Last week I sat down with Kate Dowden to talk about her company, Resilient Body Nutrition. We met at Zest Kitchen and Bar, where she shared her story and passion for plant-based food. We split appetizers and gushed over the cocktail menu. Kate is crazy about food and cocktails, so I liked her immediately.
A cancer survivor and nurse, Kate's enthusiasm for healthy food is compelling. Her Six Week Immersion Course is the best investment you can make in yourself.
How did you become a proponent of plant-based eating?
I became a proponent of plant based eating because it made me feel I have some control over my cancer. And it’s true what they say, cancer sucks so if there is even a small chance eating this way will decrease my risk I’m all in.
On the business side it was an interesting journey. I took a plant based nutrition certification course through Cornell University and The T. Colin Campbell Foundation just for my own knowledge because I like learning. After I completed it and the information settled in a light went on. What are nurses best at? Caring for and educating human beings. In my 22 years in the healthcare field I’ve spent a lot of time caring for people and helping them understand complicated issues, that’s why I’ve spent so much time in allopathic healthcare.
At some point I put the plant based nutrition and healthcare skills together and it was like a lightening bolt! I can make this easier for people. Now after helping people through this process I see how powerful it is, what an impact it can have on people’s lives. Learning how to run a business is a whole new set of skills, but like I said, I really like learning and it’s been a fun ride so far!
What was your attitude towards food before being diagnosed with cancer?
I’ve always considered myself a foodie. My dad is an amazing cook and I grew up eating garden vegetables expertly prepared. My attitude toward food was always one of deep appreciation and admiration. I love food! Before cancer I loved dairy, cheese and fish the most. We ate what we thought were healthier meats like chicken and fish and we always put a big emphasis on local organic meat and dairy. We even kept chickens at one point for the eggs. My diet was pretty similar to what it is now, a lot of veggies and whole foods no processed food, but it included a lot of various fleshy things and dairy.
What do you cook when you don't feel like cooking?
What do you order when you're going out? Is it hard to find healthy plant-based food in Salt Lake City?
The key is combining items that will fill you up in a healthful way. It’s pretty easy for a vegetarian to eat a lot of refined flours and fat in search of that satisfied full feeling. I always try and include some beans or a whole grain like brown rice when ordering out to ensure I fill my belly and don’t walk away hungry.
A lot of places are starting to come around to the idea that eating healthy does not always mean salad, but we sure do have a long way to go. Especially in regards to oil. But that comes down to education, just like so much of plant based nutrition. I was among those who really truly thought olive oil was a health food, when in reality it’s just empty calories and damages the sensitive endothelial cells lining all your blood vessels just like saturated fat does. But I digress, that’s a bigger complex issue involving intricate physiological functions that would bore your readers to tears. I get a little excited. Eating out is a little tricky and takes practice but completely doable.
|A comforting meal|
Please explain to us how awesome your 6 Week Immersion Class is going to be!
I know there are people out there that want to make a healthful change in their lives, for themselves and their families but the task seems too daunting. That’s where this course comes in! We will be hitting this issue from all practical angles. At the start of the course participants will sign a contract that they commit to eating a whole food plant based diet for 6 weeks. For 6 weeks we will meet at Harmon’s City Creek from 6:30pm to 9pm.
Half of those classes will be hands-on cooking classes in the beautiful cooking school where we will learn and practice the skills of preparing whole plant based food. The other half of the time we will be in the classroom learning about the research, health benefits and tips and tricks (like how to tell people you’re getting enough protein and how to eat out) during a catered lecture (catered by local plant based restaurants). It’s not just eating a delicious plant based meal, it’s not just learning why it’s good for you, it’s not just a cooking class and it’s not just a supportive group of people it’s ALL those things and so much more!
Why 6 weeks? There is a lot of research showing that’s how long it takes to break food addiction (especially to fat and sugar), create new habits and retrain your taste buds. We’re fighting brain chemistry here which is a powerful thing, and can’t be changed overnight. Good news is it can be changed. After eating this way for 6 weeks you can really feel a difference and for those looking to lose weight, that’s usually a given but not the emphasis, better over all health and protection against chronic disease is the emphasis.
No matter their future dietary choices I want to educate people in a safe supportive environment, I want to give them an experience and a set of skills they can draw on later. Each course includes 3 cooking courses, 3 catered lectures, a cookbook, one hour private consulting with me, one week of meal plans and shopping lists, email support, access to our members only forum and alum will be added to a special email list and be the first to know about Resilient Body Nutrition events. Like I said, it’s going to be awesome! I’m only doing four courses in 2014 and space is very limited.
Is there going to be any hands-on cooking, or is it a demonstration? But most importantly, will we get to sample the food?
YES YES and YES!! The cooking courses will have a small demo of skills with a large hands-on component as a lot of people learn really well that way. The goal of each cooking course we will be cooking a meal for the group to share together after we cook. During the lectures a full meal will be brought in for participants to enjoy during the presentation. There is a lot of delicious food and eating of delicious food involved in this course!
Are there any other ways to learn about food with you? Do you consult on a person to person basis?