Sunday, April 14, 2024
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HomeViewpointsDiana MouraFrom Portugal to Macau and a new life that is now plant-based

From Portugal to Macau and a new life that is now plant-based

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Adopting a plant-based diet was something that came naturally to Diana Moura. It wasn’t a difficult or forced decision but a natural choice that aligned with her values and beliefs. More than anything, it made sense to her from the moment she came across it seven years ago.

“At that time, I was very focused on my personal and spiritual growth and I was developing a deep connection with myself,” she says. “Inevitably, I started questioning my eating habits, not out of judgment, but curiosity to understand what I was actually eating and how foods impacted my whole self. I was driven to understand how foods can support our health, mind, and emotions and enhance spiritual growth.

“I was also quite interested and curious to learn and understand why certain spiritual traditions, such as Buddhist monks, promoted plant-based foods instead of animal products and the impact of food on the state of mindfulness and meditation practices.”

Having an academic background, she began researching information about the food industry.

Research changed her view

“I read many articles and studies and watched many documentaries about food and, especially, the animal industry. At that moment, it was like a switch flipped in my mind, and I suddenly realized that plant-based was the way to go for me. Just pure alignment with my values and goals. From that moment, naturally and immediately, I started following a plant-based diet without any doubts or questions.”

Although the choice she made was intellectually clear, Diana says if she’s pressed for a single reason, “it was due to ethical reasons, for the animals” but it came “without prejudice” to a myriad of other benefits as well.

“I felt that I needed to align my values with my actions. Everything else, including, health, reduced carbon footprint, and greater personal and spiritual growth, was a bonus that came with such a choice. I started being motivated by the aspiration to nurture my body with live foods and healthy choices and to deepen my knowledge about plant-based foods and enjoy their benefits.

“Additionally, being based in Asia and connecting with local cultures for the past 11 years has allowed me to understand that plant-based foods are not only beneficial for the health of the body but also for the mind and spirit. Eating plant-based foods helps one achieve a state of awareness, calmness, and groundedness. It helps to connect more deeply with a state of mindfulness, inner wisdom, and intuition, as well as to experience more peace and joy.

“It opened my eyes to a new way of living, a new way of thinking, and a new way of being. It gave me a sense of purpose, a sense of joy, and a sense of gratitude. For me, plant-based food is not just food, but it is also a way of facing life, it is an expression of self-love and empathy with what surrounds us, it is a way of being more centred, and connected. It’s a way to reach a true state of wellness. Plant-based is not just a diet, it’s a lifestyle that resonates with me on every level.”

But there’s an even broader picture here. She wanted to help others too.

“I created the Seeds Wholesome project, which, I hope, will help others on their plant-based journey and raise the public’s awareness and consciousness to create a more balanced and healthier lifestyle.”

Diana is a Portuguese national, but when she finished her law degree and her post-graduation in Corporate Law back in 2012, she wanted to work in a different jurisdiction. That meant leaving her comfort zone and travelling across the world to Macau, China. Macau was a Portuguese colonial settlement between 1557 and 1999 and is now classed as a special administrative area within the People’s Republic of China.

Portuguese is still an official language in Macau and the legal system is very similar to Portugal, under the principle of “one country, two systems”, which will remain in effect until 2049. Today the province has a rich history and culture that reflects its unique blend of Chinese and Portuguese influences.

Her location makes travel to many Southeast Asian countries easy and fascinating. She delights in its culture and cuisine.

The urge to explore

“Since I was young, I always wondered about life and how everything and everyone is connected. I wanted to explore different countries and cultures, learn from the local people, and experience their ways of life. I love Portugal but I always considered myself a global citizen where my identity transcends geographic borders and considered that home can be many different places at the same time.

“My travels throughout Asia have taken me to China, Japan, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, and more. Each one has its unique charm, culture, and cuisine. I’ve had the opportunity to travel to the same countries several times, which made me better absorb their cultures and ways of being. It is amazing to see and learn how different cultures approach food and how they connect with it, their eating habits, and practices, and how they combine flavours and spices.

