What Is It About Healthy Eating?

May 10, 2023

I was with a dear friend and fellow cooking instructor and health activist having a coffee on a lovely spring day. Our conversation turned to our work; our missions in our lives; why we get out of bed each and every day.

We talked about the fact that some days, out work feels like pushing a boulder uphill and other days, we are inspired by the positive changes we see in the world. The big question we asked each other (that we ask ourselves all the time): What it is that blocks people from eating well; what’s the obstacle that prevents so many of us from enjoying the best health we can?

I have taught cooking (live and on television) for more than thirty years. Plant-passionate food gets such a bad rap and yet, veganism and vegan eating have gone from a fringe group of people who love animals and spray paint people wearing fur to a legitimate group of people whose love of human health, nature, the planet and yes…animals have given the message of the impact of what we eat a timely credibility that can no longer be denied or set aside as ‘crazy.’

We remain a relatively smaller group than one might hope. No matter how many meat or poultry recalls; avian flu, excessive use of hormones and antibiotics linked to cancers or other toxic factors in animal foods, people continue eating them in record amounts (36 million cows, 3.5 million pigs, 8 billion chickens in the US alone).

So let’s break this down. Why would you give up your diet of burgers, cheese, ice cream and fried chicken for a “deprived, grim” life of quinoa, tofu and sprouts?

Because vegan eating is nothing like you think, baby.

It’s time we stopped thinking of plant-passionate eating as a consolation prize. You don’t lose when you make this change. You win on every single level, from personal health to planetary health. It’s time to think of eating to serve the purpose of your life and day to day wellness as winning the lottery. Plant-passionate eating provides everything we need (and even what we have been conditioned to think we need), from protein to every…single…vitamin and mineral we can imagine. Mother Nature takes very good care of us, even though we are like spoiled children who take and take, giving little back to her in return.

I am asked all the time about what I eat; yes, even in this day and age, when vegan eating has emerged from the shadows into the light of mainstream awareness. My answer is always the same. It’s easier for me to explain what I don’t eat than what I do as the list of what I eat is extensive and varied.

Simply stated, I don’t eat anything that is derived from an animal. That leaves a lot of choices for food, my friends.

Not eating meat, dairy, eggs, poultry, fish or any variation on these, along with any products that contain animal-derived ingredients is the easiest choice I have made in my life. Thank God I did it when I was young; thank God I did it when I was young. I have had many years to explore and create in this wonderful lifestyle. I won’t say that I have mastered it. I haven’t mastered anything; I am always learning and hoping to get better and better at what I do and how I live.

However, you must choose wisely to live a healthy vegan life.


You heard me. Just choosing vegan foods isn’t necessarily healthy as I discovered early on as I enjoyed soda and non-dairy cookies and other junk food that turned out to be no better for my wellness than my eating habits before I was vegan.

Enter macrobiotics, the lifestyle that I used to save my life, quite literally speaking. With this ancient wisdom, I found myself equipped to build on the wisdom of my Italian ancestors and understand the impact of food on our bodies. I now had a toolbox packed with ways to not only save my own life but to help guide others on their own journeys to wellness, which can be wrought with confusion and doubt.

While the foundation of eating well includes whole grains, beans, tons of veggies, fruit, nuts seeds and good quality fats, I live a more Mediterranean lifestyle. I am able to beautifully combines the aesthetics of macrobiotics and the ancient wisdom that is Chinese Medicine with the sexy food and cooking of the Med and its ancient wisdom to create some of the most delicious food I have ever eaten.

Yummy, beautiful and it can serve the purpose of your life, with you powering through your days with strength and stamina.

Yes, please.