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00000174-c556-d691-a376-cdd69e2b0000Northeast Ohio has a history of making things. Today, along with liquid crystals and polymers, it’s salsa and artisan cheese. A hot new food scene is simmering among local growers, chefs, producers, educators and epicures, and on every Friday, WKSU’s Vivian Goodman samples new offerings.

Ladling out Nutritional Advice and Ginger Soup at a Yoga Class in Willoughby

soup and muffins
Darlene Kelbach serves soup and muffins after yoga class

Yoga students in Willoughby are learning another way to heal mind, body and soul. As WKSU’s Vivian Goodman reports in today’s Quick Bite, plant-based nutrition is a key component of their practice.

Darlene Kelbach helps people move and breathe their way to wellness. “More nourishing breaths here, " she instructs. "Breathe in the prana, the life force energy to nourish you.”  

Nourish is a word that comes up often at Harmony Yoga Studio during Kelbach’s class.  She calls it “Taste and Digest: Soup for the Soul and Yoga.”

The session begins with flexing, bending, stretching and twisting. “Nice cleansing twist. Getting a little deeper to the stomach, the intestines, as well as the other organs housed at the core.” 

Another form of nourishment

soup ladling
Darlene Kelbach made two soups for her class: ginger-parnsip, and creamy potato.

This goes on for more than an hour. But as class concludes, Kelbach gets ready to nourish her students in a different way. “Start coming over if you’re ready and we’ll start serving you up our first dish.”  

Kelbach is not just a registered yoga teacher. She’s also certified in plant-based nutrition through the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies at Cornell University.

"Dr. Esselstyn, who’s a local Cleveland doctor, he is big in that program also, teaching about how plant-based diets can prevent and reverse heart disease as well.”

Kelbach is whole-heartedly vegan, and so is the meal she’s about to serve. “On the menu, a parsnip ginger soup. And all of the vegetables in here came from Morningside Farms at the Countryside Farmers’ Market.  Very fresh, locally grown, sustainably grown foods. Key to nourishing the body is trying to get the highest quality ingredients that you can.”

Sharing the recipe
Students get copies of Kelbach’s soup recipe.  She’s often ladling it out, too, at the Countryside Farmers Market at Howe Meadow. It’s vegetable broth with parsnips, carrots, garlic, celery root and onions in it, but not a drop of oil.

kelbach and students
Darlene Kelbach teaches yoga at Harmony Yoga Studio in Willoughby an the Mentor-Heisley Racquet and Fitness Club.

"Instead of sautéing your onions with oil as we have typically done in the past, you would just use a little bit of the vegetable broth. So it keeps it very, very healthy. You’ve got no oils, no meats, no dairy and no gluten, because we also have some folks here today who are gluten-intolerant.” 

Turnip micro-greens are offered as a topping. But the soup has no spices. “No additional like thyme or basil. It’s ginger and a little bit of salt and pepper. It’s actually very good for the digestion. It helps to calm the stomach. If you have an upset stomach it is one of the foods that is really good to eat.”  

Poses for better digestion
Equally as good for stomach health she says, are certain yoga poses. “Bending and twisting because they massage the stomach and intestines helps to stimulate the digestive juices, helps to move actually any stuck waste, which is the counterpart to digestion.”  

Kelbach says another aid to better digestion is the stress relief yoga offers. In itself, that can lead to better food choices.

darlene with students
After more than an hour of yoga students will enjoy two vegan soups and cornbread muffins made without butter, oil, or sugar.

“When you’re stressed you’ll have digestive issues. You’ll have an upset stomach or maybe cravings for things that you know in your rational mind are not healthy for you.

"But because you’ve gotten stressed, you reach out and have that pint of ice cream, rather than choosing something that’s actually nourishing for you that has high nutrient density, like maybe a salad or soup.”  

Anna Maria Solomon drove in from Lyndhurst for Kelbach’s class, out of curiosity about veganism. “I’m new to yoga so I’m still trying to get the hang of it. But I was really interested about learning about eating and digestive, because I’ve had some digestive concerns.”

After an hour and 15 minutes of yoga, she likes how her whole body feels. “I feel hungry. I feel I’m going to enjoy this because I’m so relaxed right now.”  

John Crail of Mentor knows the feeling well. He used to suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD. “I’ve seen doctors for it. I had scoped down my throat to my stomach. Wasn’t very fun. It was just irritating every day. At work you couldn’t function.” 

That was before he discovered yoga. “I found an extreme change in my digestion. I haven’t had GERD in probably the 10 years that I’ve practiced yoga. It’s amazing.”

He says practicing yoga also has him eating better. “You can’t eat a Big Mac and a Quarter-pounder and then go to yoga class.”