Recipe(s): I. a set of instructions for making or preparing something; especially a food dish II. a method to attain a desired end III. a medical prescription (archaic)


My goal is to entertain + inspire you, in the kitchen + beyond.

You're in the right place if you:

  • love laughing (best medicine, right?)
  • live with a chronic illness that's changed your life
  • feel sick and tired of being sick and tired
  • feel alone and invisible in your struggle
  • wish you had people who 'got it'
  • want to get well, stay well, and put illness behind you

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About (My Story)

I crawled, slower than a snail, from the bed to the bathroom, pausing along the way for rest breaks. In those days of early 2009, I drank and ate as little as possible to avoid this indignity. Yet still the need arose. For me, the effort of going to the bathroom was the equivalent of hiking Half Dome.

Anyone that knew me, that worked with me, that saw me regularly, wouldn’t have recognized me. Anyone that had ever known me wouldn’t have recognized me. I was unrecognizable to myself.

My life had become a ghost of itself. From within the four walls of my bedroom I watched the days unfold. I felt weight of my eyelids blinking, my bones heavy as grand pianos. How had this happened? To me?

Before the tidal wave of chronic illness swept my life out to sea, I’d been a social worker and wanna-be therapist (no credential yet, just mad experience).

I loved my job: it was called “family finding”, and I likened it to being a detective.

I helped find the loved ones of small children and teens who’d been lost in the social service system. The idea was to get them adopted into families, with people who cared for them without receiving a paycheck (no offense foster care). This would surely change the course of their lives; steer them as far away as possible from the giant iceberg of “aging out” of the system, and onto the streets of San Francisco where they’d be homeless, family-less, adrift. High stakes. 

But now I was crawling to the bathroom. Unable to walk without help, feed myself, lift a spoon, let alone stir a pot. Forget finding families for other people! I needed to find a name for what was wrong with my body, this new, foreign place that held me hostage to its whims, pains, and lack of energy.

Without asking for it, my entire purpose became the quest to find my way back to health.

High stakes.


Finding a diagnosis for a mysterious health condition is like trying to find Mr. Right on the internet: preparing, hoping, knowing instantly if it’s a NO, needing to go through the motions, feeling disappointed (not another dud!), lamenting the wasted precious time and energy.

I faced countless humiliations from doctors who were sure that my [sore throat, swollen glands, unexplained fevers, fatigue] symptoms were caused by [depression, anxiety, the fog, unfamiliar germs] emotional turmoil—and not actually something PHYSICAL in my body. I knew there was a real, physical root cause, that all other explanations were bullshit—and yet I doubted myself, because DUH. No one in the medical community believed me.

I bankrupted myself trying to get well. Bye-bye thousands of dollars on medical professionals claiming they could fix me with supplements (manufactured by them). In my desperation it was too clear that I was a target for some very un-ethical folks. Boo.

Until. I FINALLY found someone who not only believed me, but had the correct sense of what was wrong. Turns out, not just one thing.The answers and information (from humble doctors who listen) began to form a picture of what was happening in my body, like a puzzle. Except this puzzle has no cover, and a few missing pieces.

I needed to spend yet more $$$ on uber specialized and VERY expensive care. I needed several doctors with several approaches, eastern + western, more money to afford (the right) supplements, treatments, bodywork, dietary changes, and on and on.

Turns out, searching for Mr. Right ended up actually being an arranged marriage between me and mystery illnesses. As the months went by I realized: I’m not ever going back to life as it was before, to my job or that career, to my physical activity, to my travel plans, to any of it. The lights went out. I couldn’t take a minute more.

I contemplated ending my life. Because what I was doing didn’t feel like living at all. It felt like death. In the end, even with a diagnosis, I lived with an everpresent invisible mystery. No one really knew. No one could say if I’d ever get better. Why keep going? What was the point if I couldn’t really live? And what about these jerks saying, “But you don’t look sick!”

