Author Interview | Annie Oliverio converses with Jorie about healthy eating, photography, and a passion for antiques!

Posted Friday, 24 April, 2015 by jorielov , , , 2 Comments

Cookery Delights | Savoury & Ambrosial | Cookbook interviews by the Bookish Foodie Banner created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: Unsplash Public Domain Photographer Jeffrey Deng.

It isn’t everyday a bookish foodie like me has the honour of interviewing such a warm and engaging cookbook author such as Ms Oliverio! I felt a connection to her cookbook Crave. Eat. Heal. from the moment I first started to read about it’s premise, as it’s not a secret of mine to return back to being a veghead vegan! I openly discuss where I am right now on my path as an omnivore and how I very much seek the hours in the future to where I can return to living off of farm fresh fruit and veg, whilst returning to a lifestyle which is a solace to my soul. I mirror my reasons for appreciating a lifestyle of whole foods and locally sourced produce as Ms Oliverio — eating healthier in a manner that is both harmonic to the natural environ and the rhythm of your own body is the best way to seek wellness because your eating towards what enlivens your own spirit.
I love being able to gather together books to review and showcase as much as the writers who pen them to offer a topical conversation on cookery and ambrosial delights because at the heart of my bookish soul lies a foodie whose breaking into her own rockin’ confidence in the kitchen! I love engaging with people about a variety of subjects inter-related to the bookish culture we all enjoy residing inside however, when I took up the conversation with Ms Oliverio, I wanted to keep our conversation ‘food centric’ and imperative to the pursuit of eating well and thriving as we progress forward on our own individual journey.
I am itching to read Crave. Eat. Heal. as the print edition will be arriving next month which gave me plenty of time to dream about what I’d find inside it’s chapters — to quay my curiosity, I delighted in the joy of finding a happy conversationalist to converse with for today’s tour stop! I hope dear hearts, you find equal joy in reading it!

Crave Eat Heal by Annie OliverioAfter struggling for many years with a raging sweet tooth and emotionally-driven cravings, author Annie Oliverio began the journey back to a healthy, balanced palate. This is a cookbook focused on plant-based foods that protect, nourish, and heal – yet satisfy “cravings” that can easily trip one up when striving to eat healthier foods or when feeling lonely, stressed or in the need of comfort.

Published by: Front Table Books (@FrontTableBooks)

an imprint of Cedar Fort, Inc (@CedarFort)

Add to RiffleAvailable Formats: Paperback & Ebook

Converse via: #CraveEatHeal and #anunrefinedvegan

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I love how you named your website and online presence as “An Unrefined Vegan” as a way to give a proper shout-out to where you are right now on your lifepath. Similar to how I named a feature of my blog “The Bookish Foodie” as a segue from being a book blogger, foodie, and sous chef attempting to hone her culinary chops! Do you remember the moment where you decided to walk outside the traditional foodie culture and embrace living foods? What drew you to adopt a lifestyle that says ‘no’ to what is unnaturally unkind to ourselves and wicked happy to our well-being?

Oliverio responds: Several “small” moments led me to adopt a vegan and plant-based lifestyle, Jorie. The first was watching the documentary, Supersize Me. I found it so horrifying that I never ate at a fast food restaurant again. That led me to Fast Food Nation and after reading it I immediately stopped eating meat. It truly was that immediate. At that point I didn’t give up dairy products or the occasional piece of fish or seafood; I guess I still had a little mental work to do! It wasn’t until my brother was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer that my husband and I abandoned all animal products – in large part to a PETA magazine and the book, The China Study. At the same time we drastically reduced our oil intake and eliminated processed foods. It sounds like a huge shift, but taken over time, it was really quite easy and natural for us. We were both quite “ready” for this kind of change in our lives.

I know a lot of health conscience people became motivated by both releases you’ve mentioned, except to say for me, I elected not to view them personally, as I had come to learn most of the same information via conversations I have had IRL with food enthusiasts, health food store guest speakers from various backgrounds of wellness and nutrition, as much as after seeing the biopic motion picture about Temple Grandin — truly there is not much left to the imagination! However, for me personally, it was through food itself that led me to notice a reckoning of indifference towards meat, poultry, and other forms of protein most people consume without a second thought. It all started in my childhood where I would opt for the ‘sides’ at holiday dinners and purposely seek out ‘alternatives’ to menu items for meals. I was a budding veghead without realising the terms which separate us from how we approach health and living.

I find it a remarkable testimonial of truth in your story — how the health crisis of a loved one and the new knowledge through the documentaries gave you a firm insight into a lift shift that would change your path. I think each of us finds our day of inspiration arrives when we least expect it too and it’s the day where we cannot close our eyes and resume where we were before we transitioned. You said the key to it all – you were ready for the change, and quite truly, that is what makes all the difference!

