Welcome to Glow Kitchen! My name is Aylin and I am absolutely passionate about food, fine dining, health, and beauty. I am always in the kitchen, so I created Glow Kitchen as an outlet to document the things I put together in the kitchen to share with friends, family and whoever else happens to stumble upon it.
As a child, I gravitated to the kitchen and began preparing food every evening for my family once I could see over the counter-top. My mother was never the cook and my father was keen on letting me explore. Spending a quarter of each year in a small village along the Black Sea coast in Turkey, I learned from my aunt how to cook from scratch–literally. From her I experienced how to pasteurize milk, make fruit jam from the cherries growing outside my bedroom window, make butter and cheese from milk that came directly from goats roaming the mountains in our backyard, skin a duck that I had spent the preceding few hours chasing (for real, tears were shed), and create homemade fruit juices, breads, and nut butters. I didn’t realize at the time what I was learning would soon become an additional passion–eating real food for real health.
As I grew older, a lot of the conveniences of the American lifestyle began to have its affect on my sense of well-being. I lived off of sugary yogurts, plastic nutrition bars, microwavable soups and dinner meals overpowered by oils, salt and unquality meats. I didn’t connect this lifestyle with my health until later. The contrast was a tease–having experienced such a pure way of life made the one I was living most of the year so markedly and clearly off-kilter.
When I was 17, I attended school in a small town in Germany. There, I was reminded of what it felt like to eat “real” food. My family and I ate what was in season, from asparagus to strawberries, knew the source of all our meats, and our relationship with food was one of responsibility, connection, and trust. It was easy and uncomplicated. I felt empowered and focused in my life, not thinking much about food at all, because it didn’t remind me that it was a burden as reflected in my skin, headaches, excess weight, or anxiousness. It simply was what it was when we ate, and then we all moved on.
Shortly after I began my studies at Harvard, I saw my vitality deteriorate. I drank alcohol regularly, I ate a lot of dense foods without a green in sight, and I didn’t get enough sleep. My skin went on a jaunt to cyst-ville (sexy), my body was unresponsive, I didn’t handle stress well, and I experienced mind-fog and lack of focus. I decided to educate myself on true health, and I realized how important it is to eat what’s clean and fresh versus that which is convenient, socially acceptable or the norm. It’s not enough to mask an irresponsible diet with scant eating or over-exercising or to justify it by time-restraints, better-things-to-do, etc. It’s doesn’t have to be a passion or a hobby–it’s an undoubted part of your life. It’s important to do your body, your mind, and society a favor by eating right.
With that said, we all grow up with our favorite dishes fraught with nostalgia and comfort. Some of us need a McDonald’s hamburger every once in awhile. Some of us love our chocolate (Hello, my name is Aylin). Some of us can’t get over a break-up without Ben & Jerry there to cheer us on. Many of us just want the whole damn pizza pie. I believe its important to have the comfort in knowing you do yourself well 80% of the time, so that other 20% you can let yourself have those compulsive, emotionally-hungry, totally human moments. Guilt-free. But set your own parameters–don’t ask me what works best for you!
When I first started learning about health, I went as green as possible. I stripped my diet down to greens (juices, smoothies, and salads) and raw foods (fruits and vegetables). I also incorporated food combining and light-t0-heavy eating. Slowly I began adding certain proteins and starches that were in their simplest of forms. I’m still rounding my diet and finding what works best for my system.
For the past 2-3 years, I’ve dappled in the health scene in NYC, studied nutrition from various experts, worked for a raw food chef, and was a private chef on the side for health-conscious families, in which position I honed a lot of my omit-the-shit-but-save-the-taste techniques! I also became a certified clinical nutritionist.
This process has been revelatory and exciting, as I’m feeling my body react to a truer lifestyle. It’s funny how something so crude and regular as what I eat has opened my eyes to a lot of other issues–from the environment to beauty to sustainability to self-understanding. It’s a fun little journey that inspires me and brings me great clarity and purpose in all the other stuff I do!
My goal is to share with you healthy recipes that will satisfy your diverse palette without compromising your health. You’ll feel warm, comforted, and content both in body and mind. Everything I post lives up to the standards of GK and the idea that real food is health food.