Last Thursday, two of the most visible figures in Miami's health-food scene came together to discuss the importance of intuitive eating. Offering a holistic approach to nutrition and an individual's connection to food, chef Pamela Wasabi and Bunnie Cakes founder Mariana Cortez began the bakery’s new lecture series. Titled “Re-establishing Our Relationship With Food,” this event intended to remind its guests the meaning behind a meal.
“There are three main reasons why we, as humans, eat food: We eat for survival, we eat for nourishment, and we eat for pleasure,” Wasabi said. “Having an appetite is not an act of gluttony, but it is an important aspect of who we are. What works for me might not work for you, but that doesn’t mean either one of us is right or wrong.”
Though Wasabi is a chef specializing in vegan dishes, she respects various food choices, and rather than advocate for a specific diet or current fad, she simply encourages a mindful approach to food. “The process of digestion begins the moment you sit down at a table or walk into a restaurant,” the chef taught, “so the way you are feeling at the beginning of a meal will affect the way you receive food. If you are stressed, your body will only absorb 30 percent of a meal’s nutrients, so try to think of eating as an act of mediation.”
As a guide to intuitive eating, Wasabi explained how our bodies respond naturally to emotion. Demonstrating how stress can shut down our digestive system, she recommended distancing ourselves from the “toxic nutritional beliefs” that contaminate our relationship with food. “We live in a world that teaches us that we need the perfect body and the perfect diet, or that tells us that if we were thin, we would be happy.
“That means we are stressed the moment we start eating and leave no room for enjoyment. To improve our meals, we have to start to consider the how, the what, and the why of eating: how we are coming to the table, what we are choosing to eat, and why we are choosing to eat.”
Following the 45-minute lecture, guests were invited to enjoy a vegan, gluten-free meal. Reinventing a family favorite, Wasabi served
“When we were discussing what to put on the menu,” Cortez mentioned, “I knew what I wanted her to do. Pamela has cooked this meal for my husband and my kids, so I can assure you it is a dish that you and your family will love.”
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After the lecture and personalized dinner, each guest was given the recipes to the evening's dishes and a box of Bunnie Cakes cupcakes. With an expansion in the works, Bunnie Cakes hopes to host more culinary conferences and workshops throughout the summer. To receive information about future events and nearby dining experiences, follow the ladies' Instagram accounts at @msbunniecakes and @pamelawasabi.