Introducing Shahla of My Berkeley Kitchen!

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Every week, I send out a newsletter filled with personal reflections, interesting articles, and things that inspire me. It’s a great way to stay connected, and a great way for me to share the things that lift me up.

One of the weekly constants in my newsletter is a healthy recipe, sometimes by me, and sometimes by other bloggers around the web. My original intent was to provide most of these recipes by myself, because I love to cook and love sharing what I cook, but living in the dorms means I have a microwave, mini fridge, and not much else to work with. While finding recipes on other bloggers’ websites is great, I wanted something a little bit more personal to share with my weekly subscribers.

A few months ago, Emma  of Real Food Renegades joined our little team and started contributing her lovely recipes to the newsletter. But I think most people crave variety and fresh perspectives on their food, which is why I’m so excited to bring another talented recipe developer on board in addition to Emma!

I’m happy to share that Shahla has some incredible recipes ready to be included in the YogaMaris Weekly Newsletter! Shahla created her blog My Berkeley Kitchen as a means to share her love of whole foods, mostly organic, home-cooked, seasonal meals made for my family and friends. Many recipes are variations on others, some are completely of her own creation, and others are recipes passed down through her Pakistani family.

Keep an eye out for them in future editions, but for now, here’s a quick interview with Shahla to help you get to know a little bit more about her and the work she does.

(PS: All these beautiful pictures are from Shala’s blog!)

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Who are you, and what do you do?

My name is Shahla. I write a blog called My Berkeley Kitchen. I love creating new recipes with a focus on holistic nutrition and allergy-friendly food.  I’m a mom of two young, spirited girls who have environmental and food related allergies. I also spend my time as a freelance writer, photographer and recipe developer.

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What drew you to food, and what does food symbolize to you?

My mom cooked for my siblings and I everyday when we were growing up so I was always surrounded by delicious smells coming from our kitchen. Food was at the center of everything in our house but I never had an interest in cooking until much later in life.  I was also a picky eater!

When I became a mom, my kids developed food allergies so I had to learn how to cook to keep them safe. Since we couldn’t eat out anymore, I also wanted to make sure that I learned how to cook well so that they didn’t feel like they were missing out on really good food. The nutrition side appealed to me because I also wanted to keep us healthy.

There are so many memories and emotions tied to food. A certain smell or recipe can evoke feelings of joy or bring back a fond memory.  Living with restrictions in your diet is challenging. It can also be depressing to constantly be told you can’t eat something due to your allergies or restricted diet. Learning how to cook feels empowering especially if you no longer have the freedom to eat out.

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What does “real food” mean to you?

Real food is fresh, whole food such as fruits and vegetables, preferably local, seasonal and organic. It’s having the knowledge of where your food is grown or raised. You can design a menu based on a seasonal vegetable or fruit. This is not only fun but also feels inspiring.

 Where’s your favorite place to eat?

My husband and I arrange special date nights and there are a few cuisines we love such as Korean, Thai and Indian. But my favorite place to eat is right in my kitchen. We try to have family dinners together on most nights. Sitting down after a long day and sharing a meal together makes cooking worth the extra effort.

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Describe the fearlessly authentic you!

Even though you may have a health condition or restrictions in your diet, food does not have to be daunting. With a little planning and organization, you can prepare meals that are easy to make, simple and tasty. It’s so inspiring to see beautiful plated food on Instagram but what really counts is the effort and love that goes into preparing a meal for your family and friends.  I hope my recipes help to inspire you to create a meal or dish that brings you joy.

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Shahla’s incredible recipes can be sent straight to your inbox by signing up for my newsletter here! In the meantime, check out her blog at myberkeleykitchen.com and follow her on Instagram.

Shahla has graciously opened herself and her talents to suggestions. If there’s a certain style of food you’d like to see her put her twist on (gluten-free, dairy-free, styles of cuisine, etc) drop me a message using the contact form below!

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