SHARON Luccisano’s interest in nutrition was sparked at a young age by her mother, Anna who fed the family most of their meals from their abundant backyard vegetable patch.
“We had a great patch and everything we ate was home-cooked and delicious,” Ms Luccisano said.
In the mid 1990s a family health crisis led her to deepen her interest in the role food plays in our lives and, in particular, how it can help your body heal.
“My husband was diagnosed with terminal cancer and we started to look at alternatives, and a big part of that was the diet and nutrition aspect of healing,” Ms Luccisano said.
“I learnt so much from the experience, especially how to make food from scratch that is flavoursome and tasty.”
Ms Luccisano’s interest led her back to university as a mature-age student to become a qualified dietitian.
It has been her passion ever since.
In her work as a dietitian, when it came to improving their nutrition, Ms Luccisano found the thing people responded best to were visuals and simple information.
“It was this idea that led to the idea for the book. I felt that there was a need for a practical and easy-to-read recipe book for people wanting to manage their weight,” she said.
Once the seed was planted there was no turning back, so she set about developing recipes for her self-published book How to Enjoy Good Food While You Lose Weight.
“As well as recipes, the book contains information on how to progress to a healthier and more active lifestyle, steps to success, tips on what does and doesn’t work and knowing what’s in food and understanding the effects on your body and health,” she said.
Ms Luccisano is adamant that weight management and good nutrition are critical factors in the prevention of diseases such as diabetes, some cancers, heart disease and other chronic illnesses.
“I think the most important thing people need to understand is that diets don’t work. They are too restrictive and rarely successful,” she said.
“People need to develop habits that are sustainable over the long term. Losing weight and changing things slowly is the best way.”
Ms Luccisano believes the book has broad appeal as a home cook’s resource as well as an educational tool, and is very happy with the response she has received.
“A number of diabetic nurses have said the book is very useful to use with their patients because of how simply and clearly it is set out,” she said.
How to Enjoy Good Food While You Lose Weight retails for $35 and is available from Collins Booksellers and can also be purchased online at www.enjoyfood.com.au.