Pair join forces to promote healthy living

Cady Kuzmich/Gazette Reporter
Anouk Booneman (left) and Danielle Kollarus (right) stand over the stove in Booneman's stove where the duo leads Healthy Living Workshops.Cady Kuzmich/Gazette Reporter Anouk Booneman (left) and Danielle Kollarus (right) stand over the stove in Booneman's stove where the duo leads Healthy Living Workshops.

By Cady Kuzmich
Gazette Reporter

Vischer’s Ferry — One of the oldest homes in Vischer’s Ferry has become the meeting spot for folks interested in healthier food choices.

Anouk Booneman and Danielle Kollarus began their program, Spring into Health, five years ago. The pair met when Booneman decided to take part in a couch to 5k program and Kollarus was her trainer.

“What compliments running in everyday life? Nutrition,” said Booneman, who has worked as a chef, specializing in gluten free, vegan and vegetarian options. Anouk suggested the pair join forces and offer cooking workshops. Booneman and Kollarus offered five or six workshops to their friends and asked for constructive feedback before opening their workshops to the public.

“This is not a cooking class. The recipes are easy to do. We just want to give you ideas. You walk away with seven recipes and a lot of new vegetables to work with,” said Booneman.

“Americans don’t get enough vegetables. There is such variety in color and texture. We focus on plant-based, seasonal, local and organic food. If there’s one thing no one can argue with it’s that plant based foods are the healthiest foods,” said Booneman.

When you walk into a grocery store, 75 percent of what you see is food-like products, according to Kollarus. The pair offer simple strategies to avoid processed foods such as sticking to the perimeter of the supermarket and being mindful of ingredients used.

“When I choose a recipe, the ingredients need to be simple, seasonal and readily available at the supermarket,” said Booneman.

The duo hosts workshops at least once a month and caps the number of attendees to 12. Each workshop features a speaker who discusses some aspect of healthy living before the cooking begins. “The people who come through our workshops are incredibly knowledgable,” said Kollarus.

“People come on date nights or bring their mothers,” said Booneman. She said a majority of those who attend the workshops are returning clients.

“We strive to be better, not perfect,” said Kollarus. “Small changes can make a big difference. Knowledge plus action equals power,” she added.