You struck a balance between living for a job and thriving on land where time isn’t how you keep your hours on the clock but rather a collection of memories whilst you gather experiences and adventures. How did you re-set your rhythm and rebuild a legacy for cultivating simple joys whilst gaining back a healthy mindset for living authentically honest?

Oliverio responds: In a way, it was really similar to moving to a plant-based diet. Both my husband and I were “ready” to leave cities and all that comes with them (traffic, noise, crowds, pollution, a sense of go-go-go and stress) and to slow down a little. The reality is that we haven’t slowed down at all. In fact, we are both busier than we’ve ever were sitting behind desks at 9-to-5 jobs! But they are activities and – as you say, adventures – of our choosing. Which makes them so much more satisfying.

I think we move through different periods of our lives where we find our happiness is united by where we live in different ways. To live only in one type of setting from birth to death is quite limiting but at the same time, it could be the best place to be for someone too. We each have to follow our internal compass, to seek out the voice of reason and calm assurance of being intune with where we are meant to be whilst we’re supposed to be ‘there’. We all have intuition and I think it’s great that you both discovered an awareness that the city needed to be exchanged in order to gain more freedom out of your living hours! I agree — the city is grand for cultural events and an incredible mixture of opportunities but without the added benefit of the country nearby, you miss out on the smaller joys of simply being in step with the natural world. If you can find both in close proximity your golden, too!

Art and healthy eating tend to be co-partners in crime, as we thrive in our creative vortex when our bodies are properly balanced without the clutterment of vices to distract our creative fuels; how did you alight on greeting cards and finding a niche on Etsy (a personal favorite site of my own!)?

Oliverio responds: I have a much-neglected fine arts degree and I love creating in one form or another – whether on paper, with a camera, or in a sauce pan! When we moved to Oklahoma, I knew that I wanted to devote some of my time to bringing painting and drawing back into my life. And – on the practical side – I was finding it impossible to purchase greeting cards that met my exacting specifications! So I decided to just make my own. Etsy was fairly new at the time that I joined and so it seemed like the perfect place to set up a virtual shop. Unfortunately, other interests and obligations have pulled me away from that marketplace and my shop is all but shuttered. I do still try and create a new Christmas card or two each year to share with family and friends.

Ooh I love how you recognised that cookery pursuits are an art form! I always find it a bit odd and strange when certain sorts do not consider food ‘art’ or a pursuit that is creatively motivated to create what is simply not there before the preparation is completed. Food is a visual medium just like fine art, and equally so, begins with a blank canvas! I had to smile whilst noting your life took up such a fast speed it disallowed you the joy of creating your cards and art outside of the kitchen! Balance is something all creatives strive to achieve, and I think we more or less succeed once we sort out our rhythm! I do hope your able to get back into the craft of card-making, as it’s such a happy zen for myself and my Mum; we love using inks, rubber stamps, mixed media collage materials, and other bits and bobs to make greeting cards by hand!

Crave. Eat. Heal. is not merely a title but a testament about a willingness to acknowledge key truths about how we process our capacity to understand how vitality and food are not co-conspirators but rather a working conversation with ourselves about understanding what we’re ‘craving’, how we ‘eat’, and how our bodies ‘heal’ through changing what we dish up on our plates to consume foods which invigorate rather than subtract our cells ability to thrive. What was the impetus to share the journey found within this new release?

Oliverio responds: The idea behind Crave Eat Heal was really inspired by my experience in caring for my terminally ill brother. While he suffered through radiation and chemotherapy – both devastating “cures” that wreak havoc on already weakened bodies, I became even more interested in the idea of food as healer and as a mechanism to “feed” our cells what they need to fight off enemy invaders. Veganism isn’t a cure-all, of course. In reality, there’s no stopping some diseases, but I do believe that whole, plant-based foods have tremendous healing power. We must give our bodies what they really crave: nutritionally dense foods that fuel with positive energy. That kind of energy just isn’t going to come from a dead carcass.

From this nucleus of an idea I moved on to cravings. I’m not a nutritionist or dietician and don’t feel comfortable doling out hard nutritional advice, but I could talk about cravings and how to satisfy them without reaching for processed foods that are full of chemicals, unhealthy fats, salt, and preservatives.

