June–A Month of Inspiration

23 Jun

Earlier this month we had our second day of the Inspired Cookie Project,  providing cookies at the UCSF Cancer Center.  It was amazing again to see people respond to cookies, feeling happiness if only for a few moments.  How simple but profound to be nurtured by a cookie during a dark moment.  It was a privilege for us that patients let us in to this moment in their lives to make a difference.  One woman said she could smell the cookies from the door when she walked into the patient registration area.  Several said how nice it was to have this program at UCSF.  People asked how they could get the recipe. And there were smiles everywhere.

A week or so later, a  friend of mine–a naturopathic doctor–told me about her uncle’s struggle with cancer.  She was looking for a way to help him.  I made her some cookies to mail to her uncle.  An inspiring story ensued.  Her uncle called her and, for the first time, he opened up to her on the phone, wanting to talk like never before.  The cookies were a vehicle to show how much they cared about each other.

At the same time, my father in Florida e-mailed information on the Inspired Cookie Project to a Rabbi friend in Pennsylvania.  The Rabbi then sent out the info to members of his clergy to use it to inspire others in their community to begin new service projects.  It is amazing to see how one action can touch the lives of those we don’t even know we’re touching.  One person can make a difference.  One community can make a difference.  What a privilege to find out how we are inspiring others.

Last, I am working on developing a company to eventually sell the cookies, now named RUTHless cookie™ after my mother Ruth, and because they are ruthless at maintaining health with their powerful phytonutrients.  The company is called A Bakery to Live for.  Check out my new website:  http://www.abakerytolivefor.com.


A Meeting of Like Minds

19 May

I am open to and excited by new possibilities… Since my last entry, I was lucky enough to learn about Rebecca Katz, a Bay Area cookbook author who writes about cancer prevention through healthy, delicious foods. After sending her a “cold-call” e-mail about the Inspired Cookie Project, I was lucky enough to hear back from her right away. She said she loved the cookie project and suggested I look at the Ceres Community Project at http://www.ceresproject.org. Wow, was Rebecca right; there is so much synergy between Ceres’ mission and the goals of the Inspired Cookie Project. The Ceres Project is a program for families with teens to cook nutritious cancer-fighting foods and provide them to people with cancer.

I then contacted the Marin Ceres Project leader to become involved as they approach their launch in Marin County. Her exact words: “I marvel at how amazing the universe continues to be. Just as we begin the first steps toward bringing the Ceres Project to Marin, we learn about marvelously aligned efforts like the Inspired Cookie Project.” She and I have a phone meeting scheduled this week. We’ll see where this leads…

Our next date to provide cookies at the UCSF Cancer Center is Wednesday, June 2. I am excited about the opportunity to give away our nutritious cookies again and bring a little joy, nutrition, love to people with cancer. Rustic Bakery has offered to bake these many dozens of cookies again. And, I’m excited that Carol, Rustic’s owner, has asked me to join her in their kitchen that morning. How fun! I can’t wait.

Hello world!

8 May

Success!  The first cookie giving day at the UCSF Breast Cancer Center was this past week.  Whole Foods donated the ingredients for my very healthy and empowering cookie recipe, and Rustic Bakery baked 100 cookies that morning.  KPIX (CBS) news filmed the story and posted it on their website.  Both the video and the written coverage can be seen at this link: http://cbs5.com/health/cookies.breast.cancer.2.1682677.html

They did a nice job covering the story, but they left out one of the main points–this is a project by the community for the community.  Here’s my description:

The “Inspired Cookie Project” is a program I developed for the UCSF Breast Cancer Center.  The idea combines my passion for cooking, health and the UCSF Breast Cancer Center, a community that touches my life every day — Rob works there and inspires me with his compassionate care of patients; my friend and former patient, Cheryl inspired me when she provided parting gifts of tiaras and feather boas on the last day of her infusions; and it is in honor of my mother who inspired me with her passion for cooking and her love of life even during her fight with breast cancer.  The cookies I developed are packed with healthful, organic ingredients loaded with antioxidants and anti-inflammatories for the patients and the staff.  My goal is to empower patients and staff at the Center with health, well-being, comfort and some fun through the distribution of these delicious, healthful cookies. We are offering the project in the Breast Center patient waiting area once a month in May and June.

This has truly become a community project.  Many people have been inspired and have jumped on board to participate in some way.  Whole Foods in San Rafael donated the ingredients and Rustic Bakery in Larkspur donated their staff and facility to bake the cookies.  The oncology dietician at the Cancer Center wrote a nutritional analysis and a description of the cookies’ powerful nutritional components; key ingredients are four dried fruits and dark chocolate known for their powerful antioxidant properties, and flax seed and ginger for anti-inflammatory activity, among others.    In addition, patients in the Cancer Center’s Art for Recovery program are creating “fortunes” to accompany the cookies for an activity called “Take a wish, make a wish” where  patients can pull a wish from a basket as well as write a wish for another.  Also, a local artist has generously donated a painting of a woman with a big heart to accompany the cookie basket.  And, a CEO of a local branding company offered to edit the language we used in the project’s literature.

I feel so lucky to witness such incredible outpourings of compassion and inspiration from all kinds of people in our communities. I am truly grateful for this beautiful vantage point of our humanity.