It's no small feat to pull a delicious meal together for a group of people and create harmony at the table. We're endlessly grateful to these facilitators for the time and energy they devote to supporting and healing others:
Allie O'Brien graduated from the Berkeley Bauman College of Holistic Nutrition and Culinary Arts in October of 2012 with a Natural Chef Certificate. She also holds a B.A. in English Literature from Douglass College at Rutgers in New Brunswick. In 2013, Allie began to perform cooking demonstrations, short talks, and classes at Suppers meetings and workshops to help members learn to cook better. Additionally, Allie is the President of The Garden State Community Kitchen, a non-profit organization which provides hands-on farm-to-table education and support for children and families in New Jersey.
Amy Frankel joined Suppers by the suggestion of her doctor after mentioning she needed support eliminating refined sugar and sticking to a healthier diet. After she began attending meetings regularly, Amy learned new kitchen skills and recipes, and discovered a preference for whole foods. Since finding Suppers over three years ago, Amy finds pleasure in sharing the program with others. Having raised three finicky eaters, she will gladly accommodate people with allergies or special dietary needs. Outside of Suppers, Amy enjoys reading, exercising, painting, traveling and a part-time job in retail. She has an Associates Degree in Merchandising and a Bachelors Degree in Textile Science, and worked in the garment industry in New York City before staying home to raise a family.
Anne Trieber came to Suppers in 2015 on the recommendation of her Rheumatologist. She was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, and was seeking an alternative remedy for her pain. On her doctor’s advice, Anne has eliminated grains and most white carbs from her diet and worked on repairing her gut. Anne was born in Israel and grew up in New York. She loves to cook and has embraced the Suppers philosophy of clean mindful eating and personal experiments. Anne has found tremendous and loving support from the Suppers family. She has not only found relief from her pain, but has lost 32 lbs. as an added bonus. Anne has trained as a facilitator and looks forward to sharing her kitchen with like-minded people.
Audelle Bodie is a facilitator and Board Member -- and supports Suppers because "through the support, non-judgment, and inspiration of these meetings and members, I am healing. I've lost over 30 pounds. I've reduced my need for insulin to treat Type 2 diabetes by more than 2/3. Through experiments, I feel more comfortable in my food choices and want to do whatever I can to spread the Suppers message."
Barbara Jennings is a retired teacher of 38 years. As a student, she was originally pre-med and was always interested in health and nutrition. Eventually she became a science teacher. Early on in life, she considered herself to be a healthy eater, cooking meat, starch and a vegetable. Her grandma cooked full meals every day, typical soul food. Her Nana’s rationale was, “This is what my father wanted. He refused to eat salad.” Barbara was diagnosed with pre-diabetes in 2007. “I was devastated; a woman I loved since my childhood had died of it. My father’s people had diabetes; my grandmother thought it was contagious. I didn’t want to go on insulin. I found Suppers and discovered like-minded people.”
Barbara Simpson Vadnais was trained as a vegetarian chef at the Natural Gourmet Institute in New York City. From childhood, she has loved everything to do with food, and her family’s fine dining restaurant was always a part of her life. With age, she has realized there is much truth in the adage “you are what you eat,” and she has retooled her cooking techniques and philosophy to prepare health supportive meals for herself and family. She has studied macrobiotic cooking with Denny and Susan Waxman at the Strengthening Health Institute in Philadelphia. Barbara has a masters degree in environmental engineering and is the general manager of Muirhead Foods in Trenton.
Carolyn Peucker joined The Suppers Programs after a type 2 diabetes diagnosis. The support and encouragement she received helped her with personal experimentation which enabled her to discover food sensitivities and develop eating styles that support her body. She was able to reduce her diabetes medications as her A1C moved closer to her goal. A wife and mother to three boys with developmental, mental health and learning differences, she is implementing eating changes for her family too. An Essential Oil Educator, with a Master’s degree in Food Science, Carolyn helps others understand how to use natural products to assist their bodies in healing. She is also a Rutgers Master Gardener and enjoys photography, bicycling, and baking.
Erin first experienced Suppers while working at the American Diabetes Association. She was inspired by The Suppers Programs’ mission and knew she wanted to be more involved. Her daughter struggled with digestive issues around 10 months, really as she transitioned to solid foods. After trial and error to find the root of the problem rather than treat with recommended conventional medications – she discovered the issue – her daughter simply has a dairy and gluten sensitivity. If Erin had not been exposed to Suppers she may not have taken this approach. Erin is very passionate about eating whole foods and creating delicious dishes for all ages and dietary preferences. Hosting Suppers is a perfect opportunity to fulfill that passion!
