The Diva Digests

an opera singer's thoughts on music, food, and the meaning of life

When you can’t find a recipe you like…

…make it up.

I just got back from a 3 week opera gig on Martha’s Vineyard. It was hectic. And chaotic. With more mosquitos than should be allowed on an island paradise. I didn’t get my script (they cut the recit & wrote new English dialogue to fill in the holes) until 4 days into rehearsals, which left me 2 weeks to memorize & bring it to life before we had an audience. Oh, & in the meantime, we were singing development concerts all over the island, not to mention staging an opera. And it was awesome. The cast was astounding – incredible artists, and amazing people to boot – and we were greeted after every performance with a standing O. And boy, did we work for it. It was a real gift to have our efforts so soundly appreciated. I don’t sing (solely) for the applause, but it certainly sweetened the deal when we had effectively done the equivalent of a modern dance piece while singing one of the hardest ensembles ever (countless pages of Italian patter in the passagio, no less…).

In my house of 5, 4 of us were real foodies, so there were some good eats happening around that table. I spent a fortune at the market (have you ever shopped on MV? Holy cats!), but had enough time in my schedule to prepare all of my own food without having to do it the night before. It wasn’t always glamorous – there were days when I brought a bag of celery sticks & a tub of hummus to rehearsal & called it lunch. There were days when I cooked the. best. fish. ever (striped bass, which is in short season). Some days I packed a kale & white bean salad with sesame oil & Bragg’s Amino Acid (GF soy sauce substitute). Some days, I had a vegan protein shake for breakfast AND for dinner. The last week on the island, a local friend invited to to go “shopping” in her vegetable garden. I picked chard & kale with my own two hands. (And oh, the spearmint!) I ate what my body needed, & I felt amazing. My stomach started to get flatter. I was able to deflect an allergy attack without extra medication. And then I started to cheat. A little wheat here. A little wheat there. A little bacon here, a little chorizo there. And after the show closed, fudge & champagne. And yesterday, I felt it. I simply have to be more careful about what I eat. There’s no way around it anymore. Alcohol and sugar do me no favors. The temporary rush isn’t worth the suffering that follows. Thankfully I have learned to recognize my limits, and I’ve learned that if I limit myself to protein & vegetables (especially leafy greens), I’ll recover from anything quicker. Clean eating can sure help cure what ails you. So…

I bought a pound of shrimp at Whole Foods after work but couldn’t find a recipe I liked that included the other ingredients I had at hand. (I really should pick my recipes before I shop, but that’s never been my style.) I was getting hungry & frustrated, so I faked it. I had two organic bell peppers (one yellow, one orange), French green beans, fresh garlic, shallots, sesame oil and fish sauce. Et voilà! A perfect dinner.

Like I said in my last post, eating wellthfully doesn’t have to be complicated. I heated the wok, then added the oil, vegetables, garlic & shallots, then the fish sauce & shrimp. I stir-fried it til the shrimp was cooked through. Easy peasy, & so delicious! Don’t be afraid to make it up as you go along. (I should apply this little lesson more wholeheartedly to my life outside of the kitchen…it would make singing coloratura a lot less scary. And could make big decisions seem like an adventure, and not like a test I’m afraid of failing.)

Anyway, it seems I could go on and on tonight, so I’ll leave you with this: sometimes, your best choice is to make it up. Exercise your creativity in the kitchen, on the stage, at your desk, and the results may surprise & delight you!

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about The Diva

I’m a California native, recently returned to the L.A. area after 15 years as an opera singer in the Big Apple. Singing has always been my favorite means of communication and self-expression. I’m a self-conscious self-editor, so singing someone else’s words and music has given me the freedom over the years to express what I couldn’t figure out how to say. Well, I’m tired of editing, so here I am, writing my own words (for better or worse). Welcome to my blog! I’ll write mostly about singing and eating, and how the two have intersected in my life.


My overall health is pretty good (and it’s a lot better than it used to be). Thank God, I’ve never had major illnesses. But repeat sinus infections for an opera singer is pretty bad news. When I realized I was making myself sick with what I was eating (hello coffee, fried food, and refined sugar!), it was a huge wake-up call. I could likely have saved myself an invasive surgery if I had known that my fibroids were growing because of my highly inflammatory diet. I thought surgery was my best option, because it was what my doctor recommended! (By the way, I have kept my fibroids in check and improved my sinus health – and lost 25 pounds – by engaging in new food habits that reduce inflammation.)


We have become a magic pill culture. Sit in front of the TV for 5 minutes, and you’re bombarded by direct-to-consumer pharmaceutical marketing. “Do you suffer from heartburn so bad it makes you vomit? Never fear. Go ahead and eat that plateful of atomic buffalo wings, wash it down with a bottle of red wine, and take this little pill. You’ll be right as rain.” UGH. (I paraphrase, but you get the idea.) Actually, you’ll end up with chronic inflammation, which can lead to serious illness. (Cancer, anyone?) Have you ever considered that the bloating and discomfort you feel after a meal is NOT normal? Do you want to get off of your OTC (and possibly even your prescription) meds? Do you want to quit your daily Advil habit? You can do it by making a few, simple changes to your diet. (Countless people have even reversed their diabetes by changing what and how they eat. Diabetes!!) Food can change the world — and YOUR LIFE.


If you have struggled with sugar or other food addiction, poor sleep, intense stress, brain fog, blocked creativity, with the feeling that you haven’t reached your potential, and you are looking for an ally to help achieve your best health, unlock your super powers, and live a dynamic life, please contact me at to set up a FREE 1-hour consultation and learn more about one-on-one and group coaching options… The Diva will help you Digest, too, and live an authentic, dynamic life. ;)


Thanks for stopping by. Make today your best day yet!! Remember: Life does not have to be perfect to be wonderful. (-Anonymous) It just has to be authentic. (-Me)