My Kitchen Coaching Experience
Or, do you not know that your body
is a temple of the Holy Spirit
who is in you,
whom you have from God,
and that you are not your own?
- 1 Corinthians 6:19
With this verse motivating me to improve my own eating habits, I became acquainted with Ashley Cox back in 2014. A health-centered foodie trying to make a name for herself in the culinary world - working as a chef at Healthy Sins’ Raw Vegan Café in Lockport, IL.
At first, I just “followed” Ashley on social media and sampled some of her creations when I'd come into the Café. But based on the sheer quality of these dishes, I then ventured to her website The Naked Food Life to subscribe to her mailing list (so I would continue to benefit from her recipes.) So when I heard that Ashley was launching a new Kitchen Coaching Program last summer - I was SO excited for her and I didn’t hesitate jumping in myself.
Maybe it's because I already knew that Ashley had the education, experience and tools I needed to achieve God's largest nutrition goal for my life: to nourish my body with real food, free of preservatives, artificial sweeteners, and all that other junk. And while I don't pretend to subscribe to a prescribed diet/eating regimen, I’ve really appreciated Ashley's experience as plant-based chef in helping me broaden my horizons. She's exposed me to new wonderful raw ingredients and has opened up endless possibilities in making healthy (and delicious) meals that my whole family will eat.
While I'll admit this program requires more effort than I was previously used to, I also have to say it's brought me a greater sense of satisfaction about the foods I'm preparing and eating. Ashley’s simple-to-follow recipes have made cooking fun again for me (and even a little adventurous!) And luckily, I have a husband like Geno, who's always willing to wash all the dirty dishes. I truly am a blessed woman!
What I like most about Ashley’s Kitchen Coaching Program is that it concentrates specifically on foods that will improve your skin, energy level and digestion. Each week I receive new recipes, the corresponding ingredients lists (to help me grocery shop) and have access to a private Facebook group where I can ask questions. It's been a great learning experience!
My “VIP” Day with Ashley
Before we made arrangements to meet up for an entire day, I was asked to answer a questionnaire about my eating & food-shopping habits, my nutritional & dietary goals, and asked to list the foods I craved, liked, and disliked. Ashley reviewed my answers in advance and then spent considerable time on her own formulating the right approach.
The first part of the VIP Day involved a personal shopping trip to the grocery store. She asked me to choose the store and I went withWhole Foods, where we spent a solid hour together walking the aisles as she highlighted many of the foods I'd need to get started. She took extra time to make sure I fully understood product labels I wasn't familiar with and then provided me with a “Stock Your Kitchen” worksheet suggesting some of the first ingredients I'd need. Ashley was so thoughtful about my budget - but also took convenience into consideration as well - by sharing with me the best places to find/buy certain ingredients at common stores like Aldi, Trader Joes, Meijer, Jewel, or online through Thrive Market.)
The second part of my VIP day involved Ashley coming into my own kitchen. First, she helped me sort out and put away all my the new groceries. Then, we sat down together at the kitchen table to talk further about my eating plan for the first week. We mapped out the meals and the times of day that I would eat. Then Ashley stayed to show me how to prepare the first couple of recipes. She ever so patient while working with my tiny food processor and even packaged up some meals for later in the week.
After that, I officially began to “work” the program myself, but continued receiving new recipes and coaching each week. Ashley faithfully sent me my recipes at the SAME TIME each week (Saturday mornings) which allowed me to have them "in hand" while running errands & grocery shopping later on that day. If I had questions about them, that's when the Facebook group came in so handy! It's such an easy place to ask a question or post a photo. And while I did not expect immediate responses, in most cases, Ashley provided instantaneous answers so I could continue on with a recipe. Ashley also went way out of her way on several occasions to suggest additional recipes when she knew I needed to entertain or cook for a larger group. The breakfast menu at my Women's Bible Study last Monday was a great testimony to this - many of the dishes raised my lady friends' curiosity (and interest) in many of the vegetarian recipes.
Over the last few months in my kitchen journey, I'm also realizing that God gave us so many DIFFERENT KINDS of nutrient-rich and flavorful foods - many of which I had no idea even existed on the planet! Learning about other types of foods is just one way that God is speaking to me about His intentions for us. Learning more about new plant-based foods is opening my eyes to my Creator's eye for detail - in creating such a vast array of energy-rich nutrients from so many different sources. It's mind-boggling to think God cares about us SO MUCH that spent time creating so many delicious options to choose from. Yet, the sad truth is that watch many people I love primarily exist on processed foods made from corn derivatives. As I continue to work the program, I’ll reap the benefits of better health because I am choosing better varieties of oils, nuts, seeds, lentils, grains, and legumes. I'm coming to understand the true value of superfoods like Gogi Berries, Chia Seeds, Cacao, Tempeh, and Kombucha.
So I guess I am saying it's been super fun to watch Ashley progress in her journey as a plant-based chef, kitchen coach, and food blogger and that I am loving her program. But truthfully, I'm also anxious to involve more women in the movement - those who are interested in knowing more about a plant-based lifestyle. If so, you should e-mail Ashley for a free consultation.
I've enjoyed reading Chef Ashley's posts about plant-based foods not just because they are healthy… but also because her dishes truly are THAT delicious - so much so that my taste buds ARE CHANGING to prefer the fervent flavor of REAL FOOD!
How long will I stay in the program? I really can’t say at this point – but after 3 months of coaching, I'm not feeling anywhere close to knowing enough! What I can tell you is that I have a very knowledgeable coach who understands my nutritional goals and is familiar with my family's eating habits and food preferences. This, in of itself, has been such a huge blessing as I continue to eat cleaner and honor my body as a temple. My prayer is that more people will want to find out what healthy changes Chef Ashley Cox can bring to their kitchens!