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April 2018 Featured Chef

Alison Marras

Nutritional Therapist, Coach, and Avid Health Food Cook, Food By Mars
New York City, New York

Alison is a New York City-based Nutritional Therapist, Coach, and Avid Health Food Cook.

IN THE KITCHEN WITH ALISON MARRAS

Tell us about yourself:

Hi! I’m Alison. I’m a NYC-based Holistic Nutritionist who LOVES to cook and share recipes on my site, foodbymars.com.

How did you get involved in cooking?

Funnily enough, my first task with cooking growing up was to “season the meat”! My parents both worked, but before my mom would leave work everyday, she’d call me and tell me to season the meat and prep the food so when she got home, she could cook it all. That was the beginning, once I went to college and moved, I started finding ways to cook for myself and to try healthy cooking which snowballed after meeting my amazing cook of a Husband. It’s something we now both absolutely love to do (and better together), and so my blog started as a way to share my favorite recipes.

Describe your cooking style:

Traditional, nutrient-dense. I love the cookbook, Nourishing Traditions among many others, but I really love to cook food in ways that it is the most nutrient dense and easy to absorb but also delicious. I also really enjoy taking childhood favorites and making them adhere to my dietary restrictions which is Paleo-ish at this point.

How did you learn about grass-fed meats?

From research at first, I remember watching documentaries that came out years ago and finding out about the horrors of the feed given to animals as well as their living conditions and immediately put my foot down about the type of meat I’d buy and the farming practices I would support. That’s how it all started, and then once I attended nutrition school, I got a lot clearer on where to purchase, how to speak to farmers, and how to best cook/prepare it.

What is your favorite recipe featuring grass-fed meat?

A simple medium-cooked bison or beef steak is my favorite with greens! I also love a good, rich stew or hash.

You’re stranded on a desert island; luckily, you’re stranded with your top 5 ingredients and one must-have kitchen tool:

  1. Greens – I love spinach, kale, or lettuce of any kind!
  2. Coconut – milk, water, meat, you name it!
  3. Cauliflower – this veggie is so versatile, I love it in soup, as a sauce, roasted up or riced!
  4. Berries – My favorite fruit, raspberries especially – they’re low in sugar and packed with antioxidants
  5. Lemons – I can’t live without a little squeeze of lemon, on my food or in water.
  6. I have so many kitchen tools, it’s honestly hard to just pick one! I’ll have to go basic and say my Chef’s Knife. My waffle maker is a real close second, hahah!

Best cooking secret/tip/piece of advice you’ve learned:

Keep it simple. When you completely over-complicate a dish, it’s not reasonable and you’re losing the natural flavors and textures. The simpler it is, the tastier. I’m always thinking about how I can do the least to “it” or keep the ingredient list low when cooking.

What’s your favorite quote/song for culinary inspiration (if any)?

“People who love to eat are always the best people.” ― Julia Child

I’ve met the most amazing people through cooking classes, food blogger groups, and social media – all bonding over food. A good meal brings people together.

Anything else you want to share?

Yes! Recently, I’m really focused on the practice of savoring my food. We are constantly distracted and are pretty disconnected from both our food (either because we don’t cook it or know where it comes from), or because we’re just so used to multi-tasking (like watching Netflix and eating at the same time). I’ve found that both from a joy-standpoint and a digestion standpoint, that by slowing down to pay attention to our food, the source, the preparation, the colors/textures, etc. and really enjoying it makes all the difference.

And, you can get access to my free eBook, “Start Savory” with lifestyle tips on balancing blood sugar and healing hormones featuring my top 5 savory breakfasts.

Subscribe here

Alison’s social media links:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • Pinterest

ENTER TO WIN THE OUT OF THIS WORLD FEATURED CHEF PRIZE PACK!

Here’s a great chance to win a variety of nutrient rich foods from US Wellness Meats. Contest runs Thursday 04/01/18 to Wednesday 04/11/18 at 11:59 PM CST. Good Luck!

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ALISON'S U.S. WELLNESS MEATS FAVORITES

  • Lamb Shoulder Roast
  • 85% Lean Ground Beef
  • Ground Bison
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