Why 2020 is a special year for me.

2020 promised to be a special year.  The year of the European soccer championships, the year of the return of Formula 1 to Dutch soil, the year of the Olympics and so much more. Only midway April we can conclude that indeed 2020 turned out to be a very special year, just not in the way we thought it would!

2020 is also the year in which Everyday Plantpower celebrates its lustrum. In honor of this celebration, I would like to take you back in time.

Back in 2012 when my husband suggested to change our lifestyle into a plant based one, I was quite reluctant. I was afraid that plant-based cooking would be complicated and time-consuming. This reluctance did not last very long. Ever since I’ve lived in Israel, I loved the Middle Eastern kitchen and at the time my husband did not. (He compared eating couscous with eating sand). Since the Middle Eastern cuisine in its core is plant based, I took the opportunity to not only change our lifestyle into a plant based one but also into a more Middle Eastern one. A ‘compromise’ that made both of us happy. 

Despite the fact that we were rapidly enjoying this new way of eating, people around us were very skeptical. We had to explain and justify our food choices on a regular basis (something the “early” vegans can relate to I gather). In 2015, I decided that enough was enough and I set myself the task of changing the way people think by educating them about vegan/plant-based food! (I’m an Aquarius and we tend to be idealistic and have a deep desire to change the world for the better 😉). It was not just idealism that motivated me, but I also had experienced significant health benefits within 6 months after I had turned completely plant based. At last I had lost weight, something I had been trying to do for 6 years after the birth of our fourth son. My hormonal disbalance disappeared completely (at age 46 I suffered menopause with severe hot flashes, mood swings, the whole enchilada basically, a very unhappy time!). No more dental problems – from an early age on I had cavities on a regular base and that has stopped entirely, no cavities for 6 ears in a row!

But besides all these miraculous physical improvements, I think what motivated me most was that we just LOVE the food we eat. I used to see cooking as an obligation, something I was not particularly good at. That had changed completely! I had turned into a confident and passionate cook with not only knowledge of nutrition, but also of flavor combinations, spices, herbs and different cooking techniques. Something I was very keen on to share with everyone so they too could benefit from my experiences.

So, in 2015, I started a Facebook page where I posted every night for 6 months in a row what we had for dinner. To “prove” that eating plant-based food is more than having only lettuce and radishes and that it is actually easy to prepare. After 6 months I started a website, which made it easier to share recipes. 

Among the things I had to think about when starting this Facebook page (and website) were which language to write in and finding an appropriate name. The choice for writing in English was a logical one, because with English more people can be reached than by writing in Dutch. It also suited the name which came up quite easily: ‘Everyday Plantpower’. The idea behind this name is twofold: Plantpower speaks for itself, referring to the power of plants, while Everyday on one hand stands for every single day and on the other hand for common/ordinary. My way of expressing that living a plant-based lifestyle is achievable for all, whenever you want.

Even though Everyday Plantpower has developed since then, for instance I have very proudly been able to start our culinary plant-based travels to Tel Aviv, Israel, the idea behind it is still the same. And if I had to describe this idea in one word I would like to describe it as: ‘enthusiasm’! 

Obviously, I am not the only one. Scrolling through Instagram (and Facebook) I come across plenty Insta-accounts with beautiful pictures of food, delicious recipes, stunning posts of our beautiful planet and places to visit, quotes full of wisdom and many more. Much of it very impressive and one can easily feel overwhelmed by all these talented people posting. To me it often has the effect to think that my contribution to this all is very insignificant and small. It even makes me wonder sometimes if I am on the right track and if I make a difference at all. Especially now when all travel has come to a stop and I’m not sure what will happen with my culinary trips to Tel Aviv. 

This strange situation we find ourselves in has got me thinking about what I do and why I do it. Do I believe in what I do, and do I want to keep pursuing it when time allows? The answer is a wholehearted YES! I believe in the power of plants, I believe in our culinary trips, I believe in myself and what I have to offer and I believe in you that you appreciate what I am set out to achieve and that in the end many will share my enthusiasm!

The dish on the picture above is one of the first recipes I tried when we began our plantbased adventure. It has changed/improved over the past five years but the basic ingredients have stayed the same. Quinoa with fried zucchini and peppers, spiced with za’atar, olives, vegan feta, smoked paprika powder, Isot pepper and some salt. It has been a regular on our menu for the past five years and one of our family favorites!

Apart from thinking things through, I am also still busy preparing yummy food, trying new recipes, fermenting (beet roots, cabbage and all sorts). Recipes I will share with you another time!

In the meantime take care and stay safe!