My name is Stephanie Seege and I have spent the last four years teaching myself how to cook recipes free from gluten, dairy, yeast, eggs and refined sugar. A lifetime of illnesses and bad digestion got me thinking that there has to be lots of other people out there suffering from - well, farts - to put it nicely.
WHO BENEFITS FROM THE COOKBOOK?
I have written a cookbook, "Soulflavours - Free Your Food", and it contains quick and easily-prepared recipes and menus for people who enjoy great food. The book is especially suitable for those who:
1) struggle with various health-related problems (i.e. gluten-/dairy-intolerance, acne, eczema, psoriasis, digestive issues and neuro-muscular deficiencies)
2) live together with a family member/friend suffering from food intolerances/bad digestion/illnesses and don't know how to go about it or what food to cook for him/her. (The cookbook serves as a handbook in this case!)
3) have bloated stomachs and constant digestive problems. Feeling uncomfortable after a meal seems to be the rule rather than the exception
You might be wondering if it really is possible to cook delicious food after eliminating such a long list (gluten, dairy, yeast, eggs and refined sugar) of ingredients. It is. This is my first video showing Soulflavours food at a party with a bunch of happy guests:
THE IDEA BEHIND FART-FREE FOOD
Diets are everywhere. They promise slimmer waists, less cellulites, decreased/increased appetite etc. You name it, and that diet most likely already exists. It's quite confusing to know who we should listen to - or what is right for me and for you - as we are all different individuals.
And yet, in the midst of this information over-load and an over-saturated health industry, we are sicker than ever. We sleep less, we are more stressed out than ever, we suffer from inexplicable diseases, doctors easily prescribe anti-depressants and we feel hopeless about our own health situation. A lot of people walk around with bloated stomachs all day and struggle going to the bathroom because of bad digestion.
...which leads me to think that there is still room for one approach, when wanting to change your eating habits and pursuing a healthier life.
I believe that different diseases and imbalances can be significantly improved and even cured by eating easily-digestible, unprocessed and clean food. This includes a varied diet with lots of vegetables and fruit, nuts and seeds, some meat and fish - and at least one warm meal per day. I also discovered that my problems faded quickly by eliminating gluten and dairy from my diet....so what's so bad about them?
Gluten is a protein composite, which is found in wheat, rye, barley and spelt. Celiacs cannot eat gluten as their immune system attacks both the gluten protein and the intestinal wall, thus damaging it, which in turn leads to nutrient deficiencies and digestive problems. A link between gluten and health issues such as skin problems, neuro-muscular diseases and Alzheimer's disease has also been found.
Dairy produces mucus (never drink milk when you suffering from a cold), may contain antibiotics and hormones given to cows and is generally known for increasing allergies. We don't need dairy products after we have been breast-fed and there are lots of other (plant-based) calcium sources, which serve us brilliantly and keep our bones healthy.
Leaving out gluten and dairy was my first step towards feeling better - and I started eating large amounts of steamed/cooked green, leafy vegetables instead, to get all the nutrients I need. I also left out nightshades (tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants and peppers) as they contain a substance, alkaloids, that can be very toxic to sensitive people. It may impact the nerve-muscle function and the digestive system. I eat a little bit of tomatoes and tiny, locally grown potatoes during the summer. Then I know that they have had plenty of time to ripe under a warming sun and contain lots of great vitamins and nutrients.
FROM FINLAND WITH LOVE
I'm originally from Finland and my Finnish roots and the long Nordic summers have shaped my view and knowledge of healthy living and great, locally grown produce. In the summer of 2013 I decided to make two videos shot in the Finnish archipelago, where I spent all my summers growing up. I wanted to show my foreign friends and extended family the environment that taught me to appreciate everything that Finland has to offer and the and the place that makes me relax unlike anything else in this world.
The brilliant local film-makers were able to capture the light present almost around the clock - something that Finland is famous for, which is also what adds real flavour to our vegetables and berries.
WHY I CREATED THIS PROJECT
I was born with asthma, allergy, cradle cap and eczema. I scratched myself to sleep most nights, had open-wounded hollows on the knees and arms, a red, runny nose, dark circles around my eyes and dry, flaky skin all over my body. Over the years my mother has taken me to see practically every kind of doctor, I have tried steroids and antibiotics and I have gone nearly insane because nothing helped long-term. I have also been told that I just have to accept my health problems, use cortisone creams and other kinds of medicine.
