And there’s DEFINITELY nothing I love more than a blog with a punny name, written by a woman who is so incredibly inspiring it kind of physically hurts. This week I’m featuring a blogger babe I’ve admired for a long long LONG time – Kate Van Horn from Kalein It! (Moment of silence for her blog’s name. I’m obsessed.)
How gorgeous is she?! If you’re not already following Kate’s blog and Instagram, you’re SERIOUSLY missing out. I first found Kate through Instagram (typical), and was immediately captivated by her charm, positivity, realness, and GORGEOUS photography. You know me and food photos. So I wandered over to her bloggy, and the rest is history. I don’t know how else to phrase it, but Kate is a kind soul. That might sound like a strange thing to say, but that’s what comes to mind. It’s rare for me to think that about someone. She just gets it. She’s also straight-up cool. She has an incredibly inspiring story, and I’m in awe of the way she maintains balance in her life. She’s not afraid to be raw and honest about personal things. I dig it. Aaaand obviously she has KALE-ER (get it?!..HA) recipes that are healthy and oh-so-divine.
Kate and her friend also just made a huge announcement…They’re throwing an incredible wellness festival in Philadelphia in Spring 2017! It’s called GOOD and will feature amazing speakers and trainers from the wellness world, as well as extremely delicious food. The event’s going to be fun, chic, and def a day to remember. I’m literally trying to figure out a way to fly across the country to make it – that’s how fab this sounds. Click here and here for more info.
Alright, who’s ready for the interview?!
Tell me a bit about yourself so my readers can get to know you!
I’m from the Philadelphia Area! I live about 15 minutes from center city, in a smalllll town. I grew up here – and ventured to Arizona for college. Now, I’m back on the East Coast, but envy all the great eats and beautiful weather on the West Coast!
I worked in marketing in an agency setting before starting my blog. I worked in the pharmaceutical industry marketing for drug developers and biotech companies. It wasn’t resonating – (I dig holistic health and plant-based food) so I left! Now, I blog and do freelance social media work.
I also recently launched an online membership called GOOD with my friend, Jess, and we are currently planning a wellness festival in Philadelphia. (LA and NYC are great, but we need great healthy eats and sick fitness classes too!)
Tell me about the beginning of your blog! What inspired you and how did you get started?
Yay! I love this story because it’s far from “pretty”. I started my blog because I was in a really, really shitty place. I have a history of anorexia, depression, anxiety, PTSD, blah blah blah. I hate going into the history, not because I’m ashamed but because I’m not defined by them. I was depressed, felt unworthy, and knew I needed to change some things.
Tired of the labels, and frustrated with my ever-changing moods and poor body image, I took to yoga and started to eat better. And by better I mean vibrant, whole foods that allowed me to feel energized and confident. I didn’t count labels or worry or obsess, I used what I had learned in various treatments and worked really hard to solidify a healthy relationship with food. I learned that being compassionate to myself and being more conscious of how my food was sourced not only made me feel better physically, but mentally.
I’ve always loved writing, and honestly I dreamt about blogging for a long time. I started cooking, enjoying the creativity behind it and loved the marketing and branding of a blog as well. It’s all so much fun to me now, and it amazes me that the reason I even had time to start a blog was because I was in treatment to manage my depression and just needed an outlet.
I’m obsessed with the name of your blog. How did you come up with it?!
Thank you! The name started with my IG name. I had to include kale because my friends knew me for always making “those gross kale salads”. I wanted it to be punny, because food puns are great. I was talking about it with a friend of mine and I started singing “she be kalein ’em, she be kalein ’em” and she died laughing. We tried to think of new things and they NEVER stuck like “kalein’ it” did.
Now, “kaleinit” means a bit more – it means thriving. Feeling so damn good about yourself, you are kalein’ life and defining yourself on your own. I believe kalein’ it is living a well-balanced life you’re proud of, while not taking yourself (or labels from society) too seriously.
You’re very open about your ED recovery, and that openness is one of the things I love most about you. What advice would you give to someone who knows they are or thinks they might be suffering from an ED?
Thank you!! It’s certainly something that has connected us, and I love that you are the same. There need to be more women as open! As terrifying as it is, it unites us, it protects us and our recovery because it keeps us accountable, and it encourages others to look at their eating habits or hopefully ask for help!
My advice would be simple: BE WILLING. Your success with recovery is a direct reflection of your willingness to recovery. I wasn’t willing for the longest time, even with some of the best care available to me. It wasn’t until I decided, enough. It has to hit you, it has to come from the heart, and you’ll know when you’ve had enough. I know that affirmations, setting boundaries and all that other “recovery stuff” works too! It does! But it starts with your willingness first.
