Who doesn’t love food and writing?! In today’s show, I discuss both with Kate Parham Kordsmeier.
In the intro, I mention Orna Ross’s article on How independent are indie authors anyway?, Audible’s new podcast subscription service, my blog post on how to create boxsets and why you should, plus I talk about my own writing process for End of Days, the next ARKANE thriller.
This podcast is sponsored by Kobo Writing Life, which helps authors self-publish and reach readers in global markets through the Kobo eco-system. You can also subscribe to the Kobo Writing Life podcast for interviews with successful indie authors.
Kate Parham Kordsmeier is an Atlanta-based freelance food and travel writer and recipe developer for more than 100 publications. She’s the author of of the cookbook Atlanta Chef’s Table: Extraordinary Recipes from the Big Peach and the founder of Root + Revel, a food and wellness site devoted to natural living.
- Kate’s beginnings and how she chose food as her niche
- Building a personal brand in freelance writing
- Confidence charging as a freelance writer
- Effectively using a website to attract work
- Working with photographers and batching work for efficiency
- How Kate comes up with her ideas and how she pitches an idea to a magazine editor
- The lead time involved in writing articles
- The challenges involved in putting together a cookbook, and the pros and cons of working with a traditional publisher
- Using fiction skills in non-fiction writing
- Kate’s experience using food to heal health issues
You can find Kate at www.KateParhamKordsmeier.com and on twitter @kpkords
Transcript of Interview with Kate Parham Kordsmeier
Joanna: Hi everyone. I am Joanna Penn, from TheCreativePen.com and today I’m here with Kate Parham Kordsmeier. Hi Kate.
Kate: Hi. Thanks so much for having me.
Joanna: No worries. It’s lovely to have you on the show. Just a little introduction, Kate is an Atlanta-based freelance food and travel writer and recipe developer for more than 100 publications. She is the author of the cookbook Atlanta Chef’s Table, extraordinary recipes from the big pitch, and the founder of Root and Revel, a food and wellness site devoted to natural living. And today we are talking about food writing, which I think everyone will get very excited about, I certainly will.
Kate: It’s a pretty fun bee.
Joanna: Oh my goodness. It really is, and this is something we have never covered on the show before. So I’m very excited too. Let’s get started.
Just to find out a bit more about you, how did you get into food writing and what’s your background?
Kate: It was kind of one of those things I sort of fell into, I went to journalism school and always planned on being a writer. And after working very briefly like a six months, working at a corporate company for…I was a copywriter, and I hated it, and so I decided to go freelance, and pretty quickly I figured out that I needed to pick a specialty.
I felt like all the experts were saying that if you yourself become an expert in a topic that you more likely to get work in that arena, and you become more of an authority in the subject. I thought what do I enjoy doing, what am I passionate about, and it was eating. So I figured let’s try food.
Joanna: Then take it from there because I’m sure there is a lot of people listening here are like “Yeah, I like eating too.”
But how do you go from like deciding that’s the niche you are going to focus on to making a living doing it?
Kate: I would say it all starts with pitching and positioning yourself a certain way. Freelancing is a lot about putting yourself out there and you are having to send editors story ideas. I would send them food story ideas specifically and try to establish maybe other ways I could be considered an expert in food because I’m not a professionally trained chef.
So sometimes it was like, “Well, I have this blog that I develop recipes for, and so you can get a sense of the way that I cook and the types of things that I cover, or I have been to this place, and so you can write a story about Chinese food because you understand Chinese food or you are celiac, and you can write a story about gluten-free eating because you have first-hand experience with that.” Finding those ways that make you uniquely qualified to write a story.
Joanna: And so for you is that Atlanta?
Kate: Well, I have not always lived in Atlanta. When I first started writing, I lived in Dallas, Texas. Then I moved to Washington DC, and now I live in Atlanta. So the city has changed a lot. It’s more the topic of food that I specialize in and less the specific place.
Joanna: You talked about putting yourself out there and developing a niche that people would recognize you in. I guess this could be thought of as a personal brand.
What are the types of things that you’ve done to build your personal brand around this space?
