Hey there. I’m Gena (spelled like “Gina,” pronounced like “Jenna”). I’m a certified clinical nutritionist, a food writer, and a passionate vegan. This blog is a chronicle of my adventures in the kitchen, a community-driven celebration of nourishing food, and a space in which I sometimes share thoughts on disordered eating, animal rights, and nutrition science.
I was a book editor when I started this blog in 2009. Before too long, I had obtained a certification in clinical nutrition (C.C.N.) from NHI college and was contemplating a full-time shift into health care. Between 2010 and 2014, I completed a pre-med, post-bacc degree at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. with the intention of going to medical school. That didn’t come to pass, but the experience led me back to my true passion: nutrition. Now, I’m working toward my nutrition master’s at Teacher’s College, Columbia University, so that I can ultimately become a Registered Dietary Nutritionist. In addition to my part-time student life, I run my nutrition practice, which is designed to help men and women around the world find wholesome, healthful, and satisfying relationships with food.
I’ve written about plant-based lifestyle for VegNews, O Magazine, Whole Living Daily, and Food52, among other online and print publications. I also curate and publish a series called Green Recovery, which features the narratives of men and women who have found peace and healing from eating disorders with the help of plant-based diets. In 2014, I published my first cookbook, entitled Choosing Raw. It is a tribute to the raw food recipes that have enriched my life, as well as a no-nonsense nutrition primer for those who are curious about vegan and raw food diets.
I’m so happy you’ve found this community, and I hope that you’ll be coming back often!
The Way I Eat
The title of this blog is “Choosing Raw” because I adore raw food, and I think everyone has something to gain from adding more raw, plant based foods to his or her diet. But as you’ll see from flipping through my recipes, I’m not a strict raw foodist. I had a wonderful raw honeymoon phase four years ago that changed the way I think about food and informed my style of eating forever, but I think that a healthy vegan diet includes raw and cooked foods. No matter what, my diet is 100% vegan.
I grew up in a Greek family where lamb and cheese were the order of the day, but I can’t remember a time when the mainstream diet—especially meat—felt right to me. I believe that many girls who become susceptible to eating disorders feel disconnected from the prescribed way of eating in their lives; this was definitely true in my case. At the age of twelve, I realized that eating healthier foods would help me lose weight. That summer, I lost almost twenty pounds from my already petite frame. The intervention of my mom and my pediatrician stopped the weight loss in its tracks, but for the next thirteen years, I would struggle with restrictive eating and body dysmorphia. I relapsed into anorexia twice: once as a junior in college, once early in my career. I recovered with time, patience, and outpatient therapy, but I was left with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) and a very sensitive digestive system.
After my recovery and two subsequent relapses, I started to take a plant-based diet more seriously. I, like many other women, found that eating plant-based food contributed immensely to my healing process. For the first time, I ate, cooked, and studied nutrition with a sense of enthusiasm and confidence. Exploring a cruelty free, eco-friendly, and body-friendly way of life made me proud of my food choices for the first time in my adult life, and gave me the capacity to take pleasure in mealtime again.
Today, eight years after becoming vegan, I enjoy strong health and profound love and appreciation of food. I don’t, however, take for granted the long struggle that came before this, and I write often about disordered eating, plant based diet, and the intersection of the two on my blog. If you’re interested, check out my Green Recovery series, which highlights stories of ED recovery from a vegan perspective.
Whether you’re here to get inspired about raw and vegan food, to feel healthier, or to find a supportive community in which you can openly share your thoughts about food, I’m glad you’ve landed on CR. I hope you’ll have a chance to connect with other people who are conscious and thoughtful eaters like you. Welcome!