“Finally, in 2021, I gradually left the legal industry, and at the beginning of this year, I opened my own business related to plant-based foods and wellness which focuses on providing programmes that combine healthy plant-based recipes that are nutrient-dense and energetically high, meal planners, exercises, and practices to enhance optimal health and balance, consciously eating practices and energetic nutrition that support different aspects of the self.

Chef certification

Diana is a certified plant-based chef with a passion for nutrition. She studied plant-based nutrition at Cornell University and T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutritional Studies.

“It was crucial for me to learn more about the nutritional aspects of plant-based foods. During my chef certification, I was able to learn many different cuisine skills and how to organize traditional dishes worldwide. In my course, I had the opportunity to learn the basics of traditional cuisine, such as how to combine certain spices and how to make plant-based versions of traditional sauces. I learned Mediterranean dishes, pizzas, plant-based cheeses, baking essentials and skills, how to use certain plant-based ingredients and create nutritionally dense and flavourful dishes.”

With these skills, she now develops her own recipes and flavours.

“In my dish creations I always choose and combine plant-based foods that are vibrationally high and that support different aspects of the self. I always try to include as many colourful foods as possible too.

“A well-planned plant-based diet can provide enough energy, macronutrients (carbohydrates, fats, and proteins), micronutrients (vitamins and minerals), and water to support optimal health and well-being. Plant-based food and its associated lifestyle isn’t just a dietary choice, but a holistic approach to health and well-being.

Our interconnected needs

“It considers the interconnection of all living beings and the impact of our food choices on the planet. It is based on the premise that a balanced and whole plant-based diet provides all the essential nutrients that humans need while avoiding the harmful effects of animal products.”

In her food preparation, Diana puts a strong focus on the Asian concept of energetic nutrition, “a holistic approach that considers that certain foods provide energy and vitality for our body, mind, and spirit,” she says.

“It is based on the idea that different foods have different vibrations or frequencies that can either harmonize or disrupt our energy fields. Energetic nutrition also considers the timing, combination, and preparation of foods, as well as the emotional and mental state of the eater.

“This holistic approach recognizes that food is more than just calories and nutrients, it is also a source of energy, information, and vibration that influences our whole being. By consciously eating foods that have high energetic value, such as fresh, organic, whole, and natural plant-based foods, we can enhance our health, vitality, and awareness on all levels. Conversely, by avoiding foods that have low energetic value, such as meat and processed, refined, artificial and toxic foods, we can prevent or reduce the negative effects of these foods on the body, mind, and spirit.

Asian cultural influence

“Asian culture has influenced me in this area because of my close contact with ancestral medicine practices, such as Ayurveda and traditional Chinese medicine. These practices consider the individual body constitution and that food is energy and has different effects on the energy centres in the body (known as chakras). Our energy field is influenced by many factors, such as our thoughts, emotions, environment, and lifestyle. Food is one of the most important factors.”

She says Asian culture has a deeper connection with food because it is appreciated for much more than its physical necessity.

“Food is seen as a symbol of culture, identity, beliefs, values, and rituals. It is a way of connecting with oneself, others, and nature, and, in many Asian countries, with spirituality.”
But it was also important not to generalise on the subject as well. For example, some Asian countries have high rates of alcohol consumption and smoking, which can increase the risk of chronic diseases and cancers.

Moreover, some Asian cuisines may also contain high amounts of salt, sugar, oil, and processed ingredients, which can contribute to diabetes and cardiovascular problems. Overall, and by taking a wide range of elements into account, Diana sees good Asian cuisine as a point of balance and energetic nutrition.

“In my perspective, energetic nutrition through a whole food plant-based diet, practising conscious eating, and being aware of the vibrational elements of foods is a way to achieve balance and optimal health in all aspects of life.

“With energetic nutrition, it is possible to understand certain difficulties and challenges that many individuals have, which energy points are unbalanced, and, through plant-based foods, activate and balance them to allow healing and optimal health.”

Peter Barclay
Peter Barclayhttp://www.wholefoodliving.life
Has a professional background in journalism, photography and design. He is a passionate Kiwi traveler and an ardent evangelist for protecting all the good things New Zealand is best known for. With his wife Catherine is also the co-owner of Wholefoodliving.
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