic psychology has always been a passion of mine, even before I knew it actually had a name. As a sophomore I have dove deeper into the field of holistic psychology and holistic living has become such an important part of my life.  Interning with Dillan has been one of the major catalysts for this love and passion.  This semester with Dillan has not only been an amazing work experience, but has also been changing my life for the better.

Working with Dillan has most definitely added to the primary foods of my life, particularly in the aspects of my career, relationships and spirituality.  Each week that we meet I have learned more and more about myself (I feel blessed to be able to do be able to do so much self-care at an internship!).  One of the experiences with Savor Your Existence that has helped my self-care progression was teaching a class at Lesley College with Dillan and Emily.  I spoke about the daily hardship of cravings and the correlation to primary food.  Being able to share my personal experiences with my peers was such a liberating feeling for me.  I was able to share my hardships and teach my peers how to cope with theirs as well.  I learned a lot about myself that day; the most important lesson was that I learned how well I was actually doing in my own life.   Learning about issues such as cravings, holistically, has strengthened my self-awareness and mindfulness.

I am so grateful for this amazing opportunity to work with Dillan this semester.  I am planning to keep working with this extraordinary person and keep broadening my horizons.

November 2, 2011

Sweet Potato, Broccoli and Cabbage Stir-Fry

It's Sunday night--maybe 4:45pm.

You had a busy weekend, you're tired, you're hungry.

"What's for dinner?"

Take-out options: sushi, pizza, thai, Italian.


It's moments like this where I fully realize and appreciate how different my life is, from just a few years ago.

Now, instead of calling and ordering take-out, I stand up from the table, rummage around my kitchen and make things like this instead:

Why spend my hard-earned money on dishes made by other people when I have the ingredients and know-how?

Why not take time out from working and rushing around and spend an hour preparing a wholesome meal for myself and my partner?

This is how I think now, as a health coach.

loved this comment from a pal the other day, "making this tonight, thanks for the inspiration."


you need:

  • two large sweet potatoes, sliced or diced. Your choice.
  • four crowns of broccoli, chopped into small pieces
  • 2 cups cabbage, shredded or finely chopped
  • 1 cup onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbs sesame oil
  • 2 cups quinoa or brown rice, cooked
  • powdered ginger, dash of cinnamon, soy sauce, rice vinegar to taste

 do this:
  • in a pan, add the oil and onions. Cook them down over med. heat until they begin to soften
  • add the sweet potatoes and broccoli. Dense veggies need more time to cook, so add them first, then the cabbage. Stir over medium heat.
  • when the veggies are softened to your liking, add the garlic and seasonings. Toss and serve over rice or quinoa.

Even better?

Storing leftovers in glass containers in the fridge and adding these simple ingredients to stretch them out and change them up a bit a few days later:
  • 1 1/2 cups tofu, diced 
  • 1 package frozen mixed veggies

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