Follow-Up File: The Wellness Kitchen branches out

Name: Nancy Walker

Job: Owner

Business: The Wellness Kitchen What she said then:

In December, The Tribune profiled The Wellness Kitchen in Templeton.

Nestled in an 1892 Victorian home, the business was created to be “a peaceful place for education, health and recovery,” owner Nancy Walker said.

The still-evolving concept had a team of culinary and nutrition experts, yoga instructors and massage therapists. The center offers preplanned meal programs and cooking classes with a focus on healing through improved nutrition.

Inspired by Walker’s experiences with family members who faced cancer, the center has a strong focus on supporting special needs for oncology patients. For example, it serves high-nutrition bone marrow soups and offers a therapist who specializes in oncology massage.

Other food programs address other health and dietary needs with organic, vegan, dairy- and gluten-free options. What she says now:

The Wellness Kitchen is now offering meal delivery once a week at a location in South County for those who don’t feel up to a trip “over the hill.”

Once a week, clients can pick up preordered entrees, grain salads, soups and desserts at the Natural Foods Co-Op of San Luis Obispo.

“A lot of oncology doctors are down there too,” Walker said. “I wanted to make this happen for those people that have really pulled a yucky card in the deck of life.”

An idea to add a “bed-and-breakfast” room in a more private part of the building has given way to the addition of a marriage and family therapist.

Food is the center’s primary focus, but those making such lifestyle changes or facing life-threatening illnesses often need emotional support, Walker finds.

“Whether it’s filling a comfort or craving, a lot of it is mental,” she said. “We want to teach you to fulfill that anxiety without a donut.”

For a healthier treat, the team’s baker offers cookies, muffins and other snacks. Beverages are available all day. Those who stop by are encouraged to linger on the veranda.

Walker has considered seeking nonprofit status, but prefers to remain a private business.

“The idea of giving my passion up to a board of directors ... I wasn’t ready to do that yet,” she said.