Cooking to nurture our bodies while healing our souls
By FLAVIA TOMASELLO
My love for nutrition started at a very young age
Since I was young, I was always interested in knowing the health benefits of every food I put in my mouth. I remember asking my mom when she was cooking about the benefits of eating carrots, string beans, and other vegetables that I loved. I also love reading about the health benefits of all my ingredients and I have attended conferences and workshops on healthy food and healthy eating.
Growing up as a Spanish-Italian in Venezuela, cooking has always been in my blood.
I spent a lot of time in the kitchen because it was where my mother spent her days. Always, she was cooking delicious Spanish, Italian, and Venezuelan meals for our whole family and also for friends. Everyone would love to visit and enjoy whatever specialty my mother was cooking that day. In my childhood homes, the kitchen was always the biggest room in the house. The kitchen was the heart of our family life.
The nurturing space
There was so much love in my mother’s kitchen. It was that feeling that has always drawn me back to cooking. I treasure spending time in that nurturing space. In fact, I have realized that the times I have experienced loss in my life I have found healing in the kitchen and cooking. Preparing delicious food became a way for me not only to nurture my body but also to show LOVE to others. It is my way of saying: “I love you.”
The healing process
Then in 2019, the tragic loss of my oldest son Antonio brought me back to the kitchen. I found healing and love there as I worked to find peace and support my family. Cooking, and bringing my family together in that loving space, was crucial to our healing process. The kitchen became the space where we healed our hearts and souls while we nourished our bodies.
Cooking is also my meditation in motion. Cooking allows me to quiet my mind and to be fully present as I organize my meal planning, chose my ingredients, and finally prepare my colorful and delicious dishes.
I usually try to include a variety of colorful ingredients because of the diverse nutrients they contain, but there are also great health benefits in white or light color fruits and vegetables like bananas, cauliflowers, and scallions. I like to think about the rainbow when choosing my ingredients. I appreciate all the colors of the rainbow and the spectrum of the light.
A tremendous inspiration
Antonio’s untimely passing and his continuous desire to help people have been a tremendous inspiration for me. Now, that I see how important these healthy meals are in my own healing journey, I am inspired to share them with others. I always teased my mother that one day I would publish her recipes and make her famous. It is time to make good on that promise!
I am more conscious now than ever before that there are no guarantees about how much time we have in this life. This realization motivates me to focus on the projects closest to my heart. That is why I want to share my love for nutrition and family meals with as many people as I can. I hope that my healthy recipes will help you discover the love for creating simple, delicious, and colorful dishes that nourish not only your body but especially your soul.
Life as a big tossed salad
I like to see life like a big tossed salad, where the most different and diverse ingredients are included and are able to share one space. The dressing in my salad is the LOVE that brings all the ingredients together.
I also love trying new fruits and vegetables every week. I prefer food that is raw, steamed, or boiled. I also favor ingredients in their natural state or less processed foods. That is why I love my salads which include lots of colors and lots of diverse ingredients.