Ep. 36 Meet Author and Wellness Educator, Kathryn Kemp Guylay
From kindergarten classrooms to corporate boardrooms, Kathryn has inspired tens of thousands of individuals to improve their health and happiness. Guylay is constantly admired for her effective and fun wellness education. Never wanting to be perceived as the food police or convey guilt, Kathryn uses positive messages as well as games and activities to bring lessons to life.
Kathryn Kemp Guylay is a speaker, certified nutritional counselor and coach with a master’s degree in business administration (MBA) from the University of Texas at Austin. She is the founder and executive director of Nurture, a national nonprofit that provides nutrition and wellness education to children and adults. Kathryn also collaborates through several health initiatives such as Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move, the Center for Science in the Public Interest and the Wellness Council of America.
Kathryn is also an award winning and bestselling author. Her first book, Mountain Mantras: Wellness and Life Lessons from the Slopes, presents stories and experiences from her personal life, using skiing and snow sports as metaphors for success in life and health.
In her new children’s book, Give It a Go, Eat a Rainbow, Kathryn educates kids about the importance of eating a colorful variety of fruits and veggies. Illustrated by her son Alex, the book inspires children to try new foods. Kathryn and Alex applied augmented reality, an art medium that mixes real life photography with Alex’s whimsical hand-drawn images. Give It a Go, Eat a Rainbow will be published in July 2016.
Kathryn learned early in life how the food you eat directly affects how you feel. She quickly became hooked on nutrition. She fully embraced her passion for nutrition professionally after her children were born.
Through her work with Nurture, Kathryn credits her family for her continued passion for nutrition and healthy living. Her husband Jeff is her trusted recipe reviewer and is a consistent Nurture volunteer. Her daughter (15) and son (13) love growing and preparing food. Kathryn’s interests include running, skiing, yoga, music and sustainable farming. Kathryn is honored to be a member of women’s alpine skiing and Nordic skiing teams
Kathryn Kemp Guylay – Show Notes
What is your background?
Kathryn was raised in the household of a biological chemist, as fer father taught doctors nutrition. She quickly realized that the curriculum for doctors’ learning about nutrition was very minimal.
“It is not about eating the rainbows; it’s not about reading labels and really actionable stuff.”
Kathryn says because she was the daughter of a chemist, as a child she was left to roam the halls of the Chicago Medical School. It was there she learned the science about the body.
“I saw early on in life that food was fuel.”
Were you always interested in the nutrition industry?
Although Kathryn loved gathering information and learning from the scientists, after high school she decided to pursue business school. She worked for a multi-national corporation, then moved on to work as a management consultant for ten years. It wasn’t until later, when she saw the diabetes statistics released that said one in every three children born in the year 2000 will develop diabetes. This really hit home for Kathryn, as her daughter was born in the year 2000.
“I sort of went back to that child inside me that was still there. (She) had that passion for nutrition.”
She continued on with her training in nutrition, and helped friends and family. She quickly learned there was a big need for the knowledge she had.
How did you start working one-on-one with clients?
Kathryn volunteered at a local food pantry for lower income families. One day she was looking at the type of foods these families were getting. The nutritional value of the food provided was definitely not where it should be and she approached the head of the pantry and suggested to educate the families in need.
“We were teaching them about some of the staples and then we were actually giving them cooking equipment that would make it really easy for them to make healthy meals.”
While growing the program, Kathryn met a wonderful nutritionist and educator who specialized in educating children. Kathryn says there was “real magic” going on in the room.
She met a nutritionist and educator named Juliette Brittin who had been working about 14 years in children’s nutrition. She knew how to create the messages for the kids that they would identify with.
After unplanned media coverage and advising the public of what they were doing, schools started asking them if they would come to the kids and teach the kids in school about nutrition as well.
“…that was another really fun part of our evolution.”
How did you tie in snow sports to nutrition?
Kathryn says when she goes skiing, she is able to zoom out and take it all in and see the “bigger picture”. Kathryn says life is the same way, and we need to step back and look at the bigger picture here as well.
“Sometimes getting away from the nitty-gritty and kind of zooming out really helped us.”
How did your children’s book transpire?
For the last ten years, Kathryn has been dreaming of creating a book like this to encourage children to explore fruits and veggies in all the colours of the rainbow. She created her new book to make it engaging, real and fun. She decided her medium by speaking with an art educator for kids.
“I went to a local art educator who worked with kids from kindergarten to eighth grade every day and she said Kathryn, ‘Augmented reality’, that’s what kids love.”
What are your biggest challenges?
Kathryn came into some challenges when it came to publishing her book. Her book was 52 pages and publishers said they would not publish it because it is too long and kids do not have the attention span to stay engaged. She didn’t agree and started testing the book with children to see what results came from it.
“I have been testing this book with the kids and they love this book. You need the room in the book to develop the story.”
Another big challenge is getting to reach all the kids that really need this information the most.
“The challenge there is to be able to get to that high-risk population.”
What has been your greatest success?
Over the past ten years, Kathryn has seen a major change in the way people see children’s nutrition and nutrition in general. She says the challenge of trying to educate people isn’t there, as they already know there is a problem and need solutions.
“We can get right to brainstorming around solutions and I love that.”
What are your top three books to recommend?
“Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert
“Presence” by Amy Cuddy
“The 4-hour Work Week” by Tim Ferriss
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