As a food nerd I’m always looking at food blogs for inspiration, I find recipes, food photos, articles on food, tips and tidbits…This constant curiosity about all things food related led me to discover the beautiful blog of the Orla Collective from Luxembourg! And lo and behold the collective is not just a pretty face, they have values, opinions and theories that totally align with our Troo Food Collective! Our hearts were in the same place and even though we are hundreds of kilometres away,the magic of the internet connected us! And guess what else? Linda, one of the contributors and founding members of the collective is half greek! Naturally I had to find out more…So I asked her some burning questions…and here are her answers!
I like the term “CONSCIOUS FOODIE ” ! Did you coin it?
I guess yes! We chose it because it also really represents us too. We want to make the most conscious choices when it comes to food, but it’s always about finding a good balance with the pleasurable part of it, because we’re also true foodies who get very very happy when it’s time to cook, eat, and discover new food!
Is everyone in the vegan or vegetarian?
Not necessarily! Everyone in our community wants to be mindful about their lifestyle choices in one way or another, and we love that! We don’t like labels and we don’t judge anyone.
Do you think food consciousness has to equal being vegan or vegetarian?
I personally care a lot about the wellbeing of animals and therefore choose not to consume meat, but I also think consciousness can be related to many other factors: our personal wellbeing and health, our environment, our “right of vote” as consumers and the choices we choose to make, knowing where our food comes from or how it’s made.
There are so many different opinions out there on what is healthy nutrition wise and then when you dig a little deeper it gets even more complicated…how do you deal with all that without going crazy?
Two things: listening to your body. And balance, always. Do not strive for perfection, it creates too much stress, and we know that isn’t healthy either, right? 😉 It’s about cultivating this daily ritual of being kind to your body and trying new things and changes to improve your health and wellbeing, but also about keeping it cool with yourself. I know I love to have healthy breakfast rituals like superfood bowls or green juices, but hey, no one can stop me when I want to shove a delicious cookie in my mouth (like this one: http://orlacollective.com/good-eats-peanut-butter-chocolate-oatmeal-cookies/) . In order to stay sane with all of this ongoing orthorexia (wanting to eat as healthy as possible), you have to keep track of what you do right and not what you do wrong. Remember, positive thinking is the healthiest diet on earth!
What do you think of the slow food movement?
I love it! Slow food, slow life, slow everything is the only way to truly live mindfully. We really need to take time to do things and really feel them. It’s so hard to do this in our daily hectic lives, and I mostly fail when I try, because I feel like I’m living on a fast clock all the time, and I must admit, I am one of those people that often ends up eating a sandwich in front of their computer or browsing emails. This is something that I want to work on, and I see it as one of the hardest challenges of our “modern” lifestyle.
What’s Luxembourg like? In terms of foodie consciousness and alternative lifestyle? Is there a scene? Is it exciting? How are you a part of it? How has it grown over time? Are there vegan vegetarian restaurants?
Luxembourg has a very, very meat-centric culture. It is said to be one of the highest consumers of meat in the world, and when it comes to the food we produce in Luxembourg, it is mostly meat, dairy and wine, just what true Luxemburgers love 😉 Although there is a certain conscious foodie scene growing lately. Luxembourg is always 10 years behind the process of other European cities and countries, but we are getting there and it’s exciting: all sorts of conscious businesses are popping up, offering slow juicing, gluten free food, organic food boxes… Cafés and restaurants who are more and more open and aware about more mindful consuming & eating, offering organic, fairtrade, vegetarian or vegan options, and lots of people who make food awareness happen. We’re happy to be a part of that! I must say, food is the BEST way to introduce people to living more mindfully. People love food, it’s the most delicious way to inspire someone. We helped a friend who organized a petition to promote vegetarian options in restaurants & schools. We love to organize regular yummy vegan brunches, cooking workshops, and share our best recipes online: that’s at least 60% of our type of content, but Luxembourg needs this type of information and influence to keep growing in that direction.
