Four For Foodstirs: Dr. Zelana Montminy
Dr. Zelana Montminy, a leading figure in Positive Psychology, brings a unique and varied skillset to the wellness realm. She is the author of 21 Days to Resilience, ranked #1 on Amazon as a Mental Health Hot New Release and speaks around the world on the topic. Whether it’s to a large conference, business, academic or non-profit institution, private client, or groups of parents and their children, her message of resilience and wellness resonates profoundly with all. Dr. Z, as people like to call her, is also a go-to authority in the media, appearing on The Doctors, The Today Show, Good Morning America, Fox, TV Guide, PopSugar, and E! Entertainment Television. She currently lives with her husband and two toddlers in Los Angeles.
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My time in the kitchen has taught me that we learn so much from our mistakes. I’ve also come to accept that making a big mess is tons of fun and can always be cleaned up! I don’t usually enjoy following recipes and like to create my own magic (for better or for worse) so I’ve learned to welcome my natural creativity and have enjoyed the freedom of not always being confined by measurements.
Picking fresh fruits and vegetables from our garden, coming into the kitchen and making something with them is my favorite memory. Experiencing food from earth to table changed me and definitely helped pave the way for my healthful pursuits later in the life. Also, it’s the teamwork and connectivity created in the kitchen that is seared into my memories from childhood, whether it’s cooking with my family or friends. The kitchen provides a perfect space to reinforce social support and relationships. I talk more about the importance of this in my book, that social support changes us even biologically, releasing hormones that literally strengthen us emotionally so we’re able to deal with all the issues that come up from our daily grind more effectively.
The kitchen is my creative space, it’s where I find flow. It’s where I allow myself to slip up, to have fun, get messy, and be carefree. It’s where I bring soul to recipes and can then share it with others. I also find great joy in painting and working with clay. I sadly don’t give myself enough time to do it these days, but I get moments through my children. There’s something about the initial brushstrokes on a blank canvas or my hands squeezing clay, then the repetition of it and making it my own, that I find deeply fulfilling.
I receive most of my creative inspiration from my children. They are too young to censor themselves which is so beautiful to watch. They remind me to let go. Other creative inspiration comes from nature for me; it’s where I feel most at peace. Social media has opened up a whole new world, and I’ve found some amazing recipes and so much originality in what others create.
One recipe I’m using most these days are my cheesy egg “pancakes”. I have two young children – one is almost 4 and another almost 2 – so after a long day, looking in the fridge for what to make…these never disappoint. They’re so simple, and while they might sound like a lazy excuse for a meal, they actually have a proven awesome track record with the whole family and are super nutritious! In a blender, I throw in several eggs depending on how many you’re serving, a tablespoon of milk or water, any veggies that I feel like but often some greens like kale or spinach, maybe a bit of zucchini, a bit of grains that are leftover from another meal such as quinoa or millet. Add a dash of salt, turmeric, and cumin. Then I blend until smooth to create your “batter”, pour in a hot pan and cook on both sides until firm. Add shredded cheese to the top the last few seconds until melted and serve warm!