I met an Indian (ayurvedic) doctor four years ago, who put me on an extremely strict and challenging diet (not to lose weight) with the intention of letting my body cleanse and heal itself. I was only allowed cooked mung beans and cooked green, leafy vegetables, and fresh papaya during the first stage of the diet, which lasted two months.
It was tough repeatedly eating the exact same thing for breakfast, lunch and dinner. However, I sincerely believed that it was going to work out.
After two months my diet was expanded to include more vegetables and fruit, basmati rice and rolled oats. A year later I began to include produce, different seeds, meat and soy products, and discovered the world of cooking as much as I could and had time for. During that time I learned how to make delicious and alternative food inspired by Asian cultures, and, also realised that there had to be other people in the world with problems similar to the ones I was experiencing.
I thought a lot about how to get inspired in the kitchen with a long list of excluded ingredients. I asked myself:
What can I actually eat? How are different spices used? In what way can rich flavours be created without dairy-based cream? What alternatives are there to using ingredients that are often taken for granted in cooking, such as flour, eggs, dairy etc.? And most importantly: How can I make fast and simple food that I whole-heartedly feel like eating and that busy people have time to make?
3 years later I finished writing and self-published the prototype for my cookbook. This is what it looks like:
And finally, the food. I won't tease you any longer.
In "Soulflavours - Free Your Food" I use four main ingredients in different ways:
1) quinoa (a seed) 2) maple syrup (a natural sweetener) 3) rice (used as such, as noodles and as flour) 4) buckwheat (a grain, used as flour, cooked and as soba noodles) Quinoa originates from Peru and it contains extremely high amounts of protein, nine different amino acids (the body's building blocks), fibre, iron and magnesium.
Maple syrup may be the best natural sweetener/invention in the world and it's splashed into many of the recipes in my book. Maple syrup gives you good amounts of energy and it contains potassium, calcium and magnesium - which all other kinds of sugars lack. This natural resource also prides itself on 54 disease-fighting antioxidants with anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory and anti-diabetes properties.
Rice is a good alternative for gluten-free cooking. There are several types of rice - I tend to use basmati rice, as it supposedly the easiest kind to digest according to the Indians. According to the western culture, brown rice is undeniably the healthiest and most nutritious option, which I also use in my cooking and in the cookbook.
Buckwheat doesn't have anything to do with wheat - despite the very confusing name. It's a plant frequently used because of its grain-like seeds, used for making soba noodles (mainly in Japan and Korea), blinis and crepes (Russan/French pancakes) and it works excellent in baking. Buckwheat is easy to hunt down and it's cheap, in comparison to other gluten-free flours, such as quinoa and almond flour.
THE NEW, BEAUTIFUL HARDCOVER COOKBOOK
"Soulflavours - Free Your Food" will be a piece of art, with influences from Finnish minimalistic design and vibrant, exotic food cultures of the world.
At the beginning of the cookbook you will find a list of all the ingredients used. This is your shopping list. Most of the fresh ingredients can be found in your local supermarket - but you will need to visit an organic food store, an Asian market and a supermarket with a great selection once before getting started. The cookbook contains 100 recipes and here is a list of some of the dishes from the book:
Sweet Carrot Cup Cakes
Crispy Chia Seed Crackers
Exotic Yucca Fries
Mom's Chicken Broth
Sinfully Delicious Avocado Chocolate Mousse
Fresh Vietnamese Spring Rolls + Dipping Sauce
Filled Pineapples With King Prawns
Hearty Salad With Brown Rice And Artichokes
Mouth-Watering Elk/Lamb Meatballs
Light Zucchini Basil Soup
Warming Chickpea Curry
Colourful Parsnip And Sweet Potato Mash
Spicy Chicken Green Curry
Green Asparagus-Avocado Risotto
Crunchy Roasted Chestnuts
Tasty Green Juice
The World's Best Granola
....and 80 other dishes.
Each recipe comes with a short anecdote about why I came up with the dish, how it relates to my past and what is so special about the ingredients used. The idea behind this is to take you on a food journey that not only teaches you how to cook, but also tells a story through a few - some better and some worse - experiences.
