Food Mavens in our Midst: Norma Rixter

Oak Parker turned her life around with vegan diet

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By David Hammond

At age 40, Oak Parker Norma Rixter was diagnosed with possible multiple sclerosis and diminished lung capacity.  According to Rixter, she was “prescribed a ton of medication, but nothing was working. Nothing changed until I changed my diet.”

Rixter took to heart the words of Hippocrates,  "Let your food be medicine and medicine your food!"

Rixter explains,  “I had to learn that the foods I ate had a direct correlation to how I looked, how well I slept, and how I was feeling, which was not good most of the time. I learned that everything I was eating affected the functioning of my brain as well as my body.  I realized that I was responsible for my health, not my doctor, not my spouse. I had the responsibility to eat foods that promote wellness within my body.”

Her new book  Norma can COOK!  includes recipes that are healthy and delicious and that fit a busy lifestyle – and they all can be prepared in 30 minutes or less.

The focus is on a vegan diet.

One of Rixter’s goals with her book is to “dispel the myth that ‘If it's that good for you, it can't possibly taste good!’"  

Rixter’s approach is simple: “ to give people food that is filled with flavor, just a few ingredients, lots of variety in terms of taste and texture, containing lots of nutrients and easy to prepare. It's the winning combination: easy, delicious and nutritious!”

Norma Can COOK! takes recipes from Rixter’s former Southern Standard American diet and translates them into plant-based versions of old favorites.

“My cookbook,” says Rixter, “is completely vegan, except for a handful of recipes for fish and chicken.  I included these recipes for those on a transition or Flexitarian diet to help them learn to load up on the veggies and whole grains and minimize the amount of animal protein in their diet. “

I asked Rixter about her favorite local restaurants. She mentioned Sen Sushi for the sweet potato roll, edamame and miso soup; Penny’s for the vegetable bowl (with extra veggies; no noodles) and A Taste of Brazil for collard greens and lentil soup.

But what does she eat when she’s home alone and no one ‘s looking? Rixter confessed, “Dark chocolate-covered almonds, dark chocolate flourless cake, dark chocolate fondue. You get the picture.”

Reader Comments

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Violet Aura  

Posted: May 24th, 2011 8:47 PM

Sorry. My last comment was directed at David. Norma, that is great that you are high-raw! I have been a vegetarian for many years and did a vegan experiment which worked very well. But I would be a BEEgan in actuality;) I love really raw honey!!!!

Violet Aura  

Posted: May 24th, 2011 8:45 PM

Yes, that is what has been said but by whom? And it's basically only lycopene and beta carotene that I have heard that said about. Again, I don't believe it but in any case, being high-raw should be the goal, IMO. Just being vegan does't necessarily make one very healthy if they are eating lots of processed fake meat and cheese, refined grains and sugars, etc.

Christina Pippin from  

Posted: May 24th, 2011 5:47 PM

The power of food is intriguing. I've been thinking about crossing over to a vegan diet after twenty-four years as a vegetarian. This book might be the push I needed. I do love chocolate, so Nora's comments were a welcome relief.

Sheila Morrow from Matteson  

Posted: May 24th, 2011 12:48 PM

Norma continues to amaze us through her seminars and nutritional cooking demonstrations, her fitness & strengthening DVD called "The Magic is in the Movement!", and now with her sensational recipes in a nifty gift called "Norma can cook". How wonderful!

Darling Pleasant from Gary  

Posted: May 24th, 2011 10:14 AM

WAY TO GO NORMA!!!! You are truly a great woman of God! I'm too am proud of you and all that you have accomplished. I know this book will be a great help to those who want to better themselves in life. Keep moving forward...we are behind you all the way.

Pat Harris from Chicago  

Posted: May 24th, 2011 8:49 AM

I'm so very proud of Norma's accomplishments. She's the kind of woman that when she decides to do something, she does it with the passion, energy and commitment it takes to get the job done. So continue your great work Norma to help make us all healthy.

Norma Rixter from Oak Park  

Posted: May 24th, 2011 7:36 AM

I have been a Vegan for over 15yrs. for over 10yrs. completely Raw. I now occasionally indulge in lightly stir fried or baked veggies, I'm still about 90% Raw. Adding a few cooked items has helped add different texture to meals and recipes. I have found variety to be the key to staying healthy and satisfied on a Vegan diet. Enjoy! My Cookbook,"Norma Can COOK!" can be purchased on so good, I promise you'll want to,"lick your fingers!"

David Hammond from  

Posted: May 23rd, 2011 8:03 PM

The vitamins in cooked food are absorbed more readily than the vitamins in raw food, aren't they? I eat a lot of raw food, but it's my understanding that though over-cooking and especially boiling can diminish the nutritional value of food, some cooking actually makes the nutrients in many vegetables more bio-available.

Violet Aura  

Posted: May 23rd, 2011 4:40 PM

One thing I also think is important to stress is that we should be eating a diet with plenty of RAW produce in order to take in the enzymes, organic water, and preserved vitamins and minerals.

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