it's 2012, I had just come from Soul Cycle, sweaty and all, and was greeted by strangers at the Cafe. They asked if they could do a quick video interview about what Gingersnap's was and my thoughts on food. I of course said yes, and decided not to even attempt a trip to the mirror, because if I did I would overthink it. So, to say I was unprepared is an understatement. Nonetheless, they did a beautiful job, and even 6 years later, I agree with what I said:)...I hope you enjoy it..
Photo John Von Pamer
My interview with Jordan, of The Balanced Blonde, is LIVE. And I can’t wait for you to go listen.
As many of you know, Jordan and I go way back. I have had the pleasure of hosting her at both the East Village and West Village locations of Gingersnap's Organic. We get really deep, and really raw about the scary decisions that have created magical transformation in our lives. How stepping away from one identity for each of us, lead to a magical life of transformation, healing and happiness.
You’ll get to hear us talk about…
- the ONE conversation I had with Jordan that completely changed her eating habits, in a single day (you might’ve heard this story if you know her background as The Blonde Vegan).
- manifesting the life you want
- getting quiet so you can actually know what is best for you
- learning to listen to YOUR body to know what is best for YOU to eat
- my honest thoughts about french fries (and why I sometimes say YES to foods I used to label “bad”).
- the beauty that can be found in seasons of difficult transitions.
- why both of us reject labels and choose to embrace a more intuitive eating practice.
I honestly can’t wait for you to take a listen. Not only is Jordan filled with so much light and wisdom, but I also know that you’re going to pull so much value from our long-overdue conversation.
They say a lot can happen in a year. February 1st, marks the 1 year anniversary of my life changing in a way I could have never imagined. I feel as if I’ve lived a lifetime over the past twelve months. It seems like there’s been too much change to fit in the container of a single year, and I open my journal to track the important dates.
I met Lacy Phillips, my expander and life changer, at an event at the end of last September. Within minutes of meeting her, I knew I wanted to work with her, so we scheduled an appointment for six weeks out—November 7th, 2016.
She told me to use the weeks before my appointment to really consider what I wanted to focus on and call in. And that’s when I started to get quiet. Carving out that reflection time wasn’t easy, or at least that is what I told myself...But I needed to do some deep internal work, if I was going to make the changes I needed to make.
And then, in November, we finally spoke. And she asked me casually, what if Gingersnap’s Organic wasn’t my purpose? And the answers came pouring out of my soul, and I knew that my restaurant days were over. It was time to embrace a higher calling—to work with individuals to call in healing and transformation into their lives full time.
I gave notice to my landlord within a month.
Taking steps towards change by has been a pattern in my life. It started when I switched my major from business to philosophy (plus a minor in psychology) at nineteen years old. My dad wasn’t happy about it, but I knew I needed answers to all my questions about human nature, the mind, and relationships with myself and others.
As I dug into the inner workings of the human mind, I started to lose control over my own emotions and reactions. I got so trapped in my head, and each day felt painful to exist. I felt like there was no place for me. I just wanted to go away, disappear inside myself.
In classes, I was learning about philosophy, and started really battling my own mind. I was grasping for control in my relationship with food, and spending hours at the gym to fill this hole inside of me. I lost my self and tumbled deep into the darkness of depression, anxiety, and disordered eating. It was my darkest of dark.
My problems didn’t magically disappear after college, even though I somehow thought they might. After graduating, I moved back to New York to live with my high school best friend. Maybe this sounds like every girl’s dream, but it was the exact opposite of what I needed. I yearned for new people, and a new (and true) identity, but I couldn’t escape the story of my adolescence. I was still struggling to find balance in my relationship with food, and the people around me were constant triggers for my anxiety, and insecurities.
In 2000 I knew I needed to make a big change, if I wanted to live a better life. I took a leap of faith, quit my job, and moved out to Santa Monica—a place that felt like home even though I didn’t know a soul, except of course my own, for the first time. So, I tossed my Guccis and started walking barefoot in the sand.
In Santa Monica, I met my soul sister Heather, who would have me meet her on the beach at 5AM to practice this kooky thing called Kundalini. I didn’t know what it was, but I knew that I felt great. She reminded me of my childhood connection to spirit and trust. I rediscovered my love for crystals and candles and all things mystical. She would give me Reiki and we would talk about the mind for hours on end.
