FFFC: Please introduce yourself to our readers.
NP: I am a high energy super shining light named Nakia. My light is reflected in the love given to me, especially from my husband (Ruben) and daughter (Leana). I have come to realize and truly believe that I can only change my actions (I love “Man in the mirror”, Michael Jackson) which has led me to a path of self-remembrance. On my journey I have and continue to discover myself as the light that I truly am. This reflection allows me to help others by being true to myself and that feels my heart with love. I love helping others which reminds me that I must take care of myself spiritually, mentally, and physically. This mindset is what led me to creating Nakia’s Peace of Life where I am able to share my light with you.
FFFC: How did you learn to cook?
NP: I was surrounded by cooks growing up. In the kitchen helping my dad chop onions, watching grandma make her homemade biscuits, sweet potato pies, cakes, collard greens and so much more, instilled a love for preparing, eating and sharing food with family and friends ever since I was a little child. So I learned from my family who all have this natural instinct to prepare foods filled with love. I remember this every time I prepare a dish.
FFFC: Why did you create Nakia’s Peace of Life?
NP: I was getting my Masters in Computer Science from the wonderful Aggie Land at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University (NCA&T) in 2010-2011. I had been going through some weight issues since I was no longer as active as I was in high school (12+ years cheerleading oh yeah!). I had done P90x, Insanity, Hip hop abs and other work out programs to help me shed this extra weight. Some people see me today and think, “Oh you have been this size your whole life”, and I laugh and remember what my dad would say to me whenever I brought up concerns about my weight.
He would say “Baby you will be able to shape your body into whatever you see, don’t worry about a thing”. At the time I didn’t really get what he meant until today. I have been blessed to be in the presence of greatness since birth. I say this because my parents brought into this world beautiful, independent, supportive, nurturing and loving children that look out for each other in the best way possible. You may say “Nakia, what does this have to do with why you started Nakia’s Peace of Life?” and I say it is critical to the picture I am painting for you my friend. My brother is a healer and a trained massage therapist with passed down knowledge of the body, mind and spirit.
He had advised me to stop eating dairy and other crap (junk foods, fast foods, etc.) to assist with the allergies, and asthma I had. I didn’t ask why because I knew he was looking out for me and with his experience I trusted his wisdom he was sharing with me. Some months went by. I cleared out the junk and dairy and was introduced to the life of raw foods. This was not only a physical change that I encountered but a deep spiritual remembrance that was in me all along. I see now that the foods were not only causing me to gain unnecessary weight, they had a negative effect on my actions and attitude towards others but most importantly myself. I was able to reflect and transition through phases of myself that once complete I emerged stronger and wiser than I thought I was. This wholistic (everything is connected == 1) view that had been blocked and masked by many things in my past helped me to remember me. This awakening/remembrance/enlightenment was the beginning to something AMAZING. SO AMAZING that I began creating new life filled dishes and sharing with anybody who was interested to hear my story and taste the food. There are more details to the story but ultimately my light was shining brighter and I wanted to share my light with the world. This is how Nakia’s Peace of Life was born.
FFFC: Why did you start eating majority raw foods?
NP: My brother introduced me to raw foods because he knew I would love it, he was right. I couldn’t fathom why I had not been eating fresh fruits and veggies for so long. It was so simple eating fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds. I loved cooking so the transition to prepping was right up my alley. Through prayer, meditation, detox (raw foods), and links with guides to help me on my journey I began to heal myself. I began to lose weight, my memory increased, my strength increased, and my love for self just glowed.
FFFC: What kinds of foods do you eat?
NP: A growing variety of fresh and dried fruits, vegetables, herbs, legumes, nuts and seeds. Kale salads, rice and beans (a favorite since my pregnancy), Guacamole, nut milks lots of local and organic foods.
FFFC: Who helped you develop your skill as raw/vegan chef?
NP: My family and friends. I am constantly creating new dishes based on foods I grew up with or what my peers suggest I should try to make. Their feedback brings on new challenges that I am more than ready to take on. It’s not always easy especially when I can be my toughest critic at times. So, I try to remember that I have been given this gift to be a blessing to others.
FFFC: Who are your typical clients?
NP: Families. As I see it, whether you are a boot camper, mom, teacher, or yogini you are a part of a family and that’s exactly who we cater to.
FFFC: What is your favorite dish to prepare? Can you share the recipe?
NP: Kale Salad. Coming soon in a recipe book in 2015. Hurray! I can share the new Raw Almond cupcakes in the link below created by Connie Bowman of “Healthy Happy You”.
