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#EatPlants with Kristina Botelho, Owner of Kb&co

A profile story

Taking a break from working at her busy 104 Street cafe, Kristina Botelho breezes up to our table, wiping her hands on her apron and greeting us with a smile.

Kristina is the owner of three-year-old Kb&co, a local cafe specializing in a variety of plant-based smoothies, salads, sandwiches, and sweets. A self-professed foodie, Kristina has known she wanted to work with food since she was a young girl. It wasn’t until her early 20s that she knew that being an entrepreneur was the right fit for her.

Kb&co is a flourishing fast-casual cafe, despite having only been open for under three years. The success is fitting, considering Kristina’s 20 years of operational and marketing experience in the quick-serve food industry. Her resume boasts certifications in nutrition with specializations in a plant-based diet. With locations scheduled to open in Calgary and Kelowna, Kristina continues to grow her thriving business across Canada, which is why we view Kristina as an authority in the local Edmonton health and wellness industry. She graciously agreed to speak with us more about her perceptions on the industry as well as her success in the field.

Kristina working hard behind-the-scenes.

Q: So Kristina, you’re the owner of Kb&co, a super trendy cafe with two locations in Edmonton. How do you stay on top of the latest trends?

A: Is it trendy? (laughs) I think that anything health and wellness is here to stay. Trends are here for a while. I stay on top of it by constantly creating, innovating, and gaining inspiration from who’s doing more.

Q: What would you tell people who are skeptical about a plant-based diet?

A: That there is plenty of protein in a plant-based diet. Plenty of nutrients that people think they need from animal-based products are found in plants. Eating whole, non-processed food is the best thing that you can do for your body in maintaining optimal health.

Q: How can you identify something that’s here to stay versus something that’s just a passing fad?

A: I think that for me personally, it would be something that people can relate to. We’re kind of in a time where there are so many allergies and intolerances to food, more than we’ve ever seen. So unfortunately, I think that that’s a growing issue, so if I can relate to people in that way, then I think that’s great.

Q: What’s your favorite wellness trend right now?

A: Anything green!

The delicious (and good for you!) Kb&co smoothies.

Q: How do you come up with the recipes?

A: In the past, it’s usually been recipes that I love that are sort of ‘unhealthy.’ Like think of a traditional waffle or taco salad, those kind of things. Because of my own intolerances and issues I’m inspired to make something similar and relatable to what we are already eating as unhealthy and just make it super healthy. So a lot of the inspiration comes from just playing around in the kitchen.

Q: What’s the best thing about your job?

A: Creating. Working with my team, motivating them, inspiring them, that’s right up there. And, by default, we’re feeding people whole, nutritious, non-processed food, which is pretty cool.

More from inside Kb&co.

Q: What are your hobbies?

A: I enjoy working out, reading, and spending quality time with my family. I have a 22-year-old son, an 18-year-old daughter, and an 11-year-old son.

Q: What does your family think about your job?

A: My oldest is an entrepreneur himself, so I think that he really gets the hustle and hard work that goes into building a business, which is nice. It’s something that he can relate to. Because my children are older, they understand everything that goes into making this work a bit better than they would if they were a little younger. They’ve always been supportive and they are incredibly patient, so I’m really lucky to have that.

Q: How do you keep a healthy work-life balance?

A: To be honest I don’t believe in a perfect balance. I used to believe that it existed, but I think you stress yourself out more by wanting to create that. So I take it a day at a time and try find as much space in my day for family time in there as I can, even if it’s just a 10 minute conversation I have with my kids.

It’s tough, because some days I’ll be at work until 8:00 PM and then my youngest is in bed by the time that I get home. At the end of some weeks, I will reflect and be like, ‘wow, I really sucked at managing my time,’ and other weeks I’m like ‘wow, that was a really great week and I feel fulfilled on the family front, on the business front, on the friendship front, on the work front, all of that.’ Everyday I just try to the best that I can to show my family as much love as possible, even if it isn’t perfect all the time.

Q: What makes you laugh?

A: Everything! I am not a serious person at all. I probably would get more work accomplished if I was a bit more on the serious side. But I don’t think I ever want to be. Memes especially make me laugh. If I can get a couple of memes thrown my way everyday from my oldest kids, I’m pretty happy (laughs). I mean, I’m laughing right now so… I encourage everyone to laugh everyday.