Kate: A lot of it is just getting your name out there and writing a ton on the subject. Writing for reputable publications and so when your name starts circulating and hundreds or even just dozens of different publications, you start building that brand, building up your social media presence.
I would highly recommend any writers have their own website, not necessarily a blog but just like an online portfolio where you can send people or people can find you if they are Googling certain things. And that definitely helps build your brand.
There is a lot of outreach that it takes to be successful in this and so positioning yourself the way you would like to be seen and then pitching editors and potential clients with those ideas and that kind of mentality.
Joanna: How much has writing for free been a part of building that up? For example, Huffington Post used to be seen as a good place to have your writing and then they kind of have this blanket, everything has to be free.
What are the pros and cons of you using writing for free versus making money?
Kate: In my professional career I have never written for free, and I would not encourage people to do that for long at least. I will say as a student in journalism school, I did intern for free. So if you didn’t have that opportunity, I could see doing a couple of stories for free maybe or for a lower price to build some clips.
But I think you have to be really selective in where those places are because there are certain sites…I mean the Huffington Post…I think it’s biased that they don’t pay their writers, and they are one of the richest companies in the world. So I hate to tell people you could write there, but at least it is kind of a reputable place versus there are some other sites that maybe people haven’t heard of or they are not as large or you are not getting as much exposure.
I think keeping that in mind, is it really going to impress an editor that you’ve written for some site or somewhere that they know that anybody can write for them, so you are not really proving much.
My mentality is if you are going to write for free, I would start your own blog or your own site and at least then you are building up yourself and not just giving away your work to somebody else for them to profit on it.
Joanna: Well in that case then, if you didn’t start for free because a lot of people start free and then kind of move up, how did you set or how did you when you first started set your rates?
What gave you the confidence to charge for your writing straight out the gate?
Kate: Well, you are providing your service to somebody. And I don’t know many businesses that would do that for free. I think just demand to be paid a fare wage is pretty standard for any industry. I have been keeping that in mind, and I guess that’s where my confidence starts is just I’m providing you with something, and so you should pay me for that.
And you know I have some qualifications. When I started out, I had interned four different magazines, and I had written for free for some of those. So again, it was a little different because I was a student at the time and not already in my professional career.
Joanna: How do people figure out how much they can get paid?
Kate: How they set their rates? I actually created this calculator, a spreadsheet that just said, “This is how much I want to make for the year, and this is how many hours I want to work a week” and then I kind of figured out working backwards. So that means I need to make X number of dollars an hour to meet that goal, and then I would charge people accordingly.
As a freelancer, you never really charge people by the hour. It’s more of a flat rate fee. But I would say that I would think about things like “Okay, if this story is going to take me five hours, I’m going to estimate…” and let’s say you want to make $100 an hour then I would say “All right, so I’m going to charge $500 for it.”
In the beginning, it maybe panned out by 10% or 20% just in case it takes longer than you are expecting. I think it all starts with figuring out what do you need to make or what’s your goal and then charging people that way.
Joanna: I love that. Because the mentality seems to be in the freelance writing space, that you have to do whatever you can get even if it’s like 1 cent per 100 words or something. People are doing this type of thing but you are kind of going the other way.
Then if you’ve got this figure in mind, let’s say it’s $500 article, do you then go in search for the markets that are paying that rate?
Kate: Well yes and no. When I first started I would say that I made a list of maybe 100 places that I wanted to write for, and then I found out what do those markets pay. If I found out well the Huffington Post doesn’t pay or so and so only pays 10 cents a word then maybe I wouldn’t even approach those people.
But in America, I feel like there are pretty standard rates. National magazines generally pays $2 a word. So that’s pretty easy to say okay, pretty much any national magazine would be a good place to start, they will pay me a fair fee and then figuring, if you go back to regional or local and then it gets a little lessened.
I would say I didn’t really approach people if I already knew that they didn’t pay that rate and there were some people that maybe you didn’t know what they paid until you spoke to a person directly and so sometimes I said no to something. If I pitched it and they said “Yes, we love it but here is $50 for a 1000 words feature” and I would say “Oh well, this is not going to work then” and now I would sell it somewhere else.
