Traveller, may your path rise up to meet you
My path is to inspire people to healthy food. My heart sings when I can share the joy of preparing dishes. In workshops, in recipes, in cooking for retreats, letting people experience the love for nutritious food. Food with life energy, consciousness around food and what it does to body and mind. Practising and teaching kundalini yoga and breath work, is another way of bringing awareness to body and mind. I work with a combination of different perspectives and techniques. I use the concepts of the Ayurvedic nutrition and also use the techniques and insights from the raw food kitchen to create a balance that makes it suitable for everybody through the different seasons of the year.
I am inspired by Jeong Kwan’s (a Korean monk) vision about food:
‘Preparing food with good energy and make cooking your meditation. With food we can share our emotions and communicate. That frame of mind, of wishing to share, is actually what you eat. Cooking vegetables from the garden with a happy mind and eating with joy. Wishing that the world will be united with healthy and happy food. Tasting is not only the taste. It is about our body, mind perception, intention, and awareness. It is all about being in the moment, about respecting the ingredients and the planet.’
When my children were young, I had a dream: to quit my job, although I worked with great enthusiasm; to do a yoga course and start a sewing workshop. During the years that we lived in the Philippines as a family I was lucky to fulfil those dreams! There was room for creativity and yoga training helped me to become even more aware of my body. I had been struggling with constant stomach aches since my youth. The heavy medications I had to take those days and the years I had lived in the Middle East had affected my digestive system. I had visited many doctors all those years, but it did not provide relief. 20 Years of painful experimentation slowly but surely showed me what I really needed. After trying out many different types of food to calm my digestion, I found raw food. The pure high-quality raw food and juices, combined with warm spices and lightly cooked earthy food, has thoroughly cleansed my system. It brought lightness to many levels, physically, mentally, and emotionally. I became so fascinated by the power of raw food that I became a Raw Food Chef.
After returning to Europe and experiencing the different seasons again, I became interested to learn more about Ayurveda & Food and studied to become an Ayurvedic Nutritionist. It provides a framework and tools to create a healthy rhythm in self-care and nutrition, based on your unique physique, the imbalance you can experience in everyday life and the seasons in the year.
Practising (and later teaching) kundalini yoga made me immediately feel a strong connection. It took me directly to the deeper layers of consciousness and emotion. A number of impressive events in my life, including a traumatic car accident, gave me the ultimate challenge and opportunity to practice moving from darkness to light. A long and sometimes painful process to find strength in vulnerability.
The practise of breath work brings me back to the basics. I am impressed by the power of breath work and how it opens up to more space and letting go of all that does not serve you any longer.
Coconut, the tree of Life
The Philippines stole my heart. It was a beautiful tropical time with fresh coconuts from the garden every day. It was great to work on creative and social projects, like making bags of traditionally woven fabrics from the North of the Philippines and working with women’s groups in setting up and developing small-scale companies. With my background in anthropology and the work in that area, I wished to support local initiatives. This is how the product line of coconut products is developed, working with farmers in the Philippines who make high quality organic & fair-trade coconut products. Coconut amino & coconut nectar are such wonderful ingredients! For more info see www.kokokitchenproducts.nl
One day, I would love to write a small cookbook with a collection of the most favorite recipes of my cooking. Nourishing, colourful food that satisfies body and mind. With personal stories, ins & outs about coconut and other ingredients and some of the beautiful photos that are waiting to find their little spot.