My name is: Jana Brunclikova.
I’m known as: Australia-based qualified naturopath and herbalist, plant-based chef and author of The Secret Kitchen Book.
My expertise is in: Understanding and teaching people about Mother Nature’s gifts and how to use them in healing and/or in the kitchen.
I stay physically healthy with: A dip into the ocean. Especially now, as a new mother, this ritual became my number one go-to! It’s been always my favorite, but now I truly appreciate all it brings with it. Chances are you know the feeling—the one you succumb to the moment you dive underwater and everything else seems to magically drift away. And the beauty benefits of seawater are endless.
I keep my emotions balanced with: Cooking.
As I wrote in my book, “when I make food, I take a deep breath, relax and recall that I’m in presence. I give thanks to the Earth for the privilege to be able to cook with produce current land offers me and I’m able to use and share with others.”
And it used to be yoga.
But motherhood took over and now I go for whatever can create balance on a given day. Day by day. In that moment. It can be anything from involving ocean again (like surfing) to gardening or creating something wonderful with my hands, such as pottery or knitting.
I’m intellectually stimulated by: I don’t have one specific thing that stimulates me or I’m learning from at the moment. It's the collective awareness and power of mothers supporting mothers, the individual strength and journey of each and every one, that stimulates me. Anyone and anything making small change with big difference is very inspiring. Especially if it’s about protecting our planet and involving the human heart.
I was recently transformed by: The birth of my son. Him teaching me about creating a less selfish and meaningful way of living and finding a balance between stillness and needing to do/create/perform.
In the last six months, the ritual that has become so important for me is: Time in the kitchen again and cooking for friends and my beloved.
Cooks are the keepers of ritual and the makers of meaning. Ritual is all about meaningful repetition and there is some truth in saying “the way to person’s heart is through his/her stomach.” It’s about repeating those things that help us remember who we are and whose we are. It is so for the cook. It is so for those who eat and for those who wash the dishes and put the water jug back in the fridge. There is something quite beautiful in cooking and creating food. The routine tasks and ingredients of the kitchen are daily reminders of our dependence, our human need, our frailty and the connections that sustain us. No matter what else our days hold—whatever is glorious and important, hard and defeating, fleeting and trivial—when we cook, we are brought back to life at its most rudimentary level. When you create a ritual from cooking, you nourish body and soul and I believe people who eat your food can feel it too.
As The Australian food writer Jill Dupleix would say (which I always have at the back of my mind when I create in the kitchen), “There are ghosts in our kitchens. You feel them at your back as you push the onions around in a little oil, when you crush the garlic or when you pull a cake from the oven and feel the heat against your face. These things have been done before, and will be done again: your actions are the actions of the centuries. You can hear them, too, in the whistle of a kettle, the gentle simmering of a stew, the sound of a broom sweeping the floor— the music of the kitchen, over the centuries.”
Here’s how you can do it too: Just follow your own heart and inner voice; you are your own creator. We are all so different with different needs. The clever Mother Earth created this, so we all inspire each other. Invest in yourself and in nature. Get my book, if you need a bit of a guidance to start.
It helps me live my process because: We only live once. It helps us to create a better future for our children, animals and all living organisms in the beautiful harmony needed for survival.
Take a moment to learn more about Jana’s journey here.