Hi, my name is Andrea. Thanks for visiting From Seed to Stomach!
I love eating delicious, nutritious, and sustainable food! I'm a graduate of the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, a Certified Holistic Health Coach, and a Functional Food and Nutrition Editor for one of the world's largest and most prestigious science publishers. 

Cooking is my creative outlet and while my big Italian family taught me well when it comes to pasta and meatballs, there's so much to learn when it comes to culinary nutrition and sustainable cooking! I read (and listen to) a lot of books about food and rely on all forms of food content (cookbooks, blogs, apps, videos, etc) for inspiration when I bring home a seasonal ingredient I've never prepared before. 

I live just outside of Boston with my lawyer/musician husband, James and our adorable dog Louie. James is obviously a big part of my life, so I mention him in my posts every now and again and he may even appear in a guest post soon, as he cooks a lot and has different specialties than me. Although his palate isn't as adventurous as mine (except when it comes to hot sauce), he eats like me (see below) for the most part. I have a supportive network of friends here in Boston and a loud and loving family that I keep at a safe distance in upstate NY. ;-) You'll also meet my sister Tina in guest posts! She lives in Kingston, NY where she raises my niece Gia and a flock of egg-laying chickens. Tina's a social worker and very connected with the local food scene in upstate, NY. 

When I'm not cooking, gardening, or writing, I work as an Acquisitions Editor (formerly as a Marketing Manager) for one of the world's largest content providers. I manage our Nutrition, Functional Food, Sustainable Food, and Dairy portfolios. Our team's motto is that to publish the science that feeds the world. No small feat and one that I'm thrilled to be part of! 

Oh, and I just finished my MBA part-time at Boston University studying Public and Nonprofit Management. Now that I'm FINALLY done with school, I'm back at the gym 5-6 days a week where I practice barre and yoga and love rebounding, spin, boot-camp, and strength training classes. 

You can follow me on twitter at @FrSeed2Stomach and like my facebook page to stay in touch! I also got by FrSeed2Stomach on Instagram and Foursquare if you really want to stalk me!

What I Eat (and Why):
If you read my blog often, you'll probably notice that I typically cook and eat a diet of mostly plants. I really like to eat as close to the source of my food as possible and find answering the question "Where is this from?" is MUCH easier when we're talking about a tomato than it is when we're talking about chicken. After following a mostly vegetarian diet for six years, I've recently reintroduced meat to make sure I'm getting complete protein but I do believe that a fresh plant-based diet full of color is the way to go, both for the health of our bodies and for the health of our planet. It makes me happy when we pause to to think about where our food (whether meat, plants, or potato chips), comes from!

I really enjoy domestic stuff like gardening, cooking, and canning and I really like to learn, so I'm always reading (or listening to audiobooks when pressed for time), and incorporate what I learn into my lifestyle, my conversations, and my blog. Some of my favorite books (and pantry and natural living staples) are on my shop page.

The truth is that I used to be REALLY unhealthy. I've struggled with my weight for most of my life and got into a really bad routine of long work hours and lots of fast food after college. When I moved to Boston in the spring of 2008, I dramatically changed my lifestyle. I started walking to/from the T to commute to work, joined an amazing gym, started practicing yoga, and stopped eating meat (which makes eliminating fast food really easy!). All the small changes took place over my first six months in Boston and while the scale is never completely stable, I've lost roughly 100 pounds since making these changes (and cutting portion sizes). Cooking and working out take time and it's not always easy, but when you're committed to living a healthy lifestyle, you make it work!

The staples of my diet are:
  • Seasonal produce and fresh herbs
    • I try to buy organic at the farmers market to supplement my garden
    • Dark leafy greens like Kale, collards and chard are typically available year-round
    • SOUP! I love veggie soups and in the colder months, make a pot a week. It's a great way to "clean out the fridge"
    • I eat lots of salad (in the summer) and make my own dressing
    • Tomatoes, berries, cucumbers, and peaches taste best in the summer
      • I can and freeze some so I can enjoy them year-round
    • Potatoes, squash, and root veggies get me through the winter
  • Lots of Legumes 
    • black beans, chick peas, and cannellini beans are my favorites
    • I also eat a lot of lentils, kidney beans, etc
    • I snack on peanuts and peanut butter sometimes and bake and cook with it, too
  • Whole Grains  
    • I make my own granola and in the cooler weather, I love oatmeal for breakfast 
    • I try not to eat a ton of wheat, so I'm starting to try more varieties, like teff and millet
    • When I do bake, I try to use organic sprouted flours, rolled oats, and brown rice flour in place of standard all-purpose flour.
  • Seeds
    • chia, quinoa, flax, pumpkin, and sunflower are my favorites
    • I soak and sprout when I can to unlock powerful enzymes and increase nutritional benefits
  • Nuts
    • walnuts for heart health
    • almonds for protein and fiber
    • cashews for cashew cream 
  • Fermented Soy, like tofu and miso (but not very often)
  • Dairy, in moderation 
    • Whey protein is a really great source of amino acids and is more sustainable than a lot of other sources of protein because whey is essentially a value-added waste product created by the dairy industry. It makes killer smoothies that taste way (pun intended!) better than plant-based protein powders (trust me, I've tried them all!) with staying power that I love to have after a tough morning workout.
    • Lactose is hard to digest and casein, the protein in dairy isn't nice to my body, so I try to limit my dairy consumption, but haven't cut it out completely.
    • Yogurt is a good source of probiotics and the culturing process breaks down the lactose. 
    • Goat cheese is easier on your body than cow's milk.
    • I really enjoy aged cheeses and fresh mozzarella but I don't keep them in the house.
    • I admit, I LOVE ice cream, especially in the summer. I try to set the rule that I have to walk to go get it (there are some great ice cream spots within a mile of both home and work) and try not to buy it at the store because I'll easily polish off a pint on the couch if I'm not careful! 
    • I do my best to buy organic, grass fed dairy and try to support local dairies. 
    • I use ghee, clarified butter when sauteing in something other than olive/coconut oil.
    • I'm searching for a source of organic, grass-fed local butter! 
  • Tea and coffee. 
    • Hot loose leaf teas get me through the cold New England winters. 
    • I buy green, jasmine, mint, and chamomile in bulk from a local tea importer and love yogi and pukka teas.
    • I brew a lot of iced tea in the summer with a combination of fresh mint from my garden and green and/or black. Hibiscus tea is also awesome as iced tea and helps regulate body temperature and is super high in vitamin C.
    • Sometimes I just pour hot water over some ginger root and enjoy a cup of ginger tea with lemon and honey.
    • I love lattes. It's true. 
What I don't eat (anymore):
  • Anything from a factory farm
    • This means I'm careful about where I source my dairy and eggs! 
    • I don't buy or drink milk from cows, but I sometimes indulge in cheese and ice cream.
    • My grandma and sister raise chickens so sometimes I'm lucky enough to score some of their eggs. Otherwise, I find free-range organic eggs at the farmers market or at Whole Foods (for about 4x the price of a "normal" dozen of grocery store eggs)
  • I try hard to avoid white sugar and wheat flours and find this hard when travelling.
  • Things I can't pronounce, have never heard of, or wouldn't be able to identify in a line up (ie: I have no idea what maltodextrin looks like, so I'd rather not eat it) 
  • Meals from chain restaurants. 
    • The chances of you finding me at an Applebee's, TGI Fridays, Chili's, or Cheesecake Factory are slim to none!