Following her original stint in the kitchen in 2013, Christina’s relationship with food changed when she fell back in love with the Portuguese food she grew up eating.
“My first time around on MasterChef, a lot of the food was very indulgent and quite heavy, like lots and lots of butter,” she laughs.
“But Portuguese food is more olive oil and there’s a lot of seafood and it’s all using fresh ingredients and the best quality ingredients. So, my food's just changed.
“That’s helped switch my focus into eating seasonally as well which I’ve always sort of done, but there’s a lot more of a focus on that. Just creating really simple and tasty dishes really.”
That, paired with a diagnosis of endometriosis, really changed the kind of food she wanted to put her focus on.
“After I was on the show the first time around, a couple of years later I ended up being diagnosed with endometriosis,” she says.
“I had a really bad run, and I was basically stuck on my couch for a year with flare-ups and a lot of heavy bleeding and that sort of thing.”
Several surgeries and lots of painkillers later, Christina looked to more “alternative medicines” and into the foods that she was eating.
That’s when she realised that a lot of the food was actually causing the flare-ups.
“A lot of red meat or a lot of processed foods and just trying to remove as much of that as possible and something as simple as caffeine,” she explains.
“Little things like that that you don’t necessarily think of but just removing that from my diet.”
After making the change, Christina says she hasn’t had surgery in three years and is no longer on any sort of painkillers.
“Occasionally I’ll have a bit of a flare-up and usually that’s because I’ve eaten something that I shouldn’t have,” she says.
“Overall, what you put into your body really does affect you,” she adds.
Having started her own YouTube channel, aptly titled Cooking with Christina Batista, the 40-year-old hopes to share endometriosis friendly dishes with fans.
In particular, she’ll be teaching people how to cook Portuguese food by creating recipes and sharing them on the platform.
“That’s been my main focus, just coming up with recipes, making them more friendly for the Australian public,” she says. “Because sometimes the ingredients, you can’t find here or they’re hard to find.”
“So just adjusting all of that and putting it all together… just really wanting to teach people how to cook and spreading that love of food.”