Allyn Raifstanger Biography
I grew up in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, in the heart of the Berkshires. I am from a middle-class family whose parents never divorced and have two younger male siblings. I went to a public school, Monument Mountain Regional High School. I loved playing soccer and skied all winter at a ski area, Butternut Basin, five minutes from my house. I enjoyed my adolescence being surrounded by nature, hitchhiking, and riding my bike to see my friends. I worked in restaurants during high school and pursued that interest with college, where I graduated from the University of Massachusetts with a Bachelor of Science in Hotel, Restaurant, and Travel Administration.
After college, I worked for Omni Hotels and Resorts for twelve years, moving around the country to places like Atlanta, New York, Boston, Hampton, New Hampshire, and Cincinnati. I fell in love with Cincinnati and decided to stay there. I left the hotel business and opened Allyn’s Café in 1991. I want to note that I had no investors, partners, or bank financing. I obtained the property on a land contract and cashed my retirement savings plan from Omni Hotels and Resorts to bankroll my project. Also, the building I purchased had no façade, no bar, no back bar, no tables or chairs, no kitchen, no HVAC system, no refrigeration, and I didn’t have a liquor license. I used skills that I learned renovating houses with a friend and opened the restaurant in 90 days.
After 32 years, four additions, and multiple renovations, Allyn’s is an iconic restaurant with a Cajun flair, offering eclectic food options, including vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, whole-scratch cooked traditional foods. We also source our produce from sustainable local and USA crops.
One restaurant was always enough. I have enjoyed changing the décor and menu, cooking, hosting, and running the business while being able to appreciate my family and be a part of my children growing up. I still love skiing; I achieved a 4th Degree Black Belt at the Kosho School of Karate in the Shuri Ryu style. At 55, I started a plant-based diet that increased my energy so much that I ran two marathons. The hilly Flying Pig in Cincinnati was my first, and I qualified for the Boston Marathon on my second in Indianapolis. My wife always wanted me to write a book with recipes from the restaurant, but that was about as unlikely as going vegan.
In 2019, while training a new chef at Allyn’s, I wrote, We Don’t Just Eat Lettuce! Vegan Recipes for Meat Eaters is my recipe book and journey for the last six years. Wanting to live an active lifestyle into my 60s, 70s, and beyond, I found answers I wanted to share with others. Aside from reading many authored books about wellness, including Dr. Max Gerson, Michael Gregor M.D., Joel Fuhrman, M.D., Michael Pollan, and T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D., I watched any documentaries about food sources I could find. Some of these included What the Health? Dying to Have Known, The Beautiful Truth, The Gerson Therapy, Fat Sick and Nearly Dead, Hungry for Change, Farmageddon, Vegucated, and How Not to Die, to name a few. I graduated from the Institute of Integrated Nutrition, which certifies me as an Integrated Nutrition Health Coach.
I have a Blog Later Gator on the website, over 2,000 Allyn followers on Facebook, and have appeared on numerous TV news programs giving cooking demonstrations. I love to cook and invent plant-based recipes.
I am a graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (http://www.integrativenutrition.com/), where I have learned innovative coaching methods, practical lifestyle management techniques, and over 100 dietary theories- Ayurveda, gluten-free, Paleo, raw, vegan, macrobiotics, and everything in between. As a Certified Health Coach, I provide coaching services to help others achieve lasting health through gradual and natural habit formation.
I studied with the world’s top health and wellness experts, including:
- Joshua Rosenthal, founder and director of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition
- Walter Willett, MD, DrPH, chair of nutrition at Harvard University
- Andrew Weil, MD, director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine
- Gabrielle Bernstein, bestselling author and life coach
- Susan Blum, MD, MPH, assistant clinical professor at Mount Sinai School O Medicine
- Mark Hyman, MD, founder of the UltraWellnesss Center
- Geneen Roth, bestselling author and expert on emotional eating
- David Wolfe, raw food leader and nutrition expert
- Marion Nestle, PhD, MPH, professor at New York University’s Department of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health
- Mark Bittman, food writer for The New York Times and bestselling author
- Joel Fuhrman, MD, family physician and leading expert on nutritional healing
My education has equipped me with cutting-edge knowledge in holistic nutrition, health coaching, and prevention. Drawing on my expertise, I help my clients make lifestyle changes and choose health-promoting ways that produce real and lasting results. You will better understand food and lifestyle choices that work best for you, improving your energy, balance, health, and happiness.
Each session will leave you feeling inspired and motivated. We will talk about things beyond food, seeking to bring balance to essential elements of your life such as love, relationships, career, and money. I will personally and carefully guide you to make small changes that transform your life.
Issued to Allyn Raifstanger
Published by the Institute for Integrative Nutrition