Friday, January 1, 2010

Hi there. My name is Nicole Patterson, and Food For Vitality is a weekly blog created to share the recipes and ideas that have changed my life. I didn't start out eating well. Far from it. Here is a bit of my backstory:

I had an unlucky start: Not one, but two drug addicted parents. I grew up drinking Sunny Delight and eating chocolate-covered donuts for breakfast. Trust me, imitation orange juice and donuts were the tip of the iceberg. One thing led to another, and my sister and I were put into foster care for seven years. The script of my life could have read like an entire season of The Jerry Springer show, but I got lucky. Even though I was finally in a safe environment, my feelings fluctuated from quiet relief to depression. In these difficult times, food became my best friend. It offered a way to comfort the pain I felt inside.

My foster mom was incredibly passionate about food. She was also the proud owner of an ever-expanding library of cookbooks, and a monthly subscription to Gourmet Magazine. I loved to watch her cook. As far as I was concerned, the kitchen was where all the action was. One day I asked if I could make something myself, and she swiftly took me to the library to pick up a few kids cookbooks. I started out with the usual: Scrambled Eggs and Chocolate Chip Cookies. I enjoyed cooking so much that it didn't take long to graduate from kid’s cookbooks to helping out with the Gourmet recipes. It was a wonderful feeling to see the joy on people’s faces at the dinner table. I was having fun and making a positive contribution.

At the age of 17, I was introduced to natural cooking by my friend Malina who is a Macrobiotic chef. I was inspired by the wholesome and healthy meals she was making for her clients. After years of cooking, and quite literally a lot of eating, I was lovely, but chubby. Food had become my friend and enemy. Naturally cooked meals were simply prepared, delicious, and had nutritional benefits to boot. Within a month I lost 20 pounds. My weight has finally stabilized, and it now fluctuates between 125 to 130 pounds. I feel lighter and brighter. 

Over the years, I have tried many conscious-cooking styles, but quite honestly, I am just too greedy to commit to one. I would love to be 100% raw, but in the winter I crave a creamy squash soup topped with toasted tamari pumpkin seeds. I could be macrobiotic, but my mood will shift, and I will yearn for a mildly spiced pilau with currants, toasted slivered almonds, and topped with cauliflower bhaji. Oh, lime pickle and mango chutney on the side please. I am inspired and in awe of the staggering benefits of fruit, vegetables, and whole grains. In recent years, I have also discovered the power of superfoods. My humble intention is to share with you the recipes and information that have healed me emotionally and physically. 

A bit of career history: I lived in London for 12 years working as a session singer on tv, in the studio, and performing live around the world. Some of the more notable UK bands are Robbie Williams, Simply Red, DReam, and Texas. While on tour, I would take photos for fun to document my travels. Photography had always been a treasured hobby. After five years it became a career. I have shot fashion and music for British Vogue, I.D., The Face, Interview, Dazed and Confused, Arena, Arena Hommes Plus, NME, and Oyster. I also had the privilege to work on the Oscar nominated documentary, "Deliver Us From Evil."

With a bit of determination and luck, I made a great life for myself. Currently, I live in my hometown of Los Angeles with my husband Toby, and our son, Jake.