What’s been the most difficult part of recovery?
For me, it was feeling again. Not to sound too deep or out there, but when I was deeply absorbed by my eating disorder I didn’t feel anxious or sad. I didn’t feel much anger (unless it was at the scale). I was kind of a zombie. I also missed out on the joy and beautiful moments of life too. When I got rid of the eating disorder, I was left to face real life stuff without healthy coping mechanisms and tools! Luckily, because of my willingness I learned them – and cooking, creating, writing and sharing my story have absolutely become some of them. But it was odd at first, and uncomfortable. A journey for sure!
What’s your “food philosophy,” and what led you to it?
Label less. I can’t stress it enough. I make plant-based food for my blog, but I have a no rules diet. I like foods that make me feel balanced – not just body, but mind and mood. I’ve found that the less refined sugar, dairy, meat, eggs, and gluten, the better for me. But… shit happens. Life happens and I’m certainly no poster child for veganism. It’s the niche of my blog and the ideal way I like to eat, but I like to be open minded. I certainly wouldn’t want to be told how to eat, and therefore I don’t tell anyone else!
What’s your exercise routine like?
It’s SO random. When I first started yoga I did it religiously and really got wrapped up in the ego of it. I was too worried about inversions and arm balances. Now, it’s super simple, mostly meditation and done at home. I also love barre classes, I like to go for super long walks with some podcasts and my pup, and I’ve been challenging myself to go for runs. I’m far from a runner, but it just feels good, even if I look ridiculous or it’s not my strength!
What first got you interested in yoga?
I’m honestly not sure what led me to my mat. At first, I just needed something. Again, I was in that really dark and vulnerable place. I went to treatment intensively to tackle my trauma for over 3 months in a reputable women’s program. It was no joke. I came home each day tired, mostly emotionally, but also buzzing from lack of activity and sitting in group sessions all morning.
I turned on a yoga YouTube video and thought why the hell not. I used an old yoga mat I had in the closet for Pilates. I was at the time learning how to be mindful and present, and it didn’t take too many days of YouTube videos to realize that yoga was a very, very mindful practice. I was shocked how calm and how present in my body I felt when I practiced. So I kept coming back. For anyone who suffers from an eating disorder, feeling out of body can be pretty common.
Like I mentioned, I got wrapped up in ego for a bit, but my practice has since evolved, and I’m sure it will again. Yoga seems to do that a lot 🙂 I’m just very glad I found it.
I know you’re all about self-care and self-love. What’s your favorite form of self-care?
Ahhh definitely yoga and mediation. I NEED my meditation sometimes, probably more than my physical asana practice. I also love a good manicure and pedicure because I may be yogi who eats plants but I’m still a “normal” girl! HA 🙂 Honestly a quiet morning with a meditation, a coffee, a dog walk, a good green smoothie, and a good book is pretty much heaven for me.
What’s your favorite go-to, quick and easy meal?
I have never put it on the blog (yet) but I love making what I call ratatouille pasta. I’ve been making it since college. So just brown rice pasta, a good jarred sauce that I doctor up with fresh herbs (that’s the trick! They make you feel fancy and gourmet), some oregano, a little garlic, and some red pepper flakes. Then I mix in sautéed spinach, zucchini, mushrooms, peppers, honestly anything I have on hand. It’s hearty and filling but still has plenty of veggies and is ready in 10 minutes.
Do you have a guilty pleasure?
In no particular order… Bachelor, Bachelor in Paradise, TSC Ask Him and Her Podcast, Actually Adultish Podcast, cruelty free face masks/skin care products, and those really bizarre baby animal instagrams….
3 things you can’t live without?
My dog, cold brew coffee, my blender.
Tell me what your current favorite recipe is!
So hard for me to choose! Food is my life. I go through phases where my recipes have themes or phases of ingredients. I recently went through a cashew phase where I was substituting dairy with cashew. YUM! Truly good if you do it right.
I also just developed a ton of fall inspired recipes for the online Membership I co-created (and JUST about to launch), The GOOD Society. I LOVED the sweet potato and cauliflower curry I made for the fall addition of The Society, and can’t wait to share it with everyone this Fall season! I also loved the maple tahini grain bowl with quinoa and roasted veggies…
I know you’re drooling, so head on over to Kate’s blog to find her recipes, life advice, and online shop (she sells the CUTEST shirts!). Huge thank you to Kate for letting me pick her brain! #SHEBEKALEINIT