We were lucky enough to speak about books with Cori at her home in Atwater Village in Los Angeles, where she lives with her two dogs, cat, and husband. Cori epitomizes strength and courage and the ability to mold your life to the circumstances given. From her original passion in painting/sculpture that she translated into her extraordinarily successful hair styling career to her battle with her health and ability to learn and now teach a path to recovery with her business 'Healing Greens'. Read more below on books and thoughts that Cori has carried with her that we hope you find inspiring.
Photos by: Lauren Pisano
GAL: You recently started Healing Greens, a website where you plan to guide people in eating raw and healthy to heal their body. Can you tell us why you started this and what you read first that changed your understanding of the way food and your body worked together, or didn’t work together?
Cori Bardo: My whole life I’ve been heading towards plant-based eating; it has taken a lot of research and education to get where I am now.
At around 8 years old, I fell in love with my friends’ neighbors cow, and as soon as I was able to comprehend what I had been eating, I decided to never eat meat again.
Then when I turned 17, I watched some PETA videos and knew I had to go vegan, I couldn’t support the cruelty— though at that time I was mostly eating processed unhealthy vegan foods, not processing the thought that there was a connection between my health and the things I was putting into my body.
When I turned 33, I was hit with a horrible immune disease. I was bed-ridden for months at a time repeatedly and became very depressed. At one point I didn’t feel like I wanted to go on. That’s when I started doing research and found the Hippocrates Health Institute, a health institute run by doctors who are the best in their field. I stayed there for almost a month and they put me on a mostly raw whole food plant-based diet. It changed my life! I was also able to witness so many other people healing themselves from immune diseases, stage 4 cancer, etc.
After I left the institute I wanted to learn more. I started reading every book I could on plant-based nutrition, cell biology, the way the body works, etc. A few of the books that I thought were really great were Whole by T. Colin Campbell, Supplements Exposed by Brian Clement, The Raw Cure, Healing Beyond Medicine by Jesse J. Jacoby. I was reading 5 or more books a week. I then trained to become a plant-based nutrition health coach, so I could help people who were ill learn to heal themselves the same way that I did. When the ‘Healing Greens’, website is up it will be a one stop shop for supporting and teaching people on how to go plant-based the healthy way.
GAL: Do you remember the first book you fell in love with, one that made you a life-long reader?
CB: I started reading at a very young age, but the first book I remember falling in love with was Charlotte’s Web. I was a huge animal lover and felt a true connection to them. The part where Charlotte spins a message in her web to try to get the farmer to not kill Wilbur was beautiful. I was always confused on why we would kill such amazing creatures and this book really put how I felt into words.
GAL: As a hair stylist also, you’ve been on many shoots over the years. When looking for visual inspiration where do you go?
CB: I always look through foreign fashion magazines–they always tend to be more creative than American ones. I also pull inspiration from people on the streets, films, and photography books.
“I can read anywhere, as long is there is silence.”
GAL: We’re strongly influenced by fictional narrative. What does fictional narrative mean to you? What is the power of a story?
CB: I love fictional narratives! It is what I mostly read before becoming so passionate about nutritional books. The thing that I love about them most is that you are your own director. You read the words, and you envision all of the details in your mind.
I always find it hard to watch a movie after reading the book because I usually always think the book was better or what I created in my head was better. It’s pretty amazing to be able to step into someone else’s world and open up your imagination. I feel this is what can really expand the mind.
GAL: We completely agree. I think some of the first times I learned to expand my mind in a new way was reading during high school years, though no longer my favorite books, everything read had a strong impression on me. Do you remember any books you read as a teenager that had a lasting effect on you today?
CB: The first books that I remember really connecting with in high school were East of Eden and Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck. They introduced me to worlds I wasn’t aware of. And always felt a connection to the latter, having had an aunt growing up that I felt had similarities to the character Lenni.
GAL: As we ask everyone, we have a friend who has a Sanity Shelf dedicated to books she returns to again and again, to re-read for pleasure, knowledge, and solace. What books would be on your Sanity Shelf?
CB: Anything by Steinbeck, Orwell or Hemingway.
GAL: Do you have a favorite or preferred place you love to read?
CB: I like to read in the guest bedroom because there is a big window looking out to the garden. It feels very tranquil.
GAL: Or can you read anywhere?
CB: I can read anywhere, as long is there is silence.
GAL: What about how you read, do you prefer to hold books or can you read on a device with no problem?
CB: I prefer to hold books in my hands and feel the pages. I like to have a physical copy, so that I can always go back for reference.
GAL: How do you choose the books you read? Do you have favorite bookshops or places you go to for recommendations?
CB: I find a lot of books by doing research online. I will read about a great doctor leading the plant-based movement or read some interesting research and find the books they wrote.
GAL: Please name a few books you recommend reading and why.
The China study is about the biggest nutritional studies ever done in history and they all point to a plant-based diet being the healthiest. I never push this way of life on other people, but I would love for everyone to learn the real nutritional information out there and make a decision for themselves.