I think there is an incredible turning tide right now going on in the food and health communities where alternative practices for wellness and nutrition are taking root. I believe it’s the Heart Association who now regularly advises a more ‘veg’ focused diet with whole grains, but it could be the Cancer Society; to be honest, the commercials haven’t aired in a bit and I’m forgetting which ran the announcement; however, whichever one did, it was a shift of focus than the norm, and it clued me in that even the ‘major’ players are starting to look at diet in different ways than in the past. I definitely understand where your coming from because processed foods although can sustain you through difficulty, are not long-term advisable due to the high content and yield to the ‘added’ ingredients you might want to either avoid or subtract from your diet.

It’s a learning curve — just looking at the fast food market for a second, menus whilst I was growing up in the 80s/90s never promoted nor showed the calories per item you were consuming. It was quite difficult to get an ‘ingredient’ list for anything (and the same goes for sit down restaurants and eateries!) and you had to just hope for the best to be honest. I think as more information is learned as a society and as an individual focused cause for change, we are becoming a world focused more on health and wellness than what is instantly available to grab. Even the return to farm to fork principles and the community plots (esp in urban metros) programmes to encourage local farming on behalf of residents who do not have ‘land’ is a step in the right direction. It’s an impressively exciting time to be alive, truly! The mindset is more locavore based now than it ever was before unless you lived in ‘certain’ places where it was the norm. Thankfully now it’s moving like a tidal-wave and more people are jumping on board the train of joy!

I realize your cookbook is ‘oil-free or minimally used’ whereas my family and I have welcomed Extra Virgin Cold-Pressed Coconut Oil into our lives due to the health benefits we’ve experienced whilst cooking and baking with this particular oil. Which oils do you recommend to use and which ones have you found inherently help your own well-being as a cook who is passionately addicted to quality ingredients who are kind to our bodies?

Oliverio responds: Oil still has a (small) place in our diets. As you do, I primarily use cold-pressed coconut oil and frankly, I love it. It works beautifully in desserts and yeast breads.  Not to mention it smells divine. I’m totally okay with small quantities of it in our diet. I also occasionally use extra virgin olive oil to roast vegetables – a little goes a long way, so I don’t feel guilty about it. Finally, I use unfiltered, high lignan flaxseed oil (great for joint health) on our salads along with red wine vinegar and Bragg Liquid Aminos. It’s my absolute favorite salad “dressing” and couldn’t be simpler.

I find the best benefits from using Coconut Oil (Kelapo is my favourite brand at the moment) have lasting effects on joint and whole body wellness. It’s incredible how you can fry up a meal or bake without butter or other oils as I love how the heat point is safe for multiple uses! Honestly I use the oil for my skin, as unlike lotions to help with dryness, I find the coconut oil is a better fit. I gave up using olive oil due to the low set point, and opt instead for Grapeseed Oil if I’m low on Coconut Oil, and quite right, a little goes a mile! Yes, I love Braggs! Have you tried their other products I wonder!? I even love their Apple Cider Vinegar! Coconut Vinegar is smashing too!

When it comes to photography, I celebrate self-learners and the artistry behind our photographs, as I noted you embraced food photography whilst you launched your blog. Can you share a bit about your tools of the trade as far as camera, lens, and lighting sources or options which you have found best give a foodie the most bliss to extract out the realistic images which sprout happy smiles throughout your website and blog? What kernels of wisdom can you share for others who attempt but do not yet have the tech they need to pull off their own food photographs of joy?

Oliverio responds: I’ll tackle that last question first, because I know a lot of bloggers out there aren’t able to purchase “good” camera equipment and lighting but do want to maximize the quality of their shots. I know quite a few food bloggers who get excellent results with their PHONE cameras (check out Angela’s work at You want to really try and use good natural lighting as opposed to overhead lights. This is the key to ANY good food photography. For phone shots, I recommend getting fairly close to your subject. This makes for more drama and it’s easier to compose attractive shots. Also, take advantage of the free photo “processing” software available online, such as (my favorite) or Picasa. There are a few others that are really fantastic as well – even apps available for your phone.

There are many good books on food photography – – some of which discuss getting the best out of artificial light. Two of my favorites are Food Photography for Bloggers by Matt Armendariz and Plate to Pixel by Helene DuJardin. I highly recommend starting with books like this if you absolutely must use a phone or point-and-shoot camera and are unable to take advantage of natural light (i.e., you work all day and it’s dark when you get home). PS these books are also great resources for setting up shots, tips on processing your photos, saving your photos, and more.

