Q: What is the meaning of food, to Zen Island Farm owner-chef Ayako?
A: Food is art. The art of creativity and the art of gratitude. I practice the art of creativity through food by expressing and sharing my appreciation of mother nature and all the life she supports.
Q: When did you first become interested in food?
A: While I was living in San Francisco, I worked as the manager of a popular Japanese restaurant/deli. At the restaurant, I was in charge of coming up with new menu items, and came to see how much the taste of a dish could change based on who was cooking it, and the freshness of the ingredients used. The endless variety of flavors possible within a single dish fascinated me, and that may have been the point in which I first became interested in food.
Q: When did you become vegan?
A: When I moved to Maui in the fall of 2015, I had the opportunity to watch a documentary called “Earthlings.” Up until that point, I had tried Macrobiotics and had become interested in the concept of “you are what you eat.” Learning more about the vegan diet, and by becoming a vegan, that was when I became fully aware and started to understand the true value of “you are what you eat.” Of course the taste and nutritional value of the foods you eat are important, but the energies of the food you put into your body are equally as important. By eating high energy foods with a vivacious life force, our mind, body, and spirit will be vibrant and healthy.
Q: What changes have you noticed in yourself since becoming a vegan?
A: First of, my body feels lighter, and I don’t feel sluggish. I don’t get tired as easily, and I almost never get sick now. I feel that my five senses are much more sensitive now, especially my taste buds, which definitely helps with the cooking. :D
Q: Why do you recommend a vegan diet?
A: Me personally, I always want to be aware of what is going on inside me, mentally, physically, and spiritually. I believe that awareness of self is what ultimately can lead to you being present in your natural state, unforced and uniquely you. That to me is the ultimate liberation, when you can live yourself expressing who you are, and for that, having an open pathway to bring awareness to yourself mentally, physically, and spiritually really helps. Eating a healthy vegan diet helps to keep those pathways clear and clean, allowing you to connect better with yourself in moments when that is needed.
For self care and self love, that is why I am a vegan. When the cup of my own love is full, that is when I can fully share love with others and pour love into their cup. With love and Aloha spirit in my heart, that is who I want to be. Ayako Lux.