Health coach to share secrets to the spices of life

Shahnaz Nensey will be hosting the "Cooking with India Spices: One Pot Dish" event at the Windermere Branch Library.

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  • | 5:05 p.m. September 5, 2018
  • West Orange Times & Observer
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Home chefs: Grab your aprons.

The Windermere Branch Library will be hosting a live cooking demonstration with the event, Cooking with Indian Spices: One Pot Dish. The event will take place at 6 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 13. To register, visit Shahnaz Nensey, of Swaasta LLC., will be demonstrate how to create an easy, wholesome and healthy dish using Indian spices. 

“We’re going to talk about the spices and how each of them affects your body,” Nensey said. “It’s going to be pretty educational … then people get to taste (the food).

Nensey is a health and holistic-wellness coach who stresses the importance of nutrition as it relates to overall wellness. She said her favorite spices to cook with are tumeric and cumin. She also likes cooking with cardamom, cinnamon, saffron and coriander. She added some of the spices she cooks with have healing properties.

“I think we’ll have a lot of our attention focused on tumeric, cumin and coriander this time,” Nensey said. She later added, “Primarily, when I’m talking about tumeric, I’m talking about its anti-inflammatory properties.” Nensey started teaching cooking classes to help educate her clients about how to eat well. “When it comes to the body, I talk to people about how nutrition is so important to their wellbeing,” Nensey said. “What I started to find (out) was people were getting stuck when it came to food. … So to kind of accommodate those clients, I started teaching cooking classes in very small numbers.” 

The cooking classes offered her clients a hands-on approach that demonstrates that eating well can be easy and fun, Nensey said. “I saw that people were really benefiting from a hands-on experience,” Nensey said. “I can hand them a recipe — that’s one thing. But when they’re there and they’re touching and feeling and smelling and seeing and tasting, it completely changes the experience and it takes away that intimidation — so to say. It isn’t all that hard. It makes it fun. … Making healthy food easy to cook and taste good, that’s where it started.”

Nensey said her personal life is what led her to discover the importance of nutrition and overall wellness. She said earlier in life, she struggled with anxiety and depression. She took prescription medication for treatment for a year, but the medication made her feel worse. From there, she began looking for solutions and looked to her family members in her home country of India.

“I look at my parents, I look at my uncle — they’re all in their 80s (or) 90s and they’re like rockets,” Nensey said. “My mom — she’s 82 — she gardens and she cooks and she cleans and she’s moving from sunrise to sundown. How can she do that?”

She said she noticed a large part of her family’s active lifestyle is attributed to their diet and how they incorporated spirituality and charity into their lifestyle. “It was the lifestyle,” Nensey said. “What drew me to that isjust seeing examples. I was seeing people around me … dragging their feet in their 20s and 30s exhausted and fatigued. And I’m seeing my family back home running around and doing all these things and having a full life.”


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