Q&A: The Personal Meaning of Health and Nourishment

Interview by Lorna Oppedisano

We sat down with local author Kate Mahoney and nutritionist Emily Tills to get a preview of their upcoming event, “Healing from the Inside Out,” during which they will interview each other about what nourishment can look like, how health helped shape their purposes, inform their business practices and cultivate community.

Join them for an intimate discussion at Epicuse on Thursday, October 20, as they discuss what helped them heal into today.

Talk a little about your individual backgrounds and journeys that brought you here.

Kate: My personal journey of illness and recovery took me away from screens, stages and scripts for a while, yet parlays those very same layers of context and nuance into my work as a patient and caregiver advocate. Being human is a full-time gig.

Emily: After battling an eating disorder in high school and seeing how much food plays a role in our everyday lives and how we treat ourselves, I found my passion for nutrition. Nutrition shouldn’t be a 30-day challenge or a one-and-done thing; proper nutrition and healthy habits is a lifestyle you can do forever.

How did you meet?

Emily: Kate and I met in 2014, leading up to my high school graduation from Bishop Ludden. She came into religion class to introduce herself, get to know our class and also have us get to know her. Although we didn’t have much 1:1 time or talked, her story stayed with me throughout the years. 

Kate: In the early days of the pandemic, we connected again when my mom signed on with her

for nutrition coaching. I realized we had a lot of overlapping interests, similar high school experiences, an awareness of trauma and a shared desire to support people in phases of healing.

How/when did you realize there might be space for collaboration?

Emily: We were able to reconnect last year and caught up on things happening in our own lives and more into our own background. We realized we both have stories of healing and different modalities that affected us.

Kate: I emailed Emily something to the effect of, You’re good at what you do. Wanna do something together? I’m not sure what?” And she replied with what I now know to be her baseline motivation, positive energy and enthusiasm. We wouldn’t be here without her Yes.”

Emily: We realized we could bring unique perspectives on different areas of healing to a wide range of problems and areas. 

What does healing mean to you?

Emily: Healing means rebuilding — to not get rid of a problem, but to learn how to use the trauma or problem as a way of finding strength in areas of discomfort and growing from it. The pandemic has only encouraged us to take a look at ourselves, audit how we are feeling and where we are to bring us to a better place mentally, physically and emotionally. I started working with a therapist during the pandemic, which has helped reshape my mental headspace and awareness.

Kate: The pandemic provided me the opportunity to seize silence, learn from others, trust myself, participate in my own quantum healing and figure out how to create a plan of action that enabled me to support and validate others without re-traumatizing myself.

What can people expect from this event?

Kate: Emily and I have written up questions and will interview one another. We’ll take questions to foster dialog and connections in the group. We’ll also send participants home with gift bags containing self-care treats and resources from the community. We’ll each be available to sign new clients or suggest outreach that may be the best fit for the moment.

Talk about the venue location for this event and its importance.

Emily: I have hosted a client event at Epicuse before. The staff is very nice and accommodating, the space is large and I really like that they feature local products and support other small businesses. Epicuse and Sky Armory are also women-owned businesses, which is important as well. 

Do you anticipate this being a series?

Kate: We hope so! I place a high value on inclusivity and welcome. Ultimately, I think we both hope to keep conversations intimate, showcase venues and practitioners and make all that available to audiences. There is intersectionality in healing; our voices won’t always be the ones people need. To go back to the arts: just like book, painting or song, we are drawn in by something that entertains, educates and helps us escape or become empowered. The right collaborations provide all of that.

What do you hope people might take away from this event?

Emily: They learn there are people and services that are there to help them in any capacity they need. We want people to know your story is your own and your healing may look different but asking for help and building a team is important.

Kate: I hope people leave feeling nourished.

Join Kate and Emily for more conversation at their Healing from the Inside Out event. Get your tickets at https://bit.ly/3DpMwrx.