foodies

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My Interview in the Observer (Regarding the Paleo Lifestyle)

Published April 10, 2015 by Maryanne

SAM_5886Grass-fed beef chili w/avocado

The other night I presented my lecture “Paleo for Beginners” at the Washington Township Library in Long Valley, New Jersey.

It’s an awesome group, and many thanks to librarian Jane Gold for having me.

Coinciding with the lecture, I was interviewed by the Observer. Check it out:

I present “Paleo for Beginners” at many local libraries and am willing to expand to church groups, senior groups, rotary clubs, etc. The presentation includes a paleo dish.

If you’d like to have me, please email for rates and availability: maryannechristiano@gmail.com

I am willing to travel.

Loving Hut (Vegan Restaurant), Matawan, New Jersey

Published June 29, 2013 by Maryanne

SAM_1364Lentil, chick pea, mushroom soup

SAM_1365Mango bubble tea with almond milk

SAM_1368Vegan stir fry with faux “shrimp” and brown rice

Dessert was a vegan coconut cake…

But it disappeared before I could get a shot — yum!

SAM_1372Darlene and Maryanne, happy about our happy meal

For more information on Loving Hut: http://lovinghut.us/matawan_01/index.html

Infini-t Cafe, Princeton, New Jersey

Published May 19, 2013 by Maryanne

SAM_0844Tomato Chili Soup

SAM_0843Tomato/Cucumber on Whole Wheat with Chutney and side salad

My husband and I spent a few hours in Princeton record shopping and ate, for the first time at Infini-T Cafe, a green and vegetarian-option restaurant.

I’d love to share their website, but there is none!

Infini-t Cafe is basically a tea room with dozens of teas to choose from. I tried none since I already had my caffeine quota for the day and instead asked for water. I had their tomato soup (the chili pepper next to my sandwich was in my soup — which gave it an extra oomph!) and a cucumber/tomato sandwich with chutney on whole wheat. Both dishes were fantastic!

The place was lovely and cozy, reminding me of a 1990s place when coffee shops/tea places were all very poetic looking. Students from the college come here to study and go online, so it was nice and peaceful.

The people who worked there were very pleasant. It’s like another world in Princeton which is why it’s one of my favorite places in New Jersey — there are more nice people than not-so-nice.

If I didn’t have such a filling sandwich I would have loved to try the green tea cupcakes! Maybe next time!

SAM_0847Delicious meal, I am full!

Cold (Raw) Mango Soup!

Published May 6, 2013 by Maryanne

SAM_0761Cold Mango Soup (Photo by Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta)

I just made this amazing cold mango soup (suitable for vegans and raw foodists!)

Simply blend all the following ingredients

2 cups diced organic mangos

1 orange

1/2 large cucumber

1/2 red bell pepper

2 cloves organic garlic

Juice of two limes

Handful of cilantro

1 tablespoon organic cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil

A half cup water

Flavor with sea salt and freshly ground pepper

This makes one serving. And it’s so ultra delicious! Yum!

Health Raves

Published March 3, 2013 by Maryanne

Dreaming cow better photoThe most delicious, healthiest yogurt ever!

I’ve been meaning to blog about “Dreaming Cow” yogurt for several weeks now.

America’s fascination with thinking of yogurt as a “health food” irks me to no end. There are hundreds of yogurts on the market, but they are all homogenized, filled with hormones, preservatives and contain sugar. Not to mention the yogurt places like Go Yogurt that use corn solids and artificial colors and flavorings. This is the garbage people are feeding their children on a daily basis, not even as a treat!

This is not so for Dreaming Cow. Their yogurt is non-homogenized, all natural, grass-fed with no added hormones, no preservatives and no refined sugar. The cream is so luscious to the lips. It’s my favorite yogurt ever! I prefer the regular, natural one. But the flavored ones (flavored with low-glycemic agave nectar) are delicious as a treat.