Q: What are you reading right now?

A: I’m reading “F*ck Feelings” right now. So really learning to keep the emotional side of things, when it comes to business or personal stuff, at bay. I’m a very emotional person; I wear my emotions on my sleeve, speak from my heart, and traditionally do work and business from my heart. I’m all for being your authentic self and being emotional, but there’s a healthy balance.

Q: What advice would you give to someone aspiring to be as successful as you have been?

A: Stay in your own lane. Drown out the noise around you. If you are entering the life of an entrepreneur and it’s something that you are passionate about doing, you have to trust your gut and trust your heart. The moment you start looking outside of your yard — we’re all guilty of doing it — all that does is create anxiety, anxiousness, doubt, fearfulness, which takes you away from all the positive energy that you could be investing into your own business. You just need to focus on you, and don’t worry what other people are doing.

Q: Anything else you would like to add?

A: #EatPlants

“Eat Plants” is Kristina’s motto (she even has it tattooed!)

All photos taken by Johanna Halarewich and Jordan Lariviere

Celery Juice: Do it or Ditch it?

The Trend Trackers got together this week and tried a much-discussed trend: celery juice. Celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow and the Kardashian sisters are well-known advocates for this health trend. We pulled out the Vitamix and headed to Planet Organic here in the city to pick up some organic celery.

Fresh organic celery from Planet Organic.

The Benefits:

Why juice your celery—why not just eat it? When you juice celery, you can consume a lot more, which (allegedly) means more health benefits. Celery juice is most praised for its ability to strengthen food digestion when consumed first thing in the morning. Celery juice also supports liver function and removes toxins from the body. (Check out goop.com to read even more benefits).

The Recipe:

A bunch of celery. Literally, that’s all. Juice it (or Vitamix it, in which case you may need to add some water) and drink away!

Chopping up our celery!

Our Verdict:

Ditch it! It tastes exactly how you’d expect. We would consider trying this again with more ingredients—we’ve seen different recipes that include lemon, ginger, cayenne, spinach, and more. Unless you really love celery, you may want to ditch it. The Trend Trackers will leave this trend to the celebrities.

The finished product.

Up, up and away! Bounce Fitness Class.

Street Reporting at Studio B Fitness

Up, up and away! Studio B Fitness is a trendy barre and rebounder fitness studio located in downtown Edmonton. After hearing about rebounder (or trampoline) fitness through social media, the Trend Trackers knew that they had to investigate further. Studio B offers SOAR Bounce Fitness classes — “an elastically leveraged low-impact, yet high energy workout that is performed on a rebounder.” The trampoline leverages gravity and resistance to create a full-body cardiovascular, strength, endurance, and balance workout.

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Studio B’s Holland Plaza location.

According to the studio’s website, “with each bounce you go from 2 to 4 times normal gravitation to zero gravity and back again, engaging your body on every level.” The trademarked bellicon bungees are created with a unique design to provide deeper bounces to engage muscles longer. The bungees provide a smoother bounce compared to typical spring trampolines, which are harsher and put more impact on the joints.

The company also touts NASA research as one of the benefits of the workout: “While searching for the perfect exercise to help astronauts returning from long space voyages, NASA scientists found that exercising on a trampoline was better than anything else on earth.” Studio B claims that, just like an astronaut, this class will give you “the best workout on (or off) the planet!”

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The Bellicon bungee trampolines.

Convinced by our peers on social media and the compelling online evidence, we signed up for the Sunday morning SOAR Bounce Fitness class through the company’s easy online software. A single class pass was $22, with other packages such as 10 class passes or unlimited classes being offered at discounted rates.

Upon walking into the studio, the opening is bright and airy, displaying large open windows and an offering of fitness products such as clothing, grip socks, and water bottles. We are greeted by the receptionist, who offers to take us on a tour around the studio. The studio itself is surrounded by mirrors; the floor is covered in individual trampolines, one for every client. We slip on our grip socks (no runners here) and greet the instructor, Nykala, ready to begin this 50-minute SOAR Bounce class.

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Grip socks are necessary for the class.

The class is a blend of short, high intensity exercises paired with slower rest periods to allow the heart rate to catch up. Nykala leads the class through a variety of exercises on the trampoline, as well as strength exercises that focus on arm, leg, and abdominal muscles. The workout is highly cardio-based, which really works up a sweat!

