The Awakening Times loves and supports all projects that promote true human values and inspire people to become the change they want to see in the world. Below we bring you an interview with Ivana Surya from Croatia, the founder of the Conscious Cooking project.
The Awakening times (TAT): Dear Ivana, thank you for taking the time for this interview. I am glad that today we have the opportunity to talk about your great project.
Ivana Surya (IS): Thank you for taking notice of the Conscious Cooking project. I am grateful for this opportunity to present it.
TAT: To begin with, tell us what inspired you to start Conscious Cooking?
IS: Conscious Cooking is inspired by Mohanji’s teachings of ahimsa, gratefulness and interconnection of everyone in the world. Mohanji said:
‘Whatever nature has created has a reason. Nature’s children, including us, have our positions; all of us have our relevance. Everything is interconnected. We must be aware of it and we must respect it. Just like we should respect our body, we should respect everybody. We must know that all have relevance. All have their right (to live) on earth, just like us. We have no right to kill indiscriminately. We have no right to torture, use or abuse.‘
TAT: Can you tell us a little more about the project itself?
IS: Conscious Cooking is a project for sharing vegan recipes and tips on how to make vegan meals healthier. We are spreading messages of nonviolence and raising awareness of the impact our daily decisions have on the environment, other people and animals. This project is for the Balkan region (in local language) to bring this important topic to non-english speakers.
Ahimsa means ‘non-violence’ in Sanskrit and denotes non-violence towards others as well as towards oneself. Compassion is a key part of ahimsa. One form of living the principle of ahimsa is veganism. If we want to bring more peace and happiness into our own lives, we need to stop causing violence and unhappiness in other people’s lives.
The position of the American Nutritional Association and Nutritionists of Canada is that a properly planned vegan diet is healthy, nutritionally sufficient and provides health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases and is suitable for all stages of life.
It has been scientifically proven that eating plant-based foods reduces:
- the risk of getting type 2 diabetes,
- lowers cholesterol and blood pressure,
- the risk of heart disease,
- the risk of prostate cancer, breast cancer and colon cancer
Farming animals for food causes 15% of the human impact on global warming. In comparison, transportation causes 16% of the human impact on global warming. By choosing a vegan diet, we influence the reduction of harmful gas emissions and consequently reduce the impact on global warming.
TAT: What are the key principles on which Conscious Cooking is based?
- Ahimsa (non-violence)
- Health benefits of plant-based diet
- Ecological impact
TAT: Are people interested in switching to a vegan diet and are they interested in things produced in an ethical and sustainable way? What are your experiences?
IS: More and more people, especially Millennials are aware of the importance of a plant-based diet for the future of the planet and their health. In the last 5 – 10 years we are witnessing the raise of the plant-based products that makes the transition to the plant-based diet easier and smoother. With the higher offer of the plant-based products more people are ready to embrace the change and join the growing number of vegans and vegetarians. People consciousness is rising in frequency constantly and I am positive that the future of our planet is vegan.
TAT: I know you’ve been a vegan for a long time, so I’d like to dispel some prejudices and myths about vegan nutrition with you. “You don’t get enough protein”, “The best proteins are of animal origin”, “What do you eat if you don’t eat meat?”, “vegan food is monotonous, you only eat vegetables”, “I couldn’t be vegan, because I couldn’t give it up ice cream”…
These are just some that came to my mind at the moment, please comment on them.
IS: As I mentioned, today is easiest to switch to a plant-based diet with all the products that are substitutes for the taste, texture and nutrition of the traditional food. Vegan milk, ice cream, cheese, burgers, meatballs, cream, omelette, cakes, pastries, everything is easy to find in the plant-based version. Those myths are busted today, especially about the lack of proteins in the plant-based diet. So many professional sports athletes are switching to a plant-based diet and performing amazing results. Our body is designed to use plant-based proteins easier than animal-based which makes the resting period shorter and leaves more time for training. The best documentary on this subject is ‘The Game Changer’ by James Cameron and I would recommend everybody to take some time to watch it.
TAT: How to bring people closer to the fact that we are all part of the same whole and that by disrupting one part, we are actually harming the entire planet? How to encourage people to live unconditional love equally towards all beings?
IS: Mohanji is teaching us to say a little prayer of gratefulness before we took the first bite of our meal. It is a great practice, to pause for a moment and express gratitude to our Guru, Tradition, ancestors and to everybody who was involved in the production of our meal. If we do this at least three times a day, we will witness our transformation, as we will get humble, modest and aware of the blessings that we’ve been showered daily. In that awareness, remembering that animals went through suffering and death just for the pleasure of our tasting buds results in the change of our perspective of animals as a food source to animals as living beings with a strong desire to live. With more modesty, humbleness and gratefulness come awareness and unconditional love towards all beings which brings motivation to live the principles of ahimsa in our everyday life.
Today we live in the abundance as the products from every part of the world are available in our markets. Bananas, rice, coffee, and chocolate… are produced and transported from different parts of the world. Thanking all of the people who were involved in making this product, from the field to our plate makes us aware of the fact that we are all interconnected. In the Conscious cooking project, we are encouraging people to choose ‘Fair-trade’ products whenever possible. Although these products have a greater price, choosing ‘Fair-trade’ we are aware that someone will get fair compensation for their work and be able to provide for their family.
Awareness that our lifestyle brings harmony to nature, thriving of life and prosperity for many beings, brings us a deep sense of peace and love in our souls.
TAT: Do you have a final message? And could you please share a quick and easy recipe with our readers?
IS: We all have the power of choice that can change the world if our choices are insightful. Making everyday decisions about what we eat we are choosing the world we are living in. Let’s choose the world of love, compassion, peace and abundance for all living beings.
A Buddha bowl is essentially a simple, one-bowl meal, typically vegetarian or vegan. The best Buddha bowls start with a base of rice or whole grains which can be served cold or warm. Top with your favorite plant-based protein (tofu, seitan, beans or legumes), add fresh greens and fresh or roasted veggies. Next, drizzle with flavorful dressing or sauce and sprinkle with seeds or nuts. Top with fresh herbs.
TAT: Thank you for this conversation. It was a pleasure to hear your inspiring story.
IS: Thank you for the great questions. I hope this interview will bring transformation and awareness to the people reading it.
To learn more about Conscious Cooking and get inspiring vegan meal ideas,
please click here.
To learn more about the importance of fair trade, please follow this link.
Documentaries recommended by Conscious Cooking team:
- The Game Changers
- What The Health
- Forks Over Knives
- Eating Animals