I will start by saying that don’t like titles especially when it comes to what you put in your body, its your body, do with it what you will. Titles like “Vegan”, “Vegetarian”, “Pescatarian”, “Raw Vegan”, Omnivore, Carnivore etc are used by elitists or people that need to segregate themselves, and let’s be real, we could all use a little less of that these days.
When I was 9 years old, I took meat out of my diet for the first time. I adopted the vegetarian title and abstained from eating all animals – no chicken, fish, pig, cow etc and at the time I think the only animal product I consumed was butter. I felt love for the animals, I had seen slaughterhouse videos, animal containment in commercial farms and processing facilities and all of that told me not to buy into it, not to support it, and flat out not eat the animals I loved. At the age of 30 I’ve spent majority of my life eating plants, grains, and minimal animal products, mostly in the form of cheese and butter and eggs (what can I say, I’m French, that stuff is in my blood) and at this point I’ve figured out what works for me physically and ethically. I won’t go into details in this blog about the phases I’ve been through but I have done everything from trying meat again, to going completely raw vegan, and I will tell you what I’ve found. What works for me currently is eating a PLANT BASED DIET (both raw and cooked) , lots of legumes and added protein in the form of raw vegan protein powder and locally sourced eggs (everyone on this island has a chicken or 10 and they are mostly free range) some grains, and on the rare occasion something from the sea.
Richard currently eats meat on occasion but for the most part he has the same food pyramid as I do since we cook together and share meals together most of the time. His father had started a vegan diet 40 years ago after being diagnosed with gout, he has stayed vegan and has since gone grain free in order to feel his best and achieve optimal health and wellness. He has also been gout free for almost as long as he has been vegan! Rich adopted a vegan diet at 17 and continued a plant based lifestyle for the next 4 years at which point he says it was just too expensive to maintain for a young man like himself living and working in LA. Since we’ve been together (almost 9 years) he has ceased eating animal products for periods of time for his own health, to support me in my efforts to eat more consciously and cleanly, which is a beautiful thing.
Coming to ‘the garden of eden’ as it’s sometimes called, Dominica is known to be one of the most self sustainable countries in the world. The ability to grow so much in this climate, have unique fruits and bush medicines, it is a place where even the poorest household have the abundance of foraged food like breadfruit, mangos, papaya (pawpaw), guava, and local leafy greens (called spinach locally but doens’t look like your typical spinach ). This is a place where locally grown fruits and vegetables are readily available, although the variety can be slim pickings at times, it make it all the more fun to come up with new recipes and preparations to keep things interesting. As I spoke about in some of my other blogs there are times when you just need to buy the hard to find things when you see them, even if you will over stuff your fridge or freezer. So, when I see broccoli, zucchini, kale, lettuce, CAULIFLOWER, I go a little crazy, and buy whatever I can get my hands on and figure out what to do with it once I’ve gotten home.
Although Richard will be in charge of the kitchen and eatery at SALT, I do a lot of the home cooking (since I am the ‘pickier’ eater) and I love sharing the recipes that nourish me, and fill me with gratitude for what the land provides. So without further ado, get excited for upcoming recipes which will include our take on caribbean dishes, fusion, and of course some american comfort food!
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