Vegan prophet, raw food guru and 1/2 of The Vegan Kitchen, Yasmine Nazmy's otherworldly Earthly Delights ooze wholesome goodness.
Being a vegan in Egypt is no easy feat; on the one hand, people think you are a godless herbivore with low self-esteem, and on the other, the greater majority of the population finds it absolutely necessary to slaughter animals for survival because why the hell not, rendering vegan food scarce.
Yasmine Nazmy has been a vegan since September 2013. “When I stopped consuming meat and dairy, I immediately felt better. I dropped 8 kilos in a week and maintained that weight ever since, although I did gain 2 kilos of muscles,” she says of her early days as a vegan.
Unlike us, however, Nazmy’s commitment didn’t falter at the mere sight of juicy tender steaks or the slight mention of Buffalo wings. “At the beginning, when I was very excited to try out vegan recipes, I spent so much time in the kitchen and developed great recipes quite fast,” she recounts.Before she knew it, she was running Egypt’s first vegan restaurant, The Vegan Kitchen, with Alaa Sharshar in 2014 and even though the charming little herbivore heaven is no longer in business, Nazmy’s veganism still burns strong. “In the summer of 2015, I set up my catering service Earthly Delights. I didn't want to stop supplying healthy vegan food! I wanted to help people who followed certain restricted diets to enjoy parties and birthday cakes!” she enthuses. “These groups include vegans, dairy intolerant, gluten intolerant, grain-free diet followers, etc. but also people who want to eat clean and just enjoy the taste of my creations!”It was all uphill from there - the deeper she delved in vegan and raw food cuisine, the more goodness she was able to unearth. “I started a line of products (such as ice cream, cheese, etc) called KAJU, because the main ingredient is cashews!”
You would think raw and vegan food would go unnoticed among the slew of the diverse cuisines springing up across the country. You would be wrong. “Over the past two years, many people have started to cut down on meat and dairy, and I am getting a lot of orders from people whose kids are allergic to dairy and gluten. While some do try out a gluten and dairy free diet for the sake of experimenting, some people really do suffer from these allergies,” she argues. “I have also noticed a lot of overweight people getting amazing results by adopting a plant-based diet. I really get all kinds of people ordering from me!”Nazmy is more of a food prophet than a brilliant chef, really; her craft is imbued by a personal sense of purpose. “I am not in the food business for the sole purpose of making profit, my main aim is to show how much is doable with plant based foods, as well as educate and encourage people to eat clean! That’s why I love to teach cooking classes/workshops,” she explains. “I am also working on a cookbook this year because I want to encourage people to cook for themselves - it will save them money and they will gain a lot from this experience. Most people are actually discouraged from trying out vegan recipes, especially gluten free recipes which can be very tricky, but I want to assure them that healthy and delicious recipes can be made with local ingredients!”
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