Welcome guest blogger, Gloria Athanis!  She and Chef HC Choi are partners and owners of Healthful Habits Inc. They teach people of all ages the benefits of living a healthy lifestyle through the power of a plant based, organic diet. They conduct healthy lifestyle demos and workshops for companies and non-profit organizations of all kinds. Healthful Habits is just one of the exciting meeting mix-ins that we offer at Catalyst Ranch, Chicago’s unique meeting venue.  Click here for more info on this and other ideas to put the cherry on top of your meeting!

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The Three Most Important Things

The first thing we ask when conducting a program, whether to a group of Fortune 500 executives or to a class of at-risk youth, is, “What are the three most important things in life, in order of importance?”  We get some surprising responses from executives. Some get it right, some guess one or two. Others are not thinking in terms of “basic needs.” They might respond with “my family, a good job, my home, etc.” The at-risk kids hit it right on the button – even in order of importance – probably because they have been living in more of a survival mode than most people ever will in their lives.

So here it is: The three basic essential elements that your body needs are air, water and food.  Imagine how you would feel if your air supply was cut off or if you could not drink water; denying your body nourishing food has the same effect.  Eating a plant-based diet is the best way to give your body what it needs to be healthy.

We eat foods that contain chemicals, preservatives and caffeine, which our bodies can’t use. It takes a lot of energy for your body to break those things down so you can digest them. For example, on Thanksgiving, we eat so much food that we should have a lot of energy, right?  But after we eat, instead of playing football, all we can do is watch football on TV. The food we are eating is not giving us what our body needs for energy.

So remember, no matter who you are, how much money you make, or what you do, the foundation of life for every person is first and foremost to be grateful for three things:  the fresh air you breathe, the water you drink and clean plant-based foods that you eat.

How can you get started eating a plant-based diet?  We would like to share one of our simple, clean, plant-based recipes that you can make in less than 10 minutes. So take a breath, grab a big glass of water, and get cooking!

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Creamy No Oil Mushroom And Kale Pasta

Serves 2-4


  • 1 pound of pasta (Gluten free or whole wheat preferred)
  • 1 pound of Mushrooms sliced (Any kind: button, Portobello, oyster mushroom, etc.)
  • 1/4 cup of dried mushrooms roughly chopped, soaked in 1/2 cup of hot water
  • 1/2 cup of hummus
  • 1 head of garlic that has been roasted
  • 1 cup of vegetable stock
  • 1 bunch of kale, cleaned and leaves picked and chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Hot pepper flakes (optional)


  1. Boil a pot of water and cook pasta according to manufacturer’s instructions (al dente preferred.)
  2. Preheat nonstick pan on high heat.
  3. Add fresh and dried mushrooms, roasted garlic and vegetable stock to the pan.  (You can add hot pepper flakes here for more spice!)
  4. Reduce heat to medium and cook for about 4-5 minutes.  Taste and check for seasoning.
  5. Add hummus and stir.  Add more vegetable stock or hummus to desired consistency. Cook for 1-2 minutes.
  6. Add pasta and kale to pan and cook for 1-2 minutes
  7. Taste and season, and serve immediately.
  8. Enjoy!

Check back for more tips on healthy lifestyle choices, meditation exercises, simple recipes and more from Healthful Habits, Inc.!