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JESSICA ROSS Natural Chef & Founder

I grew up eating like a lot of American kids in the 80’s, with too much access to sugar and an expectation of convenience. But It wasn’t all bad. My parents maintained a thriving veggie garden, which left me with a nostalgic love of the smell of tomato plants and my Mom prepared dinner for us every night, which we ate as a family around the table. I was also allowed to experiment in the kitchen with whatever recipes I could find ingredients for in the pantry - usually cream puffs made from scratch (did I mention my oversized sweet tooth?).

As I grew up, I struggled with my weight, with cravings, skin issues, moodiness, and painful, long, heavy periods. I didn’t realize until much later that all of those symptoms were related to my diet. Eventually I learned how to tune in to my body, adopt healthier habits, and I started a veggie garden of my own. My symptoms improved, I lost weight, and I started gaining an awareness about how food truly affects my body. That awareness intensified when my little sister was suddenly diagnosed with a life-threatening illness. Eating specific foods would be the difference in her ability to get out of bed. It was enlightening but very scary, and it inspired me to go to school to learn how to help other people struggling with the same challenges.

After enrolling in the Holistic Nutrition and Culinary programs at Bauman College and gaining my Natural Chef certification, I launched Mission Nourish to help teach kids about real food, to help people like myself and my sister, and to hopefully be part of the shift that I believe is happening in the way that we all approach our health.

I know better than anyone that we can be armed with the knowledge, and sincerely have the best of intentions to be our healthiest self, but life can get in the way, and sometimes we just want to eat the damn cookie. I have learned over time that some days, months, and years are easier than others. Today I’m trying to be gentler with myself, to put healthy habits on autopilot, and to find better options to satisfy my cravings. It’s my mission to help other people feel better by learning to do the same.