As you know, I love when I hear about new projects devoted to teaching kids (or adults!) about eating better – especially when the project focuses on vegetables. When I met Elke, the mastermind behind Health Coaching Paris for a juice at Café Pinson, we immediately hit it off. She’s lived in America so understands my background but also has been in France for many years and taught me a thing or two about living a healthy life in the City of Lights.
Her passion is good food – good and healthy food which is why she started her health coaching business, offering 1-on-1 and group coaching and detox programs.
“I’m trying to cause a ripple effect on healthy eating, because I am a strong believer that you are what you eat. And sometimes it takes just simple changes to feel more energized, drop a few or more pounds and feel happy and healthier.”
But not only is she coaching adults, her new children’s book, The Superfoods, co-written with her son, aims to get kids excited about the power of good vs bad, as in veggies vs sugar. Watch out Mr. Candy Bar, Mr. Carrot is going to rule the world! And to top it off, the book is published in four different languages. Let’s be honest, The Superfoods is written by Superwoman. Elke tells us more about her love of kale and her new book.
Describe what kale tastes like in one sentence.
To describe the taste of kale, well, I do eat curly kale exclusively and would describe the taste a typical pungent taste.
When was the first time you tried kale? How?
It has been 12 years I discovered Kale, it was when I lived in Monterey, California. I was vegan, macrobiotic and running marathons and Whole Foods was my second home. I either had breakfast, lunch or dinner there, I really felt home there because everybody knew me by name and it was just food heaven for me…and that’s where I discovered kale. To be honest, it wasn’t love at first sight. I did not really know what to do with it, nor did I know how to use spices and herbs. So I just added it to my brown rice and had beginners trouble with the pungent taste. Now I just love it and sneak in a bite every now and then just like that off the stems.
What is your favorite way to eat kale?
I love to cook, my dinners are 99.9% home cooked. Although I am not a great chef. I don’t like to cook by cookbook, I mean, I don’t use recipes word by word, but I am not creative at all and need to get inspired by other people’s recipes, so I just read the ingredients what goes together and then just cook by the feeling. I get my kale Wednesdays at the Marché President Wilson at C’Bio. It usually lasts until Saturday or Sunday. I put it in my daily green smoothie as THE green. I like to cook one-pan meals the most with brown rice, quinoa, sweet potatoes or soba noodles, I throw in my kale and add other veggies as well. I cook a lot with turmeric, curry and garlic. Kale just goes with everything.
If you were preparing kale for a kale-virgin, or one of your clients, what would you do?
Well my kale-virgin was actually my son. Green is his favorite color, but when it comes to green vegetables, he runs. I always need to find a creative way to get veggies into him. The positive thing is though, he tries everything. I can tell on his facial expression if he likes it or not. He usually answers very diplomatic: “it is in the middle mom” which basically means it is a no-go. The first time he had kale, I made kale chips for him, I guess it is a typical kale food for kids. I made him close his eyes and open his mouth. The look on his face was very positive and he said he loved it. So lot’s of kale chips for him with either olive oil or coconut oil it’s so easy and fast to make. I also make quiche a lot for him, a dish I can “hide” veggies very easy and kale is definitely one of them.
Tell us more about where the idea for The Superfoods came from.
Hmmm…The Superfoods just popped into our minds like that on a rainy, cold afternoon. I am a single mom living in a small apartment in Paris, and my son plays in the living room. So he knows a lot about my health coaching business and listens when I skype with clients and give advice about healthy eating. As a boy, he is very much into race cars and superheroes. So on those days, when you are stuck in the apartment, you need to keep your kid entertained. We started to talk about how we could get kids to make better food choices and thought if we turn healthy foods into “superheroes” maybe kids would see veggies differently. That’s how we came up with the title The Superfoods. My son threw on a cape and off he went, bouncing around the living room as “superfood”, making up the story literally at the same time. While he was talking, I took notes.
You wrote the book with your son – tell us more about the creative process?
The raw draft was done really quick as you can see from the previous question. The fine tuning took a little longer. Everyone who knows the book, sees it is very simple. At the beginning it was more complicated and we got a little tangled up in the story, so we cut it down and made it really easy, in a way “less is more”. But we decided to write it in 4 languages, (English, French, Spanish and German) to give it an additional twist. Children are so receptive to learn languages at a young age. My son is 6 and fluent in 3 languages, and since this book is for a very young audience, we’d like to encourage them to get familiar with other languages as young as possible, it makes life so much easier for them as they grow older.
Now that “The Superfoods” is out, what’s next?
There are lots of projects after The Superfoods. We do have a kids cook book in the making, but it is still in baby steps and not my first priority at the moment. We also want to get involved in Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution Day on May 17th. But my main focus of course is to expand my Health Coaching Paris business, offering not only in-person coaching, but also online coaching around the globe. I believe the programs I have worked out can help people who struggle with these things to feel better, not just for a short time period but a life long.