As a young girl, I grew up in Wisconsin—the dairy state. When I went away to a boarding school for high school, I decided to become vegetarian. I ate a fair amount of cheese and dairy products when I eliminated meat from my diet. When I attended college, I took the nursing program at Andrews University.
I enjoyed my classes but especially enjoyed my public health classes and the cooking classes we did for the community. My professor, Charlotte Hamlin, inspired us to share simple health principles with people and teach them how good nutrition can help to prevent disease. Those principles always stayed with me.
My attention was again drawn to this when my father developed type 2 diabetes. My parents attended Weimar Institute, a lifestyle program in California that specializes in reversal of diabetes. It really helped my dad.
When I saw the effect that exercise and a plant-based diet had on my father, my conviction grew even stronger. I have worked in hospitals, home health, and long-term care facilities. I wanted to help people but felt limited in what I could do and say.
When we moved to California, I decided to hold a small vegetarian cooking class in my home. I talked with our pastor at the time, and he encouraged me to do it in our church fellowship hall. So I advertised in the local paper, and we had around 100 people in attendance. For fifteen years I’ve been doing cooking classes in our community and always have a great response.
I did a series of cooking classes in Phoenix for the It Is Written Television Ministry, and we had more than 120 people in attendance. So many people have failing health, and they are looking for an answer outside of drugs that have side effects and often only treat their symptoms. There is a place for medication, but if you can avoid it, why not?
When I started teaching these classes, I decided it was time to eliminate dairy products from my diet, as well. I found I actually felt better. I was highly motivated to make tasty food, because we have two sons who weren’t going to be too interested in this if it didn’t taste good! One thing I found—when you come under conviction with something in your diet, don’t expect everyone else to have that same conviction. Just make your food tasty enough that they’ll want to eat it!
I’ve learned over and over to experiment until you get a good result. I’ve also tried different cookbooks and found some really good recipes, which are in this book because I’ve been using them for years in my classes and wanted to share them with you too. (They are used with permission, of course!) The recipes on this site, and in my book are some of our family favorites. I hope you enjoy them and that they will be a blessing to you and your family.
Karen Houghton, RN, BSN