Joanna: That’s really awesome, I’m glad. It’s great to have that confidence and I know lots of listeners are like, “I don’t have that confidence,” but clearly if you start with that information it’s a good idea. I was thinking about the story idea. So you are saying you are pitching a story to this editor, and I’m like “Okay, so I’m going to make a chicken curry for dinner, that’s not a story.”
What is the story around food and what kind of stories do you come up with and pitch?
Kate: I think two things, and the first is like you said, yes. You are always just pitching an idea, you are not writing the piece first and then trying to sell it. A lot of people think it goes that way and that’s not a very profitable way to do this and especially because every editor is going to want to have their hand in shaping the story and what exactly it looks like.
So you are pitching an idea, and then to answer your question about what a food story is, a lot of what I do is trends and roundup. So let’s say…not that you are cooking chicken curry at home, but let’s say you go to a restaurant, and they are making chicken curry with pineapple. Then you go to another restaurant and they are making chicken curry with papaya, and then you go to another restaurant, and you see they are making chicken curry with coconut.
So then you say, “Okay, I think there is this trend happening here of using tropical fruits and curry” and this is a very strange example. It’s picking up on trends and then going back to an editor and saying I have noticed that a lot of chefs in my city, country, whatever, however you are pitching it, are doing this thing, and I think there is something interesting here, we should cover it and maybe there’s…why are they doing this tropical food? Is it because they are healthier, is it because they are cheaper? Figuring out kind of the story behind the trend but roundups like that are a great way to pitch food stories.
Joanna: Okay. These are interesting. We watch Netflix, obviously I am in the UK, we watch Netflix and we watch Chef’s Table and The Mind of a Chef. We love all these food programs. We watch MasterChef.
Has this made a revival in people’s interest? Is that just loads of work in food writing because of what’s on TV?
Kate: Oh yeah. I don’t know if it’s because of what’s on TV, or if it’s all part of people just becoming…people are obsessed with foods these days and I feel like there is a ton of work especially in the freelance space, which was another reason I chose that beat. Originally there were some specialties that I think are more difficult to find freelance work.
Like fashion or something where it’s more image based, there is not as much freelancing. A lot of that stuff is just done in-house. I had trouble finding that kind of work and then when I picked food it was like they were outsourcing almost 100% of their food content. You are right. Everybody is a foodie today, so I think people are very interested, plenty of work.
Joanna: Actually that is interesting, because the other thing everyone is getting obsessed about is ingredients and getting the best ingredients from the place where they are from. I think this will mean more international work as well. A cheese maker in down the road here in Somerset could potentially be writing something for an American magazine because of more international things.
Do you do international stuff as well? Do you get to go on exciting trips?
Kate: I get to travel quite a bit, and most of the international publications I have written for have been in-flight magazines for airlines. But a lot of times it’s like Brussels…Belgium Airlines…I am trying to think.
There are a couple of international airlines that have called me up and said, “We need somebody who knows the DC restaurant scene, or who knows the Atlanta restaurant scene, can you help us with the story?” That’s been a great way to find international work as well.
Joanna: They found you just because you are findable on the internet through your website and your SEO, your search engine optimization and people they don’t know.
What are the things that you put on your personal website that would attract that kind of attention?
Kate: So let’s see. I can tell you what you want to hear. The first thing I say on my website is that I am an Atlanta-based freelance, food and travel writer. I get a lot of work because people look up, Atlanta food writer, Atlanta freelancer or Atlanta travel writer.
Having your city, where you are located, mention several times throughout your site I think is very important because that’s a great way to find work.
Also, I specified that I specialize in food and travel and so I think if you Google food and travel writers I’m one of the top 10 results that comes up, which I’m certainly not one of the top 10 food and travel writers but I think my SEO is working for me.
Joanna: It’s surprising, isn’t it? How that happens, but it does when you do the right things with your website. And your website looks very good, and it got media around it.
Here is a question around photography because it seems that your website has some nice pictures on professional photos and food writing seems impossible without photography.
Do you work with photographers or do you do a lot of photography yourself, or how does that work?
Kate: The answer is different based on which side you are talking about. For my writer’s website we call it, which is just my name kateparhamkordsmeier.com. There is not a whole lot of photography on that site. There are a couple of photos of me kind of in the field working. But that’s more just a place where I have clips, and where editors and publicists and those kinds of people could find me. I don’t do much photography for that at all.
