Health Coach Feature: Nationally Recognized Pastry Chef Katzie Guy-Hamilton Takes a Holistic Approach to Food
Our Health Coach Feature series shares the inspiring stories of Integrative Nutrition Health Coaches who are cultivating positive health choices and educating others to live more wholesome lifestyles. Join us twice per month on the IIN Blog to read more about what brought our grads to IIN and what they’re up to now!
Katzie Guy-Hamilton is the director of food and beverage at Equinox Fitness, a nationally recognized pastry chef, and the author of the upcoming book Clean Enough. Prior to entering the high-performance world of Equinox and becoming an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, Katzie ran all global food and beverage and innovation for the indulgent chocolate brand Max Brenner International. She also previously ran the pastry departments at the Grand Hyatt New York’s flagship in Grand Central and the celebrated pastry program at New York’s trendsetting Ace Hotel. Katzie’s talents earned her a spot on season 2 of the television cooking competition Top Chef: Just Desserts, and she was named a Top Ten Pastry Chef in America in 2014 by Dessert Professional.
Katzie’s approach to food is intended to bring joy back to the plate and table. She believes that by learning how to feed your body real, whole foods, you can develop your own take on being clean and still leaving room for celebration, joy, and treats. She embodies the concept of living mindfully in the middle.
Her debut book, Clean Enough, supports an inclusive approach to food freedom and personal empowerment with nutrition. Katzie has appeared on Fox Network, Bravo TV, Martha Stewart Radio, CBS, Food Network, and Japanese, Australian, and Korean media.
Q: What were you doing prior to enrolling at Integrative Nutrition?
A: Traveling the world making chocolate milkshakes. Kidding, but really, that’s what I was doing. I was the food and beverage director for Max Brenner International. One part F&B director, one part research and development chef, global brand ambassador…I was busy opening franchises globally. Absolutely fun, very imbalanced, and layered with a lot of sugar.
Q: What led you to explore the Health Coach Training Program?
A: I have always been interested in being well and have tried many approaches, often without looking at the underlying why or participating in behaviors that were sustainable. As I have grown in my career, I have felt that I struggled to be able to achieve, be present with friends, and be happy with myself when the pressure has been on. Being so immersed in sweets and treats definitely propelled me to further want to be a part of the health industry. While exploring “what’s next” before leaving Max Brenner and thereafter during my sabbatical (as I cheerfully call it), I had coffee with someone who encouraged me to look at IIN as her friends had great experiences with the program. That’s the point in life – you have to put it in the universe and the path will materialize. This path has been about a holistic understanding of why I do what I do, what it means to be healthy, and how to support others in their journey.
Q: How has your life changed after becoming a Health Coach?
A: My life is frankly more meaningful. I am still me, yet far more aware. I am still doing A LOT, but frankly it’s more in line with my values. I still love gelato, but I understand that there is balance involved in it all. I still love deeply and listen intently; I am just far more aware of triggers and my environment. I am still me, just more open and definitely more loving, and my light is a bit brighter.
Q: Which topics and modules were most beneficial for you?
A: Primary food! What is going on in my world is such an integral part of my thinking now, which is funny because prior to IIN I did not consider its impact on my health beyond the food I was eating. I would call it a marine layer of toxicity on my body that I would carry around when life was in a challenging place, and now I understand that the entire picture of my life affects my food choices, my digestion, my weight, et al. Or the flip side, where I would have these moments, cooking Bolognese and profiteroles with a friend and wake up feeling amazing with a glow. This can be even more frustrating at times! As I know that kale won’t solve all issues and there is a constant why behind all behaviors.
Q: What does a typical day look like for you now?
A: I just finished my book, Clean Enough, so I am in yet another new phase (i.e., not editing at 1:30am)! I have a very full-time job as the food and beverage director of Equinox and balance this with my entrepreneurial projects, which include planning talks, writing recipes and mindful prose, networking, supporting other entrepreneurs, and planning my road map for the future. I have a life in there, too, with friends and family. I wake up always having my morning routine: hot water + lemon, a little coffee, some mindful moments, and movement (my favorite is The Class by Taryn Toomey). I am at the office during the day unless I am traveling. At Equinox, I am working to make sure all our operators are providing nutritious food for members as well as looking for new operators, designing menus, iterating what’s next for nutrition and how to talk to our members about their behaviors around food versus a quick fix prescription on what to eat. Sustainability efforts? Did I mention that? At Equinox, we care about the planet, and outside Equinox I am passionate about Baldor Produce’s imperfect produce program. Visually flawed yet delicious tomatoes have a home in my kitchen. After work, I am generally testing a clean recipe, baking, writing, or working on a special project or upcoming event. Instagram takes my time and is a great way to share inspiration, recipes, and information on health: both trends and tried-and-true approaches. I want to keep putting as much joy and connection as I can on the platform to make people feel good when they interact with my content. I am also an advocate that, like anything contributing to your brand and presence, it takes time. Speaking of bringing joy back to the equation, I do not see friends every day, but I do connect with my community because they are the first mouths I tend to dress a beautiful table for, feed, and the people I iterate with. Sometimes we just sit and laugh in sweatpants, too.
Q: What makes you and your practice unique?
A: My focus is on food freedom and bringing joy back to the plate. With this focus, there is great pleasure in eating plants, colors, and real food. Freedom garners self-respect. These long-lasting strategies will outlive any diet or fad.
Q: How do you help your clients be successful? Is there a recent example that stands out for you?
A: I work with clients on a larger platform through my book, at talks, and through media. I help clients cut through the noise and focus on ingredients as well as happy and healthy choices. By acknowledging that it comes down to your habits and behaviors, my audience feels more supported and like they do not have to uncover a singular answer to find their best health.
Q: What do you love about your work?
A: I love people – I love interacting with others and making them feel at home, no matter the situation. Sharing my passion for living with joy and experiencing life is energizing and fuels my creativity and my zest for sharing and giving more.
Q: How have you seen the need for Health Coaches change over the years?
A: Behaviors and the whole picture: holistic health shines a light on Health Coaches, that there is no one antidote for good health, and working with someone who can be your champion or surrounding yourself with people who want to champion you on your health journey is impactful. In comes Health Coaches, who can be an ear, hold space, provide valuable insight, support, and tools that will complement any work someone is doing with a medical doctor and mental health professional.
Q: What’s your tip for balancing your family, work, and personal wellness?
A: Take time to turn off. Getting to the next level will take as long as it needs to. It is okay to need help even if you help others. Perseverance is required to be an entrepreneur; it’s worth it if it’s your calling. And please, please, do not compare yourself to anyone else.
Q: Tell us your favorite way to wake up each day!
A: Naturally, no alarm. In a cool room and rested.
Does this have you interested in pursing a career you're passionate about? Click here to learn more about becoming an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach today!