You can read more about it here: http://dreamingcow.com/

Another product that’s been part of my regular health regimen is Dr. Berg’s Kale Shakes. They are just awesome in the morning. They are promoted as a “meal replacement” — but hey, this is an Italian girl you’re talking to, no meal replacements here! Instead I think they are a healthy addition to a breakfast, giving you additional protein and greens. And they are YUMMY! Not chalky at all. The powder dissolves easily in coconut or almond milk.

For more information, go here: http://www.drberg.com/

Vita RocksVita Rocks!

And finally, Vita Rocks, a healthier version of Pop Rocks!

Interesting, just the other day I was thinking how much I loved Pop Rocks as a kid. Now I can re-live my childhood with this silly treat that’s kinda good for you. Vita Rocks are all natural and loaded with vitamins. The downfall is they do contain evaporated cane juice and are processed with CO2 for popping effect. So, again, a treat, not as a regular diet plan. They contain half of the RDA vitamins including: A, C, D3, E, B1, B3, B6, B9, B12, biotin, B5 and iodine. They also contain 26 percent RDA zinc and 17 percent RDA selenium.

Fettucine Avocado

Published February 3, 2013 by Maryanne

Fettucini Avocado

Fettucine w/avocado sauce (photo swiped from Google search)

Here’s a delicious recipe I found in Woman’s World. It’s a much healthier version of fettucine alfredo, so I re-named it “fettucine avocado.” This is what my husband and I had for a late lunch today and it was amazing!

Avocado is one of the healthy fats that your body needs to function (and actually burn fat!) Avocados contain potassium, B vitamins and more lutein than any other fruit.

This version is fettucine has no animal ingredients at all, so it’s perfect for vegans.

Add a small salad as a side dish and you have a perfect Sunday meal!

Fettucine Avocado

Prepare two servings of pasta. (I used artichoke fettucine style pasta.)

While that’s cooking, pulse (in blender or food processor) two peeled garlic gloves, juice from 1/2 a lemon, two tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil (I always used cold-pressed because it’s healthiest) and two tablespoons of water until smooth.

Then add a medium sized avocado (pitted of course) and one fresh basil leaf and pulse until creamy. (The recipe called for salt, but I didn’t use any).

Pour over pasta and add pepper to taste.

DELICIOUS!

Super Fats!

Published October 7, 2012 by Maryanne

Another healthy obsession of mine!

I can’t stress how tired I am of going to Whole Foods and hearing vendors promoting their products using the “fat free” card.

I’ve said it once. I’ve said it twice. I’ve said it a thousand times. FAT IS NOT THE ENEMY!

Fat is GOOD for you.

And FAT DOES NOT MAKE YOU FAT!

Fat is a vital nutrient. Fatty acids are good for healthy skin, muscular strength and growth, and vitamin absorption. Fats contribute to a healthy nervous system and can help lubricate your joints.

Now I’m not talking about hydrogenated, saturated fats and trans fats. I’m talking about GOOD FATS such as: avocados, cold pressed olive oils, nuts, fatty fish, and my favorite: raw extra virgin coconut oil (see above photo!)

In addition to the benefits of healthy fats, additional health benefits gained from using raw extra virgin coconut oil include: stress relief, proper digestion, thyroid function, increased immunity, healing infections, relief from high blood pressure and even WEIGHT LOSS!

This stuff just melts in your mouth.  I use this product most often in non-homogenized yogurt and on my Ezekiel low-glycemic raisin bread. And sometimes I’ll use it on a baked sweet potato, the combination of the two tastes like a marzipan treat!

This delicious treat is so tasty, sometimes I just spoon it out of the jar and enjoy!

Step aside super foods and super fruits — make way for the super fats! And I nominate raw extra virgin coconut oil to be at the top of the list!

The “Gentle” Food Snob

Published March 4, 2012 by Maryanne

The first time I was called a “food snob” I took it as a compliment. At one time, about six years ago, I was known as a “raw foodist” — a person who eats nothing but fresh food (unprocessed, unfiltered, unpasteurized, uncooked). Unless I ate a mango out of season, anything that touched my mouth was absolutely delicious because I brought nothing but fresh and prepared it myself (the dish pictured above is one of my raw delights, mashed bananas and sliced kiwi with raw cacao nibs — all organic).

