Pam Zeidman of North Barrington has been cooking ever since her mother got her an Easy-Bake Oven when she was 7 or 8 years old. She liked to bake and learned basic cooking skills from her mom.
"My mom was a meat and potatoes cook. I don't think I had a salad until I was in college," Pam laughs. And while Pam used to be a big baker of cookies and cookie bars, which her husband and son loved, things have changed. About three years ago, Pam was unhappy with her energy level, she fought depression and had frequent headaches.
"I wanted to find a way to get off my prescriptions and all the over-the-counter medications I was taking. I wanted to take charge of my diet."
With the help of an old college roommate, Pam learned about essential oils and a lifestyle that embraces health and wellness. The result?
"It totally changed my life," said Pam, who is now a wellness advocate with doTERRA International. Now Pam doesn't take any medications, doesn't get headaches and rarely goes to the doctor.
"I've taken control of my health care, and I eat very differently." While not following exactly a Paleo diet, Pam has eliminated many foods from her diet similar to the Paleo philosophy.
"I don't eat flour or processed sugar -- we all eat way too much sugar, it's very addicting -- I still have some wine, but I find that I just eat and feel a lot better." About twice a year Pam does a cleanse to get rid of the toxins in her body.
Pam and her husband live on a property with room for a horse, their dog and chickens. In the spring, she plants a large garden where she grows vegetables.
"I have raised beds on the patio for my herbs, but in the garden, I grow green beans, zucchini, kale and a bunch of different lettuces."
A typical day in the Zeidman household begins with a hearty breakfast.
"We're big breakfast people here at our house," she admits. Pam has a favorite gluten-free waffle recipe that she shares with us today. Of course, there are usually fresh eggs from her chicken coop. Lunch is often a soup of some sort.
"We eat a lot of soup. Once a week I make a soup from scratch. I like to make a chicken and vegetable soup with orzo, or maybe wild rice. Today, I made a cream of potato soup." Pam uses red or sweet potatoes, no white potatoes.
Pam also uses essential oils in her cooking. For example, in one favorite glazed carrot recipe, she uses a drop of Thyme oil. Oils used for cooking must be certified Pure Therapeutic Grade, but the advantage is you only need to use a tiny bit, to get the same nutritional value.
Dinner is usually heavy on vegetables.
"Last night I roasted a bunch of veggies -- Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, asparagus -- I threw them all into a baking dish -- tossed them in olive oil and Himalayan salt, and roasted them at 400 for about 30 minutes. Then we have some sort of meat, last night it was a pork tenderloin, but we might have salmon, shrimp or chicken. We stay away from red meat, but when we do have it, we have grass-fed beef or bison. Sometimes we'll have a salad, but we don't eat too much bread."
While her husband hasn't quite mastered the monthlong cleanse, he is a fan of the doTERRA diet and lifestyle.
"He eats the food and takes the supplements, but he cheats," laughs Pam. So does Pam, but only every once in a while.
"I do make a really good lasagna," she laughs.
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