Liron Meller

Liron MellerGrilling 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.