I started out with a phone and then a point-and-shoot camera when I first began blogging back in 2011. I quickly realized that if I wanted to play with the big boys and girls I would have to learn more about cameras, composition, lighting, and arranging food so it looks its mouthwatering best. Over time I upgraded to a DSLR (digital single lens reflex) camera – a Nikon D3100 – and several good lenses (a 35mm and a 50mm). I read several books and e-books on photography as well as specifically on food photography. I even took an online photography course and after what seemed like a long while, it all started to click (no pun intended). I am a natural by no means! Like anything else, it takes practice and a lot of work and dedication. I still have tons to learn, but I’m definitely more comfortable behind the camera.As far as lighting goes, I always, always prefer to shoot with natural light. I’ve learned that the best light for me here in Oklahoma is a slightly overcast day. I love the kind of softness of my photos when I shoot on days like these. For my cookbook, however, I was going for a bright, clean look, and that called for sunny days, a completely white surface, and shooting into the light. It’s one of my favorite techniques.

This past year I did have to invest in good artificial lighting, however. I took a cookbook photography job where I was asked to use the same technique that I did for my own cookbook. Since it was winter, I knew I couldn’t rely on the sun, so I had to create a space where lights became an artificial sun. I went with professional-grade lighting, but there are decent and decently-priced light sets available on Amazon. Or, you can go with the popular Lowell EGO lights for pretty darn good “table top” lighting.

I definitely am the ‘camera in hand’ girl vs the phone girl — I never understood the phone cameras, but I’m definitely not in the majority as if I were we’d never see a site called ‘instagram’ take off to the moon! lol My Sony digital camera is circa 2005 and it has done amazingly well, although it’s one step up from a point/shoot it’s several feet down from an DSLR! My dream is to have both a still SLR and a DSLR, as I have a still camera that uses 35mm film with lens, filters, etc courtesy of my grandfather. You could say I have a shutterbug legacy in my family as my Mum inherited the passion long before I did!

I’m thankful you answered this question in full, because I’ve marked the books you’ve suggested on my Riffle List of Books of Interest (the general list on my Profile page) and have routed the books here in our conversation to their Riffle pages as I do not use GR. Shooting with natural light would be quite keen for me, I only wish I had the windows that would allow it to happen as I seem to be ‘behind’ the sun’s shadow more than I’m in front of it’s glory! This is when Feng Shui comes in handy as far as which way a house should sit and where your windows should be positioned to allow the most out of the natural rotation of the sun!

If you could name 10 key ingredients that wake up your spirit and enliven your soul to consume, what would they be? And, how would you love to eat them if they were on hand to dish onto a plate!?

Oliverio responds: Wow. Um, let’s see:

·        Chocolate

·        Nectarines

·        Miso

·        Mint

·        Raspberries

·        Dill pickles

·        Olives – any kind

·        Bread – almost any kind

·        Peanut butter

·        Cherry tomatoes

Except for the miso and the mint, I’ll take any of these straight up! Miso, of course is wonderful in soup, but it makes a great addition to sauces, dressings, and in vegan cheeses. Can’t beat mint in green smoothies or whirled into tofu chocolate pudding.

I love the versatility of miso myself — and all the different varieties of it too! Nom nom on the cherry tomatoes — favourite of mine whilst at the local farmer’s market is seeing when they first become ripe and start to be ‘in season’ as they are the best straight off the fields so to speak! I like making a lovely warm bread salad with these and/or mixing them into homemade guac of which I mentioned on my Daily Tortilla review I could eat copious amounts of! Honestly of the whole list you’ve shared, it’s these two that stood out as my own personal ‘must haves’ as I can live without chocolate and peanut butter but miso? Never! That’s like saying I’d never eat another root vegetable such as kohlrabi, turnip, or parsnip!

You have an antique heart, as I noted you love to seek out finds at unexpected places for all-things vintage and alluring to a cookery soul seeking out originality and function. How eclectic have your tastes for vintage finds taken you since you first started to embrace shopping away from retail and sourcing more for originality and function?

Oliverio responds: This is a great question – because buying “props” for my food photography has really changed my idea of what is appealing/attractive and has influenced where I shop as well. When I’m “antiquing” I’m really mindful of how something will look when photographed – not how it will look in my home, or even whether or not I actually like something. Like many food photographers before me, I learned that “old” actually looks better than brand-spanking new! And you can’t beat the prices.

Early on in my searching, I “discovered” an Oklahoma treasure: Frankoma Pottery. Up until fairly recently this was a functioning enterprise, but multiple fires finally shut down the business for good. So what is now available in antique stores and in private homes is all there is. And I really love it. It’s kind of rustic and heavy in a really beautiful way. The colors are earthy and the pieces are glazed such that they have a wonderful visual texture that gives them a loved and worn look. So, when I’m out and about, I’m always on the look out for Frankoma pieces.

