The Universal Language of Food with Katie Simmons: PYP 187

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You'll get a series of lessons (not sure how many; I'm still writing them) delivered to your inbox. You'll discover how to begin your own Big Change, so you can finally eat and live according to you knowledge, values, and priorities.

And now back to our regularly scheduled podcast…

katie-simmonsKatie Simmons was working as a traditionally trained chef and moonlighting as a fitness instructor when the dare happened.

She was struggling – as she had been her whole life – with her weight and her health. She managed to achieve a tentative balance between compulsive overeating and compulsive overexercising, but still dealt with feeling lousy and often ashamed of herself.

Then the dare – go vegan for one month – changed everything.

Fast forward several years, and Katie is now one of the most celebrated personal chefs and culinary instructors in the Chicago area. And her focus now is on marrying her old passion for delicious, fresh food with her new love of the health-bestowing properties of plants.

In our conversation, we covered:

  • how Katie fell in love with food after a childhood immersed in theater and dance
  • “the story that food tells”
  • the fitness industry's ignorance about healthy food (granola bars and egg whites)
  • blaming her weight struggles on emotional eating (the Oprah effect)
  • how world travel broadened her perspective on food
  • how to tell the story of a peach
  • the emphasis on animal foods in culinary school
  • her month of veganism (“I thought I was going to die from lack of protein”)
  • how her body and mood improved within two weeks of cutting out animal products
  • Katie's upcoming book on the fundamentals of plant-based cooking from a chef's perspective
  • why chefs love microwave ovens (and some tips for the home cook)
  • “we need to glamorize kale like we do bacon cheeseburgers”
  • how to become a better cook – skills and practices
  • the joy of exploring international cuisine
  • how to connect with food on a deeper level
  • feeling gratitude for a dish bubbling away on the stove
  • don't cut yourself off from your community through your food choices – the importance of gathering around the table with loved ones
  • relaxing as you learn to cook (“if it burns, it burns”)
  • and much more…

Enjoy, add your voice to the conversation via the comment box below, and please share – that's how we spread our message and spread our roots.

Links (Katie's website with lots of recipes and gorgeous photos) (Katie's old site, also with lots of recipes and gorgeous photos)

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Ready to embark on your Big Change journey?

Are you tired of knowing what to do, and still not doing it consistently? The Big Change Program, led by Josh LaJaunie and myself, will help you take the steps to finally live according to your knowledge and values.

The next bobsled run of the program begins in January, and enrollment is now open.

Visit to find out more about the program and take a free test drive (a series of lessons delivered to your inbox – real quality information, not a bunch of marketing fluff).

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The Plant Yourself Podcast theme music, “Dance of Peace (Sabali Don),” is generously provided by Will Ridenour, a kora player from North Carolina who has trained with top Senegalese musicians.

It can be found on his first CD, titled Will Ridenour.

You can learn about Will, listen to more tracks, and buy music on his website,


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