UW-Stout News Story

Alumna promotes healthy living through cookbook, business

April 5, 2012

A University of Wisconsin-Stout alumna has an ambitious and challenging goal: to teach people to cook and eat in a healthy way.

Shana Conradt, with a degree in 2000 in psychology, didn’t graduate with this goal in mind; it manifested itself over a period of time while she worked with clients at her fitness and weight loss center.

In 2002 Conradt and an associate co-founded Ellipse Fitness in Appleton. The center started small with one weight loss studio, but by the time she sold her interest in 2010 the business had become a chain with 10 centers in Wisconsin.

As a certified fitness and weight loss coach, she had noticed a trend. “It seemed to me that food-related issues were more of a challenge for people to overcome. I was constantly bombarded with questions about what to eat, how to prepare it, what brands to shop for, etc.,” Conradt said.

As a result she changed her focus. “I determined that my passion for addressing these concerns outweighed my interest in fitness,” Conradt said.

In 2010 she published her first cookbook, “Getting Fit With Food,” which offers 101 recipes for healthy eating. Her cookbook is available for purchase through the website she co-founded, BeWellCooking.com. She is working on a second cookbook.

Her recipes are originals.

Conradt now owns and operates her own catering business, SL Conradt, which provides personal chef services. She works with families to provide them with healthy, tasty meals, including meeting with them to determine likes and dislikes, preparing meals and delivering them once a week. She also caters small dinner parties, doing the planning and cooking. She was the personal trainer for contestant Kristin Steede on season seven of the NBC TV show “The Biggest Loser.”

Conradt speaks to corporations, gives cooking demonstrations, presents at schools and teaches cooking classes. She has been a frequent guest on local news programs near where she lives in Greenville, in the Fox Cities area of east-central Wisconsin.

Some chronic health issues of today — diabetes, high blood pressure, celiac disease — can be addressed with proper nutrition, she believes. Her goal is to form communities in each of these areas where individuals can find more information about their conditions as well as find meal plans that specifically address their needs, she said.

Conradt’s family serves as her test kitchen so to speak. Her husband grew up on a dairy farm eating butter, cream and cheese; when he loves her recipes that don’t contain dairy products she knows she has a hit. Her children also love eating healthy food. “It's what they have been raised on so it's all they know,” she said.

As a child she saw her mother removing the skin and fat from chicken before cooking; having soda pop and fast food were rare occurrences. She also started early helping her mother in the kitchen.

It isn’t easy to change eating habits as an adult, she said. “It takes a much longer period of time than people may think,” but it’s possible with reinforcement over six to 12 months, she said.

Conradt attended UW-Stout because of its small size and “great professors,” she said. Her psychology degree has provided the foundation she needs in interacting with people. As a nutrition coach, she listens, responds, teaches and devises training programs unique to each client.

“I feel the success I have is because of my approach,” she said. “I learned those skills during my time at Stout. I am very grateful for that.”

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