Grilling is a long-time favorite cooking method of mine, and is known as mankind’s earliest form of cooking. The results of placing food over an open fire can be truly sensational.
An amazing variety of flavors can be combined with grilling, as there are currently so many available ingredients. Bastes, marinades and sauces can be created to match each piece of food that’s sizzling on the grill.
I’ve always had questions and been curious about a plant-based diet lifestyle, but my keen interest in Plant Based cooking only came to me once I’d been diagnosed with kidney cancer. I also suffered from high cholesterol, diabetes and was a good candidate for heart disease.
I’m a highly spiritual individual and often times I’ll listen to messages that my body is communicating to me. I’ve read books about the Ayurverda diet and intrinsically I’ve known that eating vegetables makes my body feel its best.
I grew up in a very food-centric family, one where the lunch conversation would usually include talk of the day’s dinner plans. And as a chef, I truly LOVE food, so initially it was hard to imagine how I could prepare a delicious meal using only vegetables.
Cutting out animal products like dairy and eggs was one thing. But it took me a while to accept that a human could actually survive on fruits, vegetables, tubers, whole grains and legumes alone.
I learned at an early age that lunch or dinner should consist of some type of meat (for protein) along with a starch. Meanwhile, vegetables were considered a side dish, almost an afterthought, often times over-cooked in powdered chicken bouillon, aka MSG.
There are plenty of things we eat and drink that are an acquired taste, something we get used to over time. For example, no one tries black coffee for the first time and says, “Wow, that’s delicious!” But over time, we get accustomed to many tastes and flavors that are initially repulsive, because we seek acceptance in our culture and/or we receive some form of energy or buzz from it.
If we practiced the same social pressures regarding vegetables as we do with caffeinated beverages and alcohol, we’d all be a lot healthier. And our children would learn by our good example.
Both of my parents smoked cigarettes during the time I grew up, and I thought smoking made them look cool. So at 13, I lit my first one and ended up smoking nearly two packs a day — for over 14 years! I’d grown up falsely believing that smoking was just fine because my folks did it and it made a person look cool. Now, it’s not my intention to criticize my parents for smoking, because it was certainly a popular thing to do back then. My point is that leading by example and social influence can have a major impact on our diet choices.
But hey, I’m no saint. I’m just a human who loves food. So it’s a daily struggle to make the right decisions. A struggle I believe I can win, using the knowledge I’ve acquired and am now sharing with you.
There are plenty of books and videos where highly educated medical doctors and surgeons explain the dangers of ingesting animal products. These very intelligent professionals have hundreds of patients and case studies that point to a direct correlation between animal products and high blood pressure, cancer, high cholesterol and diabetes.
Yet many people ignore this. We’ve been brainwashed since birth to believe that dairy and meat are essential for proper nutrition. It’s difficult to break from societal norms after being inundated with propaganda like the “food pyramid”. It’s time to change that. – Liron
Nature Has Flavor is co-founded by Chef Liron Meller and his wife, Jennifer Meller. They are based in New York City, New York.
I originally tried a plant-based diet out of frustration.
At only 25 years old, I was dealing with a number of health issues, including blood sugar spikes, poor breathing, and extremely low energy levels. For over a year, I looked high and low for a supplement or “superfood” that might solve my problems. But no matter how much I spent on herbal pills and exotic berries, I could still feel my health and fitness slipping away. A plant-based diet was simply next on the list of things to try.
Giving up animal products was a major adjustment for me. Meat and dairy had been staples in my diet for as long as I could remember—it almost seemed unrealistic to remove them entirely. But I was sick of my poor health holding me back, and deep down, I knew it was time for a change.
I began swapping my usual meat and dairy dishes for recipes that focused on vegetables, whole grains, spices, and legumes. Slowly but surely, I noticed my body starting to change. I was breathing better, my energy was steadier, and the little aches and pains I had learned to live with were starting to disappear. On top of that, my fitness levels were rapidly improving and my mental clarity was at an all-time high. I even began getting a tan for the first time in my life (for an Irish-American with red hair, that’s no small feat).
In a “health” world full of supplements and fad diets, it’s easy to buy into something and fool yourself into thinking it’s working. I’ve been guilty of that myself. But after a month of following a plant-based diet, I knew I would never go back to eating animal products. The energy I was feeling wasn’t the result of any placebo effect — it was the result of my health improving. And that type of energy is sustainable.
Since uncovering the amazing power of plant-based dieting, I have dedicated my life to understanding why and how plants are so beneficial to our bodies. I completed Dr. T Colin Campbell’s program in Plant-Based Nutrition in late 2015, and I am constantly devouring new scientific literature on health and nutrition.
I joined Nature Has Flavor in 2016 because I believe people should not have to sacrifice taste when switching to a plant-based diet. By giving people the tools to prepare their own delicious plant-based meals, I believe Nature Has Flavor can revolutionize the future of healthy eating and living.