I grew up exploring antique emporiums and second shoppes where you could find enough quirky eclectic items to outfit an Indie film if not a house! There was one in particular I liked as it was two stories of lovely wonderment where you had footfalls that creaked and every nook and cranny was tucked in so tight with knick knack, antiques, furniture, paintings, and glass or china that you had to truly ‘see’ past the cluttered arrangements and pull out the gems! I am not sure if we ever brought anything home with us, but spending time there was like being enveloped in the past through a living history of ancestors who were not necessarily related to you, but of whom felt ‘familiar’ because you spent time amongst their possessions! I loved attending auctions for the same reasons, and when it became more apparent the ‘off gassing’ of newer products was going to set-off my extreme allergies, I’ve returnt to where I began and seek out ‘second hand’ everything; from cars to clothes, to items for the house! It’s a whole creative world out there just waiting to be discovered, re-used, or re-defined in a world gone mad for over-making items that are already here in surplus!

I had a feeling you might be seeking treasures at these kinds of places, because your food photography has a weathered and homey appeal to them! I love it, because it’s not sleek, modern, or too ‘contemporary’ in texture but rather lived-in and gives a calm attachment to wanting to step through the photograph and start cooking! I should have asked you if you had a wood stove or pellet stove to cook on outside of your regular one. I will have to keep my eyes out for this beloved pottery because pottery is a side interest of mine outside of dishes, glass, and chinaware!

What three drinks of choice do you prefer during Winter, Spring, and Autumn? Do you find your tastes for foods differ per season or expound upon each other as time shifts forward?

Oliverio responds: I’m a year-round tea drinker. Hot. Tea is something that I crave and I almost always start my day with a cup of matcha or green tea. Then again around 3 pm I want another cup.  On weekend mornings, we drink big cups of chai tea laced with soy milk to go along with our waffles. It always feels like a treat.

During winter hot chocolate is so comforting and something I look forward to treating myself with after a cold walk outside with our dog, Ike. Add a little herbal coffee substitute or maca powder and it really bumps up this classic drink a notch.

For the summer months, I sip on homemade kombucha or just plain seltzer which is incredibly thirst-quenching. I guess that’s more like four drinks, but if you count kombucha as tea, then we’re good J.

Ooh what a happy delight seeing your responses to this question! I was hoping you might break it down by ‘season’ and share a bit of the joy you have in how the drinks appeal to you during the different phases of the year! You’ve given me a heap to think about because if I were to be honest in return, I am not sure I would know my own personal favourites!? I used to juice all the time, and there was one in particular I loved above all else that combined apples, carrots, and beets as the main three ingredients which I’d quickly say is a ‘Summer’ favourite as humidity is not my friend! Outside of that, I am truly not sure! I do love a wicked fresh brewed cuppa tea, green is a top preference but white or herbal are close seconds. If I were to be truly honest, I do like Peppermint Patties but that’s an alcoholic choice for Winter which is a special ‘treat’.

I drank so much chai in my twenties it’s a wonder I can handle black teas at all! So much so, I had to just drop it completely as if I were not inclined to drink it! I had renewed hope in having ‘chai’ re-enter my life when I found the ‘green’ tea variety of it — which by the way makes the ‘best’ cookies! I used to drink soy, but opt now only for almond or coconut milk; would love to try hemp milk too! I grew up with goat milk on occasion as I had lactose issues, so milk alternatives were never that big of a deal to get used too. Tea was my drink of choice until just before I hit twentyten wherein I discovered coffee — I’m on a return trip back to tea as my love of coffee is waning a bit as I truly only love the one bean: Ethiopian Yirgacheffe to be honest!

Teff is an ingredient you’ve happily embraced and is one I’m still striving to sort out past the ‘pudding’ so to speak. What is it about this key ingredient that whips up a happy spot in your kitchen to experiment and create dishes around!?

Oliverio responds: I went through a “find new whole grains” phase a while back and I was hitting up Bob’s Red Mill for anything new and interesting that I could find. Teff first found its way into my morning bowl of oatmeal and I really like its slight crunch. Another brilliant use is as an addition to gluten-free flour blends. A lot of gluten-free blends can give your baked goods a kind of pasty white look that I don’t find appealing. The rich color of the teff results in baked goods with that nice brown you get in wheat-based goodies.

Love, love, LOVE Bob’s Red Mill! Honestly I could just pick/choose a heap of lovelies from their catalogue and go on ‘auto ship’! Again the only way I’ve made Teff is the breakfast pudding recipe and I think that came with the bag from Bob’s! lol Hmm, adding it to flour would be a nice switch-up as I’ve been adding hemp seeds to my bakery experiments lately! Including my first go-round with rice pudding, though my late grandmother is probably gobsmacked I even am declaring I *like!* rice pudding now! lol Hmm, I cannot say I noticed the colour differences in the flours but then again, I was never attached to one flour or another. Good idea you gave for those who do notice and want to camo the difference!

