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3 FOR LIFE #3.

FREDERIQUE PIETERS IS A BRUSSELS BASED RAW FOOD CHEF, A HERBALIST AND THE FOUNDER OF THE NON-PROFIT ORGANISATION 'INFINITE SEEDS'. DISCOVER FREDERIQUE'S PERSONAL PATH OF TRANSFORMATION IN THIS VERY HONEST INTERVIEW. 

By Bruno Pieters 

 

BP: YOU HAVE JUST LAUNCHED 'INFINITE SEEDS'. COULD YOU EXPLAIN TO US WHAT 'INFINITE SEEDS' IS ABOUT?
FP: Infinite seeds embraces my three passions and is threefold plant-focused :
1- It aims to inspire organic plant-based food creations that provide not only a great source of nutrition but also pleasure.
2- Infinite seeds intends to immerse you in essential forgotten herbal knowledge and natural remedies.
3- Finally, Infinite seeds would like to heighten the 'urbanites' experience of their natural urban environment and re-invent the relationship we have with the places we call home. Re-greening city life one seed at a time. I see my not-for-profit organization as an invitation to reconnect with the urban environment and utilize the incredible tools nature has created for us in order to start living a life that is bold, empowered and informed.

BP: WHAT IS YOUR GOAL OR DREAM FOR 'INFINITE SEEDS'?
FP: The goal or dream for Infinite seeds is already captured in what it is now. The possible vehicles for transmitting that dream however are limitless and might change over time. For the moment the activities of Infinite seeds include collective and private plant-based cooking gatherings, seed bomb making or seed saving workshops, wild food walks, guerrilla gardening, raw food potlucks and events where homemade natural remedies, cosmetics and fun-to-make eco-friendly household options are explored and developed. I am very curious myself to see where my actions will lead me and how this project will evolve.

BP: WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT BEING A CHEF?
FP: I am not a classically trained chef whatsoever. I did train however to become a gourmet raw vegan chef at the Living Light Culinary Arts Institute and am currently attending the second level of Matthew Kenney's online Academy (both institutes are based in California).
I'd rather describe myself as a 'home chef' working as much as possible with organic plant-based and raw whole foods. Within the raw and living foods community there are hundreds of unheralded chefs playing with the boundaries of plant-based food and turning the established rules upside down. What I love about vegan cuisine is the fact that it is very cutting-edge and can be seen as the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change. It is a beautiful way of celebrating life through pure and cruelty-free cuisine, highlighting the freshest ingredients.
It also involves a vision beyond simply the food looking at the broader picture and relating it to personal and planetary health, local or fair trade economy and compassion for all sentient beings, human and animal. We vote with our forks three times a day. This is one of the best ways of activism I know of.
My interest in plant-based culinary arts and herbal remedies has taken me to the United States on more than one occasion. During these trips I had the opportunity to meet very inspiring people from all over the world who graced me with precious experiences.

BP: WHERE ARE YOUR FAVOURITE PLACES TO EAT IN THE WORLD?
FP: In Belgium I love having lunch at the raw vegan restaurant Eten vol Leven. But most of my favourite places are in the U.S.A. which is truly a paradise for people following a plant-based diet. So far I have enjoyed Café Gratitude, Gracias Madre and Millennium in San Francisco. In New York I loved Pure Food and Wine and Babycakes and the Matthew Kenney restaurant in Oklahoma City (which is now closed). M.A.K.E. is Matthew's new restaurant and I can hardly wait to try it out when I will be in Los Angeles next spring.

BP: WHAT MADE YOU BECOME VEGAN?
FP: After a couple of years of struggling with some health issues it finally hit me that my diet could possibly be the source of it. I started eliminating dairy and gluten products from my eating patterns and was totally amazed by the almost immediate results. This directed me to search for more answers, which led me to the States to train as a vegan raw food chef which opened me up to a whole new world. My travels and encounters really set the ball rolling.

BP: WHEN DID YOU BECOME A VEGAN?
FP: At first my choice of opting for a diet only including plant-based ingredients was for health reasons. However the environmental impact of industrial farming and animal production, combined with wanting to avoid cruelty towards animals soon contributed to my motivation. In fact my shift towards a vegan lifestyle was almost instant a bit more than three years ago after reading the informative 'The world peace diet' by Will Tuttle and watching the powerful documentary 'Earthlings' by Shaun Monson, and it has been an amazing journey ever since. A weight fell off my shoulders. Eating animal-free, organic, local or fair-trade is very empowering and gives one a lightness I do not wish to miss anymore.

BP: WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE RECENT VEGAN DISCOVERY?
FP: Currently I really like working with the cookbook 'Raw detox' by Meredith Baird with Matthew Kenney, as this is more and more the direction I want to take: creating surprising plant-based foods that are not only a pleasure for all senses but in addition contribute to maintaining your health.
Also, I am really amazed how I still keep on discovering new fruits and vegetables that I have never heard of before, all with extraordinary tastes like oyster leaves, dragon fruit, sprouted coconuts ...