Erin Cook has always been interested in food, but she caught the nutrition bug when she was pregnant. She went to the Institute for Integrative Nutrition on a quest to make her way down the convoluted path of good nutrition for health seekers. “I wanted clarity about nutrition; it’s not that easy to figure out what to feed children.” Erin loves to be in the kitchen and teach others her "cooking hacks" and how to create healthy meals. “Cooking is my passion and creative outlet, creating meals that make you feel as good eating it as it was fun preparing it.” As a young girl, Erin dreamed of being a mermaid or a mom (one of her dreams came true). Her degree is in psychology from Florida State University, and she spent most of her career an event and wedding planner. She now does residential mortgage loans for Loan Depot. “I created my Suppers meeting because I wanted to invite people to nurture and love the bodies God has given them. I envision creating a space where we have more kids involved in making easy-but-healthy meals and appreciating fresh food. I want to see the needs of our physical bodies included in the body/mind/spirit equation.”
Fiona Capstick grew up in the north of England in a farming community where food and cooking were a major part of her life. She completed her education as a registered nurse through the University of the West of England and continued her career as a diabetes nurse consultant in Sydney, Australia. She studied at Duke Integrative Medicine and works independently as an integrative health coach, with clients in the US and internationally. After relocating to the US with her husband and two sons, she discovered The Suppers Programs. “I immediately connected with the benefits Suppers was providing people with diabetes and many other health concerns. After going through treatment for cancer, exploring different ways of supporting my health was never more important to me -- and the knowledge I continue to gather through Suppers is invaluable.”
Heidi Kass joined her first Suppers meeting about five years ago, in hopes of finding support from a community of people who embrace a healthy lifestyle. While she's found that community and has made beautiful friends along the way, the Suppers principle she values the most is non-judgment. Facilitating now for three years, Heidi is grateful for the skills she has honed while in this role. She has also learned to be more open, and to be a better listener and a better communicator -- in all corners of her life. The theme of Heidi's meeting is "Mindful Eating," in which each meeting includes a short meditation and centering before the meal. The meeting has accommodated vegetarian, vegan and omnivore, because according to Heidi: "For me, the how is more important than the what. I enjoy having newcomers to the table and sharing the positive, inclusive themes of Suppers."
Jim Weber enjoys cooking and eating food! Having eaten Paleo and Whole30 for some time before finding Suppers, he was drawn to the program's "how you feel is data" approach. A firm believer in the power of diet and exercise, Jim has beaten cancer and digestive problems without prescriptions. Besides cooking, Jim enjoys yoga and winemaking.
Joe Klinkhoff got involved with Suppers at the suggestion of a doctor friend who was familiar with the program and had attended the training as well. Joe has been cooking since he's been old enough to stand at a stove and help, and more recently has taught foodie-type classes in a fairly regular but relaxed social manner. Joe has 30 years in food service and LOVES food! Each Suppers meeting has been an adventure, and through them -- and their signature, Suppers-style experiments -- Joe has lost weight and has been feeling better and healthier all the time.
Karen Rose Tank is a Certified Health and Nutrition Coach who empowers people living with diabetes and other blood sugar issues to take control of their health and proactively manage their blood sugars. Diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1996, her coaching comes from a place of compassion and empathy for those living with chronic disease. In addition to Suppers, Karen leads a Princeton branch of another non-profit support group for women with diabetes, Diabetes Sisters.
Kim Booker is from Trenton, NJ. She has a Bachelors degree in psychology from Ohio State University and works for the State of NJ. When her grandmother developed Alzheimer’s, Kim moved back to New Jersey after 25 years in Ohio. “In an effort to reconnect with my community I started going to events I found online and happened to see Suppers hosting a talk about Paleo at the Whole Earth Center. I needed to learn more about healthy eating, so I attended. After that I attended the Sourcing Health Locally event and was amazed with the platform where medical practitioners and farmers came together. I knew that I needed to gain more knowledge and started attending Suppers.” Highly motivated to prevent Alzheimer’s, she is very concerned about the diagnoses common among African Americans such as diabetes, high blood pressure and heart conditions. “I truly want to learn more, not just for me but to help my family and friends overcome their health issues and live a life full of vitality. I’m here to serve and make a difference in the lives of others, but first I have to help myself. As I grow, I pray that those around me will grow.”