Being vegetarian and/or vegan (or a combination of the two) is part mindset, part attitude, and part aptitude for thriving in a cultural moment in time where despite the progress, there is still a stigma of indifference attached to those of us who are seeking to live alternatively to the norm. How did you find freedom in a non-traditional path of eating vs how you were raised (if you had traditional foods growing up)? Did your family walk the path with you or are they more attached to their comfort foods of old?

Oliverio responds: I grew up in an Italian-American household with a heavy emphasis on cheeses and meats. But I was also raised to think for myself and to be independent. I’ve always been just a bit different, too, so being on a less traditional path is something with which I’m comfortable. For me, what I learned about the health implications of living on an animal-based diet while also making the connection between myself and the animals I was carving up and putting into my mouth – well, I couldn’t unlearn those things. So the choice was easy.

My husband fully embraces the dietary changes I’ve suggested over the years and so it’s been blissfully easy. In our house anyway. My father, mother, sister, and brothers are omnivores and will remain so, I’m sure. Getting together to share a meal can be challenging, but despite a few jokes here and there, it all works out and we all end up getting the food that we feel is right for us.

My Dad grew up on Italian foods himself, but he was thankful when my Mum entered his life and changed up the routine as he said it was about high time the ‘seven day cycle’ came to a definitive end! Laughs. Mum changed things up in such a clever spontaneous way, that both my Dad and I never truly knew what we would have until we sat down to eat! Eating on the fly was great because it turnt Dad and I into adaptive foodies whose palette was a healthy hodgepodge of influences, spices, and herbs! It is not small wonder I have strong hankerings for Indian foods as most of the spices were introduced before I hit my twenties! To me bland food is without spice and without fusion between cultural staples. I hear you on the fam not understanding as that was a battle my Mum had with ours; thankfully Dad and I were so blissful in the joy of the new directions, it has been a wicked ride for us!

What do you love the most about being vegan vs being an omnivore or other designated eater? What have you found eclipse inside your own life as a difference that gives you the most internal joy?

Oliverio responds: Simply put: I just feel better in body and spirit. I know in my heart and soul that the food I’m eating is what is best for me. Not only am I eating foods that give my body the best possible nourishment, I’m doing my very, very small part in saying no to a system that abuses and then kills sentient, loving, unique, beautiful beings who have the same right to exist as do I.

I loved how you said this as I re-iterated it prior to revealing the conversation above, about how the best motivation to take-on a new lifestyle (by the foods we eat) is to focus on what gives our bodies and spirit the most joy. If we eat in joy, we thrive on wellness because we are listening to what makes us healthy simply by being in-tune with our bodies. It’s a good lesson in being mindful of the truths we notice as we live as much as being receptive to changing our patterns in order to curate a healthier life.

Where do you like to visit on a weekly basis the most: a local farmer’s market (where everything is sourced within 100 miles), a natural market co-op, a you pick it farm where you hand-cut your own fruit, veg, herbs, etc, or a local pot luck meet-up with other foodies and veg friendly spirits? What kind of conversations do you find naturally evoke out of these settings and what makes you smile the most?

Oliverio responds: I wish I had a local farmer’s market! We live on 160 acres in the middle of nowhere. The closest grocery is 25 miles away. If I want “special” food or produce, it means a day- or overnight-trip to Oklahoma City or Tulsa where we are lucky to have Whole Foods and several other “natural foods” markets. There are a few farmer’s markets there as well, but it’s just not convenient for me to get to them. And, Oklahoma isn’t known as a produce-growing state, you know what I mean? You want grass or red dirt? This is the place.

On the other hand, my husband gardens – lucky me! – and we are fortunate enough to have beautiful, fresh greens year-round. In the summer we have tomatoes, zucchini, peppers, potatoes, onions – and whatever else he can coax out of some very stingy soil.

I must admit — you completely surprised me by this response! I thought for sure you were going to answer it a different way, as I had no idea you were living in a low producing veg state! Wow. Had I thought to ask after you returnt your replies, I would have followed up by asking how you get to source the ingredients you need if it’s a bit of an uphill battle to find fresh fruit and veg? Wow. I simply didn’t realise it — I guess Oklahoma must be for grains and cattle moreso than anything else. I commend your grit determination to source what you need in a place that reminds me of Alabama whose soil is not as easy to draw a crop of anything out of either! Clay is just as obstinate! I suppose raised beds wouldn’t help either — because of the climate in combination with the soil?

Whilst travelling where do you like to ‘duck inside’ on the fly (all of which are veg friendly): a coffeehouse, a teahouse, a cafe or eatery, fine dining specialty restaurant, a dive or pub, or saddle up to a food truck? What are your wicked good finds that you’ve found in the most unexpected place or setting?

