Linda Arpino, RDN, CDN, FAND

Linda Arpino

Linda Arpino is a registered and certified dietitian nutritionist and CEO of her private practice, Life Focus Nutrition, LLC in Rye Brook, New York and Stamford, Connecticut. Ms. Arpino private practice goes beyond chronic disease prevention helping families understand the connection of their choices on their health and a sustainable planet. Her specialties are weight management, cardiovascular health, cancer prevention and sports nutrition using a plant based approach.

As delegate for the Vegetarian Nutrition Practice group she advocated that the House of Delegates address integrating sustainable food systems into Future Practice. She is the lead author in creating vegan and lacto-ovo menus for all diets in the Academy Nutrition Care Manual. In collaboration with other Academy members working on an investigative project, published the manuscript in the Journal of Clinical Lipidology, “Clinical and Cost Benefit of Medical Nutrition Therapy by Registered Dietitian Nutritionists for Management of Dyslipidemia: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Fall 2019, Linda completed a chapter in an international medical text, entitled, ‘Reflux Cure: Transitioning to a Plant Based Diet from SAD: Standard American Diet. She is also the author of Eat Fit/ Be Fit: Solutions for Weight Management and Health and Recipes for Health Nutrition Curriculum for Young Autistic Adults. She is the author of Eat Fit/ Be Fit: Solutions for Weight Management and Health and Recipes for Health Nutrition Curriculum for Young Autistic Adults.

Ms. Arpino provides nutrition consultation to children, teens, and adults with diverse cultural differences in her private practice. She has served on numerous Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) Evidence Analysis Library workgroups and is co-author of Guidelines for Pediatric Overweight and Guidelines for Healthy Children, and Pediatric Overweight. She has also presented on those topics as well as Reimbursement and PCOS at FNCE.

As a motivational speaker, she offers timely evidence-based nutrition information that focuses on plant-based nutrition in chronic disease prevention in diverse cultural populations. In media, Linda was Media spokesperson for NYS, and appears on television and radio on timely nutrition topics.

  1. What are some of your health related values, beliefs and practices?

    In practice I believe food is a binding component of every culture and I have both Italian and Finnish roots. I became a dietitian because as much as I enjoyed those family Italian Sundays at my father's parents house, and eating from noon until the evening, I saw how certain lifestyle habits can hinder health. In high school I watched my grandfather struggle with the complications of uncontrolled diabetes and later my dad pass from similar complications. My mother is part Finnish, and Finland's population is known to struggle with high cholesterol, and where Bencol was developed to combat this. In high school, I realized, if I didn't learn to maximize my nutrition, I might see the complications of some relatives. As a dietitian that eats a plant based diet, I have integrated family recipes into my daily life and believe we can all learn to adapt with the evidence that plant based nutrition can be our medicine in any culture. My culinary palate has broadened greatly since then! I was an all round gymnast in High School and saw the connection with diet and sports even then. Both sides of my family love cheese. Over time I realized I had to modify this practice for the sake of my cholesterol and other reasons I will mention.

  2. What kind of foods do you like to eat on a daily basis? And what do you prefer on the day you do not feel very well?

    My day always begins with an oat cereal fruit and soymilk or soymilk cappuccino, whole grain toast with avocado and fruit. Legumes with any vegetable and grain is my standard lunch and dinner. It could be pasta with fresh tomato and basil, and a side of escarole and beans or eggplant casserole with a salad or soups with wheat berries or lentils or beans and a side of roasted vegetables such as red peppers. All dark greens are a must; Spinach, swiss chard, kale, love them all with oil and garlic! A good slice of crusty bread is at least with one meal a day! Of Course Tomatoes are infused in at least five meals a week! Growing up we always had a vegetable garden and made homemade tomato sauce. We had a second home in the Catskill mountains with over 200 acres which we sold just last year, It was a dairy farming area and I watched as most farmers have been replaced with what I refer to as factory farms. And what do I prefer on the day I do not feel very well? Broth types of soups with loads of veggies, rice or other grains such as wheat berries or pastina. I love Rooibos Tea both feeling well and not.

  3. Do you avoid eating any foods for your cultural or religious reasons? Which ones?

    Ironically, I have a diverse background merging Jewish heritage into my life with a former marriage. I gave up eating pork and never went back. Yes an Italian can easily eat a cheese free, meal free Mediterranean  diet. Now I eat plant-based more for humane eating principles and environmental importance not religious reasons.. I have children that celebrate both Catholic and Jewish traditions and we have a blended family respectful of each other.

  4. We all have favorite remedies that we use when we are sick, which home remedies do you use?

    I am all for the nutrient rich, power of plant based nutrition. Ginger tea, lemon and green cardamom (like Indian cuisine, Finnish people use cardamom a lot especially in bread. The power of phytonutrients in healing has been evident especially in the past year. My husband was diagnosed with vocal cord cancer, underwent chemotherapy and radiation with it being only a slight chance for remission. Now we are almost a year since that journey, last December the treatment ended. So far there are not further signs of cancer and he is doing remarking well! I used all types of herbs in cooking, focused on plant based eating habits with much greater variety of legumes not just the chickpeas, cannellini, kidney beans and lentils but sprouted moong beans for example! I make nori burritos with sticky rice, asparagus, carrots and red peppers, brown rice, sweet potato and quinoa burgers to name a few!

