Stephanie Gonzalez is a Certified Holistic Health Coach and Natural Foods Chef for Miami Wellness Club® in Miami, Florida. Stephanie has a passion for discovering alternative ways of caring for ourselves and treating disease. She is currently living and working on a regenerative farm in southwest Georgia.
IN THE KITCHEN WITH STEPHANIE GONZALEZ
Tell us about yourself:
Hola! I’m Stephanie (Steph) Gonzalez, Certified Holistic Health Coach at Miami Wellness Club®, Natural Foods Chef, Regenerative Agriculture Advocate, and Believer in all things possible from Miami, FL of Cuban/Dominican descent. I am currently living in southwest Georgia on 5th generation Regenerative Farm where I work in the organic garden and with honeybees. I am also a practicing Holistic Health Coach and work to educate, empower and inspire clients seeking to live a healthy lifestyle. I find immense purpose and fulfilment in helping others unlock the keys to their greatest health challenges and experience transformation from the inside out.
How did you get involved in cooking?
I have always naturally been drawn to la cocina – the kitchen. When I was a little girl I remember the kitchen being a marvelous place where wholesome dishes were created, mouthwatering aromas graced the air and an invitation to sit, gather and connect was an essential component to the food we ate. The kitchen was more than just a place where we were physically fed, it was a place where we were nourished at our deepest levels. There was no shortage of hugs given, spoons to lick, recipes to make, laughter and warmth that always kept me coming back. It was really after college that I was inspired to recreate these treasured childhood memories and I began to get back into the habit of making fresh meals and preparing the table.
Describe your cooking style:
My cooking style is practical – keeping it simple yet finding different ways to transform basic ingredients into something special, organic – using whole foods that are minimally processed and how nature intended them to be, vibrant – we eat with our eyes and I love to have an assortment of color and life represented on my plate, and lastly, nourishing – with each bite of food we can aid in the healing or harming of our body. I like to treat food as medicine and use the land and kitchen as a foundation for optimal well-being.
How did you learn about grass-fed meats?
It all started about five years ago when I was invited to try a piece of pasture-raised turkey. At the time this was a big deal because I had been a vegan for about nine years. I initially explored a plant-based diet to help repair my body from poor food choices in college that led to acne, inflammation and other health challenges. I was always a picky meat eater and questioned where my meat came from but never trusted or understood the source. After being introduced to this world of grass-fed meat and pasture-raised poultry, my eating has evolved substantially and my body has benefited from incorporating high-quality protein into my daily meals.
What is your favorite recipe featuring grass-fed meat?
My absolute favorite recipe featuring grass-fed meat is Vaca Frita with Yuca Tallow Mash. This healthy twist on a traditional Cuban dish is pure comfort food that is nutritious and delicioso!
You’re stranded on a desert island; luckily, you’re stranded with your top 5 ingredients and one must-have kitchen tool:
Top five ingredients!
1. Pink Himalayan Salt
2. Organic Cold-Pressed Olive Oil
3. Organic Dark Chocolate
4. Organic Single-Sourced Cafecito – Coffee
5. Grass-Fed lamb
Kitchen Tool: My cast iron skillet.
Best cooking secret/tip/piece of advice you’ve learned:
The best cooking tips I learned were from observing my Dominican Grandmother, Altagracia, in the kitchen. When she cooked she kept it simple but full of sazón! I’ve applied many of the things I learned from her like trusting my gut when preparing a dish, being creative in presentation, and most importantly, whether it’s the most mundane thing like chopping an onion or preparing an elaborate sancocho (Dominican stew), do it ALL with love.
What’s your favorite quote/song for culinary inspiration (if any)?
“Cooking is an act of love, a gift, a way of sharing with others the little secrets simmering on the burners.” – Sophia Loren.
Anything else you want to share?
As a Holistic Health Coach at Miami Wellness Club® the advice I share with clients struggling to make better choices when it comes to their food is: 1. Find a way to have fun in the kitchen, make it an experience 2. Eat the rainbow, the more color the better, 3. Don’t be afraid to fail, keep trying, and 4. Cooking is a form of self-care and an opportunity to invest in your mind, body and spirit.
Enter To Win!
Enter to win our August 2022 Wellness Food Giveaway for a chance to win $150 bundle of farm fresh food.
Contest runs from August 1 – 14, 2022.