(l-r): Tia Parker throwing down in the kitchen for private chef clients; meals being prepped and ready for pick-up;; meals in food containers ready for contactless delivery – people in quarantine have to eat too. (Courtesy photos)

By Mylika Scatliffe
AFRO Women’s Health Writer

Tia Parker by her own admission was fascinated and obsessed with all things cooking, beginning at age 12. She knew more about Julia Childs and Two Fat Ladies than the average tween. It’s been 18 years in the making, but she’s turned her passion into a bona fide business, A Walk of Faith Divine Cuisine. Parker’s description on the “about” section of her Facebook business page says, “Food made with love and passion for the sole purpose of making bellies happy! Gourmet Soul is who we are!”

Parker started out selling dinners from her mother’s kitchen in 2003 and eventually started catering events like her cousin’s 30th birthday party, weddings and baby showers. “That’s when I really realized I could make this into a business,” Parker said.   She does it all – catered events large and small, weekly breakfast, lunch, and dinners sales, private chef services, and holiday menus for those who don’t have the inclination, skill, or perhaps neither, to prepare large holiday meals.  She’s always tried to figure out ways to serve and be a blessing to others.  Most recently she’s provided meals for customers under quarantine due to COVID. Her need to honor God is always at the forefront in her work, starting with her choice of name for her business. When Parker thinks about how customers and supporters have told her things like, “Tia you are gifted” or “Tia, you are a gift from heaven” she says, “Yes, I want to make lots of money as an entrepreneur BUT making bellies HAPPY is my ultimate goal! I strongly believe one of the most intimate things to do for people is to feed them AMAZING food with respect and passion.”  

When one of her customers suggested she give meal prep a try, Parker admitted that was an area of cooking and food service she had never considered, but realized it was an opportunity she shouldn’t pass up; so she added a meal prep division to her business.  People often have the desire to get and stay in shape but might not have the time to maintain a consistent fitness routine and plan and cook healthy meals.

An important benefit of meal prepping, especially if you allow a business like A Walk of Faith Divine Cuisine to do it for you, is that it reduces the stress of trying to eat healthier and making daily decisions on what to prepare. This is especially helpful at lunch time during a hectic workday or at dinner time when after work exhaustion sets in.  It saves an enormous amount of time in the kitchen and makes eating healthy simpler. Eating at appropriate intervals is a snap and you can ensure that when you don’t know what to or wait too long to eat, you’ll avoid overeating or making poor nutritional choices.

Meal prepping, whether doing it you, means you can make more intentional, healthy choices about what goes into your food.  Meal prep helps to avoid the hidden fat and excess sodium and sugar that comes with restaurant and processed food.  Another crucial benefit is portion control; it allows for knowing exactly how many ounces of protein, carbs, and vegetables you consume to achieve specific health and fitness goals.

A Walk of Faith Divine Cuisine offers 3 meal prep plans- Weight Loss plan, Active Weight Loss Plan, and Weight Gain plan. The Weight Loss plan, achieved with no exercise, offers 4oz. of protein (e.g.  salmon or seared turkey chops) per meal, along with ¼ cup of carbs such as brown rice or honey roasted sweet potatoes, and a ½ cup of vegetables. The Active Weight Loss plan includes 6 oz. of protein, 1 cup of vegetables, and ½ cup of carbs, while the Weight Gain plan includes 8 oz. of protein, 1 cup of carbs, and 1 cup of vegetables.  Meals can be prepared salt free or salted. Salt free meals are prepared with herbs and seasonings such as cilantro, thyme, cumin, turmeric, onion powder to name a few. Salted meals are prepared with sea salt which is healthier since it’s unprocessed and a smaller amount goes a long way. Sauteed items are prepared using only avocado, sunflower, or extra virgin olive oils.

All of Parker’s customers – meal prep, catering clients and everyone in between- say a variation of the same thing. The food is delicious, and the service is top-notch. Mona Carpenter, Parker’s first meal prep client told me, “When I tell you Tia’s fingers are blessed, they are! My best friend and I were amazed at how her asparagus stayed crisp even after being refrigerated for a few days. Her meals are tasty and savory with your health in mind, not to mention made with the love of Jesus Christ…. her customer service is unmatched!”

Parker’s practical advice about meal prep, whether using her service or doing it at home, is to be mentally prepared and have discipline. Don’t beat yourself up if you get off track and make sure you have balance. Don’t over restrict yourself from treats. It leads to overindulgence.  “Don’t think in terms of how much money you’re spending, think of how you’re investing in yourself and your life,” Parker advised.

For more information on A Walk of Faith Divine Cuisine’s available meal prep plans and other food services, visit https://awalkoffaithdivinecuisine.com.

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