While writing this post (have you tried that recipe yet?), I kept trying to figure out why Jessica's story resonated so much with me. I quickly came to the conclusion that it wasn't about what we had in common- both turn to plants for sustenance, have an affinity for design, and hate the sound of other people chewing- but the things that set us apart. Unlike me, her story is so clear, so cohesive, and so candid, it is impossible not to understand her mission, and full heartedly want to support her every step.
I haven't told my story, or at least not fully. I have been simultanelously afraid of being put into a category or alienating people by being too specific. I have always wanted this space to be inspiring to everybody, carnivores included.
When I started Tasty Plan, and later on Coseena, I knew what I wanted it be. The recipes had to be easy to follow, but most importantly, I wanted to elevate plants to meat status - exciting and delicious. I have been very vocal about this, but throughout all this time, I was telling you the what without really telling you the why. When I started writing about food I fell into it naturally, never feeling the need to fully disclosed my story. I am not yet satisfied with the ending, because lets be honest - is there ever one?
I fell in love with food as a kid. It was a platonic love, obviously. The kind you fall into hard and fast, knowing the you will never fully experience it. I would never be the person that could go out into the world and eat it all. But I knew that if I made it myself I could experiment, I could play with my food and get to eat it full heartedly knowing it wouldn't hurt me. Cooking would be the gateway into experiencing food my way - to have control over it and make it my own.
I found out I was allergic to everything at age six. I learned back then that what I put into my body would have a direct correlation to how I would later feel. I became that kid reading through every food label, making sure whatever I was putting in my mouth didn't have dairy, or food coloring, or MSG. I memorized food labels and learned to love the things I could eat with passion and despise those I couldn’t.
As a teenager, I got diagnosed with Hashimoto’s, an autoimmune disease that messes up your thyroid, making you feel tired all the effing time. To make things worse, I developed even more food allergies throughout my twenties - ones that threw me for a spin. Giving up bread and cupcakes felt like a loss I would never win back. It was then that I started to learn a whole new way of cooking.
I am not publically sharing my medical record to be self-indulgent. I am sharing this with you because I want to talk about how the road that has led me to loving food, and plants for that matter, has been twisted- full of downfalls, wins, and surprises.
My affinity towards plants developed as a way feel better as I struggled with autoimmune diseases, allergies, and digestive problems. Every single day, I am learning new ways to manage all the symptoms.
It is because of my health and desire to feel better that I developed this obsession. This is the reason why I lead a double life, one in which I work as an architect and designer by day and spend my nights and weekend writing books, writing for this blog, developing new recipes, and catering friend's events.
I want everybody to eat better to feel better, no matter what your body is struggling with, if at all.
Earlier this year I set out to do a whole body reset with the goal of fixing it all. I signed up to see a functional medicine doctor. Since, I have adopted an even stricter diet I can’t even begin to describe. I have stuck the program hoping for the best and letting time do all the work. I am trying new things. I am re-learning to feed myself with the goal of nurturing my body. And am hoping to share some of my experiences with you over the next couple of posts.
I wish I could tell you that I am fixed and that I feel great, because I don’t. I am working on it. I have not yet given up – it’s a process and I am trusting every step, at least for right now.
In the meantime, here is a delicious, simple warm salad that is uplifting delicious, warm, tangy, and luscious: roasted radishes, cauliflower, olives, and capers dressed in olive oil, lemon juice, and coconut yogurt.
Time and heat do all the work, all we have to do it wait, then feast.
Warm Salad of Radishes and Cauliflower with Yogurt
- 1 bunch radishes, about 8-10
- ½ small cauliflower
- 1 drizzle olive oil
- sea salt
- juice of half a lemon
- 1 handful pitted green olives
- 1 tablespoon capers
- 1 handful fresh parsley
- ¼ cup yogurt
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Cut radishes in half and cauliflower into florets.
- Place vegetables on a baking pan. Drizzle olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Toss until evenly coated. Transfer into the oven and roast for 25 minutes until golden and crispy edges form.
- Remove from the oven and place into a bowl. Add olives, capers, and lemon juice.
- Chop parsley leaves finely, then incorporate into the vegetables.
- To serve, spoon yogurt into the bottom of your serving plate, then spoon vegetables over and eat immediately.
Cook time: 35-40 minutes