oleda baker

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Running with the Winners

Published June 3, 2015 by Maryanne

SAM_5993My Ed Hardy sneakers, not for running!

For several days I’ve been meaning to write a blog about exercise. What better day than National Running Day?! Here’s an article I wrote several years ago on the benefits of running: http://patch.com/new-jersey/verona/running-with-the-winners

Maybe some can be inspired by the article, though I must share I’m not a runner myself. I stopped doing high impact exercising in 2010 after interviewing Oleda Baker who said that jogging, running and jumping could hurt the joints. Read the full article here: https://maryannemistretta.wordpress.com/2013/08/11/oleda-baker-article-i-wrote-for-the-patch-in-2010/

Whether you’re all for running or prefer other types of exercise, the thing is make sure you are exercising with passion and not disgust. If you’re working out and hating it the whole time, you won’t lose any weight. Why? Because stress turns to sugar.

It’s better to exercise when you’re happy about it. Not when you’re in the mind frame of “Oh, I gotta do this.” A clever suggestion is to break up a work-out into two mini work-outs instead of having one long one where you’re watching the clock. I’ve noticed that when I do this and also take breaks where I don’t exercise for a day or two (and do something else like meditating instead) that’s when my metabolism kicks in and I can eat a lot more and stay at my goal weight (and sometimes surprisingly be under my goal weight!)

Over the past weekend I ate a lot of stuff I normally don’t — chips, hummus, and a seafood dish with creamy lobster sauce and long grain rice. Yet the scale was my best friend — every day I was at my goal weight. I mentioned that to my husband and he reminded me, “Because you’re not stressed.”

As a side note, I eat about 80 percent paleo.

SAM_7122Fit over 50!

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is an award-winning journalist, author and public speaker. She is available for the presentation “Paleo for Beginners” which includes a healthy dish.

And for seniors, “Here’s to Your Health and the Benefits of Walking.”

For more information, pricing and availability, contact Maryanne at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com



“Here’s To Your Health” at Mt. Arlington Senior Living

Published May 8, 2015 by Maryanne

SAM_7193Photo by Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta

It was a gorgeous day in New Jersey to take a ride up to Mt. Arlington Senior Living.

This was the fourth time I was hired to present there as a public speaker. It’s a lovely facility and the first place I ever gave a lecture at, back in September, 2013!

Mt. Arlington Senior Living is very health conscious, so for the third time I presented “Here’s to Your Health and the Benefits of Walking.”

As always, the seniors had a great time. This group was very inspiring. Every single person exercised regularly. No one smoked (it’s not allowed in the facility anyway). And some even impressed me with their knowledge of apple cider vinegar and eating backwards (breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, dinner like a pauper) — something I’ve been doing on and off for ages!

It was so adorable that my lecture was after their Cracker Barrel (http://www.crackerbarrel.com/) luncheon.

And I got a kick out of their Mt. Arlington Daily News which read:

2:00 Here’s to You Health w/Maryanne

I love how it’s simply “Maryanne” (like “OPRAH” or “CHER”!) Ah … the little things in life, right? You gotta laugh.

Anyway, here is the synopsis for my program:

Here’s To Your Health and the Benefits of Walking Synopsis

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is an award-winning journalist, author and public speaker with a great passion for health and nutrition. She’s the former editor of NJ Health & Fitness magazine and had a health column called “Here’s to Your Health” that was published online. Her work was also published in Skinny News magazine.

Maryanne has interviewed many celebrities about health and fitness including supermodels Oleda Baker and Carol Alt, and health advocates/authors Patricia Bragg, Paul Nison and David Wolfe.

She also had the opportunity to interview Jack LaLanne but he passed away two weeks prior to the interview. Nevertheless, she received a lovely email from his family, praising her efforts.

In her presentation, “Here’s to Your Health and the Benefits of Walking” she offers simple health tips she learned from experts in the health field – and it won’t cost a dime!

Maryanne creates a friendly atmosphere where the audience can participate.

If anyone would like this program for their senior group, senior center, etc. please contact me at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com for pricing and availability. Will travel for the right price.


Lecturing on Health, Fitness and Nutrition

Published September 14, 2013 by Maryanne

SAM_2377Me and activities director, Aubrey Evans at Mt. Arlington Senior Living, New Jersey

For the past few years, lecturing on health and nutrition has been a dream of mine, as my passion is health and nutrition and throughout the year 2012 I had three clients who were nutritionists and chiropractors that I’ve helped get gigs lecturing. I thought to myself, if I could do this for others — why not do it for myself? I’ve been a health food advocate since 2003 and writing about health since then. In 2008 I was the editor for NJ Health & Fitness magazine. I had my own health column in the NJ Patch online called “Here’s to Your Health.” And currently I am writing for Skinny News magazine.

