Project Proposal

I’ve been preparing my whole life, collecting and re-writing flavorful healing recipes since 1991, at the beginning of my passion for healing food. I have been preparing my spirit through a lifetime of trial and trauma, especially these last 8 years in which healing my mind, body and spirit have been my top priority. I have been collecting and examining strategies and tools for success in overcoming a tremendously difficult opioid addiction that almost took my life twice. Nutritious food and sensory delight is a strong motivator for staying alive!

To be able to share this experience and insight with others, I completed culinary school – the first blind person to successfully complete and graduate the program. I am constantly deepening my knowledge of healing food by consulting with nutritionists and health coaches, and am preparing for the project by establishing a network of expert contributors.

I have prepared my space to be able to deliver this project 100% remotely should the Coronavirus lockdown be extended, or if the world culture shifts to long term social distancing. This project can go on with remote video footage, project management, marketing, video editing and app development.  Guest expert speakers can join on Zoom and my home studio is conducive to quality recordings, with lots of natural light and space.

I am also preparing for the delivery by practicing and improving my presenting skills and by nurturing my social media presence and following. In recent months I have appeared on several cooking shows all over the world, most recently in Israel, and featured in many news articles and interviews such as Living With LCA: Finder Her Light In The Kitchen and She Made Canadian Medical History When She Received A Bionic Eye

I am consulting with blind people all over the world, even as far away as Papua New Guinea, to collect consumer feedback on what would benefit users the most, and after the first round of Holman’s media coverage I have already heard from several blind people who were too afraid to cook their own food or take the plunge into the culinary world as a career and are now inspired to learn! Huge breakthrough!

I am increasing my presence in leading blind communities and establishing connections as an influencer. I organized almost 100 blind and visually impaired to attend from all over the world at the recent Unblinded Sales Mastery live event. I am personally connected to the president of the American Foundation for the Blind Kirk Adams, who is part of the Unblinded movement started by the very successful blind lawyer Sean Callagy.

I am a qualified chef with several years of experience in cooking demonstration and motivational speaking. I have participated in a televised national cooking competition called Menu Matchup in Canada, and many times been invited as a guest appearance to deliver cooking shows from my own kitchen – which has required me to both procure and learn the tech set up to accomplish that.

My broader media experience includes completing a broadcast training program, specifically designed for blind and visually impaired people. This was the first of its kind in Canada. Through the broadcast training program I interviewed several big media journalists in Canada, including the award-winning Anna Maria Tremonti.

This experience will serve the project extremely well as I guide our expert contributors through a cooking demonstration in such a way that they can offer healing advice to our beneficiaries.

I am experienced in leading blind communities. I participate and volunteer at large-scale live events, organizing almost 100 blind and visually impaired to attend from all over the world. I am an active part of the massive community of successful business professionals, leaders, coaches, top platinum members of Tony Robbins events international. I am personally connected to the president of the American Foundation for the Blind, Kirk Adams, who is part of the Unblinded community. I’m also an active part of several Facebook groups that have thousands of members each, including recovery groups, food and culinary groups, and blind/visually impaired and disabled groups from all over the world.

I am experienced in taking on ambitious and leading-edge projects to improve the lives of blind people, making enormous personal sacrifices that I am certain have added to the world. I made medical history as the first Canadian to receive a bionic eye in a gruelling two-year clinical trial to test the efficacy of a new visual improvement device in the name of advancing technology for blind/visually impaired people in the future. This experience proves I am tenacious, dedicated and will see it through to the end.

Please also see Orly’s Bionic Eye

Orly Shamir – First Canadian To Receive ‘Bionic Eye’

Two Patients Received ‘Bionic Eyes’ – CTV News

I am also proud to count my many years of opioid addiction and domestic abuse as experience. I know the challenges and difficulties that even the most determined recovering addicts face, and how important nourishment is on the journey. This experience makes me a vulnerable and relatable role model.

