Keep it Simple

Cassandra Tondro, "Origin," original abstract painting

Hello Friends,

After Christmas I started on an elimination diet to ferret out food reactions. I’ve had food sensitivities for many years, but they change over time, and I wanted to see where they stand. An elimination diet takes you back to basics, and for a while, you only eat foods that almost no one reacts to.

Many people say they feel much better eating this way, but no one prepared me for the detox that sometimes accompanies the dietary change. Holy cow! It was intense, but I’m through the worst of it.

Even though I’ve followed a plant-based diet for 35 years, I’m finding that the simplicity of the elimination diet gives me more energy and clarity, and makes me feel more centered, grounded, peaceful and calm.

Right now I’m only eating steamed brown rice, cooked vegetables and some cooked fruits. It might sound monotonous, but it’s not so bad. When you eliminate strong flavors like sugar, salt, hot peppers and vinegar, your taste buds adjust, and simple foods taste good again.

I see it as an opportunity to celebrate what I can eat rather than feel bad about what I can’t eat. I’m grateful that Mother Earth provides ample varieties of food for me to choose from.

It also feels good to be able to do something healthy for the planet. Vegconomist magazine reports that a plant-based diet reduces your carbon footprint by 73%. Animal-based food puts more strain on the planet than plant-based food. Global meat and dairy production is reponsible for more than half of all greenhouse gas emissions — more than all of the vehicles on the road.

What changes are you making in 2020? I’d enjoy hearing your thoughts. You can share them with us in the comments section below.

With love and appreciation,

Painting at top: “Origin,” 36 x 36 inches, repurposed acrylic latex paint on canvas.



  1. Good morning Cassie,
    After my last conversation with you wherein you said that you do not feel the aches and pains of old age, Neal and I decided that we will go on a vegan diet and without oil when we are at home. I have found lots of support and recipes for that on the Forks Over Knives website, where they avoid any processed foods as well as oil and animal based products. I am actually enjoying it. This feels like a big step for me since I have never really cooked without oil and my go-to, “I don’t feel like cooking” dinner was a spinach and cheese omelet. I am still trying to figure out what I will do in social occasions with food, but I guess the answer to that is “the best I can.”

    Thank you also for the link to the article. I hope you don’t mind if I use that information as my next article for the church newsletter. I think it’s important.

    I have also been pondering “what makes me feel alive.” I know it has to do with creativity, but I am not making time for art lately and I don’t quite know why. I will keep pondering.

    Take care Cassie,
    Hope to see you Sunday

    1. Hi Celia,

      Feel free to use the article for the UU newsletter, or anything else you find in my newsletters. I agree — the way we eat IS important to global climate change, and not many people are talking about that right now. It’s such an easy change compared to getting rid of fossil fuels.

      Yes, social situations are definitely a challenge. If it’s a potluck I can bring something I can eat. When eating out, I do the best I can, like you said. The hardest is when I go to someone else’s house for dinner. I don’t want them to cook just for me, but I also don’t want to be ungrateful and not eat. I don’t have that figured out yet!

      I’m also pondering what makes me feel alive, and this malaise seems to be dragging on and on and on. I’m thinking about writing more about that next week. We should get together and talk!

      See you on Sunday.


  2. Hello Cassandra,
    I signed up to receive your emails after being inspired by your eco prints (I think it may have been on Pinterest?). Today is the first time I’ve taken time to read your monthly post along with December’s, “Are You Alive?” Your work inspires me but so did these writings. I may not go the route you have taken for your meals but respect that you are taking care of yourself and feel a positive difference. I am inspired by the importance of eating right and I would like to get back to being more conscience of my diet. Thank you!
    Regarding the December post, i discovered in last couple weeks, how to dress to reflect my energy. The method is called, Dressing Your Truth. After realizing my energy type, I stopped wearing certain colors, (like black) and started seeing how certain shapes and textures reflect my energy. I have been amazed how more myself I feel. It is energizing and makes me feel more alive and inviting to others. (and it doesn’t have to cost lot of money).
    Your paintings are beautiful and even more so knowing they are created from recycled paint. Thank you for these emails. You are an inspiration!

    Jean Spella

    1. Hi Jean. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts, and for your kind comments about my work. I love the idea of Dressing Your Truth! I’ve never heard that before, but it makes so much sense. Now I’m thinking about what I wear, which is mostly black, purple and other dark colors. Hmmmm. Lots to consider here, and I appreciate you setting me out on this trail of exploration.

      1. Cassandra,
        My sister sent me a YT video about Dressing Your Truth in December and for whatever reason it hooked me. I just turned 65 so I may have been ready for it. I would send you link to that video but i’ve watched so many now I don’t remember which one it was. There are only 4 energy types. After going through the self profiling of myself (face mostly) it was almost weird how freeing it was finding I am a type 3! Many are moved to tears by this discovery. If you are interested, the woman’s name that created the program is Carol Tuttle and you can find Dressing Your Truth videos on YouTube.

        I meant to say in my previous comment, how much I enjoyed your video and I love your studio. It’s beautiful!

        Jean Spella

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