Carol Greenberg Brooks, Coral Gables

02/05/2014 10:00 AM

01/27/2014 4:55 PM

Every Sunday a group of like-minded health enthusiasts gathers at Carol Greenberg Brooks’ home in Coral Gables for an adventure in cooking and exercise. “It’s really a retreat here and the kitchen is our home base,” says the South Florida native, whose family and friends are committed to staying in tip-top shape, physically and mentally, by eating fresh, seasonal and organic. At the center of her kitchen is an island made of American walnut, complete with countless cuts and imperfections. She affectionately describes the oversize cutting board as “beautifully scarred with life.” This is where she and her husband, Mark, cook collaboratively with their guests, making smoothies with their homegrown bananas, mangoes and aloe, and pulling herbs, carrots and tomatoes from the garden in the backyard for larger courses. The components of their meals are dictated by the season, which requires flexibility and creativity. “Food tastes the best when you grow it with love. One should always endeavor to eat live food and you don’t need formal training to make good meals with this philosophy,” she says. As a third degree black belt, Brooks has the discipline to sustain this lifestyle, but she’s quick to point out that she’s not too hard on herself or others: “I can go to a restaurant and eat like a normal person. This is not a religion for me, but it does keep me healthy, vibrant and keeps me thinking sharply.” The couple’s extended family day isn’t too structured either. Guests of all ages are usually scattered across the property practicing yoga, playing volleyball on the beach court, swimming laps in the lake or getting their hands dirty in the garden. From the kitchen, which is open to the rest of the home and the backyard, Brooks says you can watch it all happen.

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