Hi. I'm Tina.
I’m an Italian-American, big hearted and always bright eyed, brunette who buys herself flowers every Sunday because in this life, the only guarantee we have is that we can treat ourselves well.
Grocery shopping and cooking get me excited. And nothing gets my motor running like fresh produce and sharing how to pick out perfectly plump, juicy peaches and ample avocados from the market.
When I'm not getting lost in farmers markets procuring produce and experimenting in my kitchen with freestyle cooking and recipe free ingredient riffing, I've been helping people learn what it means to feel good on the inside.
My FOOD story
I ate for love. I ate to feel loved. I ate so I didn’t feel lonely. And I’ve now taken those feelings and am living my life’s work. My love of food was born inside of me, as my mom told me that on the day I was born I went to reach for her nurses pizza. I totally believe it. Mom also reminds me that my first word was happy. It’s true.
Growing up I lived in one big house with 11 people and it was beautiful insanity. Italian immigrants, mainly men - my mother, grandma and I the only women.When I was born my oldest brother was diagnosed with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis. Tommy was in and out of the hospital, leaving me in my grandparents care - or with aunts, uncles and friends of the family. Food was the way in which I was shown love. Lunch at school was often followed by lunch with grandma at 3pm. Dinner at 5pm with the neighbors was followed by dinner at 9pm with grandma. Every opportunity I had, I said yes to food.
We were weighed weekly in our pre-k class and my mom was instructed to help me lose weight. From that point on I dieted. It was 1985 - the boom of packaged food - and I quickly learned to request apples, fat free hot dogs and Quaker granola bars for meals.
From Weight Watchers to South Beach, Fit America, Blood Type, Paleo, Food Combining Diets and Personal Trainers - I did it all. I spent my life dieting and continuing to eat my feelings, growing to 320 pounds.
At 20 years old I left my home in Brooklyn and moved to a farm in Connecticut for 3 months in the Summer of 2001. I arrived in my dad’s 1991 Plymouth Voyager. I was sweating. It was hot. I was regretting my choice.
When I close my eyes I can still see the farm and the mailbox - that mailbox - a tease, slightly visible across the long stretch of grass from the Grants little blue door where I used to stand staring out into the gaping field of green. Without moving, I could feel the tingle of chafing thighs as I thought about what it would take for me to approach that mailbox at my size. In many moments throughout life I thought of steps as miles and miles as impossibilities, but everyday I walked and my thighs rubbed with accomplishment. Yes, thighs can feel accomplished.
On the farm there was no dining hall, neighbors or automatic refrigerator re-stock courtesy of my family, so I was forced to make my own choices and take responsibility for my food. I began grocery shopping weekly and recalled the market trips we made as a family when I was a child. Daily, I would come home from work at 5:30pm and prepare meals of my childhood from memory. I made my grandmothers lentils once a week until I taught myself how to make something else. My love for cooking began by cooking heaping pots of piping hot beans in the summer.
It’s been 18 years since that summer on the farm, and I haven't stopped walking, cooking or learning about food and our complex human relationship with it since.
AND NOW …
After having left my corporate media job of 15 years, I wake up everyday thinking about how important it is for me to use my story to help people get healthy in their mind, body and homes.
It is my mission to build a health brand that people believe in because they believe in the maker. I never want anyone to feel alone, overwhelmed or lost in their heart, mind or kitchen.
My hope is to inspire, teach and change the way people think about life, habits, choices and food - making health fun, educational, beautiful and accessible for little people and big people alike.