Last week I had the thrill of seeing one of my favorite family recipes in the Weekender addition of the Free Lance Star. I wanted to expand a bit on the article and explain some my philosophy about health coaching and changing your relationship with food. Please try the starter salsa and add your own favorites! I added black beans, avocado and extra cilantro to mine today!
"One of my earliest memories is of the smell of tomato leaves on my small hands. I was maybe four or five years old, and I clearly remember handing tomatoes to my grandfather and then taking a deep breath, smelling the lingering, earthy smell that would stay with me for a few hours. These early experiences with food began a passion that would motivate me to become an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, developing my own coaching practice, Growing Green Tomatoes, to support people in changing their relationship with food. The importance of using whole foods from local, sustainable sources like local farmers quickly became high on my list of priorities, along with a necessary component of Kitchen Confidence, a rarely developed ability.
I have found that one of the greatest ways to offer my perspective on food and promote Kitchen Confidence is by teaching classes at local businesses and organizations. The class topics that range from Mindful Eating, Eating Healthy on a Budget, Meal Planning and Prep, Breaking up with Sugar, to Lunch Packing for the Whole Family, and Upgrade your Dinner, have the ability to address many different challenges that people face today when it comes to eating in a healthy way. The classes also give people a chance to experience unconditional acceptance and a new perspective on their existing relationship with food. I always include a recipe demonstration and sample as well because I have found that showing someone how to make a recipe, and then offering them a taste is far more effective that simply giving them a recipe. I also use social media platforms to share my philosophy as well as simple, healthy recipes that can be used as starter recipes to create more Kitchen Confidence, add healthy ingredients to their dietary practices and promote the idea that fueling your body in a healthy way doesn’t need to be expensive, difficult or time consuming. Bringing this unique outlook on food to the clientele of FLY Fitness Inspiration, River Rock Outfitters and Fredericksburg MOPS and other area businesses has resulted in the beginning of an exciting shift of perspective, one that I continue to spread with passion and excitement to our local community.
Another way that I love to help people change their relationship with food is with private and group coaching. When I work with a client to support them to reach their goals one-on-one, the success is incredible! From weight loss, to more energy, better relationships and significant changes in stress management, clients begin to live the life they wished for but never found possible to achieve. I have helped clients learn to understand and resolve their emotional eating cycles, discover exercise that they love, and end self-sabotaging behavior. When I coach a group, we follow a set curriculum, unique to Growing Green Tomatoes, that provides not only education on nutrition, meal planning, meal prep and budget-friendly meals, but also how to create healthy boundaries, and make respect and communication priorities in their relationships
My Corn and Pepper Salsa starter is a great example of how simple it is to eat whole foods that are quick and easy to prepare, and to personalize for your own tastes. This recipe is one that began as a quick, light salsa and developed into a staple for my family. It begins with a base of only four ingredients, and then you add the additional topping that you have available. When I teach, I like to say to remind everyone that a recipe is just an idea; it’s simply a guideline to get you started. What you do with that recipe is up to you! As your Kitchen Confidence increases, you will it easier to play with your food and create your own versions of starter recipes! You will notice a column heading that may seem a bit unusual to find in a recipe, but it’s not a mistake! I view products such as tortilla chips and flour tortillas as simply a way to get healthy foods such as fresh herbs and vegetables, healthy fats and proteins, into our bodies! They are no more than a transportation vehicle for the healthy food! Greens are a much better way but it’s okay to have a treat sometimes, too!
Corn and Pepper Salsa Starter
Combine frozen corn and lime zest and juice in a medium sauce pan. Stir and add bell peppers and cilantro. Warm on low for 10-15 minutes until corn is thawed and flavors have begun to come together. The salsa can be served warm or cold.
Add your optional ingredients of choice and use your transportation vehicle to get all that healthy food in your body!
I often use the early morning to organize my thoughts into paragraphs. And sometimes into recipes.