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YumUniverse about more than food

By Staff | Dec 5, 2014

Food may be the central theme around Heather Crosby’s new book YumUniverse, yet there is more to it than food, at the heart of her cookbook it is really about life change and better living through community.

Heather Crosby is a Shepherd University alumnae who recently moved back to Shepherdstown from Chicago, craving as Heather says a more “relaxed pace, less abusive winters, and nature.” It is nature itself that has inspired Crosby’s blog and most recently her new book on a plant based, gluten free, whole food diet. Though this is nothing new in the world of health, Crosby’s recipes and book focus more than just on the recipes, but also on better living and relationships. This is primarily what sets her apart, and what makes YumUniverse so interesting.

Crosby was not always a health food enthusiast and cook, but actually a self-proclaimed “veggie phobe” in her early adult years. She did not even eat a salad till she was 19. After getting some news from doctors that she would have to take medication for the rest of her life, Heather went looking for an alternative as she had to “turn the ship around.”

According to Crosby, “I didn’t want to mask symptoms, I wanted to heal the cause of my discomfort for good, and plant-based foods helped me get there.” This change did not happen overnight, but she kept pursuing the goal of a better lifestyle through a plant based diet.

“I eased my way into a plant-inspired approach to food about 10 years ago. I went gluten-free about 5-6 years ago,” she said. According to Crosby it was not easy and took some time but after “making changes step-by-step eventually my palate changed, my symptoms subsided and I started to feel better than I ever imagined I could.”

YumUniverse itself was inspired over years of Crosby posting on her blog. While it took almost 10 years for her to sit down and write the book, and six years for her to start her blog, when she began writing it was as she says an “intense experience.” She was able to write the book in four months, and took about six months to design it.

Crosby splits the cookbook into three sections the How, Why, and Eats, “WHY details our state of health and how we got here. The HOW section is the heart of the book and the most important section since we can know WHY we want to change and we can have some recipes to try, but HOW to transition and make changes last is where we need help.” Finally the final section entitled Eats is a 150+ plant based, gluten free, whole food recipes which are as Crosby says “approved by herbivores and omnivores.”

The first two sections are what set YumUniverse apart from other cookbooks. Instead of just a book a recipes it gives a well-rounded approach to healthy living, which is important as Crosby says “We pay the most for health insurance as almost any country, we don’t have the good health to show for it.” If the plant based recipes are the meat of the book, this is the heart of YumUniverse, better living through a better relationship with the body in community with our friends, family, and most importantly farmers.

Those interested in reading YumUniverse, meeting Crosby or who want to sample some of the recipes, join in a release party for YumUniverse right here in Shepherdstown on Dec. 13 from 5-7 p.m. at the Shepherdstown Community Club. There will be food, a wine tasting provided by Grapes and Grains, and after party specials at the Domestic and Bistro 112.