Christina Pirello, MFN, CCN is a bright, free spirited, vivacious redhead who is
one of America’s preeminent authorities on natural and whole foods with a radiant personality that only serves to make her message more powerful. She’s made it her purpose in life to show Americans that they can look their best and feel great too, by learning to eat natural, organic food.
Christina’s love affair with food began at a young age when she spent many happy hours cooking with her mother, who centered family life in her Italian kitchen. “My mom was always so happy while she was cooking. It was the place where the whole family gathered, and it was a place I knew great joy came from,” she remembers.
That joy might have been the very thing that prepared Christina to be open minded about the healing power of food, because she would need it. At age 26, she was diagnosed with terminal leukemia. By the time her illness was identified, the cancer had already advanced to an acute stage. Her doctors gave her little reason to have hope for the effectiveness of conventional medical therapies and told her she had only months to live. Initially, she was discouraged and uncertain. Then a co-worker introduced her to Robert Pirello, a whole foods advocate who helped her adapt her lifestyle and diet based on whole, unprocessed food. With love, dedication and death-defying discipline, Christina overcame the odds, and in the process developed an expertise in cooking with whole foods. After just two months of eating beans, grains and vegetables, her doctors noticed a significant improvement in her condition. In fourteen months, her cancer was gone. From that time, she was utterly convinced of the close relationship between diet and health. She knew her life’s calling was to help others discover the importance of this relationship in their own lives. To that end, she studied and became an expert in Traditional Chinese Medicine, Ayurveda, acupuncture and earned a Masters Degree in Nutrition. Today, almost 27 years later, Christina is a glowing example and inspiration on the power that our food choices have on our overall health and well being.
Since 1988, Christina has been teaching whole foods cooking classes, conducting lifestyle seminars and lecturing all over the United States about the powerful role food plays in our lives. She has shared her deep and clear knowledge in a variety of settings – from natural food stores to corporate boardrooms – and not one life is left unchanged when she leaves the room. Even if her audience is skeptical about her message that our food choices are directly linked to national epidemics such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancer, they’ll never think of food in the same way again…which is precisely the point.
Christina offers four class options: on-site one-day cooking demonstrations, a three-day intensive program combining lectures, food preparation skills and hands-on cooking, a 6-month one-weekend-per-month immersion course sequence that jump starts and supports a long-term approach to healthy eating, and a four month program that focuses on understanding the energetics of food and Chinese medicine. All classes are offered in small groups to create an optimum environment for personal attention and experiential learning.
Christina is the Emmy Award-winning host of the television series Christina Cooks, which airs weekly on over 200 national public television stations nationwide as well as on the Create network. It has also aired in over 50 countries on Discovery Health. Christina also offers trips and vacations to exotic destinations from Caribbean cruises to tours of Italy.
Christina has written six cookbooks including the bestselling Cooking the Whole Foods Way, which was recently named the "Healthiest Cookbook of the Decade" by the Washington, D.C. based Physician's Committee for Responsible Medicine. Other publications include Cook Your Way to the Life You Want (currently out of print), Glow, A Prescription for Radiant Health and Beauty, Christina Cooks: Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Whole Foods, But Were Afraid to Ask and This Crazy Vegan Life. Christina's latest book, I'm Mad as Hell and I'm Not Going to Eat it Anymore, was published in December 2011. She is also a regular contributor to The Huffington Post and The Examiner and featured columnist for VegNews, New Visions, First for Women, Natural Health, and Vegetarian Times magazines.
In 2008, Christina founded The Christina Pirello Health Education Initiative, a non-profit organization dedicated to changing America’s relationship with food, with community outreach, media programs and several in-school programs designed to teach our kids to make healthier choices before it’s too late. She works closely with the city of Philadelphia on various school and farm market programs under the umbrella of The Initiative.
Christina holds a faculty position at The Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College, where she lectures as a professor of culinary arts. She also serves on the board of The Farm Market Trust, The Green Council of Philadelphia, The Green City Youth Council of Philadelphia, The Chefs for Humanity Chef’s Council and is a member of IACP (International Association of Culinary Professionals) and Women Chefs and Restaurateurs. Christina earned both her Bachelors and Masters Degrees in Fine Arts from the University of Miami, and was awarded a Masters Degree in Nutrition in 2003.