About Cheryl Englebretson
Personal Chef, Culinary Nutrition Expert and Health Coach
The Real Food Well Story
I was working full-time in a stressful corporate job when my son was diagnosed with diabetes and celiac disease. He had to watch the amount of carbohydrates and sugar he was eating, and he had to avoid anything with gluten—no wheat, rye or barley.
Changed how my family eats
Suddenly my family had to adapt to a whole new way of eating. I was overwhelmed by finding gluten-free and low-sugar meals that were easy to make and that my family would eat without complaining. So many of the recipes I tried simply didn’t taste as good and they let me know about it.
I became a detective. I read every food label, hunting for ingredients that would not be harmful to my son’s health, in their many names and forms. I discovered the products, stores and Twin Cities restaurants that would best support our new way of living.
We chose to continue having gluten and carbs in our home. My husband and daughter weren’t quite ready to give up their bread and sweets, and we didn’t want my son to live in a bubble. He was going to be at school and in the homes of friends and family where he’d have to know how to advocate for himself and avoid the ingredients that might be harmful to him.
Changed how I cooked
I set up our kitchen with separate appliances and utensils where we needed to avoid the risk of cross-contamination. I bought separate containers of communal foods like jam, peanut butter and butter. I educated our family, friends and the care providers at school and church about his conditions and how to best keep him safe when he was eating in their homes or facilities.
I loved to cook but this new paradigm challenged my love of food in a way I didn’t realize was possible. Cooking became more of a chore, but also a challenge I was determined to conquer. I spent hours combing through cookbooks and websites and testing out new recipes that I thought my family would enjoy. I was exhausted, overwhelmed and felt defeated at times.
Medical professionals told me to avoid gluten and sugar, but not how to cut these things out in a way that would be appealing. No one told me how to successfully navigate school lunches and the nightly challenges at the dinner table. I realized that I’d have to figure that out on my own.
Through years of trial and error, I discovered what worked and what didn’t. I learned that by preparing dishes with real food ingredients and less processed food, I could better control what we were putting in our bodies. I also learned how to keep the shopping and food prep simpler and all of us healthier and happier at the end of the day.
A new passion and career path
Once I got through the stress of learning a whole new way of eating and getting my family on board, I discovered a new passion: Not only did I love food again, now I was passionate about helping others navigate their own dietary challenges. I wanted to share my experiences so that no other parent would have to experience what I did. I wanted to help families take control of the kitchen table and enjoy mealtimes again. Real Food Well was born.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by a new food sensitivity or medical diagnosis that requires a change to how your family approaches food, I’m here to help.
My Food Philosophy
Eat real food in balance. Focus on easy-to-make food that tastes amazing!
I am a certified Integrative Health Coach, Culinary Nutrition Expert and Personal Chef.
As a health coach, I can help you to identify small changes you’d like to make in your lifestyle to improve your health and quality of life. I listen actively and ask thought provoking questions, provide encouragement and help to hold you accountable through regular conversations about your goals and progress.
As a culinary nutrition expert, I can show you how to meal plan, prep, shop and cook using real food ingredients that will nourish your health and well-being and that can be accomplished by the average home cook.
As a personal chef, I can help you to lighten the load by designing a meal plan and recipes for you to cook on your own or have me cook for you in your home and leave behind for you to heat and enjoy later. Meal plans are based on your dietary needs and preferences.
Degrees & Certifications
- Integrative Nutrition Health Coach
Institute For Integrative Nutrition
- Culinary Nutrition Expert
Academy of Culinary Nutrition
- Personal Chef Certificate
Culinary Business Institute
United States Personal Chef Association
- Bachelor of Arts in Spanish
Minor in Business & Political Science