Letter to my readers
Welcome to my site. It’s taken me a long time to get here: a number of careers, various countries, a couple of degrees, different languages, friendships and relationships, some bad experiences and some amazing ones.
I’ve been writing and blogging for over ten years now, but I never thought I would have a food blog- let alone write about nutrition and wellness. Alas, here I am: with the hopes of sharing with you my greatest passions and a bit of insight into a lifestyle. It’s a lifestyle I have spent four years studying and elaborating. It’s a journey. A journey that I have completely thrown myself into and something I truly believe can create happiness, health, and wellbeing. And if I can be so bold as to say- can create wholeness. It made me whole again.
Less than five years ago, I was living what many would call the epitome of “La Dolce Vita,” the sweet life. An American in Italy, a gorgeous apartment next to the Spanish Steps in Rome, a beautiful Italian husband, an exciting career as a television host and days off spent jet-setting around Europe. I was enjoying The Eternal City, complete with all its accoutrements. There were glamorous parties, even more glamorous friends, amazing food, great wine…you name it.
Then, in February of 2014, I gave birth to my baby girl and it all changed.
After a very difficult pregnancy and a tough birth, I fell into a deep depression. Call it hormones or loneliness or shock. Call it baby blues or post-partum depression. Whatever it was, it was the darkest period of my life. I lost myself. I lost touch with reality. I couldn’t take care of myself, let alone my daughter. And as time passed, it wasn’t getting any better.
I have never been a big fan of pharmaceuticals, let alone psycho-pharmaceuticals and they were really the only solution proposed to me. That was when I turned to nutrition and a little later, holistic wellness. I know that post-partum depression isn’t cancer- it isn’t an autoimmune disease and it wasn’t going to kill me. But anyone who has ever suffered from depression knows that it is a real illness: it is a horrifying state of being that brings with it an internal darkness whose depths have no bounds. I didn’t want to live with depression, and it is certainly not the state in which I had hoped to raise a child.
I began reading everything I could find on the connection between what we eat and mental health. I learned about the bio dome and about how serotonin is produced. I read everything from The China Study to the pH Miracle to scientific journals. I studied individuals from Kris Carr to Dr. Mark Hyman to Dr. Alejandro Junger. I’ve been a vegetarian for over 30 years but through my studies, I’ve become even more aware of the ethical side of things. Namely, the (mis)treatment of animals when it comes to dairy and the footprint the animal food industry is leaving on our already struggling planet.
Three summers ago, on a long stretch of isolated beach with no trace of WiFi, plenty of time and a growing heap of books on nutrition and cooking, I found myself inching towards the kitchen. With my taste-testers—daughter, dog and nanny—by my side, I took my long love for cooking and experimentation with food, mixed in my newly forming habits and voila’: a new journey began. And with it, I began chronicling the invention, discovery, and deliciousness.
I began obsessively learning and reading, venturing into the local markets and organic supermarkets, studying and acquiring information, trying out new whole-foods and plant-based recipes. I began dabbling in veganism, raw, alkaline and macrobiotic cuisines. Each day I was discovering new practices and coming closer to understanding holistic health: a blend of physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing. My kitchen looked like a war zone- with a huge Excelsior dehydrator constantly on a low rumble, blenders, juicers, food processors, the fridge and freezer filled to the brim with my concoctions.… I filled my days with the discovery of my new self and my new passions and guess what? When the summer was over, not only did the physical effects of my new diet show, but I had gained so much more: I felt like me again. I was at peace. I was happy. I was WHOLE. I went back to Rome renewed, refreshed, and healthier than I had ever been and with a conviction that health (mental and physical) begins with what we put into our bodies. I had discovered a new way of living.
Since then, I have become a certified health coach, completing my studies with the world’s largest Nutrition School, IIN (Institute for Integrative Nutrition). I have also been awarded a diploma through Cornell University’s Center for Nutrition Studies after completing T. Colin Campbell’s course in Plant-Based Nutrition. I continue to learn and grow. My very experience on this earth- as a woman, as a mother, as a professional and as a human- has been heightened.
I became a vegetarian over 30 years ago because of my love of animals; I have now become almost 100% vegan because I love myself.
I am not a nutritionist, nor am I a trained chef. I don’t have some horrifying illness that I have bounced back from by having a whole-foods, plant based diet. I am not a doctor and I am not an expert. But I have been a vegetarian for 30 years, nearly my entire life, and I have been cooking and experimenting in the kitchen for as long as I can remember. I am a former organic cafe owner, a writer, a health coach, an MBA, a recipe developer and budding food photographer. I am a conscious animal lover, earth mother, and humanitarian. I am now a mother to my own daughter and as important as my own nutrition is to me, what I put in my little girl’s body is paramount.
So here I am, on my journey… and ready to share everything I know deep within my heart with you, my readers.
What I aim to create - and to share (and hopefully inspire others to cook) is GOOD FOOD. Good food, to me, means food that nourishes you from the inside out. Food that is full of phytonutrients… vitamins and minerals, antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents. Food that heals. Food that I am proud to feed my family. Food that is genuine and kind: - kind to our bodies and kind to the earth and its creatures. My food (Morganic food), leaves out all the poison that most of today’s store- bought “foods” include. Good food shouldn’t have refined sugars or flours; it shouldn’t include chemicals, preservatives or dyes. Good food is conscious food. It’s preventative medicine. “Pay the farmer now or the pharma later.” Please remember that.
Furthermore, I have been a vegetarian since the age of age three, I KNOW how boring “healthy” can be. I have spent countless hours of my life sitting in front of plates of tasteless grilled vegetables and wilted lettuce leaves in restaurants that touted them as “vegetarian/vegan” options.
My food isn’t about that. It’s about flavor and variation. It’s about giving up the toxins in the modern diet but not the taste. Everything I make, whether it be a silky green smoothie, spicy curry, colorful side dish, mouth-watering pizza or sumptuous dessert – is actually really really yummy! Believe me. Ask any of the carnivores that hang around my house waiting for my oven timer to ding.
All the recipes you will find on my site or posted on my social networks are 100% plant based, vegan, gluten free and refined sugar- free.
I don’t believe that there exists one correct way to eat or one diet that everyone should follow. I am a strong believer in bio-diversity: we are all different and our bodies have different needs. My food, and its rigorous standards are a result of discovering what works best for me. It is the food that keeps me healthy, keeps my mind fresh and my body in fighting form.
At the same time, I am by nature, a hedonist. I truly believe that we only have this one life and that it should be lived to it’s fullest. So if that means the occasional glass of wine or slice of pizza, then go for it! Wellness is not about deprivation. It’s about filling ourselves with so much goodness that we won’t want the crap anymore…and by crap, I mean the food that makes us feel terrible: “comfort food,” Standard American Diet (SAD) stuff.…
Lastly, I want to touch on the topic of “Primary Food.” I learned about Primary Food while I was studying with the Institute of Integrative Nutrition and it has become one of the ruling concepts in my daily life. Primary food is that which nourishes the soul, as opposed to our bellies. Primary food consists of anything from relationships and spirituality to physical exercise and career. Understanding Primary Food teaches the understanding that we can eat all the flax seeds and drink all the green juices in the world- but if the rest is out of whack, we’re not going to get anywhere.
I’ve been on this “wellness journey” for three years now and I am still working on my primary food. From my meditation practices, to sleep habits, to cutting toxic people out of my life. It is a process. But it is an incredible process…and this process, combined with the right foods and practices, can lead to a fulfilling, joyful and healthy life. And isn’t that what it’s all about anyway?
Thanks for taking the time to read. Now …without further ado …let OUR journey begin!!!