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One woman’s recipe for a successful (and delicious) relationship with food

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Danielle Gasner - aka @GirlGoneKosher on Instagram | Photo: Courtesy

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Many of us have a very personal relationship with food. This connection is largely contingent on our ages, lifestages, finances, health, families, personal preferences and even religion.

One person whose relationship with food was transformed by religion is Danielle Gasner. The dynamic Torontonian launched @GirlGoneKosher on Instagram the day after her wedding. The page beautifully portrays her exploration of cooking and recipe-building in a kosher kitchen – an entirely new challenge for Danielle, who did not grow up kosher. Her new husband Zev did, so the newly married couple decided to lead a kosher lifestyle.

Danielle builds most of her healthy menus around vegetables, meats and fish – whole and real ingredients.

“(Whole foods) give me a feeling that my food is pure,” says Danielle. “Some kosher recipes are definitely not whole-food-focused but are delicious – just not advisable every day.”

Despite her ease with creating healthy meals, Danielle’s relationship with food changed when she noticed the difference between kosher and non-kosher restaurant options.

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“Variety doesn’t exist yet in Toronto’s kosher scene,” she said. “The Toronto food scene is lively! There are multiple options for every type of cuisine and there are always new places opening. Toronto is home to some of the top chefs in the world! So, turning kosher, I was shocked that there weren’t nearly as many restaurant options or creative food channels. My hope behind @GirlGoneKosher was to add a bit of my razzle-dazzle to kosher Toronto. I’ve started recreating some of my favourite past-life restaurant dishes in kosher format!”

Another one of GilrGoneKosher’s dishes: "Falafel with a beet tahina:" Baked falafel with beet tahina | Photo: Courtesy

A healthy relationship to food isn’t defined by “healthy food” or the content of your plate. Rather, Danielle contends that it’s based on how we feel about it and ourselves before, during, and after eating. Dietary restrictions, which are inherent in kosher eating, have the potential to test this relationship.

Danielle’s advice: “Go slowly and be patient. Always try to find alternatives to your missed past-life delicacy, or make certain recipes with variations, such as oysters without the oysters! Cook for yourself! Becoming kosher forced me to cook a lot more at home. I’m always adding new recipes and foods to my repertoire to keep it exciting. Along with them come new challenges and a completely revamped relationship with food – something I wasn’t expecting.”

While kosher meal planning may be new to her, healthy meal planning isn’t. Danielle has no problem finding new recipes, and she uses her sense of flavour as her guide – just as she had done in her previous life.

“I grew up obsessed with cooking and with my eyes glued to The Food Network,” said Danielle. “When I read a recipe in one of my cookbooks or online, and feel the passion, I make it!”

One of GirlGoneKosher’s wondrous dishes include "Broiled eggplant" - Broiled eggplant with a generous spoonful of hummus, red cabbage, Israeli salad, za’atar roasted chickpeas and beet tahina | Photo: Courtesy

Danielle also loves the classics – those foods that define Jewish culture and cuisine.

“Traditional Jewish food is unbelievably delicious. I would never change any part of my mom’s chicken soup recipe, or my grandma’s brisket. Over time, perhaps I will experiment with some alterations or new recipes. But for real traditional holiday cooking, family recipes are the way to go!”

Inspired by Danielle’s journey? Follow her on Instagram @GirlGoneKosher!

Dr. Deborah Mechanic is a Toronto-based chiropractor. For more information: drmechanicsbodyshop@gmail.com or @drmechanicsbodyshop.

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Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

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