I wish! Most dishes, even when based on plants, always contain some kind of meat in them, Luxembourgers love their meat J: lard, sausage or beef gravy!
But I have eaten a vegan version of the traditional feierstengszalot (cold beef salad with gherkin-sauce), using seitan strips. You gotta be creative!
I see that most of the Orla contributors are women…Do you think women in general are a bit more food conscious?
I guess so, but it makes me a little sad. Health & food is for everyone, regardless of their gender. This is a bit frustrating for us as we don’t want to be seen as a girly thing. We are super happy when we see men being interested in our events or contributing to our blog. Our next article to be published in line will be written by Olo, our vegan geek friend, who is a guy and he loves creating hummus the slow-food way !
Would you date a meat eater?
This question hasn’t popped up in my mind that much, as I’m already in a happy relationship with a veghead (haha), but I guess I could date a meat eater who would share the same philosophy about food, so probably a “flexitarian”: a guy who eats meat but is conscious enough to know it’s not a food to eat carelessly. I wouldn’t like to date a guy who eats too much meat, but at the same time, I wouldn’t like a guy who eats too much of anything else, in an excessive & ignorant manner. Consciousness, moderation and a will for progress shows a healthy mind & spirit, and that is sexy!
Do u have an actual place where you cook? Like is there an Orla restaurant? Do you cater? I see you do food events…how do they work? Do you set up a table in the park?
We love to do spontaneous food events in order to share the love for food with people, spread awareness about yummy mindful eating, and of course, to be able to experiment: we love to cook, but it’s always more fun to cook when you can share it with others. This is a hobby and it’s for fun, so we generally cook from the comfort of our own kitchen, and sell our food in stands located in events in which we participate. For our brunches, we collaborate with the lovely gals from Ready Coffeeshop in Luxembourg (link: http://www.facebook.com/Readycoffeeshop), where we cook in their kitchen and then set up a delicious buffet! We would also love to organize outdoor foodie events, but the weather in Luxembourg doesn’t allow us to plan ahead… Food is just a part of Orla, but that part of it is fun, it’s on-the-go, fearless and always yummy.
What is this sriracha craze I see it in mentioned in a few places in your blog!?
Haha! You know what, I thought “What the heck is this sriracha-thingy?” when I saw it. It’s “just” a kind of Thai Chili sauce. Didn’t understand it. The first time I tried it, I STILL didn’t get it. But then I started adding it into my food and I became one of those many people who carry a bottle in their bag, wherever they go. It’s terribly addictive. I also have this issue with nutritional yeast flakes. At least it’s a healthy food!!
Do you have a pet? If so how do you feed her or him? Do they eat vegan or vegetarian? I have a cat I find it really difficult to get her to be food conscious!
Good question, and it can really be debated for loooong. My parents have a dog, which I’m very fond of because it’s like my little brother (don’t laugh! Dogs have always been part of our family!! haha). I have a quite neutral opinion about what to feed pets. When it comes to cats, the answer is pretty clear though: I’ve heard that they have a physiology which requires them to eat meat in order to survive and have been rightfully characterized as “carnivores”. Dogs are “omnivorous” though, meaning they can deal with various types of diets. I think that no matter what people choose to feed their pets with, they should apply mindful choices and always give the best quality of ingredients.
I know you are half Greek and this is a Greek food blog sooo can u share a Greek recipe that you like to make?
Oh yes! My mother is greek and I’ve learned a lot of cooking tips from this side of the family. I wouldn’t say our blog is greek though (haha!!), as the contributors are quite representative of Luxembourg’s melting pot of culture. But, I personally do have a few favourites that I love to make, such as slow cooked green beans in tomato sauce, stuffed veggies and this super easy recipe to make “cheat” tomato sauce for pasta, which we labeled under the category “invisible cook”, the ultimate gathering of recipes that we display step-by-step and which even the clumsiest of cooks can make and succeed : http://orlacollective.com/invisible-cook-greek-style-baked-tomato-pasta/