Sharon Shiner and I are twitter friends, and through one conversation or another started talking about kettlebells and food (imagine that?!) I found out more about her -and her HKC certification, her passion for kettlebell fitness, cooking, etc and just HAD to start asking questions. Here’s our email conversation for you to check out!
Sharon: When I started Thyme To Cook 5 years ago, I did it already having the knowledge of how to cook under my belt. What I didn’t have was the knowledge on how to run a personal chef business. It was critical for me to learn how to “be” a personal chef on a day to day basis. It was only then that I felt comfortable moving on to get more culinary education such as the personal fitness chef certification and most recently, my certification as a Health Educator in raw/living foods and vegan nutrition. My best advice would be to learn the business side of being a personal chef before taking the plunge.
Adrienne: As a nutrition coach, what’s the ONE THING everyone should go to their pantry and throw away or donate RIGHT NOW?
Sharon: WHITE RICE!!! I have a bone to pick with white rice!!! But seriously, getting rid of white rice and swapping in brown rice, or other gluten free grains like millet, quinoa or even amaranth make a huge nutritional difference. White rice is basically devoid of nutrition. One serving of brown rice is going to give you 5 grams of protein as well as 4 grams of fiber…white rice is going to give you nothing but empty calories. It’s an easy switch that makes sense. Start with adding the brown rice, then move on to the other whole grains I mentioned.
Adrienne: What do you find is the most common excuse for people eating unhealthy food?
Sharon: I hear many different excuses with a) I don’t have time to cook healthy meals and b) It’s too expensive to eat a healthy diet, being the most popular. I can understand being overwhelmed with working and feeling like you don’t have time to get a healthy meal on the table. What I tell people is to dedicate some time on Sunday afternoons to cook up a big batch or 2 of something that can pull you into the work week, like a chili or a stew of some sort. You can also cook some lean protein which can be morphed into other meals quickly on a weeknight, such as chicken breast or a lean steak, like a sirloin. Use the pre-cooked protein in a quick stir fry with veggies that you’ve already cut up on Sunday for a fast dinner. It’s doable, it just takes a bit of planning.
Adrienne: What’s the most popular healthy meal you make as a personal chef?
Sharon: One favorite seems to be what I call Beans and Greens. It’s such a versatile dish that can be used for both meat eaters and vegetarians. For meat eaters I use a smoked sausage for flavor and protein, add in aromatics such as garlic and onions, some chicken broth, a bean, such as cannellini and a green, such as kale or collard greens. All those yummy ingredients stew together for about 20 minutes, and it’s absolutely delicious. For vegetarians, I just omit it the sausage.
Adrienne: What’s your favorite strategy to fight off boredom and bring in variety with healthy meals?
Sharon: One basic thing that everyone can do to keep it real in terms of maximizing nutrition and variety is to rotate your greens, your grains, your protein and your flavor profiles. What I mean is, one day you might have spinach, so the next you have kale, and then the day after that Swiss chard. By rotating your greens, you ensure that you are getting a mix of the different the micro nutrients the different greens have to offer. The same goes for your grains, one day having brown rice, the next quinoa and the day after that millet. Pair your greens and your grains with a mix of lean proteins and veggies and tie it all together with differing flavors; one day use garlic, ginger, soy and cilantro for an Asian flare, the next use garlic, onions, oregano and lemon for a Mediterranean flare, etc. If you approach cooking like that, the possibilities are endless!
Adrienne: You’re obviously extremely busy with owning your own business, how do you fit your workouts into your routine?
Sharon: Exercise is probably the most important thing to me and it must be part of my life; I found group exercise in 1984 as a chubby sophomore in high school and it’s been with me ever since. I do many of my workouts at 5AM before my kids have to get up for school. It’s tough to get up that early to work out, but I understand that if I don’t do it then, I will not get to work out at all. I work part time, so on the days that I don’t work, I am fortunate enough to be able to go to workout with my peers. Whether on my own or with my peers, exercise is always a part of my daily routine.
Adrienne: What’s the best way for someone to find a stellar personal chef with a fitness/healthy approach?
Sharon: There are a couple ways to find personal chefs, one which is www.hireachef.com, a website dedicated to finding personal chefs based on your zip code. On that site, chefs have the opportunity to list their specialities, such as fitness chef, veg chef, special diet chef (gluten free) etc. You can also just do a search on google for personal chefs in your area. Or if you’re in Boston, you can just call me!!! 🙂
Adrienne: All that talk about food made me want to work out – what’s one of your favorite quick kettlebell workouts?
Sharon: One of my favorite quick kettlebell workouts is what I call a 30 (sec) Step Workout. It’s a progression workout that is great for building endurance where you work 30seconds, rest and repeat, adding on every 30 seconds. It looks something like this:
30 sec Goblet Squat 30 sec Rest
30 sec Goblet Squat, 30 sec Figure 8s, 30 sec Rest
30 sec Goblet Squat, 30 sec Figure 8s, 30 sec Push Ups, 30 sec Rest
30 sec Goblet Squat, 30 sec Figure 8s, 30 sec Push Ups, 30 sec Swings, 30 sec Rest
30 sec Goblet Squat, 30 sec Figure 8s, 30 sec Push Ups, 30 sec Swimgs, 30 sec RKC plank, 30 sec Rest
Repeat a few times 🙂 Substitute in exercises that would work best for you.
Adrienne: I love workouts with this structure – they’re difficult and fun. Thanks so much for sharing all this with me – and I look forward to hearing from you again!
Sharon Shiner has been cooking for her whole life. 5 years ago she took the plunge and turned her passion into her career, starting Thyme To Cook Personal Chef Service. She is also passionate about fitness, and has been involved in group exercise for over 20 years. Sharon is a certified Mad Dogg Athletic Spinning instructor and in September, 2011, became certified by Dragon Door in their entry level kettlebell program, getting her Hardstyle Kettlebell Certification (HKC). Sharon pairs her love for food and fitness, cooking healthy meals for people, giving cooking lessons and seminars and teaching fitness classes in the Boston area. Please visit her website to learn more about Sharon and her services, thyme-to-cook.com, and check out her Facebook page, where she posts about all the delicious foods she’s cooking.