Few people know it took an inner tube to save my life. I was afraid to show my vulnerabilities as I was brought up being taught emotion is weakness. Being blind compounded that, as I wanted to prove myself. Numbing with substance helped me cope with my inner struggles. For years I got in my own way by resisting that tugging that said “I need help”. I went against the current, and the more I pushed and resisted, the more pressure I felt inside until it became so intense I needed to escape. But would I ask for help?? No way!

Not this strong, independent blind woman! Until the infamous inner tubing incident…I proudly placed my inner tube in the water thinking the current was going the opposite way. I held on for dear life, crashing, bumping into rocks, falling in but getting up, falling in, getting up, all wet and stubborn! Friends rushed to my side, worried I had lost my mind. Covered in bumps and bruises, inflicted by my blind pride as I kept refusing the support I needed and deserved, stubbornly trying to force my inner tube to go against the current! The thing I was avoiding was hitting me right back in the face. I just kept thinking what a blind thing to do!! Or perhaps, what a human thing to do. If I just reached out and said, yes I need help and support to position my inner tube for a successful fall down the river rapids, I would have been safe, flowing with ease, have more fun, less tension and pressure. So simple right?

So that was it. I needed to figure this out. I embarked on a journey of lasting healing, going to the source, way beyond band-aid healing. It took several years of research to understand plant medicine, to find the right retreat and resources. I knew this was the right direction for me, the right support for my many other strategies for recovery on my eight-year journey, food being one of them. I was so ready to do the hard work, and hard work it was. Nothing comes easy, and I’ve always been able to put in my intentions, my dedication, and do what it takes to rise above and learn. I am now sincerely connected to all of myself, and truly love and accept all of myself unconditionally. I have gotten out of my own way, and no longer live stuck in my thoughts, my head. I live from my heart.

It is only now that I healed the core, that I can teach others in recovery with truth and authenticity. It is OK to be empowered as a blind person, and it is also OK to need help. Go down the rapids on an inner tube if you don’t believe me. We all go against the current of life unknowingly at some point. However many are lost in the pressure, not understanding why or how to fix it. I am living proof that surrendering, letting go of control, and the need to know the outcome is much easier than we all think. When we surrender and just relax, let go and move with the flow, it’s such a relief, we gain tremendous clarity, things start to fall in place. Now understanding how simple it is makes me laugh, as I thought the solution was more complicated, I made it more complicated for myself with my stubborn blind pride.

My approach to speaking about blindness is to not only inspire but also bring about positive calls to action with practical change. I am an experienced public speaker with a portfolio of presenting on blindness and many case studies of positive influence in making life better for blind people. Over the years I have spoken to large groups of people on awareness and advocacy, and a part of creating massive change on several initiatives. One such initiative was the introduction of accessible transportation in the Ontario government system, another was as part of the Diversity Council at TD Canada Trust Bank. I was a core member of the diversity team, helping the company create more accessible platforms for their disabled people, for job retention, and success. I also spoke to the staff of the Melia Hotels and Resorts International to provide sensitivity training for disabled guests.

I helped various theater companies start to incorporate more accessibility to all their disabled guests at their performances, both for all house staff, and to incorporate described live performances which are now widely happening in Toronto. I’ve spoken at the CNIB Canadian National Institute for the Blind fundraiser event, sharing my personal story of vision. As a volunteer for Sick Kids Hospital I was in many homes to talk to parents of blind children, to support them, to show them the true potential of their children. I volunteered also for the foundation Fighting Blindness and did several speaking engagements for them at several of their major donor events to raise more awareness and to support major giving to the foundation. I’ve been asked now here in Florida by the Broward Lighthouse for the Blind to represent them at various fundraising events and to look at starting up a speakers’ bureau.

James Holman said, “Illness is merely the bitter, which a wise Providence mingles in the cup of life.” I love the hint at the culinary alchemy that happens when ingredients meet, and I also love the universal truth in this statement. If you have a life, then you also have some form of illness – and that’s ok. It’s a part of the whole dish.

