Kids allergies become mom’s mission
Updated: November 19, 2012 6:44PM
NORTHFIELD — It was her family’s idea to coin the name “The Secret Garden.”
Christina Chodos, a certified health counselor, adores the garden’s name, proudly adorning the top of a wooden gate in her residential backyard
To family members who are coming for Thanksgiving, be prepared to enjoy a planned holiday menu deliciously allergy-free.
“It’s a wheat-free, gluten-free, dairy-free Thanksgiving feast,” said the mom of three with a laugh, standing in her expansive kitchen overlooking a verdant backyard.
This kitchen also served up the bountiful aroma of homemade tomato sauce, ready for a lasagna pan.
Fresh potted flowers on a cooking island garnished what could be a set to a television cooking show where Chodos, an aspiring cookbook author, looks the part of the celebrity host.
The chef in her graciously explained why going back to the basics simply makes the best (and most affordable) sauce around.
“I got into this business (The Chodos Group) as I have three boys with extensive food allergies,” said Chodos. She also offered a tour of her garden, which revealed striking combinations of ruby reds and emerald greens.
“So my life became my mission, and now it’s become my passion.”
The garden unveiled rippled-edged lettuce, offering stark contrast to tomato-red peppers begging to be picked.
“And along the way, doctors, as they watched me go through this journey the last 24 years, really pushed me to get out there and share this information,” she said.
A book pitch is underway, perhaps an eBook.
Chodos picked more earthly treats, filling a large basket with greenery to fill an awaiting salad bowl.
“We planted this amazing garden,” said Chodos, proudly. “Our secret garden, with the help of Jeanne Nolan, the Organic Gardener of Glencoe.”
Chodos and her husband Bob of 28 years (who works in commercial real estate) have three sons, Robert, 25, a Chicago financial analyst, Hudson, 22, a Chicago sports marketing agent, and Adam, 16, a New Trier High School sophomore.
Chodos enjoys tennis, golf (“we ski as a family and scuba dive”) and, of course, cooking.
“It’s been a very rewarding journey,” she said, of assisting clients who are often suddenly informed they can no longer have certain foods.
That’s where Chodos comes in, to assure families they can enjoy heirloom family recipes with an open way of thinking.
Then again, it’s no secret this approach includes a time-honored return to healthy basics.
“You know, when you help someone, it’s very exciting,” Chodos said.