Dirty Martinis, Gold Mules and Better Living with Heather Christo | The Realest
Why should models have all the fun? Each month we’re finding a “real woman”—i.e., of any shape and size—and giving her the model treatment in The Realest. We bring the wardrobe, stylist, photographer, makeup artist and blog editor—she brings her anything-but-one-size-fits-all personality and style—and we all head out on location for an IRL photo shoot to showcase our monthly Dress Spotlight.
Meet Heather Christo, a classically trained French chef, erstwhile high-end caterer, two-time cookbook author, popular food blogger and enviably polished mother of two. When she and her children were diagnosed with a slew of collective food allergies, Heather (not without a heavy sigh) threw out the butter and eggs and set about using her professional experience to create new dishes that were safe for her family but just as delicious–if not more so–as the food they were accustomed to.
Along the way, she documented her experience on her blog and poured it all into her recently released one-of-a-kind book, Pure Delicious–full of helpful information and tasty recipes she developed that are free of gluten, dairy, egg, soy, nut, peanut, shellfish and cane sugar. No small feat! Find out how she does it (she’s sharing recipes!), read about her style and see her modeling some of our favorite dresses while being an impeccable hostess in her beautiful home and garden.
On work and play: Well, I really have several jobs and divide my time between them.
1. My blog, HeatherChristo.com, where I publish five days a week and do everything from the recipe development to the food styling–including photography, postproduction and writing.
2. My company, Heathermade, which is currently sold in select Costcos and hitting retail this fall. We make fresh, vegan baked goods that are certified gluten-, soy-, nut- and peanut-free.
3. My book. A year ago I would have been focused on editing it, but now I am focused on the promotion of it. So I’m doing press trips, book signings and (my favorite) public speaking about our family experience with the power of food as medicine.
And … Ha! I don’t think I am getting in nearly enough play time! But I try to enjoy any and all time that we get to spend as a family–even if it is just going on a walk on the weekend or all sitting down to dinner together. We also have great friends, and my husband and I love to go out for drinks or entertain at home.
On her style: I would say that I am really pretty classic. I rarely go with trends and tend to wear the same silhouettes all the time. I love all different kinds of jeans (I am in Seattle after all!) and heels, a great fitted blazer with a looser-fit low-cut slub T-shirt, or a crisp button-down and trench coat. I also love dresses. I am a tall, curvy girl, so a lot of this is about fit for me. I like to wear tighter, tailored clothes (or I look bigger than I am), but I temper the sexiness with cut. For instance, I love Victoria Beckham and Givenchy dresses, with their simple silhouettes.
Indulging in trends comes in the occasional, quirky accessory. Most of the shoes in my closet are pointy-toed 3- to 4-inch heels in all different colors and textures–ranging from Louboutin to Stuart Weitzman. You’ll also find things like a crazy glitter-covered Miu Miu mary jane in there or a bright-yellow Prada purse or a big grass-green Givenchy tote!
How it’s changed over time: I think at a certain age you figure out how to dress for your body, and I have become really particular. I know at this point what does not look good on me: anything short. I also try to stay away from anything boxy, because I prefer things that nip in at the waist. Once I figured out the right silhouettes for myself, then I started to have fun with color. Nowadays, I find myself making choices based on my age (gah! I can’t believe I am here!), and I’ll sometimes have to say, “This is too young for me” and then slowly back away!
On her new book: Pure Delicious is a lifestyle guide, elimination diet and cookbook with over 150 gluten-, dairy-, egg-, soy-, nut-, peanut-, shellfish- and cane-sugar-free recipes, and it is definitely the only one of its type!
Two and a half years ago, my young children and I were diagnosed with food allergies and sensitivities. I didn’t realize that we had all had the symptoms our entire lives and just didn’t know any better. So, when I was suddenly faced with that knowledge and knew I had to make a 180-degree change in our diets and lives, I went looking for resources on how to do that. When I came up short, I realized that I needed to write this book for all of the people suffering from food allergies and sensitivities (tens of millions of Americans)–both for those who know it and for those who don’t realize that food is what is causing their pesky (or major) health problems.
The book features tons of information, including how to do an elimination diet (while eating really well!) and how to eat this way as a sustainable lifestyle. Oh yeah, and over 150 delicious recipes! Within eight weeks of being on this program, my entire family found ourselves in the best health of our lives, and we had to share with others how we achieved it.
(Caught in the act getting her wine cellar “photo-shoot ready.”)
Favorite recipes du jour and newfound ingredients after switching to allergen-free foods: I always love what’s the most fresh and seasonal. I am obsessed with these Green Goddess Farmers Market Tacos because of how much fresh produce we have right now. And then with so much entertaining going on with the end of the summer, I am all about this Tomato, Peach and Avocado Salad with Cilantro Vinaigrette. It is the perfect side dish to pretty much anything!
Recipe images courtesy Heather Christo.
When I made the switch, aquafaba was a huge surprise! If you are not familiar, it is the liquid in canned chickpeas and other canned beans. It is an absolutely wonderful egg substitute and is incredibly versatile.
I think I also sort of enjoyed the (huge) challenge of learning how to bake all over again, but this time gluten free and vegan. Gluten-free baking would have been enough of a challenge all on its own, but add in being allergic to eggs and dairy, and creativity and patience become your best friends.
Favorite pieces in her closet and from our shoot: I love a Louis Vuitton blouse that my husband got for me 12 years ago; does that count as vintage yet!? It’s still an amazing piece–really unique–and I wear it from time to time. I have some colorful dresses that never go out of style and some classic pieces that I reach for over and over again–like blazers and crewneck cashmere sweaters–and then some fun pieces like a new two-piece lace ensemble in jewel tones by a Parisian designer that I cannot wait to find somewhere to wear this fall.
From our photo shoot, I think the black dress was wonderfully diverse. That piece is just a great LBD that you could dress down to be work appropriate or glam up to go out at night. I also love that by accessorizing it, the style changed so much.
Also, that blue jumpsuit was so much fun; the color and the fit were great. I might have to purchase that for myself!
SHOP: Our Dress Spotlight