BP: WHAT DO YOU THINK IS MOST MISUNDERSTOOD ABOUT VEGANS?
FP: I don't know what is most understood, but for sure there is a lot. Misunderstanding simply means there is no readiness to abandon our fixed views. This not only applies to veganism of course. Understanding means throwing away your so-called knowledge. Usually when we hear or read about something new or different, we compare it to our own ideas. If it is the same, we accept it and say that it is correct. If it is not, we say it is incorrect resulting in teasing, judging or even mocking the unknown. It can be painful to have relational issues simply because of one's food choice.

BP: DO YOU WANT TO INSPIRE PEOPLE TO BECOME VEGAN?
FP: No, I don't, however Infinite seeds might be an invitation to see things from a different perspective and present new possibilities to include more plant-based items into ones current diet.

BP: LET'S TALK ABOUT FASHION FOR A MOMENT. WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT FASHION?
FP: I love the fact that fashion can be an expression of your creativity and your ideals.
I also enjoy the sensuous aspect of clothes like the softness of a certain material or the sound a fabric can make while walking.

BP: DO YOU WEAR LEATHER OR FUR?
FP: I've never worn fur and I quit wearing leather when I decided to embrace the vegan lifestyle a couple of years ago selling or giving away all my leather shoes, bags and jackets. And although I replaced them with animal-free materials it might of course have been more sustainable to have first worn them out.

BP: WHAT IS YOUR OPINION ON THE FASHION INDUSTRY TODAY?
FP: Like most other industries the fashion industry is using the earth's raw materials – including sentient beings - as a commodity and is based on a false model of economic growth. We should build another reality - beyond this illusion of growth - that is non-violent towards the earth, animals and humans.

BP: WHAT IS SUSTAINABLE FASHION IN YOUR OPINION?
FP: Sustainable fashion has the power to create significant change and encompasses total transparency, innovation in animal-free materials and eco-friendly fabrics, the development of sustainable technologies, fair-trade practices, converting second-hand or vintage clothes ...
Sustainable fashion compared to fast fashion should value quality and durability of fashion items and thus discourage over-consumerism.

BP: DO YOU THINK WE ARE BECOMING MORE CONSCIOUS?
FP: Yes, more and more people are taking their role as consumers seriously by demanding information and educating themselves on the ecological impacts of the things they buy - favouring sustainable alternatives.

BP: HOW GREEN ARE YOU TODAY?
FP: I thought I was pretty green until I realized that all of my actions have become effortless and enjoyable: I don't drive a car because I don't like it nor do I need it, recycling trash has become a habit, I prefer romantic second-hand furniture over new furniture, I can completely find myself in the sustainable clothing and shoes brands that I buy, as well as eating and working with plant-based organic food has become a passion. So, I guess it is time to step out of my comfort zone and take my 'being green' to the next level.

BP: DO YOU EMBRACE YOUR RESPONSIBILITY AS A CONSUMER?
FP: Yes, I like my consumer power.

BP: DO YOU BELIEVE ONE PERSON CAN CHANGE THE WORLD?
FP: I do think our daily actions can remake the world. But I think it is equally important not to burden yourself with the bigness of what you stand against and try to detach yourself from the results as this is not in your hands.

BP: ARE YOU THE CHANGE YOU WANT TO SEE IN THE WORLD?
FP: I do my best. But it will for sure take my whole lifetime to even come close to what I would like to see. Change is an ongoing process and is really two steps forward one step back.

BP: WHAT QUALITIES DO YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT YOURSELF?
FP: Loyalty. Willpower. Passion.

BP: WHAT QUALITIES DO YOU LIKE IN OTHERS?
FP: Compassion. Passion. Honesty. Humbleness.

BP: WHAT IS YOUR PHILOSOPHY TODAY?
FP: You can create a better world by living your beliefs and following your passions. The context is not in your power, but your commitment is yours to make. At any given time you can make a conscious choice and shape your actions, which thus leads you closer to your dreams or alternatively, further away from them.
Rumi says it more poetically "Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray."

BP: WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE QUOTE?
FP: "Personal transformation can and does have global effects. As we go, so goes the world, for the world is us. The revolution that will save the world is ultimately a personal one." - Marianne Williamson.

BP: THANK YOU FOR THIS INTERVIEW.
FP: And I thank you. 


FIND OUT MORE ABOUT:

INFINITE SEEDS

ETEN VOL LEVEN

CAFE GRATITUDE

GRACIAS MADRE

MILLENNIUM

PURE FOOD AND WINE

BABYCAKES

M.A.K.E.

LIVING LIGHT CULINARY ARTS INSTITUTE 

'THE WORLD PEACE DIET' BY WILL TUTTLE

'EARTHLINGS' BY SHAUN MONSON

'EVERYDAY RAW DETOX' BY MEREDITH BAIRD AND MATTHEW KENNEY