First let me say, thank you a million times over to my readers. I can’t believe I have readers. It’s pretty insane really. I feel truly humbled every day that I get to do something that perhaps even in some tiny way could benefit you. Aside from the rambling I do, I hope to positively touch you with my approach to living with food sensitivity.
I realize that on here, I rant about all kinds of things but I know I don’t always get to the things that make me, me. I feel it’s slightly narcissistic writing this post, but then again, pretty much the whole blogging thing is. So I figured it’s time to get personal and let you in a little bit on the person behind Calm Eats. I very much like getting to know a person if I’m interested in them, their likes, dislikes, certain points that may possibly connect us. And yes, I staged my own photo shoot because I’m way too embarrassed about having anyone else take my photo.
Anyway, I figured a little Q&A format seems to be the least painful and give you a glimpse into my life. So on to the questions…40 of them. Yikes, that’s a boatload but let’s try it.
What made you decide to start your blog?
The realization that I was in pain day after day when I would eat certain foods. Things became severe in early 2017 when I was in and out of the hospital with debilitating pain, lost 10 lbs and was in an emotional and physical hole. Something had to change and I wanted to share that change with others who may be going through the same thing.
What foods are you sensitive to?
Gluten and dairy are my biggest triggers.
How did you actually change the way you eat?
Honestly, it all happened in one day. I listened to a GI doctor on a podcast talk about gluten/dairy sensitivity and it was as though he was describing my life. So the next day was the beginning of the rest of my life. I never (intentionally) ate anything with gluten or dairy again.
Is it difficult changing your lifestyle?
It wasn’t easy at first. I had to be conscious of the things I put in my body, read labels (or avoided food with labels entirely) but in time it became a habit and part of my life.
Is blogging your job?
No, blogging is not my job - blogging is the thing I do that I wish was my job. But my actual work is in Clinical Research.
What is your blogging style?
I don’t necessarily have a style. I like telling stories as they relate to food. I usually write based on a snippet of life, a memory, a thought, mood, whatever is currently happening in my life.
Why do you like writing about food?
We all need to eat, but there is something beautiful about the chemistry that happens between ingredients. The whole process is magical to me. Cooking puts me in a trance like state and I much enjoy translating that into writing.
Did you always take pictures?
No, food photography is something that’s evolved as a result of starting the blog. I still cringe at my old photos but they serve as a reminder that we change and grow with time. Eventually I hope to replace them.
What are some of your favorite ingredients?
Olive oil, sweet potatoes, garlic, shallots, cilantro, sea salt and freshly ground pepper. I could go on and on but these I couldn’t live without.
What is your favorite food?
It’s a tie between Thai and Japanese food.
What’s the best thing you ever ate?
You may be looking for some crazy complex answer but honestly Bratwurst with spicy mustard and sauerkraut when I moved to Germany. I still go crazy over Bratwurst.
What’s the worst thing you ever ate?
Also In Germany I was invited for dinner at a friend’s house and tri-colored pasta was served. There was something about the taste/colors that turned my stomach. I forced it down out of politeness but the last time I ate tri-colored pasta was circa 1992.
Do you have any cooking disasters?
I have many. But one in particular that stands out is from when I was 10. I attempted to cook eggs by myself and somehow added a little too much oil, in the form of most of the bottle and needless to say the contents of that pan ended up on the kitchen floor. I didn’t foresee food being in my future at that point.
What are your favorite kitchen tools?
I love my Global knife, cast iron pan and large cutting board. I couldn’t function without these 3. I call them my holy trinity of cooking.
Do you drink?
Yes, I love wine. In fact I have a bit of an infatuation with the entire wine making process. I drink a glass of wine every day and sometimes 2.
Do you smoke?
I used to. I quit 10 years ago.
Where are you from anyway?
I was born and raised in Romania. After the revolution in 1989, my family sold everything they owned and moved to Germany where I spent the next 4 years and moved back to Romania for 1 year and eventually ended up in the US where I’ve been since 1995.
Do you cook traditional Romanian food?
I bring in some elements of Romanian cooking and experiment with the flavors but haven’t made any straight “Romanian food” yet.
So you speak several languages?
Did. I still speak Romanian but sadly German is buried and hasn’t surfaced in many years.
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Probably near the ocean.
What was the best place you ever lived in?
New York City in my 20s, post 9/11. There was a sense of “live like you never lived before” and I did!
Do you have a family of your own?
I do! I’m married and have a son and a daughter. I talk about my family from time to time on the blog but I’m very careful about not letting the personal become the intimate. Also, the blog could easily turn into a crazy mommy blog if I let it.
In two words describe your family.
What are your 3 favorite books?
1984, Love in the Time of Cholera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, (can I sneak a 4th? Doing it anyway, Still-life with Woodpecker.
What are 3 of your favorite authors?
Milan Kundera, Tom Robbins, Zadie Smith
What kind of music are you into?
I listen to mostly indie/alternative rock and a lot of electronic/progressive house, 90s rock (because it was the best decade), also grew up listening to a ton of classical music so I very much like it. Also old Jazz.
What are some of your favorites?
Do you have all day? Okay just a few. Chvrches, Purity Ring, Metric, Goldfrapp, Deadmou5, Radiohead, Smashing Pumpkins, Pink Floyd, Beatles and I’ll stop there because I could go on for way too long but these are some of my tops.
What’s your favorite color?
What are 3 movies you could watch over and over?
Donnie Darko, In the Mood for Love, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Do you like scary movies?
Not particularly though I’ve seen my fair share.
What’s the scariest movie you’ve watched?
The Ring. I’m not very good with scary movies. I’m pretty sure I thought about that movie for several months after seeing it.
What’s your biggest fear?
A long haired girl coming through the television. Kidding, it’s actually flying.
What do you do for fun?
If I have the chance, I love going to see live music. It’s probably one of the most enjoyable things. I’m a sucker for wineries. I find them quite magical - I’ve dragged my husband to probably about 20 at least. It may have something to do with that good buzz but who’s to say? :) And also dancing - I like going dancing any chance I get and do so until I’ve no sweat left in my body and my legs give out. I also like going out to eat, since it’s not something that happens a lot these days.
What are your hobbies?
This blog! I like making art whenever possible, getting lost in a good book, taking photos and of course cooking.
You like tattoos. How many do you have?
What’s one embarrassing childhood memory?
Okay when I was about 9, I went to a friend’s house and took two tampons (not knowing what they were) from her mom and hung them on my bike handles. I liked that they were dangly. The next day after it had rained…well you can imagine what they looked like. And that’s how I learned about tampons.
Let’s talk negative traits. What are some of yours?
Wait what? Okay fine, I can be impatient, stubborn and have a fiery temper at times. I’ll keep the other bazillion to myself! ;)
What annoys you?
When people don’t follow through with what they say they will do. Change in plans. Overly crowded places. Being woken up in the middle of the night and so much more…
What do you love?
My family always. Live music - it makes me feel alive. The ocean - I can’t possibly describe the feeling of being close to it. Being in the middle of a book I love and knowing I still have more to discover before it ends. Good conversations with the ones I love.
What inspires you?
I find inspiration in random places. Generally a single ingredient inspires me to make a certain recipe and it evolves from there. Same with writing. It’s usually a single thought or memory that sparks it and it just grows. People I care deeply about - I weave them into my writing without it being obvious. Music - I cannot imagine life without it. It’s part of my all day every day and I hope my children grow up loving it as much as I do.