Marcia Scott is on a mission to improve her health, and one step she’s taken toward this goal is replacing the white bread and white pasta in her pantry with whole grain alternatives. While she and her husband, Mike Moody, enjoy the whole grain bread, the pasta hasn’t been as well received.

So when nutrition counselor April Powell recently came to her house to provide a private cooking lesson, Scott was delighted to learn about the buckwheat noodles Powell used to make ginger curry chicken.

“We’ll definitely make it again,” Scott said.

Powell runs InviteAbitE and offers nutritional counseling, pantry makeovers, grocery field trips and personal chef services. Her services emphasize whole, local and organic foods, simply prepared.

“You get into always having the same chicken or hamburger or pizza,” said Scott, who participated in three triathlons this past year. “We both like to try different things, but we don’t have a lot of time. April’s got a lot of knowledge about what foods do for the body. She keeps it real simple. There weren’t more than six or seven ingredients in the recipe she made.”

Powell recommends buckwheat, which is a fruit rather than a grain, because it’s high in omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins, minerals and essential amino acids.

The recipe she made with Scott also incorporated coconut milk, a product that Scott hadn’t used before. Powell calls coconut milk “a multi-talented ingredient.”

According to Powell, coconut milk helps maintain blood sugar, keep skin elastic, build strong bones, prevent anemia, reduce join inflammation and control weight.

The cost to have Powell come into your home for a private cooking lesson is $55 per hour plus the cost of food, supplies and travel (if she has to drive more than 50 miles). Her rate for group classes is $110 per hour.

For individual nutrition counseling and other services, she typically sets up a contract, and prices vary depending on the individual’s need.

Powell started InviteAbitE two years ago, after a long culinary career that included stints at Opryland Hotel in Nashville, Seattle’s Best Coffee and Panera Bread.

In addition to her culinary school degree and her traditional food service experience, Powell enjoys a top-notch health food pedigree.

“My parents divorced when I was 4,” she said. “One household was all vegetarian, and the other household was all organic and no processed foods.”

Powell has now combined her knowledge of how food influences well-being with her culinary skills to create individualized plans that help people live a healthier lifestyle.

“What I want to do is help people get back to living a more sustainable, simple life,” Powell said.

She acknowledges that eating whole and minimally processed foods involves a lot more home cooking, which takes planning.

As the mother of three teenage boys, Powell understands the challenges of feeding busy families. But she also knows from experience that it is possible to replace convenience foods with home-cooked meals if eating better is a priority.

For Powell, this means taking one day a month to plan meals around seasonally available items. She also devotes one day a week, usually Sunday, to making casseroles, sauces and condiments that can be frozen and reheated later in the week.

“Avoiding the processed foods is huge,” Powell said. “The five-ingredient rule is the simplest thing I remind people of. If (a packaged food) has more than five ingredients or you can’t identify the ingredients, don’t put it in your mouth.”

Powell sums up her InviteAbitE food philosophy by saying: “It’s helping people take the simple and keep it simple.”


Staff Writer Avery Yale Kamila can be contacted at 791-6297 or at: [email protected]

Twitter: AveryYaleKamila