Over the years I’ve interviewed many celebrities about health and fitness including supermodels Oleda Baker and Carol Alt and health advocates Patricia Bragg, Paul Nison and David Wolfe. I also had the opportunity to interview Jack LaLanne but he passed away two weeks prior to the interview.

So, needless to say, when Aubrey Evans invited me to speak at Mt. Arlington Senior Living, I was thrilled! In honor of my former health column, I called my lecture “Here’s to Your Health.”

For 45 minutes I spoke to seniors about a few easy things you could do for your health that don’t cost a dime!

I spoke of the benefits of eating slow, not smoking, keeping active and getting a good night’s rest.

But not only did I speak, I allowed the seniors to share their experiences in health and fitness. It was truly inspiring that so many of them were not smokers, kept active (including the ones that were chair bound) and got a good night’s sleep.

They were all wonderful! I enjoyed giving the lecture and they enjoyed me so much I was invited back, late October!

One lady said to me, “You’re really making us like you!” It was so cute. I love the seniors!

My First Health & Fitness Public Speaking Event!

Published August 15, 2013 by Maryanne


I’m thrilled that I will be having my first health and fitness public speaking event next month! It will be at an assisted living facility and I’ll be speaking to seniors about choosing healthy items on the menu and why they are good for you, also motivating them for health and fitness.

I’ve always loved public speaking. One of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done in my life was speaking to a fourth grade class about journalism.  (Not to mention that I’ve done off-Broadway theatre and was a spoken word artist in my 30s).

Most of my journalism lies in health and fitness. I’ve written many articles about famous people in the health field, such as Carol Alt and Oleda Baker. I was the editor of “NJ Health & Fitness” and had my own online health column called “Here’s to Your Health.”

Currently I am writing regularly for “Skinny News” a Bergen County, New Jersey publication on health and fitness.

I’ve been waiting to do this for a very long time and am beyond psyched! This has been a super stellar week for me in business. I couldn’t be happier!

Oleda Baker breaks the age barrier, looking decades younger at 76

Published August 11, 2013 by Maryanne

oleda_bikiniOleda Baker at age 69

I am thrilled that I just found this article in my old email file. This article was originally written for The Patch online when I had a column called “Here’s To Your Health.” The Patch recently re-vamped their website and lost almost all my links to articles. So, as luck would have it, here is the original article as it appeared in The Patch, December, 2010. ENJOY!

Here’s to Your Health

“Oleda Baker breaks the age barrier, looking decades younger at 76”

By Mary Anne Christiano

Growing up, I remember seeing pictures in Cosmopolitan magazine of a glamorous model that resembled actress Sharon Tate. As years went on and I saw other pictures of the same model, she never seemed to age; the model’s name is Oleda Baker. Now she is 76-years-old and is still  a head turner.

Baker hasn’t gained an ounce since her modeling heyday. She hasn’t had a facelift either, but her face remains fresh and wrinkle-free. Her skin glows, her eyes sparkle and her cheekbones can cut diamonds. All her photos are 100 percent natural – no Photoshop or retouching.

But not only is Baker gorgeous and youthful on the outside, her annual tests, such as cholesterol and blood pressure, matched those of a person at least 25 years younger than her age.

The vivacious entrepreneur has done so much in her lifetime. In addition to being a high fashion model, columnist, artist and CEO of a company that develops anti-aging products, Baker has written more than 10 books on health and beauty. In her latest book, “Breaking the Age Barrier” she shares her wisdom and health and beauty secrets.

According to Baker, there was a twin study done on 3000 twins by a group of doctors which proved only 30 percent of aging is caused by genes and 70 percent is caused by lifestyle and environment. This is what Oleda also believes.

In “Breaking the Age Barrier” she said that both of her parents were overweight at one time in their lives. Her father was in poor health at the age of 40. Baker also had a brother named Harry, who passed away recently. Harry weighed 360 pounds according to Oleda.

“He ate himself to death,” she said, sounding regretful. “He destroyed himself through eating. He had no control.”

Watching her dad turn his health around is what piqued Baker’s interest in well-being at the ripe old age of 14. With vitamins, minerals, facial exercises and a few other tricks, Baker has kept her health and looks in optimal condition.

Although Baker started taking charge of her health at a very young age, she believes it’s never too late for anyone to turn his or her life around.

