Liora Bels is a Health Food Chef, Certified Nutrition Expert and a Food & Style Consultant.
Tell us about your professional background and how you have become passionate about nutrition.
During my childhood we would always gather in the kitchen. My beloved dad was obsessed with food – the tastes, the textures the aesthetics, and most of all with the excitement of experimenting with ingredients. Eating with joy and gratitude filled our daily lives. His emotional approach to food inspired and influenced me deeply. His philosophy that food not only nurtures you but also brings people together, that it makes you fall in love and that the taste and scent of it creates lasting memories has accompanied me through my life.
At the same time in my early years I also witnessed one of the dearest, closest people in my life become very sick. I very early on understood the gift of health and the gift of life. So health as well as the importance of good quality and culinary art were high on the agenda.
With my gathered experiences, my dad’s philosophy entrenched within me, and a deep gratitude for life and love, I was ready to embrace this journey.
During my world-wide travels and living abroad for many years I gained valuable insights and cultivated my long sowed fascination with nutrition and healthy food. It wasn’t until I landed in LA though that my professional life would take such a great turn. I encountered plant-based heaven, and everything that comes along with it – the amazing natural produce, the love for health-consciousness, the passionate celebration of rituals, of nature, of life! It was exactly what I was looking and longing for.
My love for natural food and cooking combined with my deep interest in its beneficial effects and healing aspects as well as my hunger for knowledge led me to this career path. I was lucky to attend the wonderful masterclass of Dr. Gabriel Cousens as well as the BSA-Akademie in Berlin. My next educational stop is Matthew Kenney Culinary School.
As the field of nutrition is constantly developing, I’m always trying to widen my knowledge about nutrition and the art of eating well with the intention of incorporating that in my work.
What does well-being mean for you?
Well-being is a state of holistic, healthful and truthful balance. It is based on fundamental foundations integrating the emotional, nutritional, physical, mental as well as the spiritual and social aspects of life. Once in a while I check in with myself to find out where I stand in life, if everything feels right and authentic or if I need to re-adjust over time:
1. Am I happy and satisfied?
2. Am I living up to my full potential?
3. How about the environment I live in? How is the quality of my relationships? Do I surround myself with people I love and who love me, people who let me be true self ?
4. Am I nourishing myself with the right nutrition?
5. How about exercise? Am I taking good care of my body?
6. Do I still love my work? Have I found my calling?
7. Do I set my priorities right?
8. And how about pleasure – what brings joy to my life, what interests me.
9. Am I growing and taking time to further my education – feeding my brain, my heart, my soul?
All these issues are crucial elements that build my state of well-being.
How do we achieve overall well-being?
As said previously well-being is the result of a holistic, balanced and mindful approach to life. There are many wonderful ways to thrive and achieve an overall well-being.
Here are a few tips:
Paying attention to what we eat, how we live and finding the right daily rituals for a healthier, balanced routine can help us achieve a sustainable change in our lifestyle and how we feel.
I personally believe in the healing benefits of plant-based wholesome nutrition and am overwhelmed by how it connects with our bodies and the undeniably positive effect it has on us, our overall well-being and our future.
Taking care of yourself, finding the workout that feels good to you and exercising on a regular basis as well as honouring and celebrating what our body can do, is crucial to achieve well-being.
Practicing gratitude is very valuable. It helps to see life from a positive perspective. A positive mindset helps in facing daily tasks, responsibilities and the pressures of everyday life. With an affirmative mindset, dealing with life’s challenges can become manageable. See more on rituals below.
Emotional & Mental Well-being
Practice Hygge (I love it!)! It’s the little, simple things that make us happy and bring joy to our lives. Hygge is the art of living well, of bringing warmth, coziness, love and happiness to our day to day lives. Think about togetherness, sharing dinner with family and friends, lighting a few candles, snuggling up on the couch, it’s about taking the time for moments. Following a conscious lifestyle is very helpful in feeding your mind and soul with goodness. Get inspired & find your passion, take walks in nature and enjoy a good night sleep. All that has a huge impact on our quality of life.