For the blog that I started last year Root and Revel, yes I have three to five, sometimes more images for every post that I put up. And so it’s been a combination of me, fortunately, my husband has a hobby as a photographer, but he’s got a great camera and so it’s been nice to have that to help. And I have taken some online classes and tried to learn more about photography for that.
You have to be multi-skilled, I think to have a blog today. But I also work with professional photographers. Actually the photographer who did the photos for my cookbook lives in Atlanta, and she helps me a lot with the photos on Root and Revel.
That’s been really helpful to me, especially in terms of this concept that I think is trendy right now. We call batching where it’s like you do a lot of things…a lot of similar tasks all at once to maximize productivity. She will come over, and will cook two dozen recipes and photograph them all in one day and then I will have the next two months worth of content and all the photos ready to go.
Joanna: That’s great, that indeed work like carnival, everyone is reading at the moment…that kind of batching, it’s not a new concept, but I think you are right. It’s how I do these podcasts and interviews as well now. I have already done a couple of other ones today, but that will go out over time. It just makes it easier, right?
Kate: In your zone, you can knock things out. Yeah.
Joanna: I knew that many works. And then obviously that photographer is one of your contacts. You talked about networking, and I wondered how you manage that. Because obviously you now know tons of people at different places and then editors move.
Do you use LinkedIn, do you use a spreadsheet, do you have an app, how do you manage your contacts?
Kate: It’s kind of a combination of things. I definitely use LinkedIn. LinkedIn can be helpful especially when you are trying to figure out who the right person to contact at a certain publication is. I’m in Gmail, I keep my contacts just within the email application very organized.
I have a zillion spreadsheets for everything and so I will make lists of 50 magazines that I want to write for in 2016 and then I will have one column with the publication name, one column with editor’s contact, some notes, what I have pitched them, that kind of thing.
You definitely have to be very organized and just very proactive, like I said before constant outreach, you are constantly trying to be kept in people’s minds and let them know that you are there, that you can help that you have story ideas, that kind of thing.
Joanna: One of the inevitable things as writers is rejections.
How much does rejection play in the process and what does ‘no’ mean for you?
Kate: ‘No’ to me means not right now. And I think it’s very important as a freelancer especially that you don’t take ‘no’ too personally. Because there is so much that they are rejecting that has nothing to do with you. They are not rejecting you most of the time unless you were just extremely offensive in the email or something.
Most of the time they are saying “I can’t use this exact idea at this exact moment and time at this exact publication,” but maybe if you had pitched it two months earlier they might have said, “Oh yeah.”
They are saying ‘no’ now because they already have something similar in the works. It’s a lot about timing, you’ve got to have thick skin because it can be hard to hear ‘no’ so many times and not you know, “What am I doing?” But I just say keep with it. It’s a numbers game. You will hear ‘no’ a lot before you hear ‘yes’. But it’s a good idea, eventually you will hear ‘yes.’
Joanna: So you got an idea the cook the curry thing with fruit. You’ve got your list of editors, and you will pitch that idea to one editor at a time.
Or you will just keep pitching that same idea to multiple editors or will you change up the idea depending on the publication?
Kate: I usually try to pitch only one at a time because if you pitch even five at a time, and two came back and one a day, you can’t really sell it to both and that looks bad. It’s rare that that would happen because like I said it’s so specific about right place at the right time.
Usually I will pitch it to one place, let’s say I pitch this curry idea to Food & Wine magazine and they say no, so then I take it maybe to Bon Appétit and may be they say yes and then it’s done, or they say no then I will take it somewhere else. And sometimes editors don’t always get back to you right away.
Usually if I have pitched it once and I have followed up within a week or two and I still haven’t heard anything, I will move on to the next place. And sometimes I will even send an email to follow up to them “I haven’t heard back from you, so I assume that you are not interested and I will market this elsewhere.” So at least you are just giving them a heads up and sometimes they will come back and say, “Wait, wait, wait. Sorry I didn’t get to it but we want this.” And then sometimes you still don’t hear back and you just move on.
