By Jim Newell
Tasty food. Healthy, too. Then happy with your choices and the way you feel.
That’s Valerie Penz’s goal for herself, her family and her clients.
Penz is a certified nutritional therapist and wellness coach and the founder of Holistic Health by Valerie. She has been helping her clients – from families seeking to improve their health and wellness, to corporate wellness and seminars for larger groups – find foods that meet their nutritional needs and taste great.
Penz is releasing her first cookbook, Deliciously Holistic – Inspired Favorites, during an open house party from 4:30-8:30 p.m. Oct. 15 at Wine Social, 135 S. Broadway St., in downtown Lake Orion. She will sign copies of her book and discuss recipes and eating for wellness with guests.
“It’s called Inspired Favorites because every recipe is inspired by something or someone,” Penz said. “There’s a little story before each recipe that tells you how the recipe was inspired.”
From “Ella’s Favorite Mango Salsa” to |”Not Quite Noah’s Stuffed Mushrooms” and “Taste of Venice Orange Roughy.” Or, “Truly Tasty Turkey Meatloaf.”
The book, published by Shellback Publishing LLC, a veteran-owned company in Lake Orion, is currently available at holistichealthbyvalerie.com/book.
Penz has plans for two more cookbooks: Deliciously Holistic – Fun for Families and Deliciously Holistic – American Road Trip.
“These are the areas of my life where food and nutrition have always been really important,” Penz said, adding that she and her family love to take road trips and sample the local cuisine on their travels. “And I’ve worked with more families than anyone else in my nutrition business. I really care about families and family wellness.”
Eating holistically (Penz prefers to spell it with an “H”) means eating foods, alone or in combination, in as natural a state as possible for optimum health and wellbeing.
“Holistic comes from the word ‘whole.’ It means eating whole foods, things that are unaltered. Most of the food you find on a grocery shelf has been altered in some way.
“So, to eat holistically means to eat food that is unaltered. Food that is still food. Food that doesn’t have ingredients, but is ingredients. If you pick up an apple there’s not an ingredient list on it,” she said.
“The benefit is another aspect of their lives that they can take control of,” Penz said. “When you start to eat the foods your body was intended to eat, when you start to eat clean, you’ll notice that foods start to taste different.”
Penz says that once people start to eat clean, removing all the processed foods from their diet, they’ll notice a change in how food tastes – because eating processed foods actually creates a film on their roof of person’s mouth.
“After a couple weeks of eating clean, or drinking green smoothies and taking all the processed foods out of their diet, people realize they like vegetables, they just weren’t tasting them,” she said.
Penz also hosts demonstration-style cooking classes once per season at Victoria’s Reserve in Goodison, focusing on a healthy appetizer, entrée and dessert.
Her next class, Healthy Harvest to Tasty Table, is Nov. 3. Classes are limited to 28 people. Check her website for class dates.
“The classes came out of an ask from my clients, who said, ‘I know what I’m supposed to eat and I know what I’m not supposed to eat but I don’t know how to do it,’” Penz said. “I said, ‘Well, it’s very simple, I can give you recipes.’”
All of Penz’s recipes – in the cookbook and classes – are gluten free and do not use refined sugars or dairy.
Penz then began writing single recipes down for her clients – more and more and more – until she decided to incorporate some of her, and her family’s and friends’ favorite recipes, into a cookbook with easy-to-follow directions for even a novice cook.
“I promise it’s easy. I promise it’s affordable. I promise it’s delicious,” said Penz, who has two school-aged children and a husband for whom she cooks. “That’s the criteria for every recipe: it has to follow those three things.”