Every human on this planet has a tale of disability or trauma, and a tale of recovery. Nobody escapes the sacred challenges life brings, blind or not. It’s just in there, in the cup of life. There is a great deal of enlightenment to be had when we allow ourselves to be fully whole and healed even with our disabilities and illnesses. But there is another universal human truth: Food. We all need to eat, and we all have the ability to enjoy the richness of sensory experience. If for nothing else, this is a source of both physiological and spiritual medicine.

James Holman opened up a world of experiences that were previously only reserved for the sighted, which to this day includes simple daily tasks like choosing and preparing nourishing food to support the body’s cells during recovery. It is wonderful that blind people can traverse great canyons and accomplish unbelievable things, but sometimes the greatest accomplishment for someone may be simply to wake up with the will to live. Delicious, nourishing, sensual food is a vital experience that has saved my life, and like James Holman I can now say “Some difficulties meet, full many. I find them not, nor seek for any.”

Professional Expert References

Dr. Cynthia Clark AP APN
Longevity Wellness Clinic
528 48th St Ct E, Bradenton, FL 34208
(941) 923-9355

Dr. Cynthia is an award-winning nutritionist and functional medicine practitioner who I will be consulting with throughout the project on topics such as nutrition testing recipes, appropriate ingredients for optimal body function in recovery, and also to understand what recovering addicts are going through in their body chemistry throughout the different stages of their healing journey. In the preparation stage Dr. Cynthia has tested my Moroccan Salmon recipe and project concept and I have used her expertise to qualify the feasibility of my project.

Dr Cynthia Clark:
To Whom it May Concern:

I have had the pleasure of being touched by Orly Shamir’s passion, drive, and charisma. Her devotion to her personal mission of transforming a story of recovery into one of not only healing but of accomplishment is deeply instructive to every human being. Because while few of us have her personal experiences of losing her sight, all of us have had the experience of losing ourselves at some point. Maybe we were lucky and it was just for a moment. Maybe it happened when we were bullied, and left to wonder if we really weren’t worthy. Or maybe it happened when we beat ourselves up, and convinced ourselves we were stupid. Fear and uncertainty come in a hundred different forms, and Orly has faced and beautifully overcome and transformed these doubts into a work of art. All of those who are exposed to this material will be treated not only to a culinary feast, but also a calming of the spirit. Her own lightness of being touches both the hearts and the stomachs of those whom she meets on her beloved infatuation with our taste buds.

While in acupuncture school, I was lucky enough to be in school with a blind student. I noticed how her sense of touch was more sensitive than the rest of ours. Of course it is said that when one sense is lessened, the others increase to compensate. I believe that is certainly the case with Orly’s delicious recipes.

It is my honor to give Orly my full endorsement in her endeavors.

Dr. Cynthia Clark, Acupuncture Physician, Applied Clinical Nutritionist
President, Longevity Wellness
Creator of Energy Evolution
BS Industrial Engineering

Chef Patti Lang:
Chef Instructor
McFatter Technical College
6500 Nova Drive
Davie, FL 33317
(754) 321-5855

Chef Patti was my teacher, support, and guide throughout my culinary education in plant-based cooking. Chef Patti has several culinary designations and trained at the Johnson & Wales University, The Institute for Integrative Nutrition, Rouxbe’s Professional Plant-based Certification Course, as well as continuing education programs at the Culinary Institute of America. She was instrumental in guiding me towards my success in gaining a solid foundation of both culinary and healing food expertise. She and I have had a passion and any time since graduating that I have a question she’s always there. Chef Patti has also dedicated her time and willingness that at any time during my project I can turn to her for consultation and support.

To whom this may concern:

I am writing this letter in reference to Orly Shamir, who is a confident, strong and very talented woman who graduated from my Vegetarian & Plant-based Specialty Program at McFatter Technical College. We are a public Broward County school in the state of Florida. I would normally use our school letterhead, however because we are working remotely from home due to Convid-19, I hope this will suffice.