I've taught myself how to cook "free-from"-food. It wasn't always immensely successful and I believe that this is an important part of the entire project. Hopefully my failures will only show you that it's part of the game, and that over-cooked noodles, bland sauces and burned oven-baked vegetables will eventually turn into delicious meals that you want to share with your friends and family.
THE ONLINE HOW-TO-COOK-VIDEOS
I'm a big fan of the art of writing - but words don't quite capture the same precision and essence in the kitchen as a video might do. That's why I want to produce 15 video clips, each between 30 seconds and 3 minutes that:
1) help you make the recipes from my book effortlessly and exactly according to plan
2) teach you my best tricks in the kitchen. It's not really rocket science, but there's a first time for everything and I want you to get as much out of my book "Soulflavours - Free Your Food" as possible
3) show you how easy, fast and fun it is to cook - I might even do a little dance for you, just to prove my point!
The hardcover book will be 300x250mm in size and 250 pages long. The minimum amount of copies printed is 1000 - which is why I need your help.
I have created all recipes myself and wrote all accompanying texts as well. The combination of the hardcover cookbook and the online how-to-videos provides you with all the information you need to cook in your own kitchen successfully, to have fun with it and to get into that flow of creating something magical yourself.
I need £50,000 to produce the cookbook and the funds will be used mainly for:
hiring a professional photographer (fantastic pictures are paramount in cookbooks - and I simply don't have time to cook and snap brilliant shots all at once)
hiring an editor (I can write, but I'm not a native English speaker and need help with that)
hiring a graphic designer (placing texts and pictures across 250 pages is a lot of work - not to mention finding the right style and tone)
hiring a fully-equipped kitchen and supplies (where I will spend one month with my photographer taking pictures of all 100 dishes and step-by-step-shots)
printing the cookbooks (I have quotes for printing them both in the UK and in Finland)
shipping the cookbooks to you (where ever you are in the world)
hiring a film maker to make the online how-to-videos with me (there are limits as to what can be done well with an iPhone...)
I'm a passionate foodie living in London. I grew up in an entrepreneurial family outside Helsinki, where I was encouraged to try new things and learn foreign languages from a very early age onwards. My father imported food and produce mainly from South America, whereas my mother was at home taking care of me and my big brother while cooking awesome food, training to be a yoga teacher and working as an artist.
During my Bachelor's Degree studies I founded my first company, Onni Design (onni meaning "luck" and "happiness" in Finnish) in 2005. I made timeless, inexpensive and elegant pieces of jewelry for women, sold them online and got into the world of online marketing for the first time in my life.
I started my Master's Degree studies in 2008, after having spent one Erasmus exchange year in Berlin, received my BA certificate in Arts Management and backpacked for 8 months through South East Asia. I was awarded an entrepreneurial scholarship in 2009 by the Swedish Anders Wall Foundation, and consequently spent 6 months living in New York, where I took part in leadership programs and met the previously mentioned Indian Dr.Naram, who taught me much about clean, unprocessed food.
The next three years were spent mainly cooking and learning about alternative ways of eating and healing the body. In 2011 I finished my Master's Degree in Marketing from Hanken School of Economics in Helsinki, Finland. A year later I felt a strong urge to move to London, which had been my dream for several years, and so I did.
I founded Soulflavours Limited in February 2013, with the intention of teaching people to cook and feel good about themselves. I self-published the prototype of my cookbook in October 2013 and it was a real struggle mostly because the publishing world was completely new to me. I still enjoyed every step of the way - and finally wrapped by head around what I essentially wanted to produce.
And that is why I'm writing this here today.
Risks and challenges
I learned a lot from publishing my prototype last year. The process made me realize how much there is to know about the industry. Buying fonts, getting all material into the right format required for printing, deciding on what kind of paper quality should be used, choosing a printing company...the list goes on and on. This time around I know which people I can turn to if (and when) I face challenges
The three online clips I had made last year (and my current Kickstarter-video) also taught me a great deal about producing visual content and working with film-makers (all in all four of them in London and Helsinki!). It's highly intimidating to stand in front of a camera - and yet I really enjoy it. My ultimate goal is to work as a public speaker, and there is no better training for that than what I am currently getting myself into. The beauty of making videos is the endless amount of material spread all over the Internet - which serves well for benchmarking and as lessons in how professionals do it. I try soaking up as much information as possible, listen carefully when someone offers a valuable piece of advice and try accepting (constructive) feedback as well as possible.