“There’s hope for anyone,” she said, when I asked if that also applied to those who may have abused their health and looks with drugs and alcohol.

What fascinated me most when I read Oleda’s book was that she eats everything. She enjoys bread, desserts and even pizza. Her advice is simply, “Just eat less.”

Baker eats a balanced diet of vegetables and salad. She eats meat and potatoes, but not too much. “If you have rich bread, you don’t need butter,” she said. “If you have great bread, you can get used to it [plain without butter.] You cannot go through life without eating the foods you love. I eat pizza. I eat sweets. I take my vitamins and minerals.”

She also makes a nutritious smoothie every day, made from antioxidant rich foods such as yogurt, blueberries, strawberries and bananas.

Another thing that surprised me was that Baker doesn’t worry about funky artificial ingredients from foods such as yellow #5 or chemicals in make-up. Perhaps her ways may inspire me to rethink how I’m spending my hard earned cash on expensive natural beauty products and simplify with products that do the trick, but aren’t as pricy because of the natural ingredients they contain. And that led me to my final question to Oleda …

What are the top three things a woman can do for her health and beauty if she is on a budget and restricted for time?

1. “Eat less. Buy less. That takes nothing. It saves you money. It makes you healthy.”

2. “Have good friends. It’s really necessary in this world to have fun, to have friends, to be able to talk to someone, to have friends you can trust.”

3. “Get some exercise of some form.” However, Baker disses jogging, running and jumping.

She said,” Some older people have bone problems, joint problems. It can be caused by too much pounding on a hard surface and hurting the joints. You don’t feel it at the moment. You pay your price as the years go by.”

I think Oleda’s biggest beauty secret of all is that she is a warm, good-hearted person. Her upbeat nature is inspiring. We chatted as if we’ve known each other all our lives. I hung up the phone feeling giddy and fuzzy, as if I just talked to an old high school friend.

Beauty may only be skin deep, but Oleda’s radiance goes straight to her soul!

For more information on Oleda Baker, go to: http://www.oleda.com

For more information, contact Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta at: MaryAnneChristiano@Gmail.com

As an updated side note, I’d like to say that to this day Oleda Baker was one of my favorite people to interview because she is such a warm, down-to-earth person. We’ve been keeping in touch via email and always wish each other a Happy Birthday, as we are both Leos. Oleda is such an inspiration!

Eat Like it’s 1969!

Published July 19, 2012 by Maryanne

Some of the older people reading may remember these ice cream treats from the 1960s/1970s.

I don’t think I remember a treat being that small since … well, since I was that small.

And this is where the problems with poor health and obesity lie in this day and age. Not that people are eating treats. Treats are not bad in moderation. It’s the fact that treats are so big. Everything is super-sized. And of course since they are treats, you are tempted to finish the entire product no matter how big it is because it’s so mouth-watering delicious. I am guilty myself!

When I succumb to treats, I try to go for the cleanest food possible, something with no artificial ingredients and preservatives, like natural popcorn, all natural ice cream, or vegan cake (because I know it’s not made with animal lard).

I haven’t had a Tofutti Cutie in years and told my husband to bring home a box last week.

What I failed to remember was that these treats had some not so healthy ingredients such as corn solids. But the thing is, eating just one was only 9 grams of sugar, which equals to two teaspoons of sugar. So stopping at one treat isn’t such a bad thing, and may in fact be better than eating four servings of something all natural because the body doesn’t know the difference between agave nectar and corn syrup. Sugar is sugar — period!

Having a box of Tofutti Cuties in the house, I said that the best thing to do would be to have good old fashioned will power and make the box last awhile. Which my husband and I did. So, go us!

I’ve noticed a big difference in how I feel if I have a small portioned dessert versus a huge dessert, whether it’s a perfectly clean dessert or something that contains corn solids. I do feel so much better with less — no matter what the content is. When dining out, I now split desserts instead of getting a whole one.

Back in 2010, I interviewed health advocate/model, Oleda Baker for a health column I used to write. If you Google her name, you will be surprised at how healthy this woman in her late 70s looks — so healthy that she could easily pass for 45 or 50!

When I asked her what’s the best health advice she could give. She said, “Don’t overeat.”

Oleda also admitted to eating foods that weren’t all natural and that she eats pizza and desserts.

The point is, not to put too much stress on the stomach in one sitting. I’ve noticed that a small taste of dessert after a meal is more satisfying than stuffing my face with a big dessert, even if it is all natural and vegan.

So, when it comes to desserts, you can literally have your cake and eat it too by going for a much smaller portion.

Just eat like it’s 1969!