Food Philosophy

The New School Kitchen isn’t a “diet” and doesn’t recommend or prescribe one pattern of eating.

The New School Kitchen is a Way of Life.


It is the application of these fundamental principles to any and all patterns of eating:

Eat Real Food. Foods that are as close to their natural/whole state or just a few steps from it are real. If it’s in a package, there are very few ingredients and you can pronounce all of them. If it grew out of the ground, walked/swam/flew freely and ate what it was intended to eat, it’s real. Quality matters! In this culture, sourcing the most nutrient dense Real Foods can take some effort.

Listen to Your Body. Our amazing bodies communicate with us, telling us which foods work and which don’t — some signs are subtle and others we often choose to ignore. Being in tune with your body is a practice, and as we change what we are eating and how we treat our bodies, we receive new cues and information. Feeding yourself nutrient dense Real Food is a powerful act of self-love. 

Make Vegetables the Rock Stars on Your Plate! Whether you’re eating meat or not, grains or not, dairy or not, legumes or not, vegetables should be taking up at least half the room on your plate. Eating plants is the best way to load up on nutrients and receive what you need to support your body to heal. The leafy greens ones are really important. 

Develop New School Habits. We make cooking Real Food more realistic with easy-to-follow methods and recipes in the kitchen, but creating new habits around your whole nourishment process is essential. Inside the membership we walk you through the habits (plan, shop, prep, cook, eat, reset) and show you how to make them stick… for good!

Shift Your Mindset. Changing your food can often mean changing your mind. Stop doing the stuff that’s holding you back and experience freedom with food when you allow yourself to be vulnerable, speak your truth, ask for what you need, and feel what you’re feeling. Changing your food-stuff can be messy, and that’s ok! Perfection is boring, anyway.

Meet the Team

Ryanna Battiste, NBC-HWC

Founder, Duke Certified Integrative Health Coach

Ryanna is at the front of The New School Kitchen stage, offering inspiration as entertainment in her videos and through her coaching. She has found her purpose working with people who struggle to find what makes them feel awesome in their bodies, because it reflects her own deeply personal journey. She is a mom to two amazing boys who are her greatest teachers and is married to a man who is her secret weapon for success. Ry believes unequivocally in the power of food to heal not just physical ailments, but emotional and spiritual ones as well. She practices yoga when she can, wishes she were more of a gardener, has a deep and abiding love for maple syrup, and skims cookbooks and self-help books in bed every night.

Mary Julia Walker, NBC-HWC, MAEd. 

Mary Julia helps to translate Ry’s big picture dream to members’ everyday reality. She’s a National Board Certified Health and Wellness Coach and a Duke Certified Integrative Health Coach. She partners with New School Kitchen-ers in transformative, small group coaching and also specializes in creating Customized Menu Plans for those who are looking to up their Real Food game. As head of the hugely popular NSK Monthly Challenges, Mary Julia crafts 7-day experiences that lead members through a series of fun daily prompts that bring them closer to integrating their NSK work into their real life. Obsessed with herbs + essential oils and food as medicine, Mary Julia infuses her love and knowledge of plants into the Member Forum & Recipes, and features her A Force of Nature products in the NSK shop. 


Anna LaBarre, MS, RDN, LDN

Anna LaBarre is a registered and licensed dietitian/nutritionist and obtained her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Foods and Nutrition from Meredith College in Raleigh, NC. Anna’s research work and passion is around sustainable food systems, farmers’ markets, local and organic foods. She is an experienced nutrition educator and counselor, teaching a whole foods and whole body approach for preventing and treating disease. Anna enjoys being outside, especially playing with her one- and four-year-old kiddos, and hiking the Eno River Trails. She loves to cook and spend time around the table with family and friends.

Chelsea Thornhill

Chelsea‘s had a passion for nutrition and wellness for over twenty years and is excited to be embarking on a path to become a Certified Integrative Health Coach through Duke. She obtained her Bachelor’s in Business Management from UNC Wilmington and has managed several small businesses in Wilmington NC. Most recently, she served as the Marketing & Community Liaison for Whole Foods Market. Her heart also lies with those who don’t have good food access, and she has donated countless hours to non-profit organizations like the Central & Eastern North Carolina Food Bank, The Good Shepherd Center and The Boys & Girls Club, doing everything from packing food boxes to serving meals to teaching cooking classes for kids. She is mom to a spunky 3 year old boy and loves to spend her self-care time cooking, running, practicing yoga, and growing food in her garden.


To help busy people cook Real food in less time so they can heal their bodies

and love themselves.

I have a vision to reach the caretakers, healers, and helpers with The New School Kitchen Philosophy, so that the planet can be renewed with Real Food.

I see a world where individuals take responsibility for their nourishment, and learn how to consistently cook the food that feeds their body best.

Learning to heal with food often means learning to live a more intentional life.

If we can become well in our bodies and minds, that means the earth, our children, our communities, and our food and health systems can also begin to heal.

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