As we stand at the beginning of this new, exciting year it seems appropriate to reflect on the year that just passed. I have started and stopped writing this post many times now. How to encapsulate such a powerful year in a few short paragraphs?

At the outset of 2011 I set the intention of being truly naked, authentic, real. Of walking my talk in all facets of my life. Transparency is a big part of this, and so, taking a big breath, here I share the inside scoop on what was going on behind the scenes of Eat Naked last year.

On New Years Eve, hubby Chef James Barry and I chronicled 2011 and realized that something life-changing and pivotal happened in all but two months of the year. I won’t bore you with all the gory details, but here are some of the most notable moments:

In 2011, I married the love of my life.

Three times.

The first time was (unintentionally) on Valentine’s Day in an LA courthouse. Unromantic and kind of funny in cowboy boots with a cupid cutout on the wall behind us, but poignant nonetheless.

The second time was in an intimate, family-only ceremony in my hometown Ottawa, so that my ailing mother could witness our vows. For many of the family members gathered, it was the last time they saw her alive. Powerful doesn’t begin to describe it.

And then a third time here in LA, with more family and our wider circle of friends, as a proper celebratory send-off to our new life together.

Ultimately, this wasn’t at all how we imagined our wedding to be (to begin with, we imagined it happening only once) but, as always with the unexpected, it was perfect and I wouldn’t change a thing.

In 2011, I launched my first book, Eat Naked

It’s hard to explain the amount of stretching and personal growth this endeavor asked of me.

From the moment I thought up the book until about two weeks before it launched, I felt with incredible (and uncharacteristic) certainty that this would be a huge success. Even though I had no experience in the publishing world, I had this deep knowing that it would give real value, maybe even change lives.

And then, two weeks before the book launched and I began my media tour, I panicked. I second-guessed every word I wrote, every moment of confidence, every strategy I’d devised. I felt (appropriately?) naked and exposed, with my face staring back at me on the book’s cover. I decided I’d been delusional to think I could do this. The shy little girl inside me balked at the TV cameras, the long list of radio interviews, all the attention. I just wanted to crawl into a hole and hide.

I think they call this the “terror barrier” and let me tell you, I hit it hard. I called many a friend in fits of gasping tears bemoaning the whole thing I’d set in motion, wishing I could somehow get off the train and make it all go away.

But of course getting off the train was not an option and all I could do was take a deep breath (or many) and put one foot in front of the other. I fumbled a few interviews, and nailed others. I learned little details the hard way (e.g.,  always bring your own water to the green room, even if it’s a big TV network). I even faced my biggest fears and did a few speaking engagements.

I grew a new patch of grey hair over those few weeks, but I survived and now am much better equipped as we head into the launch of the follow-up cookbook in a few months.

In 2011, I said goodbye to the woman who gave me life.

On July 1st, after the exhilaration of sending off the final cookbook manuscript to the publisher’s editing team, I got the devastating phone-call that my ailing mother was heading into emergency surgery, for the second time in a week. The prognosis wasn’t good.

Within a day, I was on a flight home to Canada and at her bedside in the intensive care unit. The following 10 days were some of the most difficult, memorable, important days of my life. I read to her, I held her hand, I sang to her, I said all the things I’d ever wanted to say, and I got to say good-bye.

She left this world far too early on July 13th, 2011. But now her pain is gone, and who can begrudge her that? It gives me great comfort to know she’s in a better place and her suffering is over.

In 2011, I discovered I am going to be a mother.

In October, my new hubby and I spent a month in Europe on our honeymoon, drinking wine, relaxing, and eating way too much pasta. It was blissful.

So blissful, in fact, that we came home pregnant.

Fitting in some ways, given the passing of my mother. Quite the cycle of life. It seems this is the year I move officially from daughter to mother, the passing of the torch. Serendipitously, my due date is a year almost to the day of my mother’s passing. Coincidence?

And so now, as we step into 2012, a whole new adventure begins:

– A new chapter in my life as I become a mother and bring this baby into the world. I’ve only been pregnant for 3+ months and already this little creature has taught me so much about surrender, slowing down, and listening to my body’s sometimes very confusing instincts. Lots and lots of fodder for future blog posts…

– A new book to launch that I co-authored with the amazing Chef James Barry.  You asked for recipes and you got ‘em! 170 gluten-free, properly-prepared, naked foods recipes from the simple and speedy to the complex and impressive. The Naked Foods Cookbook comes out in May 2012 – and is already available for pre-order on Amazon.

Looking forward into 2012 I can hardly imagine the adventures, the joys, and the challenges that await us. What I do know is that I am committed to stepping into this year with the same intention as the last: being truly naked, authentic, and real. With perhaps a little extra dose of self-care for good measure.

Thank you to all of you – friends, family, clients, supporters, readers, the whole Eat Naked family – for being part of my community and coming along for the ride. It’s my honor and privilege to share my thoughts on food, health, and life with you, and I look forward to an incredible 2012 for us all.

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