In March 2017, one of my writers, Kristi Slotemaker, had a chance encounter with a young lady at the Sammamish Metropolitan Market grand opening.

Walking through the aisles, Kristi heard two friends chatting.

“Is your sauce on the shelf?”

“Yes, it’s there.”

… and they do a little happy high five.

From that chance encounter began my friendship with Chef Kirsten Helle, the founder and President of Mesa de Vida Healthy Global Gourmet. She has acted as a personal chef to professional athletes in the NFL, NBA and others, including several Seattle Seahawks players and consults with their doctors and/or trainers to design meals that help them reach their performance goals.

Kristi, Kirsten and I in 2017

Her championing for a healthy heart has given her the opportunity to be featured on the Food Network, FOX, NBC, The Huffington Post, Woman’s Day and so much more. Her passion for a healthy heart comes from her own life experience. With a family history of lifestyle-related disease, she was fighting a battle with food addiction and low self-esteem at the age of 25. At 100 pounds overweight with high blood pressure, high cholesterol and pre-diabetes, she wanted to make sure her two year old daughter did not follow the same unhealthy destiny.

(Photo Credit: Audra Mulkern)

Once she made the choice to change her habits, she was determined to create a life of longevity, health and happiness for herself, her family, and everyone around her. She chose to embrace food for what is is, something wonderful that brings everyone together. As she says, food is “bringing life to the table,” and with healthy choices, can bring on a vibrant life.

(Photo Credit: Audra Mulkern)

Since Kristi’s chance encounter with Kirsten and having the opportunity to meet her myself and watch her business grow – I’m so excited that Mesa de Vida was chosen by Whole Foods Market global buyers to be a part of their core ethnic food reset, which launched last month at over 400 Whole Foods stores across the U.S.! I could not be more proud of Kirsten and all that she has accomplished. You want to talk about someone who started a business from the ground up, wanting nothing more than to help folks make healthier food choices (that taste soooooo good), and now we can all #MakeItWithMesaDeVida!

Stocking up on my own jars of Mesa de Vida at Whole Foods Roosevelt Square location in Seattle.

Speaking of – have you had the chance to try any of the cooking sauces? With five sauces to choose from, including Caribbean, Creole, Mediterranean, North African and Smoky Latin – you can’t go wrong! Her website,, is full of inspiring meal ideas and suggestions to help jump start your dinner plans. The sauces are versatile and concentrated to boost the flavor and nutrition of anything you cook! They are even Whole30 Approved, and are gluten-free, paleo, heart healthy, vegan and keto-friendly!

(Photo Credit: Audra Mulkern)

Typing out this story is making me hungry, I am ready to cook some dinner now using my own Mesa de Vida sauce! Be sure to pick up some of the sauces on your way home from the Ethnic Cooking section of your local Whole Foods Market today!

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