At one time, there were only four restaurants I would eat in and they were all in NYC: Quintessence, Bonobo’s, Caravan of Dreams and Pure Food and Wine. Had I dined anywhere else, I would be eating prison rations because the menu choices were so limited.

Over the years, I let down my guard. I am still a food snob, my first preference being home cooked meals from scratch (by me, my husband or any friend/family member — in that order); second, the NYC raw restaurants; and third any vegetarian restaurant or a health food store that offers seating and fresh meals. BUT, although still a food snob, I am now a more gentle one. I will go out to eat at any restaurant — including diners (surprise, surprise) and enjoy the meal. I swear!

Diehard raw foodists, health enthusiastics, or foodies who would simply refuse to step foot into a diner may not get this, but hear me out …

During my raw food years, I’ve had several bad reactions to non-raw or non-organic food I consumed when dining out. These bad reactions consisted of mainly rashes, but also bloating and stomach aches. I’ve had similar reactions during parties when someone claimed something was all natural and it wasn’t, therefore I ended up running to the nearest health food store for probiotics. Eventually I started bringing my own food everywhere, including restaurants.

I was beginning to feel like a freak. I had to stop and ask myself, “Do I really want to be THIS pure?”

Vegans and vegetarians I met online would always give me holier than thou attitude saying that I needed to meet more vegan friends, which to me sounded cult-like and scary. Thank you very much, but I like the friends I already have — non-judgmental.

Little by little I started weaning myself back on cooked foods. And admittedly not always healthy foods either. After three years of not consuming pasta, bread and sugar, I let myself have a treat slowly and surely until I was able to eat restaurant food or non-raw food without an adverse reaction.

Now I can eat ANYWHERE without fear.

Do I still believe in raw and health foods? Yes, but I also believe that isolation isn’t healthy. If you live on a farm or in California where there is a great abundance of natural, health food — then God bless you. But most of us don’t. And most of us don’t have friends and family that eat as healthy as we’d like them to, but you know what? It’s OKAY!

I believe that good food is essential to good health. But it’s more than food. It’s love and friendship. It’s exercise. It’s listening to music. It’s having pets. It’s having a career and/or hobby you absolutely love. It’s having dreams and following your heart’s desire. This is probably why people, like say, Steven Tyler, have been through the mill with drugs and adversity and still look amazing in their 60s. It’s all a state of mind!

Food is something you can’t escape, so why not enjoy it to the fullest, under all circumstances. Meals should be enjoyed, not feared. Six years ago I was so obsessed with health, I was underweight and nervous all the time. Now, I could afford to lose five pounds, but I am content and enjoy life more because I can go anywhere and not be afraid if there will be something I can or can’t eat. Nor do I obsess over what is in everything. I do my best at home and when I’m dining out, I just hope for the best.

So, these days, 60 percent of the time I am preparing food for myself (raw or organic), 30 percent of the time I enjoy a healthy meal not prepared by myself, whether it’s an Amy’s Organic TV dinner or a meal at Veggie Heaven and the other 10 percent of the time I’ll go to a diner or treat myself to french fries or cold sesame noodles. To me, this is a wonderful balance — truly having my cake and eating it too.

And when I go out to a restaurant or to someone’s home and the meal isn’t up to par, I will not complain, but rather make up for it with my next meal. So even though I’m still a food snob, no one notices. Not that there is anything wrong with being a foodie or a food snob, it just means you embrace a good meal. But when someone wants to spend time with you and he/she chooses a restaurant, I think it’s in bad taste, not to mention bad for the digestive system, to snub a meal by merely saying, “It’s alright” and making a face.

If you must express your displeasure (and I admit, I am guilty of this myself), at least say it with some positive force behind it … like, you could say, “It’s not that great, but wow, what a fantastic conversation we had! I always love hanging out with you!”or “Food sucks, but what a good waiter!” or “Limp lettuce, but the atmosphere is stellar!”

Now THAT is a gentle food snob and something to truly be proud of! Changing my healthy ways was probably the healthiest thing I ever did for my psyche!