In searching for a place to understand myself deeper, I started my first yoga teacher training with Saul David Raye in 2004, and then went on to finish my 200-hour and 300-hour training with Annie Carpenter at YogaWorks in 2006. It was in that work that I was able to dive deeper into my body, connecting with my breath and my energy. I began to understand the power of choice, acceptance, and perspective.
Fast forward to 2008, and this California girl had faced many of her demons. She was ready to come home. Within in months of landing back home, I fell in love with a meat-and-gluten-loving chef—which was quite the surprise for this raw vegan.
Being back in New York (and with my food-loving husband) inspired me to create a plant based restaurant. I loved the idea of creating healing foods and helping people live nourishing lifestyles. So I charged ahead and ignored my intuition. You see, from my previous experience running plant based restaurants in Los Angeles, I always knew I was building something I didn’t want to run.
Even after years of self-work and discovery, I still wasn’t ready to own my truth, my desires, and my true purpose.
It wasn't all bad, by any means. The bright spots were my interactions with my incredible customers. I’d work with them to make food and lifestyle choices that fit their needs, and in these moments I felt alive. I started to coach them in my hours away from the cafe and I KNEW that was what I was born to do. We also held a weekly community night where we discussed A Course in Miracles, Unfortunately, I spent most of my hours solving sourcing problems, managing staff, and dealing with the hectic energy of running a cafe in Manhattan.
And this brings us back to last fall. My lifetimes-ago moment that sparked real change. The last week of January marks one year. One year since I closed the doors to what I once thought was my dream career. One year since I started living my real dream: bringing healing and transformation to my clients through mind shifting and energy work. This year has gone so fast, yet it seems like lifetimes have passed. Stepping into my purpose and power hasn’t been easy, but it couldn’t be more rewarding.
The transformation process—even good, necessary transformation—isn’t easy, though. For the first few months, I worried that I had lost my identity. At first, when people would ask me about Gingersnap’s or my career, I would skirt their questions or give vague answers. I didn’t feel like I could step into the power of owning that I was a full time coach.
It took a little while for me to fully embrace and step into my new life. It started with a lot of journaling and inner work. And then small, brave actions followed. There were other larger shifts, too. At Gingersnap’s, every day was fast-paced, chaotic, and anxiety-inducing. When I transitioned into full-time coaching, I realized that I needed to reframe my beliefs around work, productivity, and self-worth.
I had gotten used to working fourteen-hour days, and I felt lost, at first, in the sometimes slowness of my new lifestyle. At the root of this lost-ness was fear, of course. Fear of stepping outside of my comfort zone. Fear that if I showed up as myself, people would run away. Fear that I wasn’t good enough. There was nothing to hide behind this time. No staff, no cafe—just me, out there for the world to judge. To keep the voices of fear and depression at bay, I created healthy rituals to anchor my days. I knew I needed to get out of my head and into intuitive action to stay in a healthy headspace.
Over time, I found my own incredible space where I could see my local clients. And yes, it looks just like the one I held in my vision for the months prior. I kept pursuing education and growth: These practices keep me on track, and keep me moving forward, and keep me serving my clients in new and powerful ways.
None of my journey is about slapping a positivity quote on every situation—this is about deeply changing the way I viewed my life and circumstances so that I could welcome in change. Going back to my days of philosophy, I now understand on a deeper level that we do have power over our minds, as long as we build helpful practices and learn to get quiet. When we can get quiet, we can act from a place of choice, rather than reaction. We can tap into the pain of our past and learn to release and learn from it. Even thank it...
Sometimes I wake up and feel guilty...like I’m not working hard enough because I find such deep joy in what I do. I’ll end an afternoon filled with back-to-back appointments or workshops and feel more energized than I have in years. And I take self-care seriously, like it’s my job—and, in a lot of ways, it really is! I do the hard work within myself so that I can show up in the best way possible for the people that come into my life, including my clients.
Finally, when I’m tempted to wonder why it took me so long to find my true self and my true calling, I consciously sink into gratitude. I thank each part of my journey—from my eating disorder to my time in California—for being a teacher, a lesson, and a test.
My life has been an amazing collection of gifts and opportunities. Every experience brought me to this place where I was ready to bring in a guide and make this beautiful leap. And, while Gingersnap’s brought stress and anxiety into my life for so many years, it also cracked me open to see my truest purpose. And I can’t help but be grateful for that being the greatest lesson of all.
