We are thrilled to introduce you to Kristen Ciccolini. Kristen is a certified Culinary Nutrition Expert and Holistic Nutrition Coach based in Boston and is the Founder of Good Witch Kitchen.
Kristen works with clients locally and across the country, helping women achieve sustainable weight loss through a more peaceful relationship between food and their bodies. In addition, she teaches nutrition workshops online and in workplaces. Kristen helps support and inspire women to become more mindful and feel more comfortable and energized in their bodies so they can live their healthiest life.
We love the name of your website — Good Witch Kitchen! How did you come up with that name?
Witches are healers! They were the go-to people for natural remedies before they became demonized at the hands of the patriarchy. In my work, I help clients manage their health naturally through whole foods, herbs, and nourishing rituals. I use my healing knowledge to help improve the well being of others and so, I am the Good Witch, welcome to my kitchen!
Were you always passionate about nutrition or did you find nutrition later in your career?
Definitely later. My original degree was in journalism, which I earned in 2009 in the midst of the recession. Nobody was hiring, I was very depressed, and stuck in a cycle of emotional eating, guilt, dieting, and so on. I didn’t understand that the food I was eating was connected to my mental health until much later. A few years ago I started a fitness program and really committed to it, and at the time there was a wealth of free classes available in Boston. One recurring class was a workout paired with a healthy meal afterward where we learned all about the foods in the meal and what all the ingredients do in our bodies. I was fascinated, and already feeling the benefits of my new lifestyle, and it all clicked! After that, I was a bottomless pit for all of this information, I couldn’t get enough!
“Culinary Nutrition” — That sounds amazing! What does culinary nutrition mean to you and how you use it to help your client’s on their health journeys? Is this something you’d recommend more health and wellness professionals offer as part of their services?
Having this approach has absolutely helped the growth of my practice. My clients always know why I’m making recommendations and are supported in putting them into action. I also offer healthy cooking classes where students come away with lots of recipes and knowledge about the food and new kitchen skills.
How do you offer your cooking classes?
Currently, my classes are available for private groups, and I’ll have pop-ups periodically around town. For private classes, I come to my clients’ homes and walk them through an appetizer, entree, and dessert! It’s fun for a couple or small group of friends, and we use the appliances they actually own and tailor the menu to their dietary preferences.
You mentioned that you don’t place the focus on the numbers when working with clients. How have you been able to help clients reframe how they measure their own progress?
Focusing on numbers isn’t sustainable or natural. You don’t always have access to a scale or a database of calorie counts, nor should we need that. What we always do have is our intuition and knowledge of how we feel physically and mentally. Understanding this is key in shifting our mindset out of that diet mentality. I help my clients develop their connection to their intuition with different mindfulness strategies and this has dramatically improved their relationship with food, which often starts out pretty fraught.
You also give a lot of corporate presentations and lunch-and-learns, how did you get started in corporate wellness? Do you have a favorite topic that you like to cover?
My most popular topic is Nutrition for a Successful Work Day. It has a lot of nutrition basics but also touches on topics people aren’t thinking about, like ways to boost brain power, energy, and immunity. I got started simply by cold emailing companies in my area. I didn’t know what people typically do, so I winged it and shared a PDF of presentations I could give.
What has been your biggest obstacle starting and growing your nutrition and culinary business?
Standing out. There are so many people doing the same thing out there, but I realized I have to let my personality out more to find the audience that’s right for me. As health coaches and nutritionists, we’re not really sharing brand new information, but it’s the way we talk about it that makes it different. There’s plenty of business to go around, not everyone is going to connect with me, and that’s fine! Embracing my differences has taken a while and it is scary to do because I don’t want to turn off potential clients, but in the end, the ones I do attract are more enthusiastic because they truly connect with me.
How has Practice Better impacted the way you work with and support your clients?
Absolutely!! It has streamlined so many processes, from keeping track of clients and their documents to invoicing and payments. I am a Virgo so I require hyper-organization. My spreadsheets worked for a little while, but Practice Better is an amazing solution and I appreciate how everything is in one place.
Do you have anything coming up that you’d like our readers to know about?
I am currently planning to launch a guided version of my online course, Kicking Sugar + Carb Addiction, in September. It is currently available as a self-paced program, but in the fall I’ll provide six weeks of coaching so we can do it all together. Anyone interested can stay updated with me on Instagram!
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