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Buddhist monk on a mission to save the planet through food

Buddhist monk Jeong Kwan, famed for her appearance on Netflix’s Chef’s Table, wants to save the planet through food.

The monk, who lives in a temple in South Korea, was invited to Madrid to showcase her traditional vegetarian recipes including rice wrapped in lotus leaf, kimchi and stewed shiitake mushrooms.

“I communicate with people through food,” Kwan, who trains future chefs in her temple, told Efe.

The Buddhist said she is on a mission to show the world that we can save the planet through food with a plant-based diet.

“It is very important to respect nature and have a non-violent way of thinking.

“When I take care of myself, I try to take care of the world and make it purer, my food is more sustainable and more natural to make the world more sustainable,” Kwan, who has been plant-based for 45 years, said.

The Buddhist had initially turned down Netflix’s offer but said she doesn’t regret having starred in an episode because it gave her the opportunity to “make Buddhist cuisine known to the world.”

Kwan has been chosen by the prestigious Culinary Institute of America as one of the 50 world representatives of the plant-forward culinary movement, which promotes a plant-based diet over an animal protein one.

“It is not very appropriate to eat animals raised in cages, nor to exercise violence against them to eat them; it doesn’t even have much karma to eat an animal that died naturally. You have to respect them,” she said.

Kwan says the dishes she prepares to spread Buddhist gastronomy are nothing like what monks eat in their temples. Buddhists monks eat rice porridge, pickled vegetables and boiled rice amid hours of meditation and drink tea to “clear the mind”, she explained.

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