When we talk about healthy food, many times we think it is about following a diet to lose weight, and it usually consists of a plate full of lettuce and a tasteless dressing. Or when we talk about gluten and dairy-free, we think of flavorless, cardboard-like food. Nothing is further from reality at Cristy’s Kitchen. In their case, food has a very deep meaning (and flavor), and it saved their family in many ways.
Cristy and her husband Sebastian left Peru in October of 2019 and arrived in Roswell after their company in Lima went bankrupt. They lost everything they had. Full of hopes and the American dream, they opened the doors of their café-bakery, Cristy’s Kitchen, in December of the same year. March of 2020 brought new challenges with the pandemic and 16-hour workdays, but neither exhaustion nor hopelessness were going to make them give up on their dream of giving their daughters a better future.
Back in Peru, Cristy and Sebastian had gone through many crises. Perhaps the hardest was when they received a cancer diagnosis for their eldest daughter. They were told it was a malignant tumor behind the eye and surgery was necessary. Then their first miracle happened. The surgeon did not understand how something that was clearly a tumor turned out to be an abscess. The diagnosis then turned to a rare autoimmune disease with little information about it. While new symptoms appeared, their daughter was getting worse.
Cristy didn’t study to become a doctor or a nutritionist or even a chef, but something inside her told her that food was the solution. It was also the only tool over which she had control. She researched everything she could about food and its effect on our health. Three months after implementing changes to their daughter’s diet and adding in the right supplements, her symptoms were in remission.
From an early age, Cristy and Sebastian’s daughters developed different health conditions starting with respiratory allergies and eczema. Even Sebastian had his bout with health issues, suffering a stress-induced heart attack, which taught Cristy not only how powerful the mind is over our body, but how connected stress is with our health. The family quickly realized that life must be enjoyed, and they should live in gratitude for every moment of their journey.
Little by little, Cristy discovered the relationship that existed between their health and food, and most importantly, the quality of food. Food became her mission. Not only to help her family improve their health, but to also help families who are going through similar situations, looking for answers or trying to eat healthier.
One of Cristy’s Kitchens’ beloved customers, Brandon Stanton, creator of Humans of New York, fell in love with their food and asked Cristy to tell their story. Then their second miracle happened. Thanks to Brandon and the generosity of the community, Cristy’s Kitchen was able to stay afloat and continue to live the American dream.
The story in Humans of New York also opened the door for Cristy to write a cookbook. It includes not only her recipes, but also her history and the lessons she learned in the kitchen and in life. It allowed her to reach many homes and kitchens.
Some recipes in the book include ingredients that are possibly new to readers, but her Peruvian heritage is visibly represented. These ingredients are very easy to access in America and are full of health benefits and incredible flavor.
Cristy believes that nature is wise, and it provides us with the nutrients we need, so she cooks with organic ingredients and lots of love.
Everything at Cristy’s Kitchen is gluten and dairy-free, because these are considered some of the most inflammatory foods. She also understands that everyone is different, and everybody reacts differently to ingredients, so she offers many options such as vegan, vegetarian, paleo and AIP (Autoimmune Protocol).