HINSDALE – T. Kari Mitchell of Burr Ridge may be retired from teaching, but she can’t keep from crafting a lively lesson plan, this one in the form of a book aimed at improving a family’s health one glass at a time.
A book signing is planned July 11 in La Grange Park for “Sip the Garden: Fun, Easy Drinks for a Healthier Family.”
“The book offers families just one manageable lifestyle change … that will positively impact their lives – it all begins in the drinking glass,” said Mitchell, who retired from teaching several years ago at Lyons Township High School in La Grange. “The book came about because I had been concerned about the rise of chronic diseases [and] the epidemic of childhood obesity. I’m still invested in the well-being of our youth.”
Mitchell, who also runs a Hinsdale-based health coaching business, describes the cookbook as a call to action designed to put a lid on junk drinking such as sugary sodas. She believes many families have good intentions about diet, but can be overwhelmed.
The beverages she creates from fruits and vegetables are not the familiar smoothies.
“Several things make my book different,” she said. “The first is it’s water-based. It’s the vital fluid most don’t get enough of. And families will get at least minimum daily servings of fruits and vegetables.
“I really concentrated on … balanced nutrition – fresh, wholesome, tasty plant- and water-based recipes,” she added, citing protein, fiber, healthy fats and omega-3 fatty acids from nuts and seeds. “Because some people are concerned about eating too many animal products, they are all vegan as well.”
Given her own gluten intolerance, she paid special attention to crafting recipes that avoid such common allergens as dairy, eggs, gluten and soy. The drinks are designed to take the place of unhealthy beverages and fattening snacks, with various teas also featured.
She’d like the lifestyle change to be approached as a family affair, with everyone sharing in a process that starts at the grocery or farmers market all the way through drink preparation.
The equipment required is a high-powered blender, not the standard machine, which won’t be able to break down the plant walls and turn the nutrients into a beverage she describes as “smooth, thin and very palatable.”
Her recipes have passed muster with friends and family, who have been encouraging her to create a cookbook for years, she said. To engage kids in the recipes, her book includes fun facts about each ingredient, rhyming titles and research questions to involve the entire family.
The July 11 book signing will be held at Oasis Women’s Fitness and Spa, where Mitchell will blend up some samples for a dual tasting and signing. The book was released on Amazon in April.
It is an offshoot from her venture as a certified holistic health coach through her Hinsdale-based Lifestyle 120.
“I focus on helping individuals to nourish their mind and their spirit – everything that goes along with creating a whole happy person,” she said, adding the approach is not about restrictions. “It’s built on rewarding experiences that nourish them, transform them and help them to flourish.”
Mitchell is back in learning mode herself, training to offer an anti-aging fitness and wellness program for body and brain.
If you go
WHAT: Book signing for “Sip the Garden: Fun, Easy Drinks for a Healthier Family”
WHERE: Oasis Women’s Fitness and Spa, 355 N. La Grange Road, La Grange Park
WHEN: 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday, July 11