Making Crunchy Chic: A Q&A with Kate Van Horn
At City Fitness, we’re constantly learning about what motivates people to strive for healthier lifestyles. This Q&A is part of a larger interview series with a number of Philadelphians representing a wide range of industries and communities — from entertainment to fashion to fitness. These interviews and photos were completed to celebrate the launch of City Fitness’ Signature Club which is coming to the Sterling Building on 18th and JFK. Click here for more information and 30 Days of early access for just $10!

Kate Van Horn has a mission: make wellness cool. She’s the blogger behind She Be Kale’in It and a co-founder of The GOODFest — an day-long event which brought 350 women to Philadelphia in April to celebrate wellness and healthy living. In the following interview, Kate describes why compassion and mindfulness are the cornerstones to wellness.

Tell me about your work as a wellness blogger?

I was starting to learn how to cook. I was starting to delve into this world of welness. Why not chronicle everything online so I can connect with a community? We host The GOODFest, as well as other events in Philadelphia like pop-up supper clubs and small cooking demos. It’s all based in balance, wellness and community. Really, it’s judgement-free. You do you.

You’re on a mission to “make the crunchy stuff chic, the hippie stuff hip.” How do you convince people that wellness is for everyone?

I live in Philly. We’re East Coast people at heart. We’re skeptical naturally. Some of the wellness initiatives will stick, some won’t. I just want to show that a modern, everyday, regular woman can do these things and it doesn’t make you a “crunchy granola” person. It’s just another tool in your toolbox to make you feel good.

What was the catalyst that motivated you to get into wellness?

The entire reason I began looking into wellness, yoga, mindful living and eating healthier was because I was struggling with overcoming my eating disorder — as well as anxiety and depression. I probably started having disordered eating and poor body image as young as 12 or 13 and not really knowing because it’s become very ingrained and common in our culture. I was very anxious to move away to college. I became anorexic and I was over-exercising. That became my escape. When I had to let that go and recover from it, that was hard. Obsessing and controlling my food and exercise was a big part of my life. So when I was ready I started to move my body and eat in a way that felt nourishing. Now that’s where I want to be. If it’s nourishing and balanced and coming from a loving place, I go with it.

What is your philosophy on health and wellness?

Eat real and do it mindfully — as real and as whole as you can. My followers know that my favorite food in the world is donuts. Donuts are a part of my life. I love them. I just eat them mindfully. I always tell people: if you’re going to resent it, don’t do it. That goes for healthy eating as well. If you’re gonna hate every second of it and say “this veggie burger sucks” — just eat the regular burger. It’s just as unhealthy for your mental health to make it punishment.    

Do you think Philly is becoming a healthier place?

In last couple years, it’s really started to change. The GOOD Festival is an example of that. We had so many women come to us and say: “Thank you. I was looking for something like this but it didn’t exist.” We even had people travel to Philly from other cities. I was proud that they could come to our city and experience it through wellness — so that perception of Philly as a cheesesteak eating place can be lessened a little bit.

Q&A by Jared Shelly