Lesh Karan is a freelance writer who specialises in health (food & wellness), medical and corporate communications. She blogs at The Mindful Foodie and “shares recipes that take into account many food intolerances and information about eating mindfully”.
Describe your dish
This is a warm salad I made using quinoa, amaranth, rocket, roasted pumpkin and walnuts. I made a spiced yoghurt dressing to go with it too. And I sprinkled some pomegranate seeds on top.
How does your dish portray your relationship with food?
I call any dish that respects my health, the planet and animals ‘mindful food’.
I like to cook mainly vegetarian meals, and mostly eat produce that has been grown locally (i.e. in Australia, but mainly Victoria, where I live). It’s also important that the food I buy is not sprayed with pesticides. I find the best way to get these sorts of ingredients is to shop at farmers’ markets or to grow my own. In my dish, the pumpkin and walnuts are from a farmers’ market, the rocket from my garden, and the pomegranate, amaranth and quinoa from an independent organic store. The yoghurt in the dressing is a goats yogurt made by a farmer who treats her animals with respect and care.
What inspired your food behaviour?
I spent my early childhood in Fiji, where I ate juicy mangoes freshly picked from our tree, and guavas from our neighbour’s tree. Yum! And I grew up in a home where there was always a home-cooked meal for breakfast, lunch and dinner. My mum made everything from scratch, including things we rely on the shops for nowadays – like rotis, coconut milk, chutneys, Indian pickles and sweets. No doubt, this has had a huge influence on my food behaviour.
Besides my background, I can pinpoint two other food defining moments. The first has to do with my health. Being diagnosed with two immune-related conditions – endometriosis and an eye condition called uveitis – made me realise I really needed to take extra care of my immune health. So I cut a lot of processed foods and wheat from my diet. The second revelation was when I found out about bobby calves in January this year, which also lead me to find out about factory farms. Now, I do my best to avoid products that abuse animal welfare.
What do you wish for the future of food?
It’s the same wish as anyone who is a true crusader of real food! I wish we would take more responsibility for what we eat – what I mean buy this is that we need to learn how to cook from scratch again, buy mostly fresh wholefoods (preferably from farmers’ markets), and read the ingredients list when we do buy packaged foods (the less ingredients the better).
We also need to make a real effort to find out how our food is produced and to know where it comes from. By asking our food producers detailed questions, we can slowly shift how they produce food for us – particularly if we make a decision not buy based on their practices. After all, it’s better we take responsibility for what we eat instead of allowing corporations to make that decision, don’t you think?
If you’d like to tell your food story, hit me up @flavourcrusader or email me at info AT flavourcrusader DOT com