Here at Fields of Athenry we couldn’t get by without the help of our farm family and staff. We are a small family farm with just a few employees but each of those employees brings a big personality and talent we just couldn’t do without. Recently, with the upswing in our prepared Farm-to-Table meals and ongoing Bone Broth and Meat Stock preparation we recently brought on a new team member, Cristina Michael. She will not only continue to be a side-kick in the kitchen, cooking away with me during the week, but she will also be sharing her love of food – Raw Food mostly – here on the blog! Please take a look at Cristina’s story below including one of her favorite Raw Food juicing recipes, and join me in welcoming Cristina to the Fields of Athenry team and our Farming for Bernie blog! -Elaine
INTRODUCING CRISTINA MICHAEL
Growing up in a Spanish household, my love for food developed at an early age. My mother provided a home where we would often gather around a table of delicious food with the people we loved. When I graduated high school, I decided to journey to Spain and truly immerse myself in the Spanish culture.
While I was in Spain for a total of three years, one of my first and most immediate impressions was how happy everyone was. As I began travelling all around the country I met lots of different people with different views and backgrounds but they all held a common lifestyle around food. From the preparation to the eating of a meal, to taking the time out of their day to enjoy it with people they love, this culture and way of life became near and dear to me. In a sense they held food and the time they spent eating it sacred. As you can imagine I consequently grew an expanding love for fresh home cooked food and good company. I can still say that the best seafood I ever had was in Spain. Pulpo a la Gallega is one of my favorites and I love the simplicity of how it is made: fresh octopus, potatoes, olive oil, paprika and salt.
After 3 great years, I came back to the states and started a family. In raising my children, I found it very hard to find the time to cook many of the traditional dinners I had grown to love. Not only did I stop making the time for it, it also just became so easy, with 4 kids mind you, to make microwavable dinners, buy fast food, and serve prepackaged lunches. My kids were often sick throughout most of the winter months and were always immediately sick when they came across someone with a cold or the flu. I thought it was normal and that all kids were germy: “kids just get sick” right? However, my patience was wearing thin. I was wasting my time and money at doctor’s offices. Doctors would write a prescription and that would be the end of it, at least until the next round of colds or flu would hit it. It was quickly becoming a never-ending cycle and I needed to make a change for my family and myself.
Slowly, I started to eat healthier and began to take care of my body by also working out again. I started to realize what I ate greatly affected how I felt. The better I ate the better I performed! And, oh boy did that open a new chapter in my love for food. Now I also began to pay attention to where my food came from, how it was prepared, and how the food I was now also fueling my family with was having the same positive effects on their health. It was a big turning point in my life and career.
From that point forward, I have continued to merge food and healthy living together. I sharpened my culinary skills at L’Acadamie de Cuisine in Gaithersburg and Bethesda and worked under multiple chefs including the Washington Capitals and Wizards head chef Robbie Wood. I am now a certified Raw Food Chef and Holistic Health Coach from the Diet for Living Center in New Mexico, and I am furthering my education by participating in a 150 hours Professional Plant-based Culinary Course taught by Rouxbe Cooking School.
The foods we eat can be either the safest and most powerful forms of medicine or the slowest forms of poison. Raw foods are simple living foods, found in nature, unprocessed and unchanged. Foods in their untampered state are custom made by nature with the exact specifications to make a healthy life possible. My passion is to share with the world my knowledge of how food can heal and prevent illness. I am motivated to change the way people understand food, body and health and the importance of moderation and balance. I know many of you are hungry for a fresh healthy approach and I am blessed to work with such a devoted hardworking team at Fields of Athenry. We are here to help and guide you on your path to wellness and as part of blogging together I will be highlighting recipes using raw foods, vegetables, and other healthy fun treats that are friendly to all taste buds.
“When you eat clean, it calms your stomach. When you calm your stomach, you quiet your mind, and when you have a quiet mind, you can listen to your heart – and your heart speaks the TRUTH.” – CM
One of my most favorite food passions is making Raw Juice or what I like to call “liquid nutrition”! One of the most frequent tools I use in my kitchen is the Omega 8006 Juicer; a masticating juicer which extracts juice by pressing and grinding at low speeds to avoid added heat. Since masticating juicers run at slower speeds you get less oxidation and more nutrients when you use them. A little known fact: when you heat food over 118 degrees, you lose 80% of the nutrients, antioxidants, minerals, and 50% of the proteins. The juicer in essence does all the “processing”, pulling the liquid nutrients from the fiber, so that your body doesn’t have to do the work. Raw juices supply oxygen to the cells of the body, allowing our bodies to heal itself by virtue of nature’s law.
The Omega Juicer is also one of the easiest juicers to clean with just a 2-3 minute clean up period (hello, mom of 4 over here!) and has 10-year warranty. And while it may seem like a big initial investment at $250-$300, did you know that’s just the equivalent of one less Starbucks coffee at $5 per week for a year? And trust me, with more of this juice and less of that caffeine and sugar you’ll feel plenty energized to not even notice!
I’ll talk more about raw foods, juicing, and what else a juicer can do for you in upcoming posts but in the meantime if you have any questions on the brand I chose or why I love juicing, send me a note in the comments. If you currently own one or are thinking of giving it a try, check out this easy recipe below:
Hippocrates Juice – With spinach, tomatoes, peppers, celery, carrots, garlic and an optional kick of jalapeño pepper this juice is full of beneficial nutrients and vitamins.
Serves: 2 – 16 oz portions Active Time: 20 mins Total Time: 20 mins
- 1 cup spinach
- 3 large tomatoes
- 1 yellow pepper
- 1 orange pepper
- 4 celery stalks
- 5 large carrots
- 1/2 jalapeño pepper (optional)
- 3 cloves garlic, or to taste
- Splash of Apple cider vinegar (optional)
To prepare the juice, wash all of the ingredients.
Cut and deseed the peppers, peel the garlic and cut the jalapeño in half. Depending on the size of your carrots, you may also want to cut these into half or thirds. Note: Depending on your spice level preference, you may also want to remove the seeds from the jalapeño.
Put all of the ingredients through a juicer and Serve immediately!