Popular culture seems to dictate that the epicurean and healthy lifestyles should be at odds with one another, but I would like to prove that notion wrong.  Those close to me know that I have a passion for cooking, and an equally as strong passion for eating…and by eating I mean everything in sight.  But I also have a seemingly conflicting affinity for living a health-conscious lifestyle, which includes a regular gym routine supplemented by running, yoga and an awareness of the foods I choose to fuel this well-oiled machine (I jest).  As a result, I’ve had to find a way to combine these two lifestyles into one big, happy family.

Speaking of family, I grew up in one of the large, Italian variety where food was always the focal point of any gathering — and in enormous, completely glutenous quantities.  I’d be lying to you if I said I haven’t occasionally gorged myself on an entire pizza – my family used to joke that if they didn’t want any leftovers, to leave the plate in front of me and the food would be eaten.  But while the older generations remain completely obstinate in their approach to cooking, the younger members of the family have taken a more health conscious approach. Of course the primary ingredients of Italian cooking, which generally include pasta or cheese (or pasta and cheese), are not necessarily “kosher” by today’s diet standards, but when used appropriately (and in moderation) almost anything can be included as part of a healthy and well-balanced diet.

So now let me explain why I’ve just rambled on about myself for two paragraphs…

There seems to be a large misconception that healthy cooking has to be expensive, time-consuming, limited, flavorless and boring.  I used to think that was true — particularly since I came from a culture that brainwashed me to believe that no meal was complete without pasta, bread and cheese served simultaneously.  But what I’ve also learned from that same upbringing is that simplicity is key, homemade is better, and there’s nothing quite as delicious as food you’ve grown and cooked yourself.

Given my present location in Astoria, Queens, I won’t be doing a whole lot of growing, hunting or foraging (unless you count my presently suffering windowsill herb garden), but I will be cooking up a storm with the intent of proving that mindful eating can be easy, affordable, innovative and delicious.

So for all you non believers, stay tuned…