From a young girl helping her Maltese parents in the kitchen, to a nationally renowned Psychologist.
"I remember preparing entire meals to roast in the oven whilst visitors looked on star struck at this young 7 year old cooking up a family feast".
I am a daughter of Maltese parents who grew their vegetables, fruits and herbs. I am a mother of three children and have taken great care with their health including being organic in the early 1990’s when it was highly difficult to buy these items.
I am a psychologist in my own private practice. In 1984, I commenced a four year undergraduate degree of Behavioural Sciences with Honours heavily interlaced with scientific studies, factor analysis, multiple regression and all manner of statistical models – so statistics, rigorous science and study methods are core to how I assess and interpret information. I also completed a Master of Educational Psychology degree on a part-time basis whilst I worked in the official capacity as a Statistical Information Officer for the Occupational Health and Safety Department within the Victorian Government. Again, scientific rigour, statistics, and data were already forefront in my mind and continued to drive the way I lived my life, being a great companion to my analytical mind.
This guided my approach to health in my own life, as a mother of three and also in my profession as a psychologist, when assessing courses of action and decision making as relates to health approaches and outcomes for people dealing with ordinary issues of life, but also those dealing with severe, complex and chronic psychological conditions. My usual intake assessments would focus on matters including family structure, usual daily meals eaten, sleep patterns, exercise routines, interests and hobbies, session goals and the presenting issues. For over 20 years as a psychologist, the role of food has been important to help many clients deal better with their psychological wellbeing long before I was aware of the role of plant based eating. Now I am further encouraged to share the vast evidence for plant based eating and the positive impact on physical and mental health.
As a young girl, I grew up being involved in cooking alongside both my parents.
It was my responsibility to put on many of the family meals. My Mum taught me about food, how to shop for it, and how to prepare it. When my Dad cooked, he liked being the head chef and I was only ever sous chef being asked to run here and there to get a potato or a carrot to help him prepare his dishes. I remember preparing entire meals to roast in the oven whilst visitors looked on star struck at this young 7 year old cooking up a family feast.
Cooking for me was a game of adjusting various ingredients to make the desired result work. Many small variations can influence a dish and an adept cook, or one who has followed the same recipe, can tell when more or less of one ingredient is needed in their own dish. This also ends up reflecting their own history and story of growing up and leads to individual preferences where some of us like dishes to be more sweet, more salty, more savoury, more rice, more vegetables, more moist, more rich, or more spicy. It is my wish that you enjoy creating your own version of these recipes so these become your favourite, based on your tweaks here and there.