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Guest Post: Maryann Lana: The Hiding of the Green

Please welcome my guest and friend, super-cool mom, Maryann Lana. Maryann is a life-long educator of young children, creative writer, talented photographer and above all, a dedicated loving mother of three. When her youngest son, Eli was recently diagnosed with what he refers to as “goofy blood” we teamed up to teach his blood a new lesson!

For all of the reasons Garden Eats exists, the number one drive is to help people design health through food. You guys, the readers are always asking how to make this happen. If you have kids and are striving to get them eating healthier, read Maryann’s story. She didn’t think it was possible either, but it is and, “The Hiding of the Green” is in action below…

The Hiding of the Green

I have read that human actions are motivated by either fear or love. I think when it came to getting my son to eat healthy; it was a combination of both fear and love that motivated me.

Eli, my six-year-old son, was recently diagnosed with Fanconi Anemia. I had never heard of this until his health declined and his blood counts plummeted. Bone Marrow Failure was the medical term for that, which resulted in Severe Aplastic Anemia. Since I had been seeking treatment for my own health from an Integrative Health Care Specialist, Christine Dionese, L. Ac., it was a knee jerk reaction to contact her to help me make radical changes to Eli’s diet that would compliment his medical treatment. This story is about just part of that change.

I knew from my experience with Christine that certain foods were necessary for supporting different functions in the body, and in our case we needed to support his blood and platelet production. This meant he needed to eat, among other things…GREENS. So I got out the Magic Bullet and went to work.

I had shopped the fresh, organic produce section (it’s small, but it’s there) and stocked up on fresh green, leafy bunches of various things like spinach, kale, collard greens, and broccoli. I also picked up beets for their health benefits as well as their striking green-hiding color. All the greens went into a steamer together until tender, and the beets got quartered (with skins on) and boiled in a separate pot for 10 minutes. Once cooked, the green veggies got pureed, poured into a nonstick tart pan for individual servings, and frozen. The leftover green goop got put into an airtight container for the fridge. The cooked beets were peeled, placed in a freezer bag and refrigerated as well. All those veggies are now the secret ingredients for most of Eli’s foods.

Peanut butter and jelly sandwich? Beets spread on the jelly side, greens under peanut butter. Grilled cheese? Thin layer of greens spread on each slice of gluten free (GF) bread. Frozen GF waffle? Dipped in egg mixture containing a tsp of green puree plus ground walnuts, and fried in organic buttery spread. Smoothie? Two tablespoons greens (two frozen pucks), three medium chunks of beets, covered up by organic berries, fruits, almond/rice/coconut milk, bananas, acai puree (available in frozen packets) and a splash of vanilla. I’m careful to match the colors as often as I can. If I can’t match colors, as in the case of the waffle, I hide it. For instance, I top the greenish waffle with a layer of fresh fruit. Pizza sauce hides the green on his GF English muffin pizza, covered with mozzarella style rice shreds.

Before I conclude, I must mention the other staple from Eli’s new eating plan, and that is organic bone broth, as suggested by my friend Joe Rignola, a Functional Diagnostic Nutritionist and Holistic Health Coach. I initially cringed at the thought of cooking a pile of organic beef bones in my crockpot for 48 hours, but I put my disgust aside. It’s so rich in gelatin and nutrients from the marrow; it sets up like beefy brown Jell-O in the fridge. I am using it all the time now for soups, sauces, gravies, and of course the veggie puree hides in it quite nicely, so the two make a lovely team.

You may not need to make as radical a change in your child’s diet as I did, but I hope that hearing from someone who never thought it was possible or worth the time encourages you to try it.

Happy hiding!

To follow or participate in Eli’s journey, please visit his site at Caring Bridge here. Stay up on his bone marrow drives at Facebook and learn how you can become a match for someone today at Be The Match! Love ya E!

This entry was posted in: Be Our Guest, Make Food & Eat


C H R I S T I N E Dionese, co-founder of flavor ID and Garden Eats is an integrative health & food therapy specialist, medical & food journalist. She has dedicated her career to helping others understand the science of happiness and its powerful effects on everyday human health by harnessing the power of the epigenetic landscape. To balance the more serious side of her work, she loves to concoct, write about and connect people through food & drink. You can check out her latest work at The Chalkboard Magazine, The Fullest and Rochester's Boomtown Table. Christine lives, works and plays between Southern California & Upstate New York.


  1. Harriet Zunno says

    Mary Ann did a wonderful job with the article and her efforts with Eli have paid off. Congratulations and I’m still praying for your guys. Love you.

  2. Pingback: Mary Ann Lana of Hopscotch & Dandelions Feeds Her Family WELL- So Can YOU! | Garden Eats

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