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Healthy cooking has come a long way from tofu and bean sprouts. CHRISTINA COOKS, a new half-hour weekly series about how food affects the way people look, feel and live, demonstrates whole foods cooking without preaching, without preservatives and without pretense.

Christina Cooks premieres on WHYY TV12 Saturday, October 18 at 4 p.m. and is scheduled for national distribution in early 1998.

The series, featuring popular chef and author Christina Pirello, breaks the mold of the cooking show format by inviting students into the kitchen to help prepare the food. Each program involves the viewers in a fun and practical cooking class packed with useful information about how food affects our lives.

Christina Cooks shows viewers how eating a whole foods-based diet can promote good health. "A healthy diet can make you feel younger, feel better and have a better outlook on life," says Christina.

The connections between food and aging, sex, emotions and beauty are all covered in the 13-part series. In "Great Food! Great Sex!", Pirello notes that eating peaches, apricots cherries and chick peas can improve your sex life. For the "Food and Emotions" segment, Christina says fried foods can make you cynical and depressed, while sauteed foods make you flexible and energized.

The premiere program on October 18 features foods "Just Like Mama Used to Make". In this segment, Christina shows viewers how to adapt some familiar favorites and create new family traditions. "Making healthier food choices doesn't mean turning your back on all your favorite dishes and traditions," says Christina.

The series also highlights delicious meals that help control weight, shows how to adapt traditional family recipes for healthy eating, and ways to use foods to improve the quality of hair, skin and nails. Other topics include "Your Just Desserts," "Under the Sea" and "What to Eat Instead." Christina Cooks also explains where to find some of the unique ingredients used in the program.

Christina Cooks covers much more than how to make tofu lasagna. The program isn't just about recipes; it's about food. "We don't want to make a vegetarian out of anyone," says Christina. "My aim is to empower viewers to take control of their lives through their diet. By understanding food and the way it affects us, we can make educated decisions about what we eat."

Christina was introduced to whole foods cooking by Robert Pirello, now her husband. Diagnosed with terminal cancer at age 26, Christina began eating -- and cooking -- macrobiotic foods. Her health improved along with her cooking skills even as she decided to forgo conventional medical therapies.

Christina Pirello has been giving whole foods cooking classes, seminar and workshops nationwide for the last 10 years. She is the author of Cooking the Whole Foods Way (HP Books) and is director of The Whole Foods Academy, a fully accredited whole foods curriculum at The Philadelphia Restaurant School. She and her husband also publish a bi-monthly whole foods magazine, MacroChef.

Check out Christina's website at
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