sweet beginnings

Growing up in a Cuban family in Miami meant my Standard American Diet (SAD) was punctuated by all sorts of sugary, creamy concoctions (Compulsive Dessert Disorder.)  In our house, love was a bowl of natilla – a traditional custard loaded with egg yolks; or a mug of chocolate caliente – a typical hot chocolate that’s anything but with butter and three types of milk: evaporated, condensed and whole.

Sadly, there was also plenty of unhealthy weight gain and, ultimately, unnecessary disease.  I watched my family fade away at the unforgiving hands of cancer, stroke, heart disease and Alzheimer’s.

from detox to detour

As a graduate journalism student in New York, I started reading stacks of nutrition books and tried just about every health-promoting diet: low GI, fasting, food combining, Mediterranean, vegetarian.  But my sweet tooth kept getting in the way, and I indulged it by training as a pastry chef at Le Cordon Bleu in London.  I also started writing about food for The Times and Men’s Health, amongst others.

In January 2009, I read Kathy Freston’s Quantum Wellness and decided to kick off the new year with a cleanse, figuring I would return to my “normal” diet right away.  But what started off as a detox ended up a detour, and a deliciously delightful one; I discovered a new joy of eating and a sense of wellbeing I’d never experienced before.  Not to mention finally setting myself free from the sugar habit that kept me locked in a vicious cycle of indulgence and guilt.  There was a welcome snowball effect:  I got a certificate in plant-based nutrition, baked gluten-free cakes for a local health-food store, started doing healthy-cooking demos at Whole Foods, and became a certified yoga teacher.

sharing the green love

I’m not a doctor or a dietician; I’m a real woman with an insatiable appetite for good food and green living.  I created Green Appetite because I knew I wasn’t the only food lover who wanted to strike a balance between indulgence and sensibility.  I now use the techniques I picked up in culinary school to make healthy food that’s also a treat every time, and yet I find that the ultimate recipe is no recipe at all: the best dishes are uncomplicated and respect the inherent genius in nature rather than try to improve upon it.