We often say we would like to spend more time in the kitchen and less money on processed foods, but at the end of the day many Washingtonians choose faster options over nourishing lifestyle choices. Still, many of us would like to learn how to be more conscious about our food choices, as long as it’s time-efficient. For those looking for new ways to make healthy cooking a part of daily life, PC&CC recommends whole food chef and wellness counselor Monica Corrado.
“I work with food that is closest to the source – that means whole grains, vegetables and meats straight from the farm – and I teach people how to cook them in ways that preserve, enhance, or unlock their nutrients,” Corrado explains. “I try to help people be well through cooking. I call it ‘cooking for wellbeing.’ We learn about food, nutrients, and how to work with them in a way that nourishes the body.”
Corrado launched one of the first organic catering companies in the Washington, DC area back in 2000. In making direct contact with farmers and researching nutrient-dense cooking, she learned the many techniques she now teaches others through classes and individual consultations.
“My ideal client is someone who is tired all the time or under a lot of stress, people running around with busy lives but just don’t feel good,” Corrado says, adding that she particularly enjoys working with new parents learning to feed their babies healthy foods. She has helped people improve chronic conditions including depression and attention-deficit disorder, infant and childhood reflux, and female fertility issues through nutrient-dense dietary choices.
Corrado sees such nutrition education as vital to ensuring the wellness of the next generation. “Many people who are in their 60s or 70s had the opportunity to be raised on nutrient-dense, whole foods. The next generations are walking around with what we call a ‘compromised gut,’ meaning the inability to digest and absorb the nutrients from our food, as well as eating food that is nutritionally inferior to those of prior generations, ” she says. “The types of foods we’re eating are all processed foods – I always say if it’s in a box, a jar or frozen, it’s enzymatically dead, which puts a strain on the pancreas and the whole body. Many people are just throwing vitamins and supplements at the problem, but if you don’t eat foods that are prepared in a way that preserves their nutrients and makes them digestible, you’re not going to absorb anything. It’s a vicious cycle.” She also notes that many children on the autistic spectrum and with learning issues are significantly affected by a changed diet and efforts to heal the digestive system.
Her solution is to teach people about whole foods, how to work with them, and how it can be a simple addition to a typical week. “Once you learn the techniques, it really doesn’t take that much time. I have a class that teaches people how to incorporate this into busy lives – you get a shopping list of what to always have on hand, what to buy that is fresh, how much time it takes to soak your beans and grains, how to add this into your schedule every week,” Corrado explains.
Some upcoming courses will address how to prepare beans and whole grains, healthy desserts, and gluten-free baking. The gluten-free baking class is a must for anyone with celiac, wheat intolerances, or children on the autistic spectrum, Corrado says.
Visit Corrado’s website at www.simplybeingwell.com for more information.