Jane shares her heartbreak in Rwanda as a child, finding her faith and embracing cooking as an act of love

by | Jun 16, 2020 | Features

Jane Nshuti has a heartbreaking story that lead her to becoming a plant based recipe developer and Foodpreneur. However, through hardship and necessity, she found faith, fed her family and nourished her soul. She has created a heartful brand called Tamu By Jane – Tamu is a Swahili word for delicious and we have no doubt her secret ingredient is Love.

Your business is called Tamu By Jane. What does Tamu mean?

Tamu is a Swahili word for delicious.

I wanted to make food which was not only healthy but also delicious, I wanted to show people that embracing a plant based diet didn’t mean letting go of taste.

Your journey to becoming a plant based chef is one of the most touching stories I’ve ever heard. Please can you share it?

At the really young age, just like many families in my home country Rwanda at the time, my  family was also faced with a tragedy.

My siblings and I lost both our parents and we also found ourselves in a foreign country as refugees.

The oldest amongst us was 17, I was the youngest and I was only 9 years old.

It felt like it was just four of us against the world.

As we tried to survive in a refugee camp, my older sister and oldest brother  ( who we’re really kids themselves)had to find a way of keeping food on our nonexistent table and I had to make sure that I put whatever they brought back with them  to a good use. This is where creativity in the kitchen began.

When I say that we didn’t have much , I would be putting it mildly, we were just luck if they got back with anything at all.

 At this time I still didn’t know much about cooking but I quickly learned  that cooking is about following a concept and creating something with whatever you had.

As cooking because more of a responsibility instead of a discovery, I began to resent the whole concept. I ended up doing it out of duty instead of love. This continued even into 20s   until one day I came across a powerful quote from one of my favorite author.

Ellen White where she said “Let not the work of cooking be looked upon as a sort of slavery. What would become of those in our world if all who are engaged in cooking should give up their work with the flimsy excuse that it is not sufficiently dignified?

Cooking may be regarded as less desirable than some other lines of work, but in reality it is a science in value above all other sciences.

Thus God regards the preparation of healthful food. He places a high estimate on those who do faithful service in preparing wholesome, palatable food. The one who understands the art of properly preparing food, and who uses this knowledge, is worthy of higher commendation than those engaged in any other line of work.

This talent should be regarded as equal in value to ten talents; for its right use has much to do with keeping the human organism in health. Because so inseparably connected with life and health, it is the most valuable of all gifts”

By this time I wanted to live healthier, and I wanted to develop a better relationship with food which was really damaged and toxic ,so I started taking back cooking seriously until it become something I truly valued, loved and enjoyed doing.

Can you share with us the role that Faith plays in your life?

I’m a Christian, and In my understanding of who God Is and his Intent towards us, is to be.

Get healthy in order to be the best he has created us to be, that’s his desire, he also wants to speak to us, and he mainly speaks to us through our minds.

When we are not living a healthy lifestyle our brain also get compromised and becomes so hard to truly communicate and this puts a limit to how we can communicate with God and lastly, we were given dominion to take care of the earth not to destroy It, so through a plant based diet,

I’m hoping to be a good example of the person I was created to be, to have better communication with my creator and to be a servant to the world as a compassionate human being who cares about the environment.

Can you name some people/teachers who have had the greatest impact on your holisitic nutrition journey?

Her name was Ellen White, though her books especially the book counsels on diet and foods whichh was written In 1800s but still so relevant to day. It Is through the reading of all her healthy books I got to embrace a plantbased lifestyle.

What is your personal eating philosophy?

Eat food, mainly that which grow from the ground.

What did you learn through your 10 day raw food challenge?

I learned that our body has the potential to feel really good, from Inside out.

I got to sleep better, I felt lighter, my mind felt clearer. It’s an experience everyone should try In order to truly understand It. Because It’s the kind of a feeling that no one can feel for you, It requires personal experience.

What are the top 3 things in your opinion that people can change right now to move towards a happier and healthier life?

Learning to consider your well being when you make food choices.

Expose yourself to fruits and vegetables, see them often and Include more of It In your diet, lastly learn to cook, empower yourself so that you can turn your vegetables Into something you want to eat while keeping all the nutrients, Instead of eating them because they are healthy.

Where do you get your inspiration for your recipes from?

This happens In many ways, sometime I would find an Ingredient I really like and I would wonder what to do with It and that usually starts a whole conversation In my mind which ends up In a recipe.

However, most of my recipes were actually developed either from a place of lack or from making mistakes. There would be times when I would have very few things In the house and I would be forced to work with what I have, and that will end up tasting amazing, or I would be trying familiar recipes and ends up making mistakes with It but then those mistakes end up tasting delicious and from there I will work out the recipe for them.

What message would you like to share with our beautiful plant based sisters around the world?

I would like to remind them that they are fearfully and wonderfully made. And taking care of themselves and their environment, Is the first recognition of this fact.

Janes’s favorites

Favourite plant based breakfast?

Creamy  oats with coconut milk, bananas and mix berries.

Plant based comfort food?

A really good veg burger would do with roasted potatoes on the side (I love potatoes by the way).

Plant based treat?

I have been enjoying this oats and peanut butter cookies that I make , I love to have them with some tea.

Plant based book?

Sweet Potato Soul by Jenne Claiborne

The next plant based recipe I’d like to try is..

I have been wanting to make cassava leaves stew with oyster mushrooms with peanut flour. It’s an easter Africa dish, flavours from childhood but they used to add different  types of meats to It, I want to come up with my own recipe

A plant based eatery anywhere in the world I’d love to eat at..

Fancy Radish In Washington DC

A plant based chef I’d love to meet and share a meal with..

Chef  Rich Landau

Thank you Jane xo

Follow Jane on instagram @tamubyjane or on her YouTube channel

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