The words ‘feasting’ and ‘fasting’ aren’t always associated with good health. But Christina Acevedo, a red seal chef and registered holistic nutritionist, says that feasting and fasting as part of a whole-food diet can be a key to optimal health.
Acevedo’s journey toward healthy eating began when her mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Studies have found a link between high sugar levels and an increased risk of Alzheimer’s and pre-dementia.
“The diagnosis with my mom changed everything,” Acevedo said. “I really wanted people to understand the detrimental effects of how refined foods react to our bodies and how over time accumulating refined foods in the body can increase your chances of getting chronic illnesses.”
In her book, Two Little F Words, Acevedo lays out her path to eating a healthy, whole-food, lower-carb lifestyle.
“We evolved fasting and feasting,” she said. “We have this amazing function in our body called autophagy that only gets activated when we don’t eat for a certain amount of time.”
Autophagy is triggered when glucose and insulin levels in the body drop. Depending on a person’s metabolism, autophagy can be triggered at different times, and the body begins clearing out damaged cells and regenerating healthier cells.
Acevedo’s book describes healthy ways to approach fasting and time-restricted eating. She emphasized that people who choose to fast should work with nutritionists and health professionals to ensure that they are fasting in a healthy way.
“I could have written a whole book about time-restricted eating and who should do it, or when you do it and when you don’t,” she said. “One big thing is women and men should fast differently because of our hormones and how they fluctuate. If you do have a history of eating disorders, time-restricted eating probably isn’t your choice.”
Two Little F Words explains how to properly fast and feast, and recommends further resources for people to access. The book also contains recipes, many of which are vegan, dairy-free and grain-free.
Before writing her book, Acevedo worked multiple jobs in the food industry. She worked as a cook at several restaurants and hotels, an attendant with Royal Canadian Pacific luxury trains, Chef de partie at Montreal Badminton Squash Club, a menu planner or a large catering company in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, and as a personal chef for American actress Jenny McCarthy and her son Evan.
“I’ve had so many opportunities because there’s so much you can do with cooking and nutrition,” Acevedo said.
All of her experiences led her to realize how whole foods can bring people to optimal health.
“I went to school and I learned it all, but I didn’t fully believe that just eating whole foods and having a diet that’s right for you can make that much of a difference.”
Acevedo now lives in Yellow Point and said she loves the community feeling of Vancouver Island. And the community has embraced her. Wild Poppy Market, Coco Café, Rita’s Apron, Maison Cookware and Bakeware, Flying Fish, Community Farm Store, and Salon D all carry her book. Coco Café and Rita’s Apron also carry Acevedo’s gluten-free vegetarian pizzas.
“It’s so nice being accepted by the local community. It makes me want to support them just as much as they’re supporting me,” she said.
Acevedo continues to work as a personal chef for clients on Vancouver Island and has created workshops for holistic nutrition students and the general public on the subjects she covers in Two Little F Words. For more information, visit http://honeyandvanilla.com.