By Devan Strebing
A New York City Chef visited Beacon of Hope on the west side of Indy Saturday to make a gluten free meal for the women and children who attended the party.
“We have our clients coming to the party, board of directors, our staff, and volunteers,” Terry Moore, executive director of Beacon of Hope Center for Women said. “Jaquy is preparing a wonderful gluten free meal for all of us.”
Jaquy Yngvason is a personal health coach and gluten free cooking show host. She owns her own company called Tasty Freedom and is currently filming a gluten free documentary about how to live with allergies and really flourish.
“I was invited by Shelia Cafferty to come and speak and do demos at the Gluten Free Living Now Expo (in October),” Yngvason said. “I came out and we just really hit it off, I fell in love with the community here. Growing up with food allergies, I had a vision that I would love to do an event. I called up Shelia and she said she had the perfect organization. Being able to do this for the holidays, especially for Beacon of Hope, it really means the world to me.”
Yngvason started her career as a head chef. She started producing top talent on Food Network and a CBS cooking channel, working more than 90 hours a week. She says her body was failing and then found out she was gluten intolerant and celiac disease.
When she flew home to take care of her father when he became ill with malignant melanoma, she went back to school for nutrition and did everything in her power to feed him good food.
“I went home to heal my dad with whole foods,” she said. “We couldn’t reverse stage 4 malignant melanoma, but it brought him a lot of peace and energy. His hair went from white to brown because of the food I was making him. Symptoms can regress through a gluten free diet.”
Yngvason then started to look at different avenues of her work such as starting to cook for clients. She was then introduced to someone about becoming a food stylist, and within nine months was producing Food Network Star Bobby Flay.
She started a company called Tasty Freedom that includes gluten free and vegan foods.
“My biggest dream in my life is to help people who truly need it and this is just one demographic; my goal is to change the world through food for everyone,” she said. “It’s so easy to change your life; you can be good at making foods that don’t have any meat or dairy. It’s so important for me to show people that this is easy, your health is the most important thing; food is a preventative medicine.”
Moore found out about the Gluten Free Living Now Expo when she became gluten free, and Shelia Cafferty gave her a booth for her and her gluten free clients of Beacon of Hope. All 100 vendors donated the leftover food to them. Two weeks later Moore received a call from Yngvason that she wanted to do something for Beacon of Hope.
“When I got a call from Jaquy I couldn’t believe my ears; it means the world to me that someone from New York City recognized Beacon of Hope as a growing organization and was willing to sacrifice so much to get here,” she said. “This is an honor and I believe from this event there will be more awareness of domestic violence and Beacon of Hope.”
Beacon of Hope started in 2007 when Moore went to a fundraiser for Sheltering Wings. After the presentation, the pastor sat down with her and three friends who are all survivors of domestic violence. The pastor said there was a need for another organization on the west side of town.
“We run a domestic violence support system, we do everything a shelter can do besides housing the women,” Moore said. “We can get them into shelters if they’re not full, if not, we can get them into hotels. This year we’ve served over 700 women and children and placed 15 pets into safety through our foster pet program. We are growing every day.”
Scott Moore, Terry's husband, is the contractor who built the interior of the Beacon of Hope facility. It took two and a half months, 16 hours a day to build.
“It’s a passion, I’ve loved to be there to see these women become survivors,” he said. “Much more is needed, we need the counseling for them to help those victims and we need help from the community.”
There were around 40 people at the event including women from Sheltering Wings on Saturday and the children were given stockings with goodies.
There was less than a month of planning for this event with sponsors that helped such as Mike Cunningham from Stone Creek Dining, Sam’s Club, Kroger, Marsh, and Nature’s Farm.
“For me it’s more than just a meal, this is bigger than us,” Yngvason said. “It’s as simple as putting it on the plate. It’s about inspiring someone how truly easy it is to eat gluten-free, one plate can change your life.”
She still freelances, but her main focus is helping clients.
“We come across so many people who don’t need to be gluten free, but because they’re happier and have more energy, they’re religiously sticking to it,” she said. “It’s about enjoying what you eat. This is part of my path and one day I would love to have 10,000 people to cook for, it’s not too far from reality.”
Some easy tips Jaquy Yngvason has for people to eat gluten free is to get excited about what you eat.
“Eat from the rainbow, is what my mom would say, include more vegetables, anything that comes from a box or can, don’t eat it,” she said. “Start adding more whole foods, and a plant- based diet; you’re going to be happier, feel fuller and feel amazing. That’s what good food does.”
For more information about Jaquy Yngvason, check out her website at www.tastyfreedom.com and her cooking show on YouTube. She says she really thanks Living Without Magazine and cannot wait to be back in Indy at the Gluten Free Living Now Allergy Fest on Aug. 23 and 24.
For more information about Beacon of Hope, visit www.beaconofhopeindy.org.