A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play; his labor and his leisure; his mind and his body; his education and his recreation. He hardly knows which is which.
Lawrence Pearsall Jacks
I am often asked about what adaptogens people should be taking, and what do what... So below is a quick easy guide to some of my favorites, and 2 basic recipes for making them...Enjoy!
Adaptogens are a natural substance considered to help the body adapt to stress and to exert a normalizing effect upon bodily processes and by regulating your adrenal system. They help you respond to any influence or stressor, normalizing your physiological function through your adrenal system. They can be herbs, mushrooms, amino acids etc…
There are many different reasons to take them, and people say different things about how to cycle them, taking too much, taking for long term…I suggest, get in the body and do some “MEsearch”. See how you feel and take that into consideration when playing with them. I personally use them like a medicinal pantry. When I am feeling like I need a little energy I will grab for ones like Rhodiola and Maca . If I am feeling stressed and anxious, I will work with Ashwagandha and Mucuna Pruriens.
Below is just a few quick notes on some of my favorites.. They all are anti inflammatory and have immunity boosting effects, amongst many other things not listed. Ones that aren't in the recipes, but I love as well are Pine Pollen and Astragulus
Ashwagandha- reduces stress and anxiety, decreases cortisol (Cortisol is the principle hormone tied to our innate “flight-or-fight” response, which is how the body reacts to acute stress by either helping us run from the situation or stick around and fight our way through. When short spikes in cortisol/adrenaline happen over and over again nearly every day, they cause wear and tear on the body and speed up the aging process. (Dr. Axe). This is my go to. I will often take it at night, where for me my anxiety can rise. Often people take it in the morning when cortisol is at its highest. The taste can be a little bitter.
Astragulus A great one for metabolism and general energy. I will sometimes swap this out for other things in my morning tonic.
Cordyceps –helps with energy, in both the physical and mental planes. Boosts immunity and arousal. I love this one before a work out. It helps with stamina and energy. It is also known to be some what of an aphrodisiac. It doesn't have much of a taste, so it it easy to sneak into things.
Maca- Definitely my favorite of all, and the one I have been taking the longest. It gives energy and stamina, helps with fertility and sexual arousal, and balances hormones. It also tastes delicious and creamy, slightly sweet.
Mucuna Pruriens- is 15% L-DOPA, a precursor to Dopamine. This is a mood enhancer. It soothes the nervous system and can take you into relaxation and bliss. It is known as a "feel good" adaptogen. I am very sensitive to this one, and can feel a bit "out of it", so I tread very lightly with it. Again, you have to see how you feel, in your body...
Pine Pollen great for hormonal support and energy. I will sometimes sub this one out for something else in my morning tonic. It has a mild taste, which is nice.
Rhodiola Rosea- This one is almost always in my morning drink. It reduces fatigue, can help with focus, improve cognition. I feel like it gives me an extra boost. It does not taste good, but in the right recipe you don't notice...
Reshi This is a huge immunity booster and known to help connect to spirit and calmness, centeredness, balance, inner awareness and inner strength. It is actually the first adaptogen I would have back when I was living in Venice and working at Rawvolution. I loved it from the beginning. It helps to make me feel connected...
Tocos- The beauty one. It is all about the skin. Bio available form of vitamin E. Tastes great, sweet. I will eat it straight, and it feels like a treat!
These are all warm tonics, but you can easily add any of them to smoothies as well. Tocos is the only one you do not want to add to something warm. The benefits of Tocos are minimized if you heat it.
Also, play around with the recipes and what herbs feel good to you! I would start slow and see how you feel!
My Morning Tonic
2 shots of Organic espresso (You can substitute this for Matcha, Tea, or Water)
8 oz of warm water
½ teaspoon Rhodlola
½ teas spoon Cordyceps
1 teaspoon of Maca
½ teaspoon of Cinnamon
Put the warm liquid in first. It should be tea temperature. Warm to the touch, not scolding. Blend. If you don’t drink coffee you can sub out it out for plain water, matcha, or tea… To make vegan, swap out Ghee for Coconut oil.
