No matter how much you exercise I believe you simply cannot out train a bad diet. Getting healthy and fit is 20% exercise and 80% nutrition.
The problem is exercise is the easy part for most people. I can structure an exercise plan for them that works in the time allotted with the equipment they have. Most people can then schedule that time and stick to the routine. I can help them understand the amount of calories they need and guide them to making appropriate food choices.
I cannot however be at the grocery store with them reading labels and picking produce. I cannot be in the kitchen when they get home and say, “Great, I have all of this healthy stuff. Now what do I actually do with it?”
Grace Rybarczyk, owner of Grace & GratiFood, fills that gap. She is my fitness counterpart in the kitchen. Grace, daughter of a cattle farmer turned vegetarian, designs a plan for you based on your goals to help you reconnect with food. Her job, as a Food Educator, is giving people the tools (literally and figuratively) to take charge of their health through food. Her 6 month program of bi-weekly classes teaches:
- What needs to leave your pantry
- What to restock it with and where to purchase those items
- The essential tools of a home chef
- Basic cooking techniques
- Food combinations and meal planning to support your goals with your tastes and lifestyle in mind
When I met Grace recently at a charity event I knew I had to share what she did. In my opinion cooking is becoming a lost art. Perhaps it’s the perception of being too complicated or expensive. Or maybe it’s a side effect of our busy fast food nation. Whatever it may be, we’ve forgotten how to have a good time in the kitchen. We’ve come to see food as a necessary evil, something to grab and go. Many people have forgotten foods real value of nourishment and energy. Grace is working to change those attitudes and overcome those obstacles one person at a time. Grace’s goal is to teach people that real food can taste good and fit into their real world.
Grace knows firsthand how challenging it can be to eat healthy in the real world. When she began her own journey, practicing yoga and moving to a plant based diet (which is the focus of her work as both Food Educator and Personal Chef), she found that you can eat a lot of sugar and nutrient void foods and still not eat meat. To sustain her new way of living she realized she had to approach her nutrition differently. While working at a restaurant, she started to study the energy and nature of foods. She began experimenting, creating dishes that made her feel good and provided the energy she needed for her busy life. Finding the formula in her own life spurred her to create dishes for others, first in the kitchen at Mama Jean’s Natural Market and then for her own company, Grace & GratiFood.
I love Grace’s simple motto: To empower people to take control of their food and nutrition. That’s what living healthy and fit is all about-empowerment. Frozen meals and prepackaged meal systems don’t empower you. They enable you to keep up the bad habits that made you unhealthy and unfit. Grace’s method gives you the information and the skills to control what goes into your body, both quantity and quality. With food being such a big part of the equation, both matter more than most people think.