  5. What steps do you take counseling a patient from a different culture and racial group?

    I have registration forms both in Spanish and English and ask for an interpreter if necessary. In family assessment forms for example, it is important to list parent 1 and parent 2, to be respectful of different sexual orientations. Also my private practice offices are both in Connecticut and New York. In New York I see a lot of immigrants from South America such as Peru, Guatemala, Mexico and Brazil. Others may have roots from the Caribbean- such as Jamaica, Haiti or Puerto Rico, but every hour I have to shift gears to provide culturally appropriate guidelines. Patients may have roots from India, China or Israel, Ireland, Japan, the list goes on...…..I have created "My Plates" for many different cultures and a basic meal guide that includes diverse foods. My food groups are different than many you see. I have a calcium rich group (not called Dairy), a Protein rich Group, Fruit, Vegetable, Grain and Fat Group. I have a stockpile of culturally diverse recipes I use and written materials that I share as well as dining out recommendations. On my website, under resources I have downloadable plant based recipes as well. Among doctors who refer their patients, I am known to encourage plant based foods for chronic disease prevention and weight management. I am pleased to say my practice is always busy. Over the years culturally diverse student interns have worked in my office. Here are some of those recipes as well as a few from my original book, Eat Fit, Be Fit: Health and Weight management Solutions. This was published in 2007. I got the rights back because the publisher wanted to update it to reflect eating not just for chronic disease prevention but for a sustainable planet. That book had animal protein but was focused on teaching people to add more plant based recipes to their eating habits. It had over 250 recipes. Wahida Karmally, Director of Nutrition, staff at Columbia University Irving Institute for Clinical and Translational Research department did the nutrient analysis of all the recipes, it was quite a project gathering culturally diverse recipes from patients, family, colleagues and friends which were in the book.


Linda's Recipes:


Bean and Tomato Brochette

These brochettes are rich in antioxidants and fiber. My teenagers love this recipe, which also makes a great afternoon snack or appetizer.

Vegetarian: Vegan Total time: 10 minutes Serves: 8 Serving size: 2

Exchange: 3 starch, 1 medium fat meat


  • 2 medium Tomatoes, vine-ripened, diced
  • 1 small Onion, red, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. Olive oil
  • 15-1/2 oz. can Small white beans (navy), drained
  • 2 Tbsp. Basil, fresh, chopped (or 1 Tbsp. dried)
  • 4 drops Tabasco sauce (optional)
  • 1 French bread loaf, 16 inches, cut in 1-inch slices


  1. Mix all ingredients. Chill (optional).
  2. Top each sliced baguette with bean mixture. Serve immediately.

Serving Suggestion

  • This easy bean mixture can be made a day ahead. Freeze French bread to keep it fresh or buy fresh bread the day it is to be served.
  • Another option is to place a whole baguette on a cutting board with a knife next to the bean mixture and allow your guests or hungry teenagers to serve themselves.
  • Tomatoes taste best in August and September when they are picked fresh from the vine and basil is fresh from the farm.

Nutrition Information:

  • CAL 255 CHO 45G
  • PRO 11G
  • FAT 4G
  • CHOL 0MG
  • SODIUM 337MG
  • FIBER 6G


Eggplant Caponata

This recipe contains powerful phytonutrients for memory, skin, and more.

Vegetarian: Vegan Total time: 25 minutes Serves: 8 Serving size: 1/2 cup

Exchange: 1 starch, 1 fat, 1 vegetable


  • 1 large Eggplant
  • 1 medium Onion, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. Olive oil
  • 4 oz. Artichoke hearts, marinated (1 jar; save 1 Tbsp. of liquid), drained and chopped
  • 1-1/2 cup Tomato sauce (Classic brand: Florentine)
  • 1/2 cup Stewed tomatoes, chopped
  • 10 large Stuffed green olives, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. Garlic, minced, fresh
  • 10 large Black olives, pitted, chopped
  • 2 tsp. Capers, rinsed and drained
  • 1 Tbsp. Artichoke liquid from jar (see above)
  • 1 Tbsp. Vinegar, red wine
  • To taste Salt and pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. Oregano


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Wash eggplant and place in baking dish whole. Pierce skin with fork once. Bake approximately 15 minutes or until eggplant is soft and mushy.
  3. While eggplant is cooking, sauté onions in oil in a small frying pan then remove from heat.
  4. Remove eggplant from oven and cut into small pieces, leaving the skin on.
  5. Place eggplant pieces in a mixing bowl. Add onions, olive oil, tomato sauce, stewed tomatoes, green olives, garlic, black olives, capers, liquid from artichoke jar, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper, and oregano to eggplant and mix until blended. Serve hot or cold.

Serving Suggestion

This goes well with thinly sliced baguettes or pita wedges for dipping. If there are leftovers, add to a marinara sauce and serve over pasta for a quick meal.

Nutrition Information

  • CAL 119 CHO 19G
  • PRO 2G
  • FAT 5G
  • CHOL 0MG
  • SODIUM 542MG
  • FIBER 4G

escarole and beans

Escarole and Beans

Vegetarian: Vegan Total time: 25 minute Serves: 4 Serving size: 1 cup

Exchange: 2 starch, 1 lean meat


  • 1 Tbsp. Olive oil
  • 3 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 small head Escarole, fresh, washed
  • 1-1/2 cups Water
  • 29 oz. Cannellini beans (1 large can)
  • To taste Salt (optional)
  • To taste Pepper, black, ground (optional)


  1. Place oil in a 4-quart pot over medium heat.
  2. Add garlic and lightly sauté.
  3. Add escarole and sauté with garlic until leaves wilt.
  4. Add water, cover pot, and simmer until escarole is tender and liquid is reduced by half (approximately 10 minutes).
  5. Add beans and simmer 10 more minutes. Serve.

Serving Suggestion

This makes a great side dish. You can also add a 12-oz. can of vegetable broth and serve 1 cup of the dish as a soup lunch with a slice of crusty whole wheat Italian bread.