I recommend „The Little Book of Hygge“ by Meik Wiking. It’s a lovely read!
Social Life & Environment
Surround yourself with positive people, maintain quality relationships and spend time with people you love and who love you and support you in finding your purpose and who want to help you empower yourself.
How can Holistic Health help us empowering ourselves?
It can break patterns of behavior and habits that are holding you back from living up to your full potential. Further, it helps you manage stress in a positive manner. It brings balance to your life, promotes personal growth and supports you to be who you truly are, to follow the path you desire and to live the life you want to live. Taking care of yourself and your life will help you thrive and empower yourself.
Why are daily rituals so important for us?
Rituals come in a lot of different shapes and varieties and are very personal. It is usually an act that is important to us, that has a deep meaning and is part of everyday life. It’s kind of a small celebration of the things we do and enjoy on a regular basis. It helps us to stay grounded, to be in the moment, live in the present and to practice gratitude and mindfulness. It gives us security, a sense of stability calms and grounds us. Through the practice of rituals simple activities become sacred and we create special moments in our everyday live. Rituals leave us satisfied and fulfilled with love and happiness.
To give you an idea, daily rituals can be a bed time tradition or simply dinner with your family, practicing gratitude by meditating or saying a personal prayer, lighting candles and so on.
Note: Yet it is important to stay spontaneous and not to let your personal rituals overpower or control you – go with your feeling and stay open to opportunities and changes in your life.
What is your tip to start the day and to get good sleep?
I love to start my day with practicing gratitude through rituals. It helps me to be focused and stay grounded and to go through the day in a mindful way. Celebrating breakfast as a ritual or taking the time to cuddle with my kids is very important to me and fills me with ease and smiles. So I recommend to wake up early in order to start your morning in a calm and relaxed manner. You will have the time to prepare for the day and start in high spirits.
The way you sleep has a profound effect on your day. There are bedtime habits that improve your sleep. When we sleep our bodies have the ability to regenerate, they go into a repair mode. While sleeping our cells grow and regenerate which is the best anti-aging treatment. Also a good night sleep highly affects our mood and energy level and helps us be emotionally balanced and mentally sharp. Our bodies adapt to regular routines very well if we stick to them. The key to a good night sleep is to experiment and feel what works best for you.
I recommend to stick to a sleeping routine to get in tune with your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle. Set a regular bedtime: Go to bed at the same time every night and wake up every morning at the same time naturally. It might take a few weeks until you’re on your natural sleep schedule.
You can practice rituals before bed time: Enjoying lavender tea, warm baths, soft music. I suggest to switch off electronic devices to calm your mind and your senses. Further make sure your room is dark for good melatonin production and a good night sleep. Melatonin is a hormone that influences your sleep-wake cycle and is being regulated by light exposure. Artificial lighting disrupts melatonin production.
Your cookbook “The Mix“ is such a beautiful inspiration to eat real natural food. What is your all-time favorite recipe of all?
Thank you so much! Well, when it comes to food I guess I’m mostly attached to the ones I have an emotional connection with. Dishes that remind me of special moments or the people I shared them with, travels or my childhood. I strongly believe food makes you feel. So I would say that one of my favorite recipes is „Back To The Roots“. It always warms my heart and reminds me of my wonderful dad who raised me with love and warmth and was an amazing inspiration to me.
What are your plans for the future?
I have very exciting projects coming up that I will reveal shortly. To give you a taste, I’m working on new product development and on a concept for a cooking show. Other than that it has always been a dream of mine to run a small and precious hotel with only a few rooms. The rooms would be filled with beautiful mementos from my travels, the kitchen would be filled with aromas of delicious, healthy and fresh food, the garden rich in herbs, veggies, plants and flowers. A place that inspires, fills the heart with love and joy and leaves you with good and loving memories.
Thank you for the interview, Liora!
Shop the cookbook in English, German or French: The Mix by Liora Bels.
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See how we cooked our favortie recipe: The Alkaline Green Soup by Liora Bels.