Arneva Mason is a professionally trained personal chef and wellness coach who emphasizes healthier eating in her cooking and wellness practice. Believing that good nutrition is the key ingredient to good health, Chef Arneva is one of the hosts for the healthy internet cooking show, Delicious Cooking. She supports and promotes taking control of one's own total wellness through diet and healthy living practices.
Below is a cooking video featuring Chef Arneva making a healthy Sweet Banana Parfait.
1. How did you first become interested in cooking?
Growing up a "latch-key kid" required that I knew how to cook at least enough to get by until my mother got home from work in the evenings. She started by teaching my sister and me how to boil eggs, fry deli meats for sandwiches, bake frozen pot pies (this was before we had a microwave), etc. The older I got, the more sophisticated my palate became, and my appetite for different cuisines developed. With that came the desire to know how to make these new foods. In 2006 I graduated from the Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Arts program at the Cooking & Hospitality Institute of Chicago. It was there, in nutrition class, that I developed an interest in how food affects the body. After that I completed the health coaching program from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, and have been delving deeper into healthy cooking ever since.
2. What do you see as the relationship between food and health?
Good nutrition is key to good health! It's just that simple. I truly believe that if people were more conscious about what they put into their bodies, they'd be better able to take control of their own health, improving not just their physical well-being but also their mental, emotional, and financial health as well. It seems that sometimes just making changes to your diet can make such a big difference. Food is medicine, medicine is not food, and with the right foods, we can all achieve a lot more peace of mind. This is huge in achieving and maintaining optimal health.
3. Is it easy for home cooks to make healthy adjustments and substitutions in their recipes?
It really is easy. It's as easy as getting on the internet, doing a search for healthy eating, and finding a show like Delicious Cooking. We're offering a satisfying healthy alternative to foods you cannot eat, or have been advised to avoid. We take actual questions from our viewers and listeners of Root Cause Radio, and answer them with an easy, tasty recipe. It just takes a little effort, but hopefully you know that you're worth it! For example, to feel more grounded I was advised to add certain root vegetables to my diet. After my research, I discovered a whole new world of foods I had never even heard of before. It takes a little effort, but hopefully you know that you're worth it.
4. Would you tell us a little bit about your collaboration with Root Cause Radio?
I was contacted by one of the producers of the show and learned that the goal of the show was to find a new way to help people help themselves. Because of my background in cooking and nutrition, and love of helping people, I was intrigued and excited to take on the project. I enjoy the recipes because with each one I learn how certain ailments are linked to certain foods. We take those lessons learned on Root Cause Radio and turn them into quick and easy dishes so that viewers can see how simple it is to take control of their own health, and learn something new in the process.
5. What is your best advice for people who want to start cooking--and eating!--healthier foods?
I think that many home cooks may be intimidated by trying to cook with foods and spices that they never have before, and I get that. But there is more than likely an online video to show you how to prepare just about anything you can think of. Reach out to us at Delicious Cooking; we'd love to show you how! Also, talk to the folks who work at your local health food store and ask lots of questions. That's what they're there for, and they love to talk about what they know. Experiment! That's what I say. Try new things. You will be surprised and delighted by what you discover.