Orly is the first blind person I’ve ever had the pleasure of teaching. Of course, at first, I was concerned how I would be able to teach a person without sight to maneuver through a large busy commercial kitchen which is filled with many students, professional equipment, large walk-in coolers & freezers to mention a few. Orly was comfortable in the kitchen and with her classmates right from the start. I had a class of 14 students and Orly worked well with everyone. She was grateful to receive a helping hand if needed, and quick to reciprocate as well. Teamwork is key in foodservice and Orly participated in all aspects of the food preparation as well as in the classroom. I was wowed right from the start watching her handle a chef’s knife, working on a stove and maneuvering to the oven. Orly was eager to learn ways to perfect her knife cuts and especially plating her dishes, which to me seemed impossible without sight. It was very rewarding to watch her grow and become even more confident in the kitchen.

A huge part of my program is focused on consuming a nutritionally sound diet and living a healthy and well-balanced lifestyle. Orly shares in my beliefs and I’m excited to see what she has in store to help motivate and educate people on the physical and mental benefits of growing your own natural and organic produce, using specific foods to heal, meditating to create calm in one’s life & the power of positivity! These are all things we need in our lives now more than ever.

Orly is a very creative chef and has so much to offer people. This is her life’s passion & her motivation is endless. As and when Orly requires guidance during this project I will be happy to offer my expertise on matters such as cooking safety and kitchen process improvements that might be implemented for blind people. I hope that you will consider assisting Orly with her needs to bring her vision in fruition.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions or concerns.

Be safe. Be well,

Patti Lang
Chef Instructor
McFatter Technical College

Elizabeth A Wilson BA APMP PRINCE2
Project Director
Kerin School of Healing
142 Holly Avenue, Sarasota, FL 34243
941 724 7919

Elizabeth is a professional project director and spiritual guide who will be assisting with the coordination of tasks to ensure safety, time, budgetary and integrity parameters are met. I will be consulting with her expert guidance on a weekly basis. In the preparation stage I have worked closely with Elizabeth on feasibility, planning and concept development.

Elizabeth A Wilson:
To whom it may concern,

Professional reference for Orly Shamir in support of her project Nourished By Light

I have had the pleasure of working closely with Orly Shamir for the last five months as her spiritual guide and project manager as she has been formulating her vision and developing this remarkable idea that she can help other blind people find their way home from the canyons of addiction, through the enjoyment of nourishing food.

I am a highly accomplished woman, both in my professional accolades and in my own personal victories over darkness. After my own recovery, which includes stories from alcoholism to homelessness, my role now is to support passionate disciples of life on their mission to heal humanity. As a qualified project manager I have had the honor of directing such projects as producing authors’ healing memoirs, transitioning holistic medical businesses to online, launching influential tutoring programs, producing inspiring documentaries, and coaching hundreds of influencers on their journey into enlightenment. Each one has as its ultimate goal to teach a way of enlightenment and healing, and each has been successful. I share this to demonstrate my understanding for the great presence and personal power that it takes to accomplish what this project is setting out to do.

This project is one of the most ambitious I have encountered. Here the many strands that need to be woven include the complex dynamics between blindness, addiction and recovery, and within these the traumas, psychologies and blessings that play a part. This is the message. The vehicle is also complex: cooking as healing must include the biology of nourishment, the spirituality of sensation and the science of medicine. And the machinery within the vehicle has many moving parts: compelling video tutorials, meaningful supporting documents, powerful expert guests, and an accessibly produced application that allows blind recovering addicts to easily receive the gift of healing through food.

Orly is the only person in the world who is qualified to birth this creation. The impact on the forgotten niche that are blind recovering addicts is beyond measure. I am honored to have been asked to help the coordination of tasks and will be providing my expert guidance throughout the process to ensure the project is delivered with integrity, to parameters, and with the highest and best interest of the people Orly Shamir is destined to serve.

Elizabeth A Wilson
Founder, Project Director

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