I am Daria Hodelia Katsman. I’m 32 years old and happily married to Anatoly. We have a beautiful baby boy called Ilay who is 18 months old and another son on the way.
I come from a long line of pastry chefs, and grew up eating every kind of pastry imaginable – cakes, cookies, Russian breads, rolls, blintzes, oladushki, piroshky and so many other amazingly tasty, doughy creations, all made with lots of sugar and tons of oil. This is what I ate all day, every day.
But when my husband and I tried to become pregnant, we had no success. A naturopath that I consulted suggested that drastically changing my lifestyle might help solve the problem. So about five years ago, I decided to overcome my addiction to carbs and sugar and to start eating in a healthy way. Until then I never ate fruit or vegetables at all. I hadn’t ever tasted broccoli, kale, pumpkin or avocado. I had no idea what they tasted like.
After taking the advice of a naturopath and working with her for a year, I learnt about the world of medicinal herbs and the healthy alternatives to white flour and sugar, like malt syrup, agave nectar, maple syrup, rapadura made from sugar cane or topinambur (Jerusalem artichoke).
I incorporate olive oil in lots of my recipes for cakes and sweet pastries together with agave nectar or other sugar substitutes. I sometimes use whole fruit or fruit puree and I always use healthy flours. I love making my own nut milk as well as jams, speads, ice creams and chocolate.
I don’t believe in diets! For me a diet means pain and suffering and when the breakdown finally comes, bingeing and putting on more weight than ever before. Then feeling so guilty that the vicious circle starts again.
The idea of eating healthy food isn’t only for the future as in “let’s enjoy ourselves today and eat what we like because you never know what’s waiting for us around the corner”. Absolutely not! We choose to eat healthy food so that we feel good about ourselves today! So that our body isn’t using up all of its energy digesting huge quantities of carbs and sugar, and so we don’t end each day exhausted with a crushing headache and suffering from bloating and gas from all the white flour we’ve eaten. We want to feel good and have the energy to enjoy our lives today and every day! I believe that we only live once, and that we should enjoy our lives, in a healthy way.
These are the little pleasures in our lives that make us happy. We don’t have to give up cookies and cakes altogether. We just have to be smart and learn how to make them in a healthy way.
And so I developed Bake-Care – a way of baking pastries without compromising my health. I started incorporating vegetables and other new and healthy ingredients into my baking. I tried out crazy combinations like beetroot pancakes, muffins with kale and basil, sweet spinach muffins and zucchini chocolate cake. I invented recipes for avocado chocolate cream, vegan cheese cake from cashew nuts, olive oil cake and many other healthy, tasty recipes that can all be found on my blog.
The idea was to keep eating cakes, muffins and pancakes that I love so much. I would much rather eat a spinach muffin than a spinach salad. When healthy food is presented in such an appealing way, you have fun eating it and you feel good too. I think that every day should start off with a pancake, muffin or waffles made with healthy ingredients.
Generations of Foodies
I would like to share with you how it all began – where my great passion for food comes from and how I became such a successful foodie. So here it is:
Around 1920 in the town of Berdychiv in the Ukraine, my great-grandmother was born. She grew up to really love all the Jewish Festivals. Berdychiv was mainly a Jewish town and everyone knew that my great-grandmother made the tastiest, most original strudel in the world (of which, BTW, I have the recipe).
During World War II, when everyone hid in their homes and tried their best not to go outside, my great-grandmother did everything she could to get enough flour to make matzo at Passover, while hiding in their small bomb shelter. Even though it was difficult, she was determined to succeed.
This love of baking was passed on from generation to generation. My grandmother followed in her footsteps with a passion, too, for baking. She was the head of the Workers Department in a sugar factory and in her free time baked custom ordered cakes for weddings and other functions. Some of her cakes were made of 3 or 4 layers, with intricate decorations made out of butter icing in every color imaginable and decorated with swans, roses and pearls. At that time, it was very dangerous to have a business on the side (today we would call in freelancing), and people could actually be killed for it. But she loved baking so much that she just couldn’t give it up.
Then in 1955 my mother was born. She didn’t yet know that the passion for baking was in her genes.
By the time my family and I arrived in Israel in 1992, my mother had completed baking courses in well-known baking schools and was already a certified pastry chef. I’ll never forget how, every day when she came back from her classes, she brought a basket filled with her wonderful, tasty creations from that day.
So to round up my story, I am so happy to share with you that after eating in this healthy way for 2 years, I became pregnant with my first son who was born 18 months ago and I am now expecting our second son. This journey has shown me how healthy nutrition can change our lives.