Several years ago Judy DeLorenzo was on a mission to find out what was wrong with her. Having been chronically ill for over a decade with symptoms ranging from fatigue to brain fog, memory loss, numbness and tingling, visual floaters, and a myriad of other ailments, she wanted to find a cure. She decided to start with her diet.

I became overly busy raising three kids and launching a new business. Between the business and the kids I wasn't watching my diet as carefully as I knew I should be. In my mid-40s I was ill and I got sicker as time went on. I had difficulty walking. I was already seeing a doctor. He was treating me with antibiotics and two years later I was still sick. So I had decided to follow a natural path. That helped cleanse me by taking me off the antibiotics. But four years later I was still sick.”

DeLorenzo started doing research and found information about switching to a plant-based diet and eliminating soy, corn, modern wheat, and yeast. It became instrumental to her recovery. She earned the plant-based nutrition certificate offered through the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies and then went on to study herbalism and homeopathy. She is a certified holistic health practitioner with advanced training in Transformational Energy Healing. She believes that we must treat our bodies with respect by eating pure, whole, super-nutritious foods.

With that as her main goal DeLorenzo has written a cookbook based on her beliefs and findings and her desire to help people become healthier.

“From Chronically Ill to Vibrantly Well: Recovery Through a Plant-Based Diet” offers 111 gluten-free, whole-food, plant-based recipes that will satisfy even the most finicky eater. They contain no soy, corn, wheat, or yeast and focus on a vegetable-oriented diet. And for those who are contemplating a change to a plant-based diet, but are still transitioning, there are optional omnivore variations to make meal preparation easier in a mixed-diet household.

DeLorenzo’s book is more than just another vegetarian cookbook. She has produced an invaluable volume that includes sections on making the transition — healthy foods to eat in abundance, foods to eat in moderation, foods to eat sparingly or eliminate, and foods to avoid, what oils and vinegars are good for you and ones that are not, and advice on wheat, corn, and soy and why they should be avoided. She has a matter-of-fact, easy-going style and walks the reader through the various stages of achieving a healthy lifestyle that everyone can enjoy. She also includes a section of charts that list products and their contents, including the amount of fatty acids, calories, calcium, iron, magnesium and other elements composing plant foods.

There are also sections on what is needed in terms of materials and equipment to have a well appointed kitchen. Techniques offered are knife skills, prepping produce, and cooking methods.

“When you switch the focus from what you can’t eat to what you can eat, a new world of flavors, colors, and textures opens up,” she says. “You may feel intimidated by the thought of change. But the variety of health-promoting foods is quite extensive and when properly prepared, so delicious. Once you get going on this new path and your health begins to improve, your intimidation will be replaced with gratitude and joy — and you’ll wonder why it took so long to discover healthier eating.”

With DeLorenzo’s recipes there is no need to worry about deprivation or tasteless dinners. They concentrate on being both healthy and delicious.

DeLorenzo offers soups, among them — Butternut Squash, Chopped Gazpacho, and Not Your Grandmother’s Borscht. The salad section includes Red Potato Salad with Cauliflower Dressing, Carrot Raisin Salad, Salad-in-a-Jar. For mains and sides, choose from such dishes as Jamie’s Potato Skillet pie, Cauliflower Steaks with Romesco Sauce, Easy Eggplant No-Parmesan, Trilogy Flatbread Pizza, Veggie Pot Pie, Zucchini Pancakes, Pasta Primavera, Moroccan Sweet and Spicy Stew, and Veggie Mac and Cheese.

DeLorenzo’s writing style is easy to understand and her warmth and passion about nutrition and developing a healthy lifestyle are hard to resist.

In addition to her interest in health and nutrition, DeLorenzo is also the founder of Room to Grow. Located in Litchfield, it is a child care center, nursery school, and summer camp. Founded in 1990 it offers programs for infants, toddlers, preschoolers, kindergarten and school-aged children. And, needless to say, only organic snacks are served at the center.

“In From Chronically Ill to Vibrantly Well,” DeLorenzo shows the reader that healthy doesn’t have to be boring and that it is a slow, but wonderful and worthy journey from non-healthy to wholesome and nutritious food. Best of all, her recipes make it easy to cook at home — for everyone.

For more information about the book and to view color photographs of some of the recipes, visit www.alifewellplanted.com. Many of the recipes include scannable QR codes — scan the code and the companion photo will appear on your smartphone.

Connecticut Media Group