Hi there! Welcome to Brownble!
I’m Kim, I’m obsessed with cooking and I’m vegan. I co-created this blog with my partner in crime, my husband Carlos. It truly has been a total labor of love. You’ll get to meet him here, and read some “oh so true” facts about both of us, but I want to take a moment to tell you a bit about my story and why I created Brownble.
The first thing you need to know about me is that I live for cooking. I have been cooking - and I mean Thanksgiving dinner for the whole family kind of cooking- since I was 15 years old. I didn’t have what you would consider a traditional or normal childhood. My mother, the biggest rockstar in my life, raised me on her own in spite of having a very serious and chronic illness since she was 11. She had endless surgeries, one after another, was often bed ridden or in a wheelchair. In the best of times, she needed a cane or crutches to be able to slowly walk, in the worst of times, towards the end of her life, she had lost both of her legs. She was the most amazing and courageous person I have ever met, and living with her taught me how much we take our bodies for granted, and how even the smallest actions can help us live a happy life, full of movement, health and joy if that's something our body can do, and full of love and kindness towards ourselves if movement and a traditionally healthy body is not a part of our reality. The second thing it taught me was that a good plate of food shared together can do wonders for the soul. In a way, the love we both had for food completely brought us together and made us forget about the rough cards we were being dealt, which sadly seemed to be getting worse and worse every year.
Living with an ill parent (your only parent) can be a very scary thing. I was constantly in “emergency mode”, problem solving mode, and it can also teach you to hide fears away, to not cause trouble, to keep things together and be more responsible than anyone should be at that age. I think it was as a very young girl when I first realized that food and the kitchen were a safe haven for me. This caused me to develop a huge interest in food from very early on, but it also created a big case of emotional overeating patterns that accompanied me well into my adult life. Once I learned that food was somehow linked to the way our bodies looked, and that there were certain cultural expectations of what our bodies "should" look like, this created a big case of dieting and restrictive and then overeating or bingeing patterns that also accompanied me well into my adult life.
All was well when I was a kid and everyone marveled at how such a tiny skinny girl could eat her weight in steak (yes, I’m vegan now but I was the biggest carnivore on this planet). I was even praised by my mom’s friends because they said I was practically a vacuum cleaner and would eat anything that was put in front of me. This all changed the minute I hit puberty. Weight started to come on, societal expectations of how that was somehow "bad" started appearing in my head, and I also developed serious stomach issues that made my life miserable for over two years. I had a very severe case of gastritis, which might sound like something anyone can have and be ok with, but my case was chronic. I was in serious pain for years, without any relief from medication. Of course it wasn’t all about my overeating of food, or my constant dieting. The physical symptoms I was experiencing in my life were only the tip of the iceberg. I was a scared and anxious kid, trying to keep my home life together and cause as little trouble as I could so my mom could just focus on getting better. Perfect grades at school, no staying out late, trying to keep the turmoil I was feeling quietly shut inside.
My life had another side to it though. My mother was what I would call a “magical parent”, she would always insist that our life should be fun and full of laughter, and food was a huge part of that. For years I would come home after school and would sit in front of the TV watching cooking shows for hours to get new ideas for what to make for her. It was the magic of video that really taught me how to cook, which is why this is the way we do things over here at Brownble.
Video is a powerful tool! It also helped to have the amazing influence of one of my uncles, my best friend and the closest thing I had to a dad. He was an incredible cook, the best one I’ve ever met. He knew a ton about French cooking and we cooked a lot together. I still feel he’s with me when I’m in the kitchen. Cooking and food was the way my family dealt with everything that was happening, so it became my biggest passion. A “food = keeping my family happy amidst crisis” kind of thing.
Many years passed, and sadly my mom lost her battle, which resulted in the most difficult years of my life. Trying to move on without her at the age of 21, but I married the coolest guy on this planet and started life on my own. A few years in, we became vegan. We became vegan first and foremost because we love animals and didn’t want to contribute to an industry that is as cruel as it gets (and yes, we couldn’t believe how we had never heard about this before!), but when we realized a vegan diet could also be healthy, more sustainable and more supportive of our environment, and we knew our bodies could not only survive on plants but thrive, we decided to give it a try.
I like to call veganism my little rescuer. Not because it saved me from overeating and that diet prison of control I had built around myself, that came a bit later in my vegan journey after many stumbles, and it came with many of the tools I teach you at Brownble in our blog and podcast, and our courses and programs, but also because slowly but surely, I was faced with having to be myself. With my true beliefs guiding the way, every time someone asked me why I wasn’t eating meat, dairy or eggs anymore. For the first time I felt I didn’t care about what other people thought, or about being the perfect little girl who doesn’t cause trouble. It was the biggest confidence booster and it gave me so much joy to incorporate habits that were also helping other beings and taking the focus off of my instinct to eat everything in sight, or restrict to get the "perfect body".
Now one question remained, would I finally be able to find balance and joy, give all my diet books away (I went on so many I can’t even count), make peace with food, be healthy, and still let the food loving cookie monster in me come out to play? The answer is yes, I have since found my way, I have found my balance, and I have learned so much about cooking, food and changing the relationship we have with food that I have created this space for you and I to spend time in together. Life isn’t all or nothing, or about finding the magic pill, the magic behavior or about being perfect, it’s about finding a way of living that allows you to be happy and at peace, and that includes cookies AND kale, and it also includes things that have nothing to do with food but that bring you joy and great experiences.
I hope you enjoy this journey into a new relationship with food and cooking, filled with pure deliciousness, making you shine from the inside out… in and out of the kitchen.
This blog is dedicated to the two pieces of my heart that are no longer here, who taught me how to cook and how to LIVE…. to Aly and Jini.
… and to Carlos, who makes me laugh every day, and brought me back to life.