Eat, meet, live and learn. Sharing stories for everyday food and health.

Meet Foodadit – Alastair Coates

  • Alastair Coates Vegan up north Foodadit
On 1st July 2015

For Alastair, food means taking the time to enjoy life. At Foodadit he’s become known as a curious experimenter, regularly sharing his kitchen creations. As a committed writer, he’s keen to share his thoughts too. One of the most enjoyable aspects of food for him is the preparation, and he has discovered that taking the time for this can have a positive impact on other aspects of life. Kneading the dough to make a loaf of bread, for example, can be an act of meditation, giving the mind the time and space it needs to heal.

When did your passion for food begin?

It began during my time at university, when I had to learn to cook for myself. As a language student I studied for a year in Japan and Germany, but before that, my first stop was the Netherlands, volunteering on a dairy farm. I had fun but when we had to separate a young calf from his mother, it broke my heart. It lead me to become vegan, which wasn’t too far of a jump as I grew up in a vegetarian family who were really supportive. Going vegan encouraged me to reconsider the food I was making and search out new recipes. My Mum saw this as a challenge and together we discovered a whole new world of creative ideas. I think this was when I really began to love food.

Where did your passion for fermenting food come from?

My father brews his own beer, so I have always been fascinated by the process of fermentation. However, it wasn’t until after I had been to Japan that I began to experiment with it. My friends over there introduced me to Kimchi, and the intense flavours really blew my mind. Since it wasn’t vegan, I felt compelled to create a vegan Kimchi and that was just the start. Then I tried making sauerkraut, kombucha and sourdough bread. I suppose I really love sour flavours and that really helps.

When did you start to see food as meditation?

In 2014, I moved to Berlin, partly because of all the vegan food available. One of the first jobs I took in Berlin was incredibly stressful and I lost interest in cooking, which was a really big deal for me. When I finally left that job, I felt that I needed some time to re-start. I’d always been curious about sourdough, so this seemed like a good opportunity to take the time to make it for myself.

Caring for the dough, the slow process of letting it rise, calmed me and gave me something to focus on instead of feeling stressed. That’s when I realised that making food is a form of meditation.

What approach would you recommend to someone to get more from their food?

I think there is the opportunity for people to make more connections between the food on their plates and where it came from. Over the last few years I’ve become more aware of this and as food keeps us alive, we should value and respect it. It’s always good to keep in mind how it was made, where it came from, and how our bodies might respond to it. By being conscious, we are doing the best we can for ourselves in the long term.

Article by Nina Wagner
Pictures by Kasia Zacharko

Alastair Coates Website

diet types

Alastair Recommends

Actively taking the time to cook something and enjoying the process of it.