What led me, Sima Cohen, to create my own healthy indulgence cookbook? Well, let’s start from the very beginning. Here is my story. I was born in a small town near Tel Aviv, into a large family where I was the oldest of six children. During my childhood, food was an abundance. While my lifestyle lacked variety and luxury, it was enriched with ritual and tradition. I was taught to have a great respect for food, and eating together as a family was my norm. When I turned twenty, I decided to follow my intuition and my longtime dream, moving to the US. I settled in Los Angeles, finding myself attracted to the city’s powerful vibes and fixation on physical attraction. Crazy diets, extreme plastic surgeries, and intense exercise programs were the norm. At the time, I was young, naïve, and very impressionable, getting caught up in this phase. Obsessed with body image and trying to fit in, I tried starvation diets and extreme exercise programs. Slowly, food went from being a blessing to being a curse in my life .When this happened, I had already professionally started coaching clients on weight loss and nutrition, yet I was very stressed out about my own yo-yo dieting and excessive exercise routines. Therefore, I felt stuck.
Realizing I was pregnant became my wake-up call. I had to immediately stop dieting, stop counting calories, and stop measuring quantities and obsessing over why I couldn’t have a particular food. When I stopped my obsessing about food, I was able to recognize the destructive cycle I was in. I discovered that everything started with my thoughts. My thoughts became the foundation of my world; they drove my actions and decisions, including food choices that fed my body. My mind was the cause and my body was the effect. I had discovered that the more I told myself I couldn’t have something, the more I craved it. So I decided it was time for a breakthrough. I realized the only way to change my “body” was to change my “mind” and my thinking. I knew very well all the disciplines related to sweat (exercise) and substance (food), but it was only when I incorporated the third element (self) that my foundation for healthy living was finally strong.. I figured out that nothing could permanently change in my body unless I awakened the “self” and nurtured it to take charge of my life.
After years of hard work and of absolute adherence to my three “S” elements (self, sweat, substance) —amazing things started to happen. All my obsessions with weight and body image slowly melted away. I became healthy. Self-doubt was replaced with self-confidence and self-love. Food, once again, became a blessing in my life as my mind was able to see it as sustenance, not just calories. I felt the joy of fueling my body as opposed to feeling guilty after eating.My personal transformation drove my professional work as a personal trainer, nutritionist, and life coach.
For over two decades I have been working one-on-one with countless clients from all walks of life. Whether we come from a ritzy Manhattan high-rise or a hidden small farm in Montana, I notice the common thread among us all is that we are on a journey to optimal health, but do not want guilt and self-doubt to accompany us. And that is precisely my experience and the foundation of my method and recipes hand-picked in this book. My book is not about deprivation or counting calories, rather it is about a life of abundance and embracing all the blessings that come with food. I believe unexpectedly good things can happen, when we decide to take charge of our lives. My book is all about helping people feed themselves with satisfying, substantial guilt-free meals.