Oliverio responds: I’m a coffee house kind of person. I love their cozy feel, the smell of roasted beans, and their slightly funky vibe. Oh, and the soy or matcha lattes. We are lucky to have some really good coffee shops in Oklahoma and a trip into the city always involves a stop for a hot beverage.

On a completely different note, I was thrilled when I discovered that both Oklahoma City and Tulsa have amazing Asian markets. I mean, BIG! That’s where I stock up on good coconut milk, jackfruit, tamari, rice, and of course, cute little bowls and cups.

Ooh dear me yes! That is why I love the appeal of ducking into them myself! You get this beautiful and tranquil atmosphere whilst setting into a hearty conversation over a cuppa of your choice! I love the indie coffeehouses where you can get homemade lovelies to go with the cuppa, esp if they offer vegan delights?! Asian markets are not as popular where I am unless you head to the major metro areas as sadly the Indian market shut down and that was just a plumb shame! I loved looking at the gigantic rice packets, the bulk spices, and the beans vs lentils was always a harrowing choice what to bring home next!

What is your favorite moment of joy about living in America’s Heartland?

Oliverio responds: Having lived on both the west and east coasts, I have to say that generally speaking the people here in “flyover country” are just darn nice. They actually smile at you and say hello. It’s refreshing. But I think the best thing about living in the Midwest is having space around one’s self and a clear, big, open sky. Nothing beats the view from the top of our pasture. You can see for miles and all you see is green or gold.

I hadn’t thought of Oklahoma as being in the ‘Midwest’ but then again, the Fargoians mentioned to me they consider themselves in the ‘Upper Midwest or the Upper Plains’ so that would make you in the ‘Lower Midwest or Lower Plains’ right?! I love learning how different regions view themselves and how they self-identify where they are on the map! Yes, I vividly remember my joy of the ‘seas of grain’ as I crossed out of Nebraska and into the Dakotas! It is truly magical to go over the Continental Divide! I agree — friendly people is a cherished treasure and I’m thankful your blessed with such a well-rounded life that overflows your basket of memories with a heap of joy!

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Jorie, thank you so, so much for sharing space on your site with me. Your questions were just wonderful and so fun and thought-provoking. It’s been a real pleasure!

It was my honour and pleasure to have you on my blog today! I truly loved being able to ask you questions that step outside the norm of what I generally focus on and dig into the heart of a path pursuing an alternative lifestyle of health whilst being mindful of the journey we all individually take to find our ‘ideal’ path of wellness. It was a wicked conversation and I’m blessed to have crossed your path! May you have a wonderfully happy blog tour and I cannot wait until May where I get to carry forward this conversation into my ruminative thoughts on ‘Crave. Eat. Heal.’! Til soon!

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About Annie Oliverio

Annie Oliverio

If there is an unnamed, undiagnosed condition where one suffers from planning, thinking about, and anticipating future breakfasts, lunches, and dinners while eating breakfast, lunch, or dinner, then I have it. And I don’t want to be cured. But I wouldn’t be opposed to having this ailment named after me.

I was fortunate to be raised in a home with two excellent cooks: my mom and dad. Mom covered the basics of breakfasts, lunches in brown paper bags, and a square meal at night. She also covered Thanksgiving and Easter dinners. Dad took over on Christmas Eve or whenever an ingredient—be it a stinky cheese or olives or eggplant or artichokes or polenta—caught his fancy. Sauce splatters and piles of pots and pans in the sink were guaranteed. Between mom and dad, my three siblings and I ate eclectically and well.

My own culinary journey got off to a rocky start when I began living on my own post-college. I went for convenience and speed (and sugary, fatty, salty) rather than quality. Slowly, however, I began buying more fresh and whole foods to make my own meals. At the same time, I was learning about what foods are best for our bodies. Long story short, my plodding and indirect journey led me to plant-based eating. I no longer rely on packaged, frozen, or prepared meals, and instead make everything we need right here in our own kitchen.

What about the non-food part of my life? Before escaping the mean city streets for the wild, windy plains of Oklahoma, I was an administrative assistant and office manager at a subscription fulfillment company in Boulder, at a think-tank in Santa Monica, at a university in Cambridge, MA, in the Green Zone in Baghdad, and at a non-profit in Washington, D.C.

I now spend a good deal of time walking the pastures trying to identify different types of grasses and insects, feeding hummingbirds, writing and reading, struggling to solve crossword puzzles (with a pen and a lot of Wite-Out), and blogging at An Unrefined Vegan and Virtual Vegan Potluck. I live in blissful satellite- and cable-free isolation with my husband, Kel, and our only son, Ike (part dachshund, part Labrador).