Joanna: And do you do all your pitching by email or is that phone? What happens with Twitter? Does it happen online more these days?
Kate: I still do, I would say, 99% of pitching by email. I don’t think I would want to pitch in a public forum like Twitter, Facebook because then other people would see your idea. So I feel like I would keep it more private.
Mostly editors don’t want to be called unless you already have a relationship with them where you can call and then say, “Hey can we run through five or six ideas really quick?” But email seems to be the way to go.
Joanna: Just back on the idea, the idea thing.
Do you literally do that just sit down and go, “Right, I’m just going to write down 10 ideas and then see if I can fresh them out a bit” or do you wait for the muse?
Kate: It depends. If I just went on a trip for example then I might come and say okay, here are 10 story ideas I got from this trip and then I will sit down at one time and do it like that. If I’m not traveling not much, then sometimes it is like until inspiration strikes. But honestly, inspiration is always striking.
I feel like if you are out and about and if you are writing about food and you are eating out a lot or you are cooking a lot and you are reading things that other people are doing, you can’t help, at least my brain can’t help. I’m always thinking how could this be a story? Sometimes I say I will just wait until the inspiration strikes, but that’s daily, so I’m always coming up with new ideas.
Joanna: I think that too and you know, it’s funny I think they say the idea is nothing, the execution is everything. So even if you have a great idea you still have to write that story if someone buys it. The work is ahead of you, but you know that you’ve got the right niche if you never run out of ideas. And if it’s the wrong niche you will be wondering why you don’t have any ideas.
Kate: Yes. That’s a great point to make. I think yes, if I had picked fashion or something outdoor stuff, something like camping, I feel like I would be like “Ah…” What do you eat on a camping trip that’s my idea for that.
Joanna: Yes exactly. It’s funny we were watching YouTube and I said to my husband, “I have had the same makeup thing for 10 years” and I was like “This is how I look on YouTube.” Then I fell into the hell of makeup tutorials on YouTube.
Kate: They are so many.
Joanna: I was like, “This is amazing” and then I realized that this is another niche. I’m just not in and some people love eye shadow and I think that’s what so cool about the internet, right? You can do that in your niche. So what you are doing, what I am doing, this works. But I also want to ask about timing as you mentioned there maybe the wrong time.
What is the lead time involved in these magazines? We are recording end of June, are you already thinking of things to do for the fall or the autumn?
Kate: I’m already thinking about holidays because national magazines work 6 to 12 months in advance. There are some evergreen content that can run at anytime, but if you are trying to pitch a holiday story you need to be pitching that in the summer or maybe even the spring to national publications.
But smaller publications…I would say generally speaking aside from national, most places work one to three months in advance. So you always have to be thinking a little bit ahead except now with online and sometimes it’s like just think a day ahead and if you can get it done how quickly. But for prints, yes. I would say two to nine months is kind of the lead time.
Joanna: Talk about your books because I was going to say if people want book coverage in these types of magazines, it’s the same right? It’s a really long lead time which is kind of crazy. So you have got this cookbook, the Atlanta Chef’s Table.
What were some of the specific challenges around writing a cookbook versus freelance writing?
Kate: My cookbook is kind of different because it’s not my recipes, it’s recipes from the chefs in Atlanta. For this book specifically the challenge was working with over 75 different chefs.
It was a lot of regaling of people, of haunting people, “Please get me this, I need this.” So we have to schedule the photo shoot or please answer this question and chefs are notorious for not really following strict recipes and certainly not making them for the home cook.
They would send me a recipe that the yield serves 200 and it’s like, okay. You got to scale that back and assuming knowledge that when you are writing a cookbook you have to assume that the reader has basically never cooked anything before. I had a chef give me a recipe: step 1, make a Meringue, step 2 and then it moved on and I was “Okay, no, no.” We have to explain what’s a Meringue, how do you make it and so that was the biggest challenge for that book.
Joanna: Right, so were wrangling and kind of being an editor in that situation.
Joanna: Okay that was interesting.
How was it working with traditional publishing, which is generally quite slow as opposed to doing your own thing as a freelancer?
