Eric Lechasseur (husband)
I met Eric in 1991 when I was traveling in Mexico on a Sober Club Med vacation tour. I was going through a divorce from my first husband. Eric was already Executive French Chef at the resort hotel. Since he’d worked with some Japanese chefs in Bali and Tahiti, he knew how to speak simple Japanese and cook Japanese home food, so we got along easily. After Mexico, I went to visit him in Montreal and continued our long-distance friendship till he moved to Los Angeles a year later.
Eric struggled to find a job as a chef in Los Angeles in the first year, so he cooked for me. After I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, he learned vegan macrobiotic cooking and helped me recover from 1993–95; he also used it to heal his own eczema and sinus issues. He went on to become a well-known vegan macrobiotic celebrity chef when he started cooking for Madonna in 2001.
Eric also helped me after I had a near-fatal car crash in 2001. This time, he did more than cook; he supported me financially and took care of me during the year that I was bedridden, as well as the three years I was in a wheelchair.
We married in 2004. At our wedding, our dogs—Kin, Kula and Dore—were our flowers girls, with our cat Mai present as a special guest.
After not walking for three years, I showed my determination by walking down the aisle at our wedding. Everyone was crying with joy—especially Eric.
The following year, Eric published a vegan macrobiotic dessert cookbook—Love, Eric—which was named the Best Cookbook of 2005 by Variety.
In 2008, Eric and I opened Seed Kitchen in Venice, California, with the mission of bringing delicious, healthy food to the public. We have continued teaching and sharing our experiences with people who seek to live healthy, happy lifestyles through events such as Kushi Summer Conference, Health Classics, A Taste of Health, and Healthy Taste of LA.
Because of ovarian cancer, I never had a chance to birth a baby; but the following are all my wonderful animal children for this lifetime.
Lani: 2020- Lani means “sky” in Hawaiian
Lani is the re-birth of Leo. He is the son of Nalu and Kai.
Kai: 2018- Kai means “ocean” in Hawaiian
Kai is the re-birth of Oro. He is also a golden retriever mix like Nalu, but he is much smaller than Nalu. He loves to take a shower and even a bath. He loves to swim just like Oro. He is going to school to be a service dog just like Oro.
Happy, a golden retriever is the third generation of our golden retriever family. She is Lumi’s daughter, Oro’s granddaughter, and Kin’s great-granddaughter. She is very shy, loves to play with toys, and makes funny noises when she is happy. Due to nearsightedness, she has a difficult time going for walks, but taking Bach Flower Remedy has helped her walk without fear.
LUMI: 2010– Lumi means short of Luminaire “golden light” in French.
She is Oro’s daughter and Kin’s granddaughter. She is the smallest golden retriever I have ever seen (she is only 32lbs); most people think she is a puppy. The sunshine of our home, she loves to be active and enjoys doing stand-up paddleboarding with Eric. She is the rebirth of Dore, who died from a hit-and-run driver in 2008. She had a trauma in previous life so she needs so much love and attention from everyone.
A golden retriever, Bubu is Oro’s son and Kin’s grandson. He was very shy and timid when he was a puppy, but after Eric took him to agility class, he gained confidence. He loves being in the bathroom while Eric is taking a shower. He also loves to dive and swimming at Manzanita lake in North Fork, California. He likes to sing along with the sirens, as well as when he greets people. As he is getting older he loves Animal Reiki. He is the re-birth of Sakura.
This handsome golden retriever is Oro’s boyfriend. He was adopted to our house after Dore died in 2005. He was afraid of fire at first, but using Bach Flower Remedy has helped him enjoy being around the fireplace during winter at our mountain cabin in North Fork. He has a big smile and loves to follow us around. He is the re-birth of my dog, Julie who I lived with when I was in high-school. After Oro passed, he was lonely for a while and his life slow down, but he got his pace back and still loves to take a short walk and sleep a lot.
ORO: 2006– 2018 Oro means “gold” in Italian and Spanish.
She was part of Kin’s third litter when Kin was 10 years old. Oro was the flower of our lives; her personality was like Dore’s, but she looked like Kula when she was young. Everybody loved her. She was a therapy dog who was crazy about playing ball and also swimming when she was not working. She also enjoyed practicing K9 nose work. She also went to Santa Monica Farmers’ market just like Kula. Oro was the re-birth of Kuro.
KULA: 2003– 2016 Kula means “gold” in Hawaiian.
She was a golden retriever and service/therapy dog. Part of Kin’s second litter, Kula was the rebirth of Gumu, who died in 2001 when I had a fatal car crash. She was a good-looking beautiful dog, even though she is the oldest, and loved to dive into Manzanita lake in North Fork, California, swim and run in the mountains and at the beach. She enjoyed going to the senior home and Santa Monica Farmers Market as a service dog. She was diagnosed with spleen cancer in May 2016, which has spread to her lungs, but she felt her time did not yet come; she was eating dog macrobiotic healing food and taking herbal medicine with acupuncture, animal reiki, shiatsu, and Do-in exercise so she enjoyed her life until the last day of her life, one day at a time.
DORE: 2003–2008 Dore means “gold” in French.
