For this week’s Weekend Warrior Recipe, the chef of our featured blog Cook&Glow, Nadine Andreewich, let us pick her brain. (Thanks, Nadine!) We stumbled upon her gorgeous and inspiring work via Instagram and immediately thought a partnership would be a “match made in heaven” (and it has!) Our summer time feature of Cook&Glow has been amazing—every Friday we are so inspired by what Nadine “brings to the table.” Always fresh and inventive, Nadine puts a unique spin on a plant-based cuisine that could be considered limiting. Not in her world! Read on…
GY: So first, tell us about how you ended up in Paris. You are Swedish by birth, at what point did you decide ‘la vie francaise’ was for you?
NA: I decided at 20 to go to Paris. Back then I was convinced working in fashion was my call and I was lucky enough to meat Lars Nilsson—former creative director at Nina Ricci, who told me that Studio Berçot in Paris was THE school to attend. I was also in desperate need for adventure so I never hesitated to leave :) And Paris grew quickly on me! Then I also met my future husband here.
GY: What do you feel has had the greatest influence on your culinary skills? Were you brought up this way? Give a us a little background.
NA: My grandparents were vegetarians, and even in Sweden, back then it was really rare. It was odd! They were pretty unique in that way of thinking about food. My grandmother was always in the kitchen, only cooking fresh, wholesome food, and my grandfather brought me with him to pick wild berries every summer. Coming back from our berry excursions, my grandmother would show me how to make jams. Those were magical moments, and I’m sure that played a big role in my passion for good food!
Also, over time I just realized more and more what an impact food has on us. You really are what you eat, I feel it so clearly and since I care about my health, using clean foods has become the most natural thing. It’s all about habits, and we can reprogram our brains from craving processed junk food to healthy, fresh foods pretty quickly. You can free yourself from a sugar addiction in about a week! Of course, you also need the motivation.
GY: What brought you to the yoga mat the very first time? What keeps you coming back to it now?
NA: Oh the yoga mat—I think this is the question that could turn into a essay if I didn’t restrain myself. It’s a beautiful love story, and for sure one of the reasons I can wake up in the morning with a smile. I started in Sweden about 11 years ago because I was curious about it. Having done breathing exercises with my father since a little girl it was in a certain way, yoga was “the next step” for me. Deep breathing had become pretty natural and when yoga came into my life, I could quickly apply my breathing skills in the practice and felt so much peace. Great things happen when the body and breath work in harmony. I fell in and out of the practice for years, as working in fashion could be overwhelming at times. But I always came back and a few years ago it just became impossible not to practice. It simply makes me more whole.
GY: What made you want to become a yoga teacher? How do you feel teaching yoga and your style of cuisine complement each other?
NA: I knew I wanted to deepen my practice and follow a teacher training program a long time ago. When I got pregnant in 2013, the moment came. Not long after Elias was born, I left my job at Stella McCartney and could fully concentrate on yoga. Elias and yoga came into my life to fill it with light and I’m so grateful every day. So it’s really the combination of the need and desire to work with something meaningful—the beautiful transmission of yoga—and the desire to deepen my own practice. To share and spread yoga changes lives, makes people feel better, be better; I feel I do something important when I go to work. It’s really fulfilling! I just knew already before teaching that I would love it—it’s such an incredible journey.
My way of eating is all about taking care of my body in the best possible way—to nourish it with wholesome foods. On and off the mat, I try to observe ahimsa (non-harming). And, of course, also in regards to my body. That means I nourish my body with clean, unprocessed foods. Having a Coke or a big steak is the opposite of nourishing—it’s harming the body. In yoga, it’s the same; it’s about nourishing body, soul, and mind, and listening to your body—respecting it. I never force my body into a posture and stay attentive to the body’s needs. That’s how we can evolve and grow, by being gentle and never violent.
My choice of name for my yoga activity relates directly to that; Nâra Yoga actually comes from the swedish word “Nära” which means “to nurture” or “closeness.” Only I switched the ä to an â for a Sanskrit touch.
(A couple of our 20 Questions questions for fun…)
GY: How do you start your day? Coffee or tea kinda gal? (I think I can guess that one!):
NA: Haha, yep. It’s definitely tea! I actually love the smell of coffee, but could never get used to the taste, so why fight it? I start by a big glass of water, sometimes with lemon sometimes with a little apple cider vinegar, then herbal tea, and later in the morning a cup of green tea or matcha. Breakfast is usually buckwheat or millet porridge that I share with my son (he keeps eating from my bowl after his breakfast;), or gluten-free bread with almond spread, sometimes banana pancakes, or chia pudding.
GY: What song do you never get tired of hearing?
NA: Right now it’s “The Troubles” by U2! I recently did a sequence of artistic yoga to that song and it’s pretty much stuck in my mind.
GY: Favorite quote or affirmation that gets you through tough times.
NA: Hard to choose, but “The universe holds my back” and “all is now” are both very present in my life. The first one helps me to surrender to the universe and let go of my need to control everything. “All is now” is a direct translation from a Swedish sentence, that comes from a little painting that hang on the wall in my parents home. It reminds me to always stay present, more grounded.
GY: Biggest weakness when it comes to food. As healthy as you are, I know you probably always find a good “alternative,” but is there one thing you are NOT gonna pass up on a special occasion?
NA: Red wine and champagne. I have a French husband so no need for a special occasion.
GY: What are a couple of traits you hope to pass on to your kids? What are a couple that you have you don’t pass on?
NA: Curiosity, passion, and kindness. Hopefully not my impatience… working on it, though!
GY: Best advice you have ever received?
NA: It’s simple: “Be true to yourself.” When you get it, when you really get it, and respect it, it’s life-changing—for you, for your entourage, it all changes.
GY: Describe yourself in 10 years? What does that scene look like?
NA: I thrive in my yoga teaching. I travel and I meet a lot of interesting people all over the world. I give retreats combining yoga and cooking, and I have a bigger house for an even bigger family. And I have cats again!
check out Nadine’s beautiful new website: www.narayoga.fr
Photo credit: Christophe Navarre