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This author interview is courtesy of Cedar Fort, Inc.:

Cedar Fort Publishing & Media

One thing I have wanted to seek out is a way to talk about what befits a book blogger’s soul – part of what makes our soul happy is the food we consume, which is why time to time I will be showcasing a healthy-minded cookbook or baking book to augment this side of my life into my book blog. For this reason, I am still quite grateful Front Table Books and Cedar Fort gave me my initial chance to feature a cookbook — as it marked a transition moment for me, as I started reviewing for their Front Table releases in 2014 whilst continuing now in 2015, I will be regularly featuring non-fiction titles as much as dipping into the Foodie Fiction section of literature which compels my heart to discover.

Follow future installments by: #TheBookishFoodie

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Virtual Road Map of “Crave. Eat. Heal” Blog Tour can be found here:
{ Stay tuned because I will be reviewing the cookbook in May! }

Crave Eat Heal Blog Tour via Cedar Fort Publishing & Media

Find out which Front Table Books I hosted in 2014 + which ones are coming in 2015!

Visit with me again soon!

Kindly leave your thoughts, comments, & reactions for Ms Oliverio in the comments section!

Comment Box Banner made by Jorie in Canva.

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In conjunction with my “The Bookish Foodie” Feature on Jorie Loves A Story:

The Bookish Foodie a blog feature of Jorie Loves A Story

Quite wicked happy on this being the last cookbook feature on my bookish blog for 2014, before I kick off new features & showcases in 2015 where I am going to be highlighting both fiction and non-fiction Foodie delights! I have always appreciated “Foodie Fiction”, but I am also an amateur sous chef who likes to experiment in the kitchen with her Mum! I grew up with a keen interest in savory and sweet decadence from a Mum whose culinary wanderings spanned the world. We were always a family who were considered to eat ‘bland’ food due to the fact we limited our salt intact, and we never used black pepper! Ironically, it was through the herbs and spices my Mum always fused into our cooking adventures that first sparked my own interest in getting a bit more involved than merely developing a ‘taste’ for what I appreciated. I developed my own yearnings for Indian spices (i.e. Curry Powder, Garam Marsala, Turmeric, etc) and foods, as much as I always had a hankering for extra garlic cloves due to a high concentration of Italian foods I consumed growing up. I wanted to merge my bookish joy of reading ‘Foodie Fiction’ with my quest to uncover a healthier and more vibrant way to eat, live, and thrive. Therefore, I decided to begin featuring what I consider fit under this new Feature of Jorie Loves A Story: The Bookish Foodie! As I am *exactly!* what the title eludes — I’m a bookish girl who has a Foodie soul! Drop back and spend time with me to see where this Feature takes me!

{SOURCES: Author Biography, Book Synopsis and Book Cover of “Crave Eat Heal”, the blog tour badge, and the Cedar Fort badge were provided by Cedar Fort, Inc. and used by permission. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Tweets were embedded due to codes provided by Twitter. Cookery Delights | Savoury & Ambrosial | Cookbook interviews by the Bookish Foodie Banner created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: Unsplash Public Domain Photographer Jeffrey Deng. The Bookish Foodie badge created by Jorie in Canva. Comment box badge created by Jorie in Canva.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2015.

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About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Friday, 24 April, 2015 by jorielov in Blog Tour Host, Cedar Fort Publishing & Media, Cookbook, Cookery, Debut Author, Healthy Baking, Indie Author, Jorie Loves A Story Features, Locavore, The Bookish Foodie

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2 responses to “Author Interview | Annie Oliverio converses with Jorie about healthy eating, photography, and a passion for antiques!

  1. Jorie, once again I want to thank you for such a fun and thoughtful “conversation!” I love that you responded to my replies to your questions – mostly for the insight into YOU that it gave ME! Wonderful! But also because – yes – it feels as if we sat down (over a cuppa!) to chat. I hope that you enjoy my cookbook once it (finally!!) arrives. All the best – – Annie

    • Hallo, Hallo Ms Oliverio!

      Ooh this is a true delight to my ears, as I was hoping my replies would be as happily received by you as they were for me to give them to this conversation! I had such a wicked happy time going back through the conversation and adding a bit more under your replies! Yes, that is definitely the cognition I was hoping to achieve (the shared cuppa!) and am blessed to have seen this reflected in your comment! My goodness — I keep thinking about what I will find inside Crave. Eat. Heal. that by the time it finally arrives by Post, I’m going to be completely mesmorised by reading it!

      A true honour to have been able to get to know each other a bit better through this conversation, and I cannot wait to pick it up again after I’ve read the cookbook!

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