Hello, and welcome to my blog! I’m Zakiya – a registered nurse living in beautiful Vancouver, B.C. After thinking about starting a blog for several years, I finally created “Zakiya’s Kitchen” in February 2017, while off work on injury leave. I never expected that I would fall in love with blogging and creating content centered around food, health, and wellness, but it’s been over a year, and I’m still going strong!
I have always loved helping people - this is probably what led me to become an RN. Working in a hospital for a few years really opened my eyes to the fact that people are living longer, but are also sicker than ever. A lot of my patients have to deal with gastrointestinal issues (i.e. infections, inflammation, surgeries), which prompted me to educate myself about gut health, and the role that food plays in overall health. I'm still learning lots, and am amazed by the positive impact that nutrition, movement, rest, and self care have made on my life. I hope to one day become a Registered Holistic Nutritionist, as well!
While browsing my site, you will learn that I’m someone who is extremely passionate about nutrition, wellness, and living a healthy lifestyle. I strongly believe in the healing and nourishing powers of food and drink, and I love sharing “feel good food” recipes that are both delicious and nutritious. In addition, all the recipes that you will find on my website are free from gluten, dairy, and refined sugar.
Growing up, I consumed a pretty conventional “Western” diet, made up of lots of processed foods, meats, artificial ingredients, refined sugar, dairy, and gluten. I also fell victim to marketing ploys that made things like Special K bars and fat free yogurts a regular staple in my diet. Fast forward to 2013 – I was in my early 20’s, finishing up my last year of nursing school, in my public health rotation. I had a little more time on my hands, as 90% of my courses were online, so I began to experiment with my diet. I was tired of feeling sluggish, low-energy, and bloated, and I had started to hear more and more about the negative impact of gluten and refined sugar, so (unbeknownst to myself at the time), I tried an elimination diet, where I stopped eating both of these things, cold turkey.
I felt SO much better – my energy levels skyrocketed, my skin cleared up, my clothes fit better, and I felt more nourished, as I was consuming more healthy fats, water, and fresh fruits and vegetables. I ended up drastically reducing my dairy intake in 2014 as well, and still continued to see improvements in my health and well-being. Though this transition to a completely different style of eating wasn’t easy, it forced me to get creative in the kitchen, which I’m so thankful for – it helped me develop a vested interest in and passion for the food that I put into my body!
Over the past year, I've also learned a lot more about balance, and that it's ok to treat myself once in a while! For example, see the pic below - I'm about to enjoy the yummiest gluten, dairy, and sugar filled donut from Cartem's Donuts (they also have vegan and gluten free donuts, which I of course also sampled). In my opinion, everyone thrives on different things, and the "best" lifestyle for you is the one that you find the most sustainable, healthy, and enjoyable!
Through Zakiya's Kitchen, I share many of the recipes that I have used and created over the years with you all. All of the pictures that you will see on my site are taken by me (on my faithful iPhone...hopefully one day I'll be able to upgrade to a proper camera) - my recently discovered passion for food photography bodes very well for the creation of this blog! I also hope to discuss a wide spectrum of topics related to wellness and holistic living. After all, health is wealth, and it's my hope to be able to help others in their journey to happiness, wellness, and nourishment*.
Thanks for following along! xo
* While I love being able to provide useful information related to health, nutrition, and wellness, my advice and opinions should not replace those of a professional. I only use credible sources and my own knowledge (which is founded upon years of education and research), but it is always worth contacting your health care provider if you are unsure about any content I post on this site.