FFFC: Any advice to busy women as to how they can prepare nutritious meals for themselves and their families with such busy schedules? Adopting a raw/vegan lifestyle?
NP: Write down what your priorities are and make the time. The easy thing to say is that I don’t have time. Which means there is something with a higher priority that you are not willing to share time with. I speak from experience here. Prior to my pregnancy in 2013 I made time to make personal orders for others while my food options became poor. I realized I had to take care of myself or I wouldn’t be able to do what I had set out to do with Nakia’s Peace of Life.
So I promised myself to seek out body healing foods while not beating myself up if it wasn’t 100% raw. Know that it is going to be hard work up front. The snap of your fingers type of results is possible when it’s only you but with a family you are going to have to get creative.
- Write down your goals and prioritize them. Find out what your family members goals are as well so it’s not all on you.
- Determine where you are now pertaining to the nutritious meals you may already be eating
- Think about the foods you really like eating and how you can make them healthier ex. My husband and I use to visit Chipotle a lot, until we decided to have fajita night at home and get all of the toppings. This saved on money and was now a family activity.
- Start small, taste as you go, and don’t be afraid to experiment
- Feel free to call me for advice 🙂
For adopting a raw/vegan lifestyle remove the labels from the diet and state the facts. You’re looking for nutritious meals for yourself and your family. What progress have you made so far, and what still needs to be done. Know that there are others with similar stories to assist you on your journey without getting caught in what type of diet you are on. I remind myself that I am still learning and shouldn’t expect to know everything overnight. Have Fun and experiment often.
FFFC: Is your family vegan? Were they always?
NP: No and No. I was not raised vegan but my dad always prepared dishes with fresh foods like Ground turkey burgers infused with garlic and rosemary. He made sure if anything we had a varied diet and incorporated his family in the process. My mom also would incorporate fun activities like bobbing for apples at birthday parties. I also remember she had a dehydrator long before I knew it was a popular item.
These moments are in my memory forever. Although I have personally chosen to no longer eat meat or other animal products that also are majority uncooked I still have family that do partake but support my decisions not to do so. This decision I also make very clear for my daughter to provide her with the best options early while giving her a kick start for optimal health. Now my husband is not vegan and neither was I before we met 9 years ago. But, his love and support when I transitioned opened my eyes to the love he gave me regardless of my diet. I prayed for the support to be able to do the same.
The only thing I push or more so encourage is increasing the fresh foods this way my husband, family and friends are given the same opportunity I was. To go at my own pace and find out what worked best for me. I keep that in mind constantly for it is so easy to turn up your nose at others when you try to mask that you may have gone through the same thing. My purpose is spreading the love encouraging great health and reminding others I am still learning myself.
FFFC: Who are some of your chef inspirations (Male or female we don’t discriminate)?
NP: 7 and Art from Body Ecology, Zoe from Zoe’s Vegan Delights, Coco Love, Khepra, Ruben Porter, JB Powell of Rocky Top Media Group, Aunt Viv, Ruby Lee, MelBell just to name a few. 🙂
FFFC: What clean eating tips can you offer our readers?
NP: Keep it simple. Before adding any salts, spices or seasonings taste the food in its natural state to see what it has to offer. You may be surprised at the flavors that are transferred to you and how they make you feel. Be open to change and go with the flow!
FFFC: Do you have any upcoming events in the next few weeks you want to share?
NP: October 25th, Vegan Soul Festival Saturday at 401 North Howard Street, Baltimore, MD 21201, 12pm-5pm http://www.vegansoulfest.com/
November 8, 1st Annual Children’s Day: Future chefs of the world 5626 Bell Station Rd, Glenn Dale MD 20769, 9 am-1:30 pm
i. Register Online today!
- First Session: http://mkt.com/nakias-peace-of-life-llc/session-st-annual-children-s-day-registration
- Second Session: http://mkt.com/nakias-peace-of-life-llc/session-st-annual-children-s-day
- Dual Session: http://mkt.com/nakias-peace-of-life-llc/dual-session-st-annual-children-s-day
November 22nd, Glen Dale Farmer’s Market, 5626 Bell Station Rd, Glenn Dale MD 20769, 9am-1:30 pm
FFFC: What is your favorite food?
FFFC: How can our readers learn more about you and your clean eating treats? (i.e. Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, Twitter, etc.)
NP: Visit the website at www.Nakiaspeaceoflife.com. Like/follow us on Facebook and Instagram @nakiaspeaceoflife