THANK YOU: Jump on board this project and follow the creative process of creating a cookbook, "Soulflavours - Free Your Food". You'll get weekly updates, short video clips and a hefty dose of deliciously vibrant food images.
E-BOOK: Get a digital copy (PDF) of "Soulflavours - Free Your Food". You'll be the first one laying your hands on the content! The e-book is easy to use on a tablet/mobile phone and works perfectly in the kitchen.
EARLY BIRD SIGNED HARDCOVER BOOK + E-BOOK + POST CARDS: Get a beautiful hardcover SIGNED copy of "Soulflavours - Free Your Food", the e-book (PDF) and 10 high-quality post cards, each with an easy recipe + photo from the cookbook.
EARLY BIRD THE WHOLE SIGNED PACKAGE: Get a beautiful SIGNED hardcover copy of "Soulflavours - Free Your Food", the e-book, 10 high-quality post cards, (each with an easy recipe + photo from the cookbook) and 15 how-to-videos (as a DVD) that support you in making the recipes at home.
You also get your name listed in the book as a supporter (optional)!
HARDCOVER BOOK + E-BOOK + POST CARDS: Get a beautiful hardcover copy of "Soulflavours - Free Your Food", the e-book (PDF) and 10 high-quality post cards, each with an easy recipe + photo from the cookbook.
THE WHOLE PACKAGE: Get a beautiful hardcover copy of "Soulflavours - Free Your Food", the e-book, 10 high-quality post cards, (each with an easy recipe + photo from the cookbook) and 15 how-to-videos (as a DVD) that support you in making the recipes at home.
You also get your name listed in the book as a supporter (optional)!
DOUBLE UP THE WHOLE PACKAGE: Get: 2 x beautiful hardcover copy of "Soulflavours - Free Your Food", 2 x e-book, 2 x 10 high-quality post cards, each with an easy recipe + photo from the cookbook and 2 x how-to-video (DVD).
A SKYPE CALL WITH ME: I'll talk you through gluten-/dairy-free cooking on Skype for an hour. I'll share all my best kitchen (and health-related) secrets and help you get started using my recipes. You'll naturally also get a hardcover copy of "Soulflavours - Free Your Food", the e-book (PDF), 10 post cards and 15 how-to-videos (DVD).
THE MORE, THE MERRIER: Get 10 SIGNED copies of the hardcover "Soulflavours - Free Your Food" cookbook - each with a personalised message to each receiver of the book. You'll also get the e-book and 10 sets of recipe post cards.
A VISIT TO YOU IN LONDON: I'll visit your home/book club/event in London, bring 10 copies of the hardcover book and one of my cakes to go with a cup of tea. I'll spend one hour talking to you about the book, inspire you to create healthy habits and share my best book tips. Location: London.
LONDON FOOD TOUR FOR ONE: Join me for an exclusive food tour around London. We'll visit my favourite restaurants and I'll feed you lunch, afternoon tea and dinner. You'll be a few pounds heavier and hopefully a lot happier at the end of the day. Travel costs to and from London not included.
CORPORATE TRAINING: Get an inspiring, one hour long, session with me. I'll speak collectively in front of your entire organization about staying healthy, eating gluten-/dairy-free food and I'll make a few quick recipes at the end of the session to show how fast and easy it is to make things from scratch. Location: UK. Also available for other European countries and USA for an additional £500.
LONDON FOOD TOUR FOR TWO: Join me for an exclusive food tour around London. We'll visit my favourite restaurants and I'll feed you lunch, afternoon tea and dinner. You'll be a few pounds heavier and hopefully a lot happier at the end of the day. Travel costs to and from London not included.
LONDON COOKING CLASS: I'll teach you how to cook - in your house with up to 10 of your friends. We'll put together a menu from "Soulflavours - Free Your Food", cook it and enjoy the meal. You'll also get one hardcover copy of the cookbook. Food costs included. Location: London. Add £300 for other locations within the UK.
ONE DAY WITH ME: I'll hang out with you for one day. We can either explore London's restaurants, cook together/for your guests, shop ingredients at farmer's markets - or simply have tea and talk about life. It's pretty much up to you! Ingredients for cooking at a larger event, as well as travel expenses exceeding £500 not included.