Morgan Witkin believes that food should nourish us from the inside out. It should be genuine and kind—to our bodies, to nature and to our palates.
What she aim to create – and to share (and hopefully inspire others to cook) is GOOD FOOD.
“Good food, to me, means food that nourishes you from the inside out. Food that is full of phytonutrients… vitamins and minerals, antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents. Food that heals. Food that I am proud to feed my family. Food that is genuine and kind: – kind to our bodies and kind to the earth and its creatures.”
Can you share a little about your life before you went vegan and what the catalyst was?
I have been a vegetarian my entire life but my lifestyle habits were somewhat all over the place. I went from one extreme to the other: periods of working out hard, of traveling and not paying attention to my physical body and soul, between partying, barely sleeping, and eating poorly.
The catalyst was when my daughter was born and I had terrible postpartum depression. I knew something needed to change but I wanted to avoid psychopharmaceuticals.
I began studying the connection between gut health and emotional wellbeing. I went fully vegan and gluten free, I cut out sugar and anything refined. I got my health-coach training and basically overhauled my daily habits and life. The rest is history.
Can you name some people/teachers who have had the greatest impact on your journey of wellbeing?
One of the first books i read when I began this journey was Kris Carr’s “Crazy Sexy Diet” and it was a great launching point.
I still refer to it as a refresher every so often. I then trained to be a Certified Health Coach with The Institute of Integrative Nutrition and basically, the course gave me all the tools I needed to make these fundamental changes and truly begin my own journey into health and wellness.
What is your personal eating philosophy?
I don’t believe that there exists one correct way to eat or one diet that everyone should follow.
I am a strong believer in bio-diversity: we are all different and our bodies have different needs. My food, and its rigorous standards are a result of discovering what works best for me.
It is the food that keeps me healthy, keeps my mind fresh and my body in fighting form. My personal diet is vegan, gluten free, and refined sugar free.
The closer to nature we can get with our food, the better. hence : “plant-based.
”What are the top 3 things in your opinion that people can change right now to move towards a happier and healthier life?
Learn to listen to your body. It always tells you what it needs.
Create daily habits that aid to align you with your true purpose: whether it be meditation, journaling, dedicating an hour a day to a new passion, sleep, a personal gratitude practice, and gratifying relationships.
In terms of diet, the first thing I would do is cut out all dairy and refined sugars. It’s life changing.
What are your favourite ways to relax?
I cook to relax. It’s my “movement meditation.”
Can you describe your morning routine?
I wake up between 7:00 am and 8:00 am.
I drink warm water with fresh lemon juice and cayenne pepper and do an hour of yoga (either vinyasa flow or ashtanga). I then make myself either coffee or a matcha latte and journal for 30 minutes.
By this time, my daughter normally wakes up and my duties as a mom begin. I work from home and have multiple projects so my days vary greatly from about 10 a.m. on.
Where do you get your inspiration for your delicious recipes from?
I cook what I like to eat.
I would never serve something or create a menu that didn’t make my mouth water when thinking about it.
I love colorful food and I think that cuisine is truly an art form that integrates all five senses: the first thing we do is see our food, so I try to always make sure to make it visually beautiful.
I try to use local and seasonal ingredients so a lot of my inspo comes from visiting the produce and natural markets around Rome.
You write your aim is to create “Good Food” please can you define what that means to you?
Good food, to me, means food that nourishes you from the inside out.
Food that is full of phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals, antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents.
Food that heals.
Food that is genuine and kind. “Good food” shouldn’t have refined sugars or flours; it shouldn’t include chemicals, preservatives or dyes. Good food is conscious food.
It’s preventative medicine.
What do believe “holistic health” is?
Holistic health, in my option, defines personal wellness taking into account all aspects of your being: not just physical but mental, emotional and spiritual.
When it comes to practicing holistic health, it is an approach that works with each individual and their mind, body and spirit.
It is the concept that everything in our lives and surrounding us is intimately connected. Instead of focusing on the symptoms of a disease, holistic health looks for the root of the problem and seeks to find balance in our lives and in our bodies.
What does “Wellness” mean to you?
I love this word: “Wellness.”
I used to believe that wellness was basically the absence of illness. But it is so much more.
It is our natural state of being: when we live in harmony with the world when we are aligned with our true purposes when life flows easily.
We are “well’ when we truly learn how to take care of ourselves and honor our bodies and minds.
Can you please elaborate on the concept you learnt about “Primary Food”?
I define primary food as food that feeds our souls.
Secondary food, on the other hand, is food that feeds our bodies.
My work as a vegan chef is generally concentrated on secondary food but I maintain that true wellness is primarily derived from primary food: our work, environment, spirituality, relationships, mindset, exercise, and daily habits and practices.
What message would you like to share with our beautiful plant based sisters around the world?
Wellness is an ever-evolving journey, as we are ever-evolving.
Be patient with the process, be patient with yourselves.
I once heard someone say that “when you move in the direction of your dreams, the universe moves with you.” Not a day has gone by that I don’t find this to be true. So the advice that I give to my clients, my loved ones and myself is: figure out what your true passion is, define what sets your soul on fire, and DO THAT.
Every. Single. Day.
And of course, go plant-based and never look back. 😉
Favourite plant based breakfast?
Green goddess smoothie bowl.
Ingredients: 1 frozen banana, two handfuls spinach, 2 tbsp almond butter (or handful activated almonds), ¾ cups plant based milk, 1 tbsp hemp or flax seeds. Topped with: fresh fruit and berries, mixed seeds, fresh (edible) flowers.
Plant based comfort food?
“Pasta al pomodoro.” i live in italy afterall!
I like to use brown rice spaghetti and make a sauce out of fresh cherry tomatoes, basil, extra virgin olive oil, pepper flakes and a little bit of Himalayan salt.
Plant based treat?
Vegan and refined sugar free peanut butter cups!
Plant based book?
“How Not To Die” by Michael Greger
The next plant based recipe I’d like to try is..
I would like to veganize Thai ‘chicken” satay with peanut sauce.
A plant based eatery anywhere in the world I’d love to eat at..
Saido in Tokyo or L’Arpège in Paris
A plant based chef I’d love to meet and share a meal with..
I would love to share a meal with Jamie Oliver.
He’s not fully plant-based but he supports the vegan diet and has launched a new series: meat-free meals. I love his vegan recipes and am totally inspired by his open-minded approach to cuisine as a whole.