My father was a physician who taught me a great deal about diet and health, after moving to California over twenty years ago, I easily transitioned from my culinary life into the world of health care. Today, I own and operate several skilled nursing facilities. But I never lost my love for cooking. As I learned more about the positive effects healthy food and ingredients have on disease and aging, I was compelled to get back in the kitchen and create a cookbook (now TWO of them – The Age GRACEfully Cookbook and my new The AGE BEAUTIFULLY Cookbook) that fuse international and American flavors, familiar and exotic ingredients, and powerful nutrients that help the body and mind fight diseases and the wear and tear of aging.
When it comes to great tasting food and good health, I want to encourage everyone to be conscious of the food they eat. I also urge cooks to use good-quality, organic ingredients whenever possible, but understand that budgets and availability can make that challenging.
It is estimated that nearly a third of the population is sensitive to wheat and, according to research by Mintel Business Net, 65 percent of those surveyed believe eating Gluten-free is healthier. Many of the recipes in AGE BEAUTIFULLY are Gluten-Free or offer Gluten-free alternatives. A number of them are also Dairy-free or offer alternatives for those who want or need to limit dairy in their diet.
Sugar, while safe in moderation, is a bitter enemy when it comes to aging, so I have looked for better substitutes wherever possible, and offer a guide to healthier sugar substitutes.
I start with classic dishes, many of which I learned how to make from my mother, and I amp up their nutrient value with anti-aging super foods, some of them quite exotic but easy to obtain. I research new ingredients constantly, always learning about antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables from all over the world. I have a list of my favorite spices and grains. And I work with nutritionists to decide on the best possible proteins and sweeteners to use in my cooking. Now that I’m comfortable with how simple it is to incorporate FoodTrients into our daily meals, every week I try to share what we have discovered and what we continue to learn.