Tatyana is deeply interested in permaculture, a “design system based on mindful observation of Nature’s ways and applying those principles to designing human settlements.” She aims to distill information and experiences about sustainable living and health through food to provide a resource she wish existed when she began her journey of learning.
Describe your dish
This is a dish we make regularly due to to the Caribbean origin of my partner. It’s brown rice topped with a tomato-based sauce of beans, capsicum, onion and garlic. Usually, half-an-avocado rests on the side of the plate to complement the Caribbean tones. Do we “fry” the vegetables to make the sauce? Well, yes…sort of, but not in the usual way. Instead of oil we use oil substitutes, such as sweet red wine or apple juice (and still get those delicious caramelized flavours!). This meal delivers balanced servings of carbohydrates, omega-3 fats, protein and fiber, and it tastes divine.
How does your dish portray your relationship with food?
I’ve been on a journey to defining the healthiest diet a human can eat. It took about 6 months for myself and my family to transition, but from day one the effects have been amazing.
By healthy, I am talking about eating a whole food plant-based diet, while eliminating added oils, salt, and sugar. It may sound vague…but it’s actually not. Eating fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and grains just the way they are found in nature is what I am about. I have a simple test to decide if the food is suitable: “Would a cave man be able to eat this?” If they answer is no, then it’s a no for me too (most of the time). Another test is whether the food is sold in a package. With a few exceptions (raw honey is one!) most packaged foods have been preprocessed and their nutritional virtues reduced.
Why go to such lengths to be selective about food? Mainly, because it’s delicious! Foods in their original state possess an amazing assortment of colours and flavours, and the variations are endless. Another HUGE benefit to this way of eating is, of course, the fact that it nourishes the body with everything it needs. It strengthens the immune system and protects us from diseases ranging from common cold to cancer. The food also digests ‘cleanly’ and effectively without leaving us tired and full of toxins, as is the case with refined foods, and our minds maintain clarity so we can participate in the beauty and owe of the world around us.
Something must be said about the environmental benefits of whole food plant-based diet too. I don’t avoid animal products because of ethical or religious views. I simply experience the benefits of a plant-based in my own body and life every day. More energy, more clarity of mind, less risk of diseases later in life…but turns out it’s much better for the planet too. Just think about it. It takes a lot less energy for the plants to grow and for us to eat them directly, than for the plants to first grow > then be harvested and processed for cattle consumption > then be eaten and converted to meat > the animals to be slaughtered > meat processed further, packaged and sold in the store > us consuming it way up the food chain. You get my point. It’s good for Earth, and it’s good for the people.
What inspired your food behaviour?
I distinctly remember the first time the thought of eliminating animal products from my food entered my mind. It was the ‘chicken scene’ in the movie Baraka that did it. Right at the point where the chickens get their beaks burned, I thought “Hmm…have we considered not eating meat”? Oh, by then I was fully into yoga and meditation, and the concept was in no way new to me, but it was the first time I applied it in relation to myself.
This was followed by a slew of films and books, the most memorable include Food Inc, The Beautiful Truth, FoodMatters and Mike Anderson’s Rave Diet. But the crown jewel of plant-based diet, one that has converted me irreversibly and explained WHY plant-based diet is the healthiest (scientific research and all) is Colin Campbell’s The China Study.
What do you wish for the future of food?
I’d love for people to experience delicious, healthy, energising plant-based food, which I share with my family each day.
“The process of eating is perhaps the most intimate encounter we have with our world; it is a process in which what we eat becomes part of our body.”
– Colin Campbell, “The Chine Study”
If you’d like to tell your food story, hit me up @flavourcrusader or email me at info AT flavourcrusader DOT com