Kale Smoothies give staff a taste of Independent Living+

PARC Retirement Living - Green Kale Smoothie

PARC Retirement Living - Green Kale Smoothie

I don’t normally do healthy green drinks. In my books, kale, spinach and other good-for-you veggies belong in a salad, not a drink.

So when Executive Chef, Joseph Schefer of Cedar Springs PARC served up these green concoctions during a recent training session on Independent Living+ for 40 staff, I was more than a little skeptical.

He called out the ingredients: kale… spinach… avocado… passion fruit juice… a squeeze of honey and ice.

The glass sat untouched in front of me for several minutes before I let my curiosity overtake my skepticism.

The first sip was shockingly good. The second, even better.

WOW! Sweet. Delicious. Filling.

And green!!

If these green smoothies are representative of the PARC SMART options our residents can choose from their daily menus, I’m moving in.

The ‘show and tell’ theme continued throughout. Our main presenter, Rob Huppée, Manager of Active Living for PARC, had a bag of props along to help illustrate the benefits of exercise. He pulled out life-sized models representing 10 pounds of fat and 10 pounds of muscle and yup, passed them around.

The muscle model was compact, red and smooth. I imagined my quadriceps looking like that one day. Hey, a girl can dream…

The 10-pound fat glob was an entirely different story. The sickly yellow bulging piece of rubber was slimy to the touch. I couldn’t pass it on fast enough. Forget Weight Watchers or other diet plans… simply place this thing within your daily vision, and voila: the ultimate diet motivation.

Next up was brain fitness.

We participated in interactive memory testing exercises. Rob had us performing calculations, remembering sequences and doing other brain busting exercises, much of it in groups, with plenty of laughter. In other words, it was actually, um, fun.

The new health nurses answered numerous questions about the services they provide through Independent Living+, leaving us with a robust level of understanding and appreciation of all they do.

By the time the morning ended, we had all experienced the nuances of Independent Living+ firsthand.

Now, I have been to my fair share of training days, sessions and presentations. Typically, attendees (including me) leave tired, and more than a little drained. After this session, I noticed there were smiles all round and a vibrant enthusiasm. We seemed to be leaving with more energy than when we arrived.

Was it the method of facilitation? Maybe the coffee? Perhaps it was the interactive team-oriented approach, or subject matter. I really don’t know. But I suspect the Kale Smoothie may have had a little to do with it.

Suffice it to say: if all PARC training sessions make employees feel that good, I’ll be at every single one of them.




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