Lela Reynolds is firm believer in the healing power of healthy food. She grew up in a home where processed foods rarely made an appearance and junk food never crossed the threshold. In her home kitchen, Lela took part in preparing family meals and learned the elements of a balanced meal and the techniques to cooking the family dinner from scratch. When her parents faced health issues later in life, her family committed to lifestyle and eating changes. Lela and her mom researched the right foods and cooking methods to support the family’s health and put them into practice. Making changes got her parents’ health back on track. These experiences have shaped her philosophy of food – that choosing the right things to eat is an integral part of one’s health, and her mission – to share what she knows with those seeking a healthier lifestyle.
After 25 years as a human resources executive, she decided to begin a new career as a health coach to fulfill her passion for working with people to improve their health and quality of life. Through her business, A Friend in the Kitchen, Lela coaches individuals and groups through their weight loss journey. She is a dynamic presenter of interactive workshops on nutrition and health, addressing critical topics including hidden sugars, understanding ingredient lists, and stress management. Lela also gives cooking demonstrations that feature healthy techniques that don’t sacrifice flavor, and provides market to table instructions for making healthful meals. Lela created the role of nutrition educator for Sweet Enuff Movement, a non-profit organization that promotes exercise and nutrition awareness for youth at risk for diabetes. She provides wellness workshops for the parents at the Ronald at the Ronald McDonald House of New York, a residence for children with cancer and their families, where she has been a volunteer for 19 years.
Lela received her health coach training at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition and is certified by the American Association of Drugless Practitioners. She also studies food and cooking at the Natural Gourmet Institute. Lela holds a masters degree in counseling psychology from Teachers College, Columbia University and a bachelor degree in linguistics from Bucknell University. She splits her time between her home in Northern New Jersey and her family retreat in the Berkshires.