With tiny hands that could barely reach the counter, Leticia Moreinos Schwartz recalls being six-years-old and rolling brigadeiros and other treats in her childhood kitchen in Brazil. Once she grew up and could more easily reach the counter, the Greenwich resident and professional chef graduated from the International Culinary Center in New York and penned her culinary passion into a couple of cookbooks. Herbs and vegetables play a big role in her cooking and she often encourages others to experiment with spices in the kitchen to prepare tasty and healthy food. She described her third and most recent cookbook \u201cLatin Superfoods\u201d as a labor of love, inspired by her mission to steer people away from processed and packaged foods and promote healthy eating. The book, which features 100 healthy and flavor-packed recipes from juices to sweets and nutritional takes on Latin classics, was published on Oct. 15. \u201cI think there is a stigma out there that healthy foods are boring, tasteless, flavorless and I\u2019m on a mission to prove that wrong,\u201d Moreinos Schwartz said. When asked what a superfood is, she explained that it is \u201ca broad term for ingredients that have a super amazing nutritional factor.\u201d \u201cSuperfoods are not just kale and acai, but also carrots, celery, apples, Brazil nuts, dark chocolate, dates, garlic and onions,\u201d she said. \u201cI really feel that fruit and vegetables in general all have the power of superfoods.\u201d In addition to being a chef, Moreinos Schwartz has acted as a spokesperson for the American Diabetes Challenge campaign, which has been part of the American Diabetes Association (ADA) since 2013. Having lost her grandfather due to complications from type 2 diabetes, Moreinos Schwartz understands the importance of nutrition. Over the past six years she has traveled around the country with the ADA teaching cooking workshops and speaking about the importance of eating healthy foods at conferences and food fairs. \u201cI had the chance to see with my own eyes that people are just getting fatter and fatter and sicker and sicker and we don\u2019t realize it. I feel that people don\u2019t make the time to cook, they don\u2019t make the time to exercise and people are eating takeout and packaged foods,\u201d she said. \u201cI think that\u2019s one of the reasons why I wrote this book because I\u2019m trying to bring us back to home cooking and to put pure fuel inside our bodies.\u201d Moreinos Schwartz credits her work with the ADA for redirecting her focus on health, however, she\u2019s quick to note that her two previous cookbooks \u201cThe Brazilian Kitchen\u201d and \u201cMy Rio de Janeiro\u201d also featured health oriented recipes. \u201cThis book is more of an offering of the work I\u2019ve been doing as the spokesperson for a healthy living campaign,\u201d she said. \u201cI realized \u2018wait a second, I have a book right in front of me.\u2019 I was developing recipes for the campaign, I was traveling with the campaign and I was like \u2018the answer is right in front of me, that\u2019s my next book.\u2019\u201d As part of the campaign Moreinos Schwartz was involved in the ADA\u2019s documentary \u201cA Taste of Sugar,\u201d which was narrated by Viola Davis. She said it was very exciting to be part of the documentary that aims to raise public awareness about diabetes as a public health issue. \u201cThe movie is being used by many different communities so I feel very honored that I get to be part of this. It\u2019s a very important topic and I feel that we\u2019re making a difference,\u201d Moreinos Schwartz said. \u201cThe book just goes to complement it, because I see the impact we have; when I teach a cooking class, people are eager to learn.\u201d \u201cLatin Superfoods\u201d is intended to show others that home cooking doesn\u2019t need to be intimidating or overwhelming. Moreinos Schwartz acknowledges that many people feel that they don\u2019t have the time to prepare a meal, but she argues that it is important to make time to cook healthy meals. \u201cWhat I hear over and over again is that \u2018oh, I don\u2019t have time\u2019 so people do takeout. I think people have this stigma that they have to go into the kitchen and they have to chop, prep, cook, eat and then clean. I think the kitchen is the center of the home. There are so many families that are not making good use of their kitchen. Your health destiny can be traced in the kitchen. It\u2019s almost like I want people to treat the kitchen as your health sanctuary,\u201d she said. \u201cFood is medicine and food can be the answer for a lot more than we realize. Food is love, power, medicine, education, chemistry, math, history, politics, economics, agriculture. Food is really everything.\u201d She does offer some tips to make cooking more enjoyable for those who are kitchen adverse or cooking novices. \u201cI feel that putting an apron on actually makes a very big difference, cooking in your regular clothes and putting on an apron puts you in a different state of mind,\u201d Moreinos Schwartz advises. \u201cPut some music on and see cooking as a way of relaxation.\u201d She also suggested that planning meals ahead of time on the weekends and freezing them to use later in the week. She also advised doing some of the food preparation ahead of time. For example, if she needs half an onion for one dish, but knows she\u2019ll be using the rest of it for a recipe later in the week, Moreinos Schwartz will chop the whole onion in one go to save herself some time. \u201cI\u2019m not super in favor of frozen foods you buy in the supermarket, but I\u2019m a huge fan of frozen foods that you make yourself. When you cook, I always say you should double or even triple the recipe and freeze a portion,\u201d she said. When asked about her thoughts on purchasing pre-chopped vegetables from the store, Moreinos Schwartz said she didn\u2019t see a problem with doing that if they\u2019re used the same day. \u201cAnything that will bring you to your own kitchen and help you cook at home I\u2019m all in favor for it.\u201d When asked if she had a favorite recipe from her new book, Moreinos Schwartz said it was too difficult to pick just one. \u201cIt\u2019s so hard because I love every recipe in this book. I feel that every recipe has a story behind it, which is one of the reasons why I love writing cookbooks because it takes you back to the story and how the recipe unfolds,\u201d she said. For more information about her cookbook or cooking workshops, visit chefleticia.com.