I grew up in Istanbul, Turkey and moved to the US to go to college in 1979, becoming a naturalised US citizen after 20 years. Since my childhood, I have always been interested in nature and eventually that passion turned into my profession; it is now more than 30 years that I’ve worked internationally in the field of nature & biodiversity conservation. My plant-based adventure started in 2016 with the encouragement of a Food for Life Instructor friend, who was concerned about my chronic joint & muscle pains. I haven’t looked back since!
Did you notice any changes going plant-based?
After completing the eCornell and T. Colin Campbell course on plant-based nutrition, I switched to eating plant-based and within 3 months I was back to my normal self enjoying an active life. My aches and pains had disappeared and I had extra energy to catch up with things I could not do the previous 6 years or so.
Who inspires/inspired you with cooking?
My mom was an awesome cook, anything she touched tasted better. She enjoyed cooking, using different ingredients and trying new and unusual recipes. She always encouraged me to join in the cooking fun since I was a little girl. That early exposure to her cooking and enjoying the vast food & spice markets in Istanbul and around Turkey, with the freshest ingredients, amazing aromas, rainbow of colors and delicious flavors are amongst my best memories. Even today, a sudden whiff of herbs & spices or a flavour will take me back to my colorful childhood. This must be what still inspires me today!
What is your favourite fruit/ egetable and why?
I love this question, but finding an answer reminds me of “which is your favorite child?” I love them all and, also, I look forward to exploring the vegetable & fruit stands at our local farmers’ market or at the supermarket in search of new “favorites”. Living in Italy introduced me to a whole world of new veggies, trying these and adapting them to my plant-based recipes is a fun challenge. Just as I think I have a new favorite my eye catches a new veggie; lucky me!