A golden retriever therapy dog, she was part of Kin’s second litter. She was the rebirth of LoLo who died in 2001 when I had a fatal car crash in Arizona, She was smart, cheerful, and cute, and she made us laugh. In 2007, she had her first nine puppies, all of which found new homes; one of them, Kona, was adopted by the service dog organization Paws’itive Teams. When Dore was 5 years old, she was killed by a hit-and-run driver near our house; she came back as Lumi.
LOLO: 2000-2001 Lolo means “gold” in Italian.
A golden retriever puppy, she was part of Kin’s first litter who died in a fatal car crash in Arizona.
GUMU: 2000-2001 Gumu means “gold” in Korean.
A golden retriever puppy that I adapted and was raising with Lolo. Unfortunately, she was never found when I had a fatal car crash in Arizona,
KIN: 1997–2008 Kin means “gold” in Japanese.
She was a brave, smart golden retriever, and my first therapy dog. I took her across the US and Canada, and she was a survivor of my near-fatal car crash in the Arizona desert. She birthed a total of 20 puppies in her life, including ones for autistic children. She was a good mother and trained her puppies well. My first therapy/service dog who went to LA Children Hospital.
KUMA: 1997~1997 Kuma means “bear” in Japanese.
She came from a shelter, but after I adopted three days she died with Parvo. I found out she was sick already before she came to my house. It was a shocking and very sad experience.
KURO: 1985~1988 Kuro means “black” in Japanese.
I found her on the street when I was coming back from work in December. She was very old, crippled, blind, deaf, and almost no hair. She had so many fleas and also so skinny so the veterinarian doctor said she is not going to make that winter. But she lived with me for three years. She could hear only my voice and followed me everywhere I went.
SAKURA: 1981–1998 Sakura means “cherry blossom” in Japanese.
She was my first dog in the US. She’d been found in a park with her sisters and brothers, and I adopted her at 7 weeks old. A mix of sheltie and German shepherd, she loved to run and catch Frisbees. When she got arthritis at 12 years old, I applied my macrobiotics practice and gave her natural, healing homemade food. That’s how I started to write Healthy Happy Pooch book.
MAI MAI Lani: 2017~ Mai Mai Lani mean “Mai from Heaven” in Hawaiian
She is Mai Mai’s re-birth. When Mai Mai left she said she is coming back when I start feeling well. After I completed my six cycles of chemotherapy, I found her at a rescue place. She came back with a little health issue, but it did not stop me. I know lots of work to help her, but she is very happy to be back. She came back even smaller than Mai Mai even she is Maine Coons cat. She looks kitty forever.
MAI MAI : 2013–2017
I had a dream one night that Key-Chain and Mai were talking about Tin Tin. “Mommy thinks Tin Tin is my rebirth, but she does not notice that he has your tail and not my tail.” Key-Chain: “ I think she was so happy to find Tin Tin, and she did not see whose rebirth. I hope she realizes soon.” I woke up feeling like it was so real, I could not go back to sleep. I searched the internet for a Maine Coon kitty who loves dogs. I could not believe it: I found one kitten with the title “Loves dogs.” She looked just like Mai, so I had to go meet her. And just like Mai, she was smaller than most Maine Coons. Rescued at a young age by a woman named Wendy, Mai Mai had to be fed by dropper. She is scared of humans, but she was not very afraid of me, so I decided to adopt her. It took her about a year to get used to Eric and enjoy her life with us.
She sacrificed her life for me in 2017 when I got sick from cancer of Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma (DLBCL) Primary non-Hodgkin of Liver, stage IV because of Hepatitis C that I got from the blood transfusion result of the car accident in 2001 – you can read this story here. She told me she is coming back after I get well. I look forward to seeing her again.
TIN TIN: 2011–
After Mai passed, I had a dream that she came back in orange; so I started searching for orange kitties. I had six dogs, and Eric thought there would be no cat that could be around six dogs. But after I checked many cat adoption centers, I found Tin Tin. He was not afraid of dogs, but rather enjoyed being with them. He talks a lot and he loves to eat. His favorites are shiitake mushrooms, kale, Brussel sprout, and Chinese cabbage, etc. He is re-birth of Key-chain.
I found Mai in an alley just before my cancer was diagnosed. She loved to ride in cars and traveled all over, including Japan, Canada, and more than 10 different US states. She was the first cat to participate in the LA marathon— in the bicycle portion in 1997. She loved to be with people and used to go to AA meetings and house parties with me. She truly helped me heal, both physically and mentally, and kept me feeling safe. She survived my near-fatal car crash and lived till almost 20 years old.
Just before my father passed away, I lost an 18k gold keychain he’d given me. So, when I found a new cat shortly thereafter, I named her Key-Chain. She was cute but shy and so scared of everything and everyone other than family, that she stayed in our bedroom by the window most of the time. She had an eating disorder, so she ate too much and gained weight. At one point, she had the nickname “Butterball” (sorry, Key-Chain!), but we soon discovered that her weight gain was caused by the stress of being bullied by another cat in our home. When that cat passed away, Key-Chain’s weight melted off like… butter! She was healthy and lived up to 20 years old, still meowing like a kitten!
Tora was my first cat in America. A friend found her on the street, but she was not allowed to have pets in her apartment so I adopted her. Tora was very smart and enjoyed going outside. She became best friends with Sakura, my first dog in America, and they spent a lot of time together. When Sakura passed in 1998, Tora was grieving so much that she left home 10 days after Sakura passed and never came back.