Lucky for me, I had a few stable rocks to lean (hard) on in the tempest of this time. They held me up. Walked me to the bathroom. Rolled me in my wheelchair to the doctors. Loved me in spite of my limitations, lack of income, lack of activity, creativity, lack lack lack. Even when life sucked a giant sour pickle, I still loved it deep down. Slinking out of suffering through suicide wasn’t my style.

I chose to “accept the dark invitation” of my illness, since it seemed I had no choice.

When everything in my world narrowed to such a small space as to fit into a (gluten free ;) flour tin, it clarified what was *really* important; what (and who) *really* deserved my (precious) time, attention, and precious, precious, precious energy.

I asked myself: What did I have the power to control? What could I do to impact my future course? Once I had the answers (change my entire lifestyle from A-Z) I seized those reins with a loose hand, and set my course.

Before my leave, I used to race down the stairs on my way to work, coffee in one hand, cell phone open with email in the other, barely noticing anyone or anything on my way to the car. Once inside, my brain ran through that mornings’ eight upcoming meetings, barely registering any of the actual scenery of the drive.

This once overly caffeinated New York speed-walkin’-fast-talkin’-get-sh*t-done-perfectionist-over-achiever now moved into life in slow motion.

Slow living magnified so many things I’d missed. Laying like an open faced sandwich in a magenta hammock slung between two backyard trees, I felt the subtlety of the invisible wind on my skin, saw the hummingbirds suckle honey from flower nectar all over the garden; tasted the lemon juice in my soup; smelled autumn in the air; the crackle of dry leaves no longer irrelevant to me.

I saw with clarity that “career, success, achievement,” were all important matters in the province of doing. An exile from that country, my new land trained me up in the art of being.

I needed to change deeply embedded habits. Embracing a slower pace lead to microscopic changes that were so slight they could easily be missed in the moment, much like the movement of tectonic plates. Yet, surveying the land of my life now, the impact they had is as clear as the aftermath of an earthquake.

I’m still questing for the next level of health, and I won’t stop until I reach Oz.

As I write this today, the ratio of my life is equal(ish) parts doing and being. I’m raising a child (my body made a tiny human!), building a business (that works with my limitations & need for self-care), tending a garden, sitting in silence each day (to settle my fluttering mind), managing my health (food, stress, sleep, the works), caring for my loved ones (holla to my rock the man-dude), and experiencing the fullness of life.

I’m as imperfect as the first hand-thrown bowl, my clay body vulnerable, porous, and breakable. I’m too controlling as a default, way too worried all the time, prone to obsessive thinking, plagued by perfectionism, and always working to forgive myself in advance (this is very difficult). I like pina coladas and getting caught in the rain (joke).

Changing your diet in the face of a chronic health issue is like the required reading on a freshmen syllabus. The ol’ father of medicine Hippocrates did say: Let food be thy medicine, and medicine they food. Beyond recipes for nutrient rich food that your body needs as of yesterday, I’m here to help you find the right doctors, guides, and path to your own brilliantly lit up life—outta that bed, into the world again, doing what you love, what you feel you were meant to do, beyond your illness and its four walls. This is YOUR life. High stakes indeed.

Will you join me? HOLLA!

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I hope today you're as well as possible,

Ariyele 'Keepin' It Real' Ressler


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Without gluten or dairy I'm living a glorious swoon-heavenly delicious gastronomic life. I'm basically Paleo, with a few exceptions.

I believe in eating real whole foods 90% of the time (ideally in season and local) and whatever you want (that your body handles) the rest of the time.

After much experimentation and searching, I discovered the Weston A. Price foundation, an organization dedicated to disseminating the research of Dr. Price, a nutrition pioneer whose "studies of isolated non-industrialized peoples established the parameters of human health and determined the optimum characteristics of human diets." (1).

Adopting this way of eating remains one of the pillars upon which my daily functioning rests.