Health Conscious: Detroit Gypsy Kitchen Promotes Positive Dietary Change

By: Toni Cunningham | January 29, 2014

When it comes to living a healthy lifestyle, the most difficult aspect is figuring out where to start. It might be easy to give up Taco Bell and go for a run, but getting yourself into a healthy routine can be a little difficult.

Enter Stephanie Selvaggio of Detroit Gypsy Kitchen and Naturally Empowered. A health and lifestyle coach who offers classes, workshops and catering services, Selvaggio embarked on a journey to better health herself several years ago after moving to Southern California. It was through yoga, cooking, running and gardening that Selvaggio began to notice a change in both her body and mind.

After moving back to Detroit, she became a certified yoga instructor and in late 2010, Selvaggio came up with the concept for Detroit Gypsy Kitchen and entered Hatch Detroit, a contest for start-ups in the area. Detroit Gypsy Kitchen is a “health focused, plant-based food business steeped in empowerment and education.”

“This idea was propelled by my life experience. A mixture of empowering myself to dig for information and knowledge, and the environments and ecosystems I have lived in,” Selvaggio said, explaining that access to the right information is the key to being healthy.

While Detroit Gypsy Kitchen has always offered overall health services, at the start of the year, Selvaggio launched Naturally Empowered in order to separate her health and wellness services from the catering ones.

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“I felt like there was a disconnect between handing someone a plate of food and them actually being healthy. I knew that for some people, that’s all they wanted and for others, they wanted more,” Selvaggio said. “So, Naturally Empowered was born—health coaching, classes and workshops all with the intention to make our lives healthier, more vibrant and full of joy.”

I know what you’re thinking: I want to make my life healthier, more vibrant and full of joy, but how do I do that? Selvaggio says to live in the moment and take the time to listen to your body and reflect on your day.

“This is how we notice what serves us and what doesn’t. Whether it be mind, body or nutrition related, once we set the intention for change, we can make small steps towards our larger goals,” she said.

Selvaggio realizes that while many of us know what we need to do in order to be healthy and happy, some of us are unsure how to execute it. That, coupled with excuses like not having enough time in the day to exercise or lacking the knowledge or resources to do so, does not lead to a positive change.

“Long lasting changes are made when we are held accountable. That’s where I come in. I’m really passionate about helping my clients into healthier, more nourishing lifestyles. It’s amazing to stand witness as people become the change they seek,” Selvaggio said.

Leading a healthy lifestyle begins with making healthy food choices, which can be a challenge when seemingly every other building has a drive-thru. Detroit Gypsy Kitchen’s cooking classes and catering workshops are built to empower clients to take his or her own healthy lifestyles home and put them to work.

If stepping into the kitchen yourself is too intimidating at first, Selvaggio’s Detroit Gypsy Kitchen catering services are a wonderful alternative. Her favorite vegan dish to prepare is massaged kale salad, which interestingly enough, has as much protein per calorie as steak.

“One of my most favorite things in the world is to cook for people. I cook clean, quality food and love to try new recipes in the test kitchen,” Selvaggio said.

When it comes to cooking in your own kitchen, she suggests shopping at Eastern Market and perusing the bulk wall at Whole Foods in order to eat healthy on a budget. Other ways you can stay away from processed foods and excess sugar is to have potluck parties with friends, eat out less and spend more time in the kitchen preparing your own meals.

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Through Detroit Gypsy Kitchen and Naturally Empowered, Selvaggio teams up with several other health and food gurus in the Metro Detroit area. This Saturday, February 1, she’ll be serving a complete vegan menu as chef of the pop-up dinner event Revolver in Hamtramck.

Selvaggio will team up with Angela Russell of Green Dreams Detroit for two separate upcoming events including Get Rooted: Ginger & Tumeric 101 on Sunday, February 9 and DIY Kombucha on Sunday, February 23. Both workshops will equip participants with the skills they need to be healthy at home.

Along with good friend Russell, Selvaggio will host an eight-day, seven night holistic retreat in Puerta Verde from Friday, May 2 through Saturday, May 10. If lounging in a hot spring sounds like your idea of a good spring break, you’re going to want to check out the details here.

On her own time, Selvaggio really does practice what she preaches. Her extracurriculars include yoga, running, traveling, dancing and spending time with friends and family. When all is said and done, her advice for leading a healthy lifestyle is simple: eat more whole foods, drink water and move your body. All of the tips above don’t hurt, either.

For more information on Detroit Gypsy Kitchen and Naturally Empowered, visit the official website.