Kate: There were pros and cons for sure. It was a small budget project and so as it was my first book I felt like it was kind of an experiment for me to see is this worth it. What did my hourly rate end up been on this project and that kind of thing. I would say this is so specific to my situation now. I don’t know if it’s true for all traditional publishers but I didn’t feel like they really provided a ton of support in terms of financially paying me, in terms of helping me promote the book and that kind of thing.
I probably would have preferred to go self-published next time or with a much larger publisher who has a bigger budget and more dedicated staff to help with that kind of thing.
Joanna: Are you looking at doing indie stuff? My audience is generally indie or at least indie minded.
Kate: Yes. I started Root and Revel last year, and I know it’s not a book, yet. So yeah, I’m definitely starting to do more things where I’m investing in myself and trying to start my own businesses instead of always giving my stuff away to other people.
And there is, like I said, pros and cons to each and sometimes the pro is where you made money right now. And there is less investment and kind of time waiting while you build something up, so great for you but I would love to do more indie stuff.
Joanna: Yeah, I think that’s right. I have had other freelance writers on. Freelance writing is like day job money, you get paid for the hours you work. But if you create assets in terms of books, for example, that you own, they will earn you money for the rest of your life and 70 years after you die.
Kate: Yes. That would be great.
Joanna: Yes exactly which is cool.
Kate: Being a freelancer you have so much flexibility and freedom. My schedule is mine and hence why I’m in workout clothes at 1.45 in the afternoon and I love that. But if I take a vacation I’m not paid. If you have a kid and you take maternity leave that’s all unpaid and so there are some downsides to it as well.
I think you are right, coming up with those passive income streams that can be earning money even when you are not working is something I’m trying to do more of.
Joanna: It’s just balancing the time you spend on short-term money versus the long-term money and it is hard. But I think everything you are doing, your insight and everything as well as the freelancing is building that up. So that’s cool. I did want to ask you about TV because I see you have done a few TV things and of course, many authors want or may end up having to do TV and media.
Do you have any tips for appearing on TV or anything around sort of how to be with media?
Kate: It was a steep learning curve for sure. I feel like I am not a naturally like bubbly, smiley person. I mean not to say that I’m boring but I feel like on camera you need to wear more make-up when you are going to be on camera because it doesn’t show up as well and I feel that’s true of energy also.
The first few videos I did I kept been told, “You need to smile more, you need to bring your energy levels up” and it felt so unnatural to me but when I watched it back I realized that it didn’t look like I was being as choosy as I felt like I was being.
Joanna: Yeah. It’s a performance, right? Like professional speaking you have to kind of bring that extra.
Would you consider yourself an introvert?
Kate: I feel like I teeter on the edge, but the fact that I have been working from home alone for seven years now and I don’t really miss anybody here I feel like I must be a little bit of an introvert.
Joanna: You are one of us. I don’t know how true extroverts manage to do stuff alone for so long. I think they probably have to work in a coffee shop all the time or something.
Kate: People always say that to me. “Oh, do you work in a coffee shop everyday” and I’m like “I have never worked in a coffee shop. I would much prefer to be at home alone.”
Joanna: That’s cool. I did want to ask you just briefly just about the writing itself. Because a lot of my listeners are fiction authors as well as non-fiction authors.
Do you find that in the articles you write now, you are actually having to use a lot of fiction techniques? Are you building up a character? Might be the chef or something like that and it does have to be a story even if it’s true? As such, do you feel like you are bringing in these different writing talents or skills that perhaps 20 years ago, people didn’t have to do in non-fiction writing?
Kate: Yeah. Sometimes I think it depends on the story and the outlet. Like I said a lot of my stuff can just be roundups where you are just saying like “Five places to eat octopus.” So that’s no. And those kind of stories I would say there is not a lot of literary prose happening.
But when you are doing work for first person stuff or reviews and critiques and that kind of thing, I do feel like you are having to set the scene a bit more, you are having to really transport people and make them feel like they are with you when you are describing a meal or a trip or a place or something like that.
And yes, certainly there are profiles where you are having to build up the character but I still think overall I feel very non-fiction objective journalism. I could never imagine writing a novel or anything like that, I feel like those are very different skills than what I have for food writing.