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Get ready for lift-off: the Bounce Studio.

At the end of the class, we chatted further with Nykala, who gave us insight into this popular new workout trend.

“This is a cardio-heavy class,” says Nykala. “ We start with a warm-up at the beginning. Then we go through 3 to 4 SOAR tracks, which are medium intensity, aerobic style workouts. Then we do the SPRINT tracks, which is the high intensity interval training cardio. We do 30 seconds of really high intensity and then we take a cruise to let the heart rate come back down. We do three SPRINTS and then we have 3 BURN tracks: arms, abdominals, and legs. So it is a cardio heavy class, but with strength training incorporated.”

When asked what her favourite part of Bounce fitness is, Nykala highlighted that she loves the sprints, or higher-intensity exercises, because she feels like she gets “the most bang for her buck”. She enjoys coming into the studio and teaching– “the whole thing is fun!” Nykala also used to dance and struggled with finding an exercise that was similar to it… until Bounce fitness came around. The thought of working out on a trampoline sounds much less intimidating (and much more fun) than doing  bicep curls at the gym or running on the hamster wheel.

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Feeling energized after class!

So, should you take this class? We vote yes! Instructor, or “Soar Flight Crew Member”, Nykala stresses that “literally anyone and everyone can do it”. Studio B Fitness has clientele ranging from the ages of 18 – 60.

“The mats absorb all the shock and are good for your joints, if you have bad knees or hips. It’s your workout — it’s customizable!”

Some other benefits of trampoline fitness include (as mentioned on the Soar Bounce Fitness website):

  • Uses every single muscle in the body with every single bounce
  • Strengthens the core
  • Lymphatic flush
  • Build and maintain bone density
  • Improves cardiovascular ability
  • Low-impact on the joints.

Bounce fitness isn’t just a trend– we think it has the stamina to last and gain popularity in more studios and classes across North America. Thanks to Studio B Fitness and Nykala for making our first ever Bounce a great experience.

Check out Studio B’s website here: www.soarbouncefitness.com

We had a great time SOAR-ing at Bounce Fitness. 

All photos taken by Johanna Halarewich and Jordan Lariviere.

CircoFit Class – Photo Story

The beautiful colours of the silks.
A closer look at the silks.
The CircoFit mascot cheering us on.
CircoFit also teaches ropes classes.
“The Coffin” — our first pose.
Goofing around on the silks!
Keep your legs straight and toes pointed.
This pose is harder than it looks.
The studio was busy.
This pose is called the “Moulin Rouge”.
The inverted “Spiderman” position.
Simultaneously soaring on the silks.
The instructors demonstrated advanced poses.
Silks are a unisex discipline.
The motion of the silks.
A breathtaking performance by our instructors.
An amazing class at CircoFit.

All photos taken by Johanna Halarewich and Jordan LaRiviere at CircoFit Aerial Arts in Edmonton on January 25, 2019 at 7:00 P.M.

Join the Circus: CircoFit

 Inspired by the thrill of the circus, CircoFit offers “classes and workshops for corde lisse, aerial silks, and straps, and is a unique training facility for Edmonton’s growing aerial circus community.” Aerial fitness has been popping up on our Instagram’s lately as an amazing upper body and core workout mixed with ample photo opportunities – we had to try it out!

The Class:

CircoFit offers a Beginner Silks Teaser Workshop every Friday night from 7 – 8pm for $21 (a reasonable price for most drop-in fitness classes).

The studio is small, but due to the vertical nature of the sport, the high roofs more than make up for the lack of ground-space.  

The class started with a quick warm-up, then it was on to the silks!

Because we were all beginners, we worked with the silks tied at the bottom (thank goodness!) Our instructor then demonstrated different poses and positions for us to try. The poses were challenging, but so much fun.

After the class we were treated to a performance by our instructors – we were blown away by their skills.

Our Verdict:

Amazing! Would recommend this class to all our friends! Our CircoFit class pushed us to our limits – and we ended up surprising ourselves on how much we can do! While it didn’t leave us feeling too exhausted or sore, it was a fun, challenging, and unique workout that is definitely worth the hype! Stay tuned this week for our photo series on our CircoFit class (trust us, you won’t be disappointed!)

Some of our favorites

Before we get started, we wanted to point our readers in the direction of some local (and international) leaders, organizations, and groups in the health and wellness community.