Lorraine Morris attended various Suppers meetings as part of an effort to establish a healthy lifestyle. With a diagnosis of fibromyalgia, Lorraine needed help with experiments to sort out which were her inflammatory foods and which resolved pain and energized her. Her daughter had experienced exercise-induced asthma since age three, and the two of them embarked on a journey of healthy eating together. She is a massage therapist, and a certified holistic aromatherapist/class instructor. Learning natural, healthy ways to heal and live are always her focus. “Suppers helps me stay on a path to health. On this journey, the support and program policy about non-judgment are important pieces in my puzzle. My experiments are not done. Suppers helps me stay in the process of finding my personal best eating habits. I trained to facilitate so I can share the journey with others.”
Mireille Delman grew up in France where the social and pleasurable aspect of food is very important. After some personal health challenges, she started paying attention to a lifestyle more conducive to healing. Living on a mini-farm enables her to do that. Mireille is also the co-founder and a board member of the West Windsor Community Farmers' Market, a Holistic Health Counselor and a Yoga Therapy practitioner. She supports Suppers because it "is a unique program, not bound to any commercial agenda, that gives people the much-needed education, tools and direct experience about how to be well and live in greater balance."
Paul is a regular attendee of Suppers as well as a former member of Suppers' Board of Trustees. "I support Suppers because the program emphasizes non-medical approaches to increasing your health, through the hands on preparation of delicious and nutritious meals, in a nurturing and friendly group environment."
Rachel DeBoer is a Registered Nurse who seeks to make connections between healthy people and a healthy environment, believing that what we eat and how we spend our time matters. Whether that be through growing fresh food, nutrition and health education, sustainability practices or yoga, Rachel is passionate about it all. While managing her own diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis and seeking opportunities to combine her diverse skills and interests, she found her way to Suppers. Rachel is happily married to a graduate student at Princeton Theological Seminary where she helps manage the community garden and shares a small flock of ornery hens. These days, she’s wearing more muddy garden boots than scrub bottoms, and she couldn’t be happier about it.
Sarah Pipher, after working in the financial industry for many years on domestic and international projects, emerging technologies and training, took a few years off to raise her two sons. During that time, she became actively involved in photography, yearbook design, dog-agility training, and volunteered at her boys’ schools. Sarah became a major health advocate when both her boys developed Lyme disease and were struggling in school. Her own stress levels -- and weight -- increased, and Sarah quickly realized she needed support. The typical teen fare and the various medications prescribed by doctors had helped to complicate an already complex situation. Sarah found a path for a healthier life, and her love for better health and nutrition was born. Suppers not only gave her support but also provided her with the tools she needed to introduce healthier food options to herself and her family. An avid learner, Sarah became an Essential Oil educator and also teaches about Brain Health and works with people to gain their health back.
Sharon Downey is a CASA volunteer, working with foster children in Mercer County. She enjoys helping out with a Suppers lunch meeting and having fun with her camera as a member of the Princeton Photography Club.
Skye Cooper began attending Suppers four years ago. Because her previous way of viewing food was quite vegetable-averse, Skye was excited to learn how to cook whole-food, plant-based meals that were not only healthy, but also tasted delicious! Over the past 12 years, Skye has had numerous health challenges so she was happy to find Suppers because the meetings and workshops help support her overall philosophy of natural health that embraces the concept of "food as medicine" as a cornerstone of her path towards wellness.
Tish Rock has been interested in cooking since childhood and even married a chef! She enjoys exploring new cooking styles and ingredients. As a professional and mother, she enjoys sharing shortcuts to making fast and nutritious meals the Suppers way.
Trae Burgess-Simmons was looking for a supportive vegan environment to help her make the transition from a carnivorous to a plant-based diet. She was diagnosed with a hormone-based breast cancer in 2013. "I am feel highly motivated to lead a more holistic lifestyle since the diagnosis, but as an African American woman, it's especially challenging to find a community of people who support this way of eating." Trae is living in remission with her two children. Her personal motto is: "When you know better, you do better.” Trae invites people into her life who want to embrace the journey with her into a vegan lifestyle.