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Meet Cecilia Perotti, owner and health coach
An interview by Sveva Clavarino, Founder of “The Wellness Reporter”.
- So Cecilia, could you please tell us what is Centro Botanico and what is the philosophy and ethos behind it?
Centro Botanico is an organic concept store based in the enchanting heart of Brera with a grocery, a bistrot and a herbalist shop.
Since 2001 we offer the best organic and biodynamic food, herbal medicines and supplements, vegetarian, vegan and raw dishes and organize courses, tastings, conferences, exhibitions and presentations.
With a holistic approach we aim at involving and touching all the spheres of a human being.
We try not to look at our customers as simple consumers but to consider them members of a conscious and highly valuable community sharing an unconditioned love for nature and health, ethics, physical and spiritual well-being.
- What products do you offer?
We offer a wide range of organic and biodynamic products. Grocery, special and super foods, cold pressed juices, supplements and clean beauty cosmetics. Since the very beginning we select and love small local producers, niche brands and products from all over the world.
“I believe that eating organic food is a pure act of care and love, for us and the planet”
- What are your best sellers?
Of course as it does naturally occurs, also best sellers have their own seasonality, especially when talking of organic food and supplements. Raw bars and snacks, hand made granola, fresh greens are some among the favorites in the grocery. Organic food supplements such as Amocamu (vitamin C from Camu Camu), Astragen (immune booster made of Astragalus), Linfabet (detox Birch Sap), Aborigen (monofloral Manuka Honey) go big in the herbalist shop. Among the clean cosmetics I guess Perceval Rose Floral Water, Karitesana Gold (organic and food grade Nilotica Shea Butter) and Nablus ancient recipe soaps.
- I love your organic bistrot so much! How are your dishes nutritionally balanced?
So honored to hear you love our organic bistrot.
Our dishes are of course nutritionally balanced, always allowing our guests the possibility to choose between different sources of carbo (whole rice, barley, bulgur, quinoa) and proteins (legumes, vegan burgers, wild fish, white meat). Each dish can be customized and there is a huge variety of sides with seasonal greens cooked with spices and super foods.
- Why should we eat organic food?
I believe that eating organic food is a pure act of care and love, for us and the planet.
As we are nothing else than what we eat, it is of great importance choosing food with no pesticides residue, grown in uncontaminated soils and produced according to strict quality standards.
- What are the benefits of eating organic foods everyday?
For sure there are many benefits. First among the “short-term” ones the chance to eat food made with more authentic and tasty raw materials. Then think about the saying “to prevent is better than cure”. With the finest high quality food even our skin will have a new glow, all with endless “long-term” health positive effects.
- How do you think the organic industry has changed in last ten years?
In the last ten years a great number of producers switched to organic farming. Many of them for authentic values aimed at growing more healthy raw materials, others just following one of the biggest trends of the last decade. Believe me when I say that even among organic certified products there are still many differences in terms of quality, purity, ingredients list and taste.
- Do you think the future is organic? If so, why?
I hope the future will be organic. Not only as a commercial claim or as a sticker on a box, but also as a deep rooted philosophy of life. I do believe in this because I see with my eyes and feel with my heart, day after day, how people become more sensitive, attentive, curious when it comes to health.
- What aspects do you look for when you are acquiring a new product that you are going to sale in your grocery store?
First of all I try to meet the farmer, deeply know his story and heritage. Small producers with niche rare products are definitely my favorites. Then I personally try the products, with a careful eye on the taste, nutritional values and ingredients list. And quite often we do chemical residue testings especially on large leaf vegetables to guarantee the highest quality.
- How do you convince people to switch to organic food?
I try to make people truly understand the difference between organic and not organic food. Explaining them the different purity of the soil, quality standards, cultivation processes. Then I underline how often even the taste is so better, allowing a more genuine way of cooking with less seasonings and salt.
- What are superfoods and which of these should we introduce in our diets?
With “superfoods” we refer to food with high density of micronutrients, minerals and vitamins. Such peculiar nutritional qualities often bring healing properties to our bodies.
There is a huge number of superfoods, especially if we consider the planet enchanting biodiversity and variety in the gifts from Mother Nature.
Some of my favorites are Camu Camu and Pitaya for Vitamin C, Elderberry for Anthocyanins, Prickly Pear and Beetroot for Betalaines, Manuka Honey, Pollen, Reishi, Chaga, Eleutherococcus, Astragalus to boost our immune system.
” I see with my eyes and feel with my heart, day after day, how people become more sensitive, attentive, curious when it comes to health”
- What is the best breakfast to have in the morning to feel energised and to boost our metabolism?
First of all, try to start your day with the best draining and metabolism booster: a glass of pure Birch Sap with a tbs of Apple Cider Vinegar.
Then opt for a whole grain toast covered with goat ricotta cheese or vegan cashew butter and two sliced Medjoul Dates (full of Iron and Magnesium). This is a perfect combo of delicious and micronutrients rich carbos, proteins and healthy fats.
As a drink I go crazy for boosting and antioxidant Golden Milk made with Coconut Milk, Curcuma, Black Pepper and 1 tbs Manuka Honey.
During summertime I use to switch to raw frozen bowls.
I prepare the base with Birch and Maple Sap and few Cashew or Goat Milk, then I add superfoods (I open and empty Camu Camu, Elderberry, Eleutherococcus and Sea Magnesium caps) and frozen Banana, Açai or Berries. Then just blend and top with Granola, Coconut chips, Cocoa nibs and few Nuts (Omega-3 rich).
- Could you give us some examples of ideal lunches and dinners that contain nutritious food that will prevent us from overeating during the day?
Sometimes even just after a main meal we get hungry again.
This often happens because macronutrients are not well balanced. To prevent us from overeating a good strategy is to drink a cold pressed green juice half an hour before a meal (I also add a tbs of Apple Cider Vinegar) and have a sufficient amount of high quality carbos (such as whole rice, quinoa) allowing a longer sense of satiety. At least once a day a good source of protein is fundamental, especially after training sessions. The daily intake of fats can be provided by raw extra virgin olive oil, avocado, tahini, fish or nuts and it’s necessary to give our body polyunsaturated essential fatty acids such as omega-3 and 6.
As a side go for seasonal greens, preferably steamed or raw if easily digestible. You can use spices such as Curcuma, Black Cumin, Thyme to flavor and enrich them. Fiber is a fuel for our digestive health, but when in excess could create exaggerate fermentation and bloating, so make sure to eat measured volumes of greens.