If you are interested in introducing raw, vegan and vegetarian cooking into your repertoire then this blog is a must read.
Barbara does not lecture, she just shares her experiences, fabulous tips and delicious recipes for those who want to give it a try. We chatted up with her recently to get a sneak peek into her blog.
FriendsEAT: When someone asks you about your blog, what do you tell them?
Barbara Shevkun: I started this journey into the world of raw vegan and vegetarian cuisine in order to reclaim my health and vitality. Instead, I am having a love affair with food! I have not only discovered a source of energy that I never had before, but I am also experiencing a sense of well-being and peacefulness. I am in LOVE with real food, with flavors, textures and colors. Apparently my passion is contagious because friends around me can see the change in me, and are asking for more recipes and even classes! They are excited to explore what I have found…To make this journey fun and rewarding, I find and create super enticing recipes that titillate the taste buds and share them with readers, hopefully impacting their lives in a positive way.
I strive to prepare meals that are healthy, nourishing, nutritious and energizing, while also filled with color and texture. While my goal is to include as many living foods as I can, I realize this will take some transitioning. For now, the content will be a melting pot of raw vegan and vegetarian cuisine.I love creating, and I absolutely love it when my creation is pleasing to others.
I am no expert in the field and I have no prior training. I am just a journeyer exploring the world of RAWfully Tempting food!
FE: Where did you grow up and what was your kitchen like?
BS: I grew up in the suburbs, Union, NJ. Growing up we had a decent kitchen, nothing fancy, but my Mother loved entertaining. My dad was in the wholesale meat industry. So I actually grew up on outrageous quality meat.
FE: So what was it that inspired you to become a food blogger?
BS: I have a BA in Journalism and have always enjoyed writing. My journey is not only about exploring food, but I am eager to use these nutrient filled foods to eliminate the debilitating effects of Interstitial Cystitis. This is something I have lived with for over 10 yrs. Several years ago, I started eating vegan, and my symptoms went into remission. I discontinued that diet and my symptoms eventually returned.
I want to share my upcoming success with others who may be struggling with health issues that might be remedied with healthy eating and change in lifestyle.
FE: Congratulations, it’s amazing how much your diet can affect your health. When you started what was the topic of your first blog?
BS: My first post was an introduction to me, and what my goals were for myself and for my blog. I also include a breakfast recipe. (Good way to start the day, and the blog).
FE: And what was your most recent post about?
BS: There are 2 sections in my blog. One is for persona notes and the other for recipes. The most recent recipe was for a Dill Dip and Parsnip Twists. The personal side covered some physical hurdles that I have been overcoming in my life. I think it’s only fair to share it all!
FE: How has Food Blogging affected your waistline?
BS: I have lost almost 20 lbs since I began this journey, which was one of my goals. I still have a long way to go, but many raw foodies find that a positive side effect of eating so healthy, is weight loss. I eat gourmet desserts, chocolate bars, cakes and brownies…all raw and filled with wonderful nutrients!
FE: Do you think you have to be a good cook to be a good blogger?
BS: I think you really need to be passionate about your subject. I am not sure you can be passionate about food blogging if you can’t roll up your sleeves and get happy actually creating something. I could be wrong. Perhaps there are those that enjoy the writing part, but not the getting your hands dirty??
FE: Even dream jobs come with moments of doubt. What makes you want to hang up the fork and keyboard?
BS: It is time consuming. This past week, I had an awful ear ache that went into my jaw and I couldn’t eat solid food. I was conscious that I didn’t want to go too long without posting something in my blog. It keeps you on your toes, that’s for sure! But I look at it as a good thing. It kept my mind on something other than my pain.
FE: Who is on your MUST-READ-BLOG list?
BS: Ani Phyo, Russell James, Matthew Kenney. On the spiritual side: Ekchart Tolle, Marianne Williamson
FE: Do you respond to comments made to your posts?
BS: Absolutely! I love when someone takes the time to post a comment.
FE: Is food blogging your main gig?
BS: Right now, it is my main gig.
FE: When creating recipes for your blog, what are the most important things you consider?
BS: Taste, Texture, Simplicity, Availability of ingredients
FE: There’s been a foodie explosion over the past few years. Why do you think that is?
BS: I think the Internet has a lot to do with it. It’s available. Click a button and you can research almost any cuisine and you can find recipes without having to go out and purchase recipe books. You can also read reviews from others who have already tried it. People are also becoming more cognizant of their health and more responsible for what they put into their bodies.
FE: Blog writing is at its infancy compared to other forms. How did you get comfortable writing in the blog style?
BS: As a journalist, it came easy to me. I have been journaling for myself for many years. When I blog, it’s as if I am talking to my readers out loud.
FE: What topics do you find your readers craving?
BS: Easy sweet treats. We still tend to have that sweet tooth, and when folks hear they can have healthy treats, they want them.
FE: Are there any chefs or restaurants we should have our eyes on?
BS: Matthew Kenney’s restaurants and books.
FE: Who is your favorite Chef…and why?
BS: Russell James – His food is soooooooo pretty and sexy!!! I am so envious!
FE: What’s your favorite splurge meal?
BS: I can eat almost anything raw and love it, but my splurges are always about chocolate….anything chocolate. I make a chocolate, raspberry layer cake that is awesome!
FE: What is your favorite food/cook book?
BS: Matthew Kenney – EverydayRaw
FE: Guess we’ll be checking out his stuff. For many, food – let alone dining out – is a luxury. Is this a situation you think about and/or are involved with improving?
BS: One of the things I love is that making the creation of food my passion…every day is an adventure. It becomes something sacred and beautiful. Putting love and passion into foods you create changes the energy of the food. I have been told by people that they can “feel the love” in the food I create. Now that is a compliment I never expected!!!
FE: You told us about your battles with Interstitial Cystitis, can you tell us a bit more about it.
BS: Yes, I am working to eliminate Interstitial Cystitis, which is a deterioration of the bladder lining. It affects the pelvic floor and has many debilitating side-effects. It is associated with other auto-immune diseases. I know that with continued conscious effort on my part to put healthy, living foods in my body, that I will eliminate the effects of this disease and hopefully help others to lead healthier lives as well.
FE: What is your prediction-for-the biggest food trends of 2010?
BS: More people will start to acknowledge vegetarian and raw vegan cuisine than ever before.
FE: What food trend of 2009 will you miss the least?
BS: Junk food and processed foods.
FE: Where do you see your blog in the next year?
BS: Reaching more people, and hopefully changing more lives.
FE: What advice would you would give to a budding food blogger?
BS: Review other bloggers in your category. Do your homework and be honest!! Be human! Be a reflection to your readers.
FE: We’d like to thank you for taking the time to answer all our questions and wish you all the luck in the world with the blog.
BS: Thanks for talking with me about my passion. I couldn’t think of anything I’d enjoy doing more…okay, time to get back to the kitchen…