My Evening Bliss
10-12 oz of warm water
½ teaspoon Reishi
½ teaspoon Ashwagandha
½ teas spoon Mucuna Pruriens
½ teaspoon of Cinnamon
Put the warm liquid in first. It should be tea temperature. Warm to the touch, not scolding. Blend. To make vegan, swap out Ghee for Coconut Butter
Drop me a line, and let me know what you think!
(Original article posted in Well + Good) As many of you know this was a year of big decisions for me. After 7 years of owning Gingersnap's Organic, I decided it was time to close the doors. It was one of the most difficult decisions I have ever made, but thankfully also one of the best. I wrote an article for Well and Good, to talk about how to know when it's time to walk away. Please see the article below. The full article is available at Wellandgood.com
When Gingersnap’s Organic closed up shop in January, it broke (healthy) hearts across New York City who had come to rely on the cult fave West Village raw food and juice bar. Here, owner Jamie Graber talks about how to know when to walk away from something that was everything you ever wanted.
If someone would have told me a year ago that I would walk away from my dream-come-true business serving raw, plant-based, healing food to New York City’s West Village—I would have politely ignored them. I probably would have thought they were crazy.
And yet, here I am. I let go of my dream earlier this year. The one I’d worked for years to achieve, and even more years to sustain. And, yes, I mourned it. But how do I really feel? Surprisingly, I am more optimistic and excited about the future than ever.
This is the part no one told me about going after my dreams: that it’s okay to let them go as well.
But “year ago” me would never have believed it. Back then, I knew exactly what my path was and there was no way for it to be different. I was the owner of Gingersnap’s Organic, a successful cleanse company and cafe that ruled my entire life. As far as I was concerned, I had arrived, and it was all about keeping it going—and my day-to-day was going to remain exactly as it always was, constantly solving problems and never getting to exhale.
It is no shocker to hear that running a restaurant, especially in Manhattan, is hard. There are slim margins and lots of chaos. One thing you can count on: Every day you will be faced with a new problem to solve. It can be as small as running out of an item or as large as, oh crap the juicer isn’t working. Either way, I have been the one solving each and every one of those problems for over six years straight, and frankly, I am tired.
When trying to figure out where I go from here, I had a few choices. I could continue with Gingersnap’s Organic and just accept it as my life, or I could have someone else run it. Neither of those sounded right, so I continued to search for a way out of this feeling. Then I went at a workshop about manifestation, and that is when things started to change.
I could have chosen to continue to down the path of frustration and non-fulfillment, or I could turn left into happiness and inspiration. I chose to make the left.
I signed up for a one-on-one session and that decision forever changed my reality. In my first-time session with Lacy, she asked me an important question: “What if your purpose isn’t Gingersnap’s? What if that’s not it?” For a few months, I couldn’t stop hearing her saying it.
I had this dream job, but I would wake up each day in anxiety. I would say to my husband often, “I’m managing employees and vendors instead of healing people. And I just don’t want to do it.”
Finally, I realized: I could choose to continue down the path of frustration and non-fulfillment, or I could turn left into happiness and inspiration. I chose to make the left.
And so the doors of Gingersnap’s Organic closed at the end January, and I’m excited to say I have never been so fulfilled as I am now. I was so afraid to lose my identity as a business owner that I was blocking myself from getting clear on what my purpose truly is.
Throughout the years, I have spent many days at Gingersnap’s spending time with my clients, talking them through their struggles with food, relationships, and just general how to find happiness in the despair. I have been asked to coach, do relationship therapy, give cooking lessons, speak at events, but I rarely had time to say yes. A while back, I started to accept a small number of clients and worked with them in the few hours I had away from the cafe.
The more time I spent with them, the more I lit up. It opened me up to how I truly can serve people in the best way possible. The truth is, I didn’t open Gingersnap’s because I wanted a restaurant. I wanted to heal people and create community—and in the next phase can do that on an even more grand scale.
So, should you quit your job, leave your husband, or move across the world on a whim? I am in no way advocating that. But I am saying that every struggle can be met with opportunity, as long as you are able to see it. It is important to allow yourself to step away from something that is no longer serving you, even when you are afraid.
As Marianne Williamson says, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world.”
Finding Peace in a Turbulent Time, with Jamie Graber and Anne Marie Imperiale; three-part program: 7–9 p.m. March 20, March 27, and April 3; New York City (address provided upon registration); $199; organicallyjamie.com