Ditch the Diet
Cultivate Your Plate Founder Kate Boston Offers Nutrition Coaching & Education On Healthy Eating
Committing to following a healthy, well-balanced diet may seem like an insurmountable change for some, but Kate Boston of Cultivate Your Plate has dedicated her career to helping people in their quest to lead healthier lives.
“Cultivate Your Plate is founded on attainable and sustainable wellness,” says Boston, a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. “I help my clients focus on behavioral changes with slow and steady nutrition, activity and lifestyle improvements that transform health goals into healthy habits.”
Boston’s approach results in long-term wellness that promotes health and nourishment rather than obsessing over a goal weight.
“A lot of people focus on the number on the scale, but that number doesn’t always mean health,” she says. “Achieving a goal weight doesn’t make us healthy if we aren’t eating balanced meals with foods rich in nutritional value.”
Quick-fix fad diets frequently result in substantial weight loss but are hard to maintain and end up with rebound weight gain that can be even more than the person lost in the first place.
“I work hard to shift focus away from the scale and diet mentality and toward the countless benefits of a balanced meal plan, which has plenty of room for everyone’s favorite foods,” she says.
Growing up in Philadelphia, Boston was inspired to study nutrition and dietetics at West Chester University after seeing first-hand how diet can affect someone’s life — for better or worse. Her grandfather had kidney disease and passed away when Boston was in second grade, her grandmother passed away due to complications from Alzheimer’s disease, and her younger brother, Kevin was born with spina bifida. As Boston began to learn about the connections between diet and preventing or delaying disease, she knew she had found her career.
Whether it’s adding a few more years to someone’s life or helping someone with prediabetes reverse the damage they’ve done to their bodies so they don’t eventually suffer from diabetes, Boston finds true meaning in her work.
Some of her own experience with weight management also inspired her work.
“I struggled during adolescence with yo-yo dieting,” Boston says. “I started studying nutrition in college to help manage my weight, and quickly learned how nutrition can boost energy and mood, prevent disease and, in some cases reverse disease, among many other aspects of life it truly benefits.”
The shift of focus was transformational for her.
“I began to focus less on the number on the scale and more on my quality of life and the joy food brings to the table,” she says. “This revitalized my relationship with food, and I want to share that with others.”
Instead of focusing solely on calories and bad foods versus good foods, Boston works to educate her clients overall on what is healthy eating.
“I don’t teach people that there are good and bad foods,” she says. “There are always foods and sometimes foods. My life would be amiss without dark chocolate and burritos.”
Boston has 10 years of professional experience in dietetics and nutrition, across several disciplines. She completed an internship in Phoenix with the Paradise Valley Unified School District before landing a full-time role as a Clinical Inpatient Dietitian at Sinai Hospital of Baltimore. At Sinai, she worked with various floors at the hospital for two years before being assigned to the 3,000-plus patient Bariatric department, focusing solely on weight loss surgery patients.
“Working with bariatric patients was one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done,” she says. “Grown men and women cried tears of joy to me when they could finally bend over to tie their own shoes again and fit in airplane seats for cross-country flights to visit grandkids.”
Seeing the life-changing transformations of these patients and the emotional relief and excitement that came with losing so much excess weight was quite inspiring for Boston, and she enjoyed experiencing it first-hand.
Following a move to San Francisco for her husband Corey’s job, Boston took a position at an inpatient eating disorder clinic working with patients who suffered from anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorders.
“Working with patients struggling with eating disorders was also very rewarding,” she says. “An eating disorder is often a coping method for something deeper like stress, depression or anxiety in life. Being able to debunk some of the nutrition beliefs my patients had and help them get back to eating normally was awesome.”
Another move, this time to San Antonio, brought Boston the opportunity to work with dialysis patients at DaVita Dialysis, helping patients who suffered from kidney disease. Things came full circle for her at this point, as she was helping patients who were in a similar position that her grandfather had been in before he passed away from the disease.
Being able to help patients lead a longer, healthier life was very fulfilling, as she wished she had more time with her own grandfather. She also enjoyed the strong rapport that was developed with clients and their families because patients visited the facility three days a week for several hours at a time to receive treatment.
In the summer of 2014, the growing Boston family (which now includes daughters Charlee and Bailey) made the move to Louisville to be closer to Corey’s family. Boston continued in the dialysis field as a Renal Dietitian at American Kidney Center for three and a half years before opening Cultivate Your Plate in January 2018.
“I loved working with dialysis patients, but instead of teaching people what they can’t eat (dialysis patients must follow strict diets), I want to work in disease preventative care,” she says. “A lot of people suffer from illness and health concerns but may not think much about their nutrition and how it is related. A little bit of improved eating here and there can make a difference on quality of life.”
Creating a successful nutrition and diet plan requires a lot of personalization and is not a one-size fits all experience. Boston uses the first consultation with her clients to talk about their health history, nutritional concerns and to set several goals for the upcoming weeks and months to get them on the right track. Consultations can be booked by visiting cultivateyourplate.com or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Boston believes in meeting her clients where they are in their nutrition journey, so instead of making a lot of drastic changes from the get-go, she works with clients to slowly implement changes to their diet and lifestyle. A client who hates vegetables, for example, may be challenged to add just one veggie a week to their diet, in the beginning, to get used to the change.
She works with clients to make sure they understand her recommendations and how the changes she suggests will have an overall effect on their health.
“Healthline.com is a great resource that provides information on the health benefits of various foods and why we should incorporate more of those foods into our meals,” Boston adds. “Look up the health benefits of beets, for example, and you’ll see what I mean. Knowing the why is often great encouragement and motivation for change.”
Some of the reasons include weight management, increasing energy and endurance, managing moods, adding years of life and more. Boston likes to reference the famous Hippocrates quote, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”
After the first consultation, Boston offers several packages to find the fit that best suits each client. She can schedule regular follow-ups for someone who needs the extra motivation to stay on track, which can help cut down on yo-yo weight loss and gain, leading to real results.
Clients can reach out anytime via a secure online platform with questions that arise in between meetings, and Boston can even review photo food logs to offer instant insight into what you’re eating. As she put it, “It’s like having a dietitian in your pocket.”
Additional services include grocery store tours and family meetings, and Boston is preparing to launch group, business and corporate wellness classes in 2019.
While Boston has years of experience working with clients who are struggling with serious diseases or weight issues and need drastic changes to their diets, she also has had a lot of success working with clients who see a big difference in their overall health with just a few small tweaks to their diet.
“I enjoy teaching clients how to balance their portions throughout the day, which can help prevent poor metabolism, sugar cravings, extra-large portions and skipped meals,” says Boston, who noted that skipping meals often has the opposite effect and leads to binges and cravings later on.
As for her top tips, Boston aims to keep it manageable so clients can more successfully implement the changes and even come up with solutions their whole family will enjoy. At the top of her list are drinking lots of water and natural, unsweetened beverages, choosing whole grains, adding in more veggies and fruit, having a lot of variety and including plant protein, seafood and lean meat to help you feel full.
“By definition, diet first meant the type of food we typically eat,” she says. “I want to reclaim the word diet in that sense, so it is not seen as this idea of not eating or having lots of restriction and limitation. Don’t diet, treat yourself to health and live the life you crave.”