Emmy Award-winning host of "Christina Cooks!" on PBS, cancer survivor, nutritionist, natural lifestyle and health foods advocate, and author of four books
Christina Pirello is a bright, free spirited, vivacious redhead who, is one of America’s preeminent authorities on natural and whole foods, and her radiant personality only serves to make her message more powerful. And 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 s lifestyle and diet based on whole, unprocessed food. With love, dedication and death-defying discipline, Christina worked hard to overcome 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. After a year of eating whole foods, her cancer was gone. From that moment on, 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. Today, almost 25 years later, Christina is a glowing example and inspiration to so many on the power that our food choices have on our overall health and wellbeing.
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 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, and cancer, they’ll never think of food in the same way again…which is precisely her goal.
Christina is the Emmy Award-winning host of the television series Christina Cooks!, which airs weekly on over 150 public television stations nationwide and daily on CN8, The Comcast Network in the densely populated Mid-Atlantic and New England regions of the country. She and her husband Robert publish a bi-monthly whole foods magazine called Christina Cooks that enjoys national circulation. Together they also operate Christina Trips, a travel company specializing in healthy vacations to exotic destinations.
Christina has written four best-selling cookbooks, Cooking the Whole Foods Way, Cook Your Way to the Life You Want, Glow, A Prescription for Radiant Health and Beauty and Christina Cooks: Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Whole Foods, But Were Afraid to Ask. She’s currently working on her fifth book, which will feature tips on how to age gracefully and achieve health and longevity by eating whole, natural foods.
Christina holds a faculty position at Drexel University, where she lectures as a professor of culinary arts. She also serves on the board of The Farm Market Trust, 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 Food Nutrition from Philadelphia’s Drexel University in 2003.
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