Meet Your Cooking Coach – Barbara McNeely

Welcome to My Kitchen!

I’ve spent a lot of time in kitchens! Starting when I could just see over the counter tops, watching Mom. She was a cook-from-scratch cook — no cake mixes, no processed foods. At age 10, I was baking cookies and cakes. In fact, one summer, I got up early some mornings and made donuts for my dad’s office. I was very popular with Dad’s coworkers. My sister Conni was also a seriously good cook who taught me a lot about cooking and baking.

Thus began my love of cooking.

I also had a love of science that started in seventh grade. My science teacher, Mrs Feigenbaum, made the learning fun.

Little did I know that one day those two loves for cooking and science would be used to solve a personal health crisis. Along the way I leaned that each of us is our own primary health care provider and that what we put in and on our bodies is either our best medicine or our worst poison.

I went on to major in biology in college, and even considered becoming a doctor, until sanity prevailed. 😉 I worked in medical research for a while. I loved the pursuit of scientific knowledge, but even in the 1970s & 1980s, politics ruled the day in any type of research.

I moved on and became a computer programmer/analyst. I never really left science, though. I would read and follow science and health topics for my own interest.

Over time, that paid off as I developed health issues that doctors couldn’t resolve. Out of necessity, I became a super sleuth at digging into health matters.

Science, food and cooking collided for me beginning around 2001 when I developed chronic migraines. I saw many doctors who just had drugs to recommend, but no solutions. And no answers to my question: WHY?

Why was this happening to me?
Why was I suddenly having constant migraines?
Why became my favorite question.

My only choice was obviously to find my own answers. Armed with a list of known migraine triggers and the internet, I started looking for answers. At the time, my relentless investigating became a question of life or death. Was I going to exist as a zombie in pain or find a way to live comfortably and thrive?


Using my sharpened problem-solving skills, I began to determine triggers and learn how to avoid them. Besides fragrances, which had plagued me for years, I came up with a list that included certain foods, chemicals and a number of environmental factors. Eventually, I learned to manage my migraine issues when the doctors could not.

One thing became crystal clear to me:

Food could be your best friend or your worst enemy.
Food could be your medicine or your poison.

My research had told me that ingredients in processed foods were not healthy. They were added to make food taste better, to get you addicted to it (via sugar) or to prolong the shelf life. All of those benefiting the manufacturers, not the consumers. And I learned that my biggest problem ingredients were MSG (monosodium glutamate) and artificial sweeteners, especially aspartame (Nutrasweet).

I realized that I needed to know every ingredient in whatever food I ate. It became obvious that cooking was the solution.

I had to reject most fast food, most chain restaurants and many other restaurants because of ingredients, like MSG, that were a problem for me.

Thus began the next phase of my cooking journey.

When cooking was my only choice, cooking became very important.

Learning about food and eating healthy lead me to IIN and studying to become a health coach.

Farmers Markets became my favorite grocery stores. Over time, I learned to prepare all kinds of vegetables that came from the markets.

And then, along came the pandemic. Cooking was the only option. Which only meant that an expanded repertoire of experiments and recipes. Many of the meals I cook today are ad libbed dishes or experiments. My husband is a willing guinea pig!

My journey to health has been long. I still don’t have all the WHY questions answered. But I’m still on the trail and I know that I will solve the whole puzzle one day.

Health is Your Natural State

Your natural immune system works to fight off pathogens on a daily basis. And rogue cells that could develop into cancer.

To have that natural state of health, your body requires the right fuel to do its job.

That is available to me and to you. And it’s what I want for each of us.

No Fear

One of my favorite Julia Child quotes is this:

“The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you’ve got to have a what-the-hell attitude.”

I believe that anyone can learn to cook. It starts with that what-the-hell attitude. You don’t have to fear failure in the kitchen.

Will you fail? No, not really. You may make a mistake. But you’ll only fail if you give up. Or worse, don’t even start.

Mistakes will happen. Believe me. I’ve made some doozies. Most of them were not total failures though.

Let’s Get Cooking!

Learning to cook, learning to plan and prepare healthy meals, doesn’t happen over night. It happens one step at a time. One meal at a time. Even one dish at a time.

That’s my mission. To show you that you can plan and prepare healthy meals for yourself and your family.

The benefits?

  • Eating healthier
  • Saving money
  • More family time
  • Better Health which benefits you body, soul and pocket book!
  • The great feeling of knowing that you prepared a delicious, healthy meal.

I’m looking forward to supporting you to become your best and healthiest self!

Ready to get started?

Schedule a free call with me so we can get acquainted.

A Little More About Me

I’m a lifelong learner and as part of my training I have:

  • Studied about health and food and various types of diets or ways of eating.
  • Dug into the science of how the body works, because science was my first love.
  • Studied Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Five Element Theory and visual diagnosis — All ancient wisdom that has been helping people for thousands of years.
  • Researched how stress and emotions and past traumas impact our health.
  • Studied with health coaches and others to learn more about cooking.