Bowls of lentils and seeds

Nyesha Arrington's Approach to Wellness

The Los Angeles chef and executive director of The Collective Identity shares her health journey and commitment to mentorship.

Health and wellness has become a hot topic in recent years, especially in the restaurant industry. Cooks and chefs are searching to find work-life balance. Here, Nyesha Arrington shares her personal journey and new perspective on self-care.

After 18 years in the restaurant industry, I started seeking the same thing, from yoga classes to the next greatest diet innovation to HIIT-style workout classes. I have been able to find balance in creativity and business, and you don’t really need a gym membership or a nutrition certification to be healthy; sometimes the answer can be found with meditation or a journal entry.

Last year I decided to eat plant-based and eliminate alcohol, refined sugar and starch from my diet. That resulted in losing 22 pounds and gaining an incredible amount of balance in my brain function. I started to only eat foods that have life in them. For example, I sprout my lentils before consuming them, or I eat foods that only contain a pH level of 4 or higher, and I have never felt better in my life.

Performance in the gym has yielded extremely quick results, and I am training all the time. My energy level is through the roof. I'm up to drinking a gallon of water a day compared to when I was cooking on the line and would sometimes totally forget to drink water because I was so slammed with work. Our bodies are made up of about 22 essential minerals and 12 vitamins so I tailor my diet to feed those cells for optimal health. Being healthy at the cellular level yields the best results a life mise en place can give you.


ICE Chef @nyeshajoyce shares her philosophy, from life mis en place to love leadership, and more from her culinary career here: My culinary journey is one that is a healthy balance of intention and whimsy. I started cooking professionally (as an intern) in the year 2002. Starting out in fine dining was a great base for me to hone my cooking skills and knife cuts. Having a fine-dining background taught me techniques and staying power that I adapt to everyday life. I had two restaurants of my own, both on Jonathan Gold's lists of the top 101 in Los Angeles, and was named Chef of the Year by Eater LA in 2015. I’ve competed on a few culinary competition shows and have created a few cooking shows of my own. Today, I spend a lot of my time networking, working on my numerous business ventures, traveling and doing my part in the sustainability of our planet. Storytelling through food is something that I am extremely passionate about and love to continue a generational legacy through the experiences of past ancestors. I am working to continue to build a brighter, healthier, sustainable future for generations to come.

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In our industry we cater to a lot of facets of hospitality, but chefs tend to put themselves last. Demanding work schedules and incessantly thinking about ways to innovate and stay creative can take a toll. What drives chefs is an inability to ever feel satisfied. There is always room for improvement and progression.

To come from a whole new perspective now behind the lens of a full cup allows me to help others. I have found great reward in mentorship and leading the charge into the future.

Learn more about health and wellness in the kitchen in Health-Supportive Culinary Arts.

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