Comfort food has always played a crucial role in my life. I grew up in an Italian family, eating casseroles, pasta, and a ton of sweets. But unfortunately, both white flour and cow’s milk leave me feeling irritable and lethargic. I became aware of my food sensitivities in my early twenties, and since then I’ve been on a mission to make delicious food using good-for-you ingredients—nutrient-rich ingredients that still fluff up and thicken, that are creamy and comforting, that just taste great while fueling your body, giving it the natural energy it needs. Quite simply, I learned how to make healthier swaps for the ingredients I had grown up eating.
These swaps are as simple as using gluten-free oat flour in place of white flour that’s been stripped of all its nutrients. Did you know that natural sweeteners contain vitamins and minerals? Meet maple syrup and honey, my two baking best friends. I don’t use any crazy ingredients that you can only find at a specialty store in the middle of New York City. You’ll be able to find everything in this book at your local grocery store, or if not, then you’ll be able to order it on Amazon or Thrive Market. There was no way I could give up all the food I love. What I came to realize was that if I made these swaps, I could still eat everything I loved and my body wouldn’t hate me for it—and I wouldn’t feel like I was missing out on anything.
Some of my favorite childhood memories are centered around food. I will always remember my Italian grandma making pizza fritte
(fried dough–um yeah, yum) for my brother and me when we would stay at her house, or my dad and I making homemade meatballs and sauce every Christmas Eve, and my mom teaching me how to make Thanksgiving stuffing the first time I hosted the dinner in my own home.
Good food can transform us and put a smile on our faces. Some days we just need to curl up on the couch with a big, comforting bowl of pasta bolognese. But in the past, when I indulged like that, I’d feel the effects of a bloated stomach and would be so tired I could barely keep my eyes open. Luckily, with the right ingredients, that’s no longer the case for me . . . or for you!
After the response to my first cookbook, True Roots,
which dealt with mindful eating and the 80/20 lifestyle, I realized there was a definite need for these types of healthier recipes. I believe that most people are like me: we know nothing beats comfort food—that’s where the heart is. During the fall and winter months, when we’re warm and cozy inside our homes, with our loved ones, food brings us together and helps create lasting memories.
This book is a true representation of how my family and I eat on a daily basis. We don’t consume cow’s milk, gluten, or anything processed and white (like white sugar, white salt, or white flour). We make substitutions with other types of dairy (buffalo mozzarella, anyone?), brown rice and lentil pasta, oat flour for baking, maple syrup and other healthy sweeteners, plus pink Himalayan salt, which is packed with vitamins and minerals.
I’m not a chef—I’m just a mom who loves to cook. I love food and I’m a health nut, and those two things don’t have to be mutually exclusive. If I can make these dishes, so can you. And if I can commit to making this an important part of my lifestyle, you can too (if you want to really change your lifestyle
). You have a choice every day to live your best life.
With love . . . I hope you enjoy this book as much as I loved creating it.Kristin Cavallari
Copyright © 2020 by Kristin Cavallari. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.