Danielle Christy is a holistic health coach and self-taught personal chef. She is dedicated to helping families and people around the world to stop feeling overwhelmed with healthy cooking. She shows and coach them how to stock their kitchens with healthy ingredients, meal plans and get back to having family meals again. Danielle holds a BA in Hospitality from Northern Arizona University. She is a Certified Health Coach through the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. She has helped families of all shapes and sizes and created and established a concrete strategy to ultimate health through learning what individually works for them and using whole real food as the medicine of life.
You have a big passion for health and cooking, and you are the Founder of Savor The Kitchen. Can you let the readers know more about your story and background and what Savor The Kitchen is all about?
Food and homemade meals has always been the center of my family. Growing up, my mom always made dinner every night. It wasn’t always something fancy, but it was nourishing and made with love. Every Sunday, we would go to my Irish grandparents and have family dinner, usually a pot roast, mashed potatoes, and vegetables. My grandparents also grew vegetables in their backyard and really instilled in me the love of cooking and nourishing your body with homemade food.
My relationship changed a bit with food from the ages of 9-18. I started cutting food out and overexercising and developed anorexia. It was a very unhealthy time in my life where I got used to not eating to control all aspects of my life. Around 17, I was so tired of starving myself and decided. I finally wanted help and sought treatment at UCLA, and I am proud to say I have healed myself again.
Now, I have a healthy relationship with food. I have always had my hands in the kitchen since I could help my grandma pickled beets and peeled potatoes. My love of cooking has only deepened since these times, which brings me where I am today.
I became a health coach a few years ago to further my knowledge as well as help as many people as I could develop healthy relationships with food and get back to home cooking. I have realized how important food is when cooked at home. It’s not only healthier for you, but also it gives love and comfort to those that eat it. The kitchen is the heart of the home, and the more we surround ourselves with healthy ingredients, routines, and community, the more fulfilled life will be.
Although I am not professionally trained, I am self-taught. Last year, I took a leap, left my hotel career to pursue my love of cooking, and helped get families back to eating healthy meals at home. I became a personal chef as well as started a recipe blog, Savor the Kitchen. I am sharing some family favorite recipes and a ton of new ones weekly. I love to focus on seasonal ingredients, eating the rainbow, and offering kitchen tips and tricks for home cooking. My hope is to inspire more family dinners, just like I had when I was little. I am teaching the importance of whole real foods and bringing love back into the kitchen one bite at a time.
Healthy food and nutrition is something many people think is important but somehow seem to struggle with. Why is that? And can you name a few specific tips on how to make healthy eating much easier?
Healthy eating is a struggle for most because we think it has to be complicated, and we feel we can only become healthy by going on an extreme diet. Our society has so many food rules, distractions, and diet noise that it can be frustrating and confusing even to know where to begin.
My perspective on healthy eating is that it is a marathon, not a sprint, and a life long journey. The small changes we can make daily can lead to huge results. Focusing on one thing at a time and nourishing your body and mind with healthy foods will lead to ultimate health. A few tips to making healthy eating easier are meal planning, drinking enough water, stocking your pantry and fridge with whole real foods, and being mindful of what you are putting into your body. Balance meals with protein, fat, and fiber will help reduce cravings and give your body the fuel it needs to thrive. The more whole real foods incorporated into daily meals will reduce cravings for processed foods and snacks. Sneak vegetables into meals like smoothies, stir-fries, riced veggies mix with rice, and mix of mashed vegetables with potatoes. My final tip is to make sure you have fun in the kitchen and enjoy what you are eating!
Just by looking at your website www.savorthekitchen.com you’ll get hungry. All your meals look delicious. What is the secret behind visually good looking meals while at the same time making these meals healthy?
The secret to visually good looking meals while keeping them healthy is color, texture, salt, fresh herbs, and spices. One of the biggest things I see people do when they cook is not salt their food properly. Salt is really a game-changer for flavor development, and it’s key to salt throughout the cooking process. I love to use Himalayan sea salt. It provides great flavor and nutritional benefits as well. Color and texture are also keys; the more variety, the better. I love to always have something roasted, something raw and something pickled. It balances out textures and flavors. Fresh herbs and spices really take a dish from basic to a flavor bomb. You can simply make a Gremolata, which is fresh herbs mixed with lemon zest and garlic, or you can bloom your spices in fat like olive oil or ghee. Blooming spices is traditional in Indian cuisine but works for all spices and caters to whatever you are making. Use this flavored oil to drizzle on your protein or meal before serving.
How would you define a healthy person?
Healthy is from the inside out. Someone who nourishes their body with whole real foods and intuitively knows what makes them thrive. They take pride in living in a healthy environment, cooking meals at home, and cherishing relationships with family and friends. As important as food is to be healthy, the mind is equally or more important. A healthy mind equals a healthy body. Exercise, mindfulness, continues learning and pushing themselves to be the best they can be. We are 100% in charge of what happens to us in life, and the least we can do is fuel our bodies and minds with healthy foods, relationships, kindness, and love.
So, if someones want to become a person like that, how can you and your work help them achieve that?
If someone wants to become their healthiest selves, I would not only help them in the kitchen but even outside the kitchen. We would work together to get the food their body needs and teach them how to read nutrition labels, navigate the grocery store, and prepare meals for the family at home. Outside of the kitchen, I would help them work through any food rules they have and what emotional habits block them from being their best selves. Work from the inside out and build tiny healthy habits that lead to long term results.
Finally, what do you have in front of you, and what’s your next big goal or project?
I am so excited I am finally launching an online course to help others get healthy products in their pantries, understand how to read nutrition labels, teach how to meal prep and plan, and cook basic recipes that can be made in no time. Really help relieve the stress and thoughts of what’s for dinner and bring ease back into the kitchen. Share a ton of recipes and build a community through love and food. A long term goal is to get nutrition classes back into schools and find someone to help me develop my product idea for healthy kitchens. Ultimately bring health and joy back into the kitchen through home cooking and eating real foods.