Joanna: No, fair enough. Just watching like Chef’s Table for example, most Chef’s Table you know, where they spend the whole hour with a certain chef in their country and it’s like about that childhood and all the influences. It’s almost like a fable almost about some of these more famous chefs.
I wonder whether maybe when you get off the five ways to do octopus you get to do this?
Kate: Yeah, absolutely. That’s a great question and it’s something that frustrates me sometimes and why I started Root and Revel. I’m also starting a food and culture podcast myself, and some things like that. Because of that very reason, because I got sick of kind of just writing or maybe it’s like quick little change that I didn’t feel like we were really telling an important story.
That’s particularly hard because you have space limitations. I really enjoy exploring these other formats like audio and video where you have a little bit more time and you can set up this more of a story and just get a more in-depth look at something.
Tell us a bit more about Root and Revel, what happens on that site?
Kate: The short version is that I went through a slew of health issues a couple of years ago. It’s been ongoing for a while and I had been to a bunch of different doctors and nothing was working and mostly it was digestion and hormonal imbalances but they just kept throwing prescription medications at me and that was it.
I got really frustrated and I decided to go cold turkey on all medications and see what was really happening with my body and I found an amazing, holistic doctor. She is an MD but she practices more integrative and functional medicine and she basically reversed my issues.
I have PCOS and hypothyroidism and leaky gut and all through changes to my diet and some natural supplements and just like simple lifestyle changes, I reversed all of those issues. I was so blown away by the power of food and it’s still related to food obviously but it’s kind of telling it from a different side of the story. I decided to start a website where I could kind of share what I’ve learned with other people and hopefully help others who are going through similar health issues find healing.
Joanna: Which is just fantastic and I know a lot of people who have had various illnesses have used food and more natural ways and I think there is much more of resurgence in that interest. Even alongside traditional medicine, to use food as medicine as well. So that’s really cool.
I’m very healthy and a lot of people listening are healthy but what we are is generally sedentary writers who spend a lot of time sitting and one thing I did was hunch a lot. Even though I am standing now but I’m still hunching, because you just end up that way after years of writing.
Kate: Yes, absolutely.
Joanna: For me it’s like the 3.30-4 p.m. munchy sugar need.
As someone who is really into food, what do writers need to do at the 3.30, 4 p.m. munchies, or whenever it is, to help us keep the mind and body healthy?
Kate: I can’t say that I’m always great at this but I do try to take like a 30-minute walk everyday. So that’s one thing I do. And then getting up every hour and sometimes even stretch at your desk and move around. I think just getting up and moving a little bit is good and I try to not keep food in the house that I shouldn’t eat.
Joanna: That is a good rule.
Kate: This is where I think my background as a food writer comes into play with Root and Revel because I’m never just going to be somebody that’s capable of eating just like plain steamed broccoli and be like “Oh, but it’s so healthy.” I am like, no, it still needs to taste delicious.
I just found the healthy snacks that work for me and try to keep…even though I like having a flexible schedule, I still kind of try to keep kind of traditional work hours and so you know, I will have breakfast in the morning. I will take a true lunch break where I will get up and away from my desk.
Sometimes it’s just to go sit on the couch and watch TV but it still feels better than just working at your desk. But I think the moving thing is important because it’s so easy…six hours later you are like “Oh my gosh, I’m still sitting here. I haven’t eaten, I haven’t moved. I got to do something with myself.”
Joanna: I never have a problem with not having eaten. All those people are like “Oh, I’m so stressed, I forgot to eat.” And I’m like “Really?”
Kate: I don’t forget to eat. Breakfast is the hardest for me though because sometimes I’m not hungry when I wake up and then I don’t all start working and then I’m like “Oh it’s noon and I haven’t eaten yet. Now I’m ravenous.”
Joanna: That’s true. Tell us where can people find your site and you online?
Kate: Okay. So my writer’s website is just my name kateparhamkordsmeier.com. On social media, I am @kpkords which is just K-P-K-O-R-D-S and then Root and Revel is rootandrevel.com.
Joanna: Fantastic. Well, thanks so much for your time Kate, that was brilliant.
Kate: Yeah, good. I’m excited. It was really fun.