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The Source of Life Force is Here: Lab Vitalité

Life force, energy and vitality; in other words, the laboratory of health. we talked to Ceylan Sel Sohtorik and Milay Nil Sönmez, the founders of Lab Vitalité, about their kitchen, which they dedicate themselves to increase our life energy.

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

Ceylan & Milay Nil: Our story and our friendship goes back to college years. In the cities we lived in after university, we both attached great importance to seasonal, organic and natural nutrition and created delicious, practical and healthy recipes in our own kitchens. With this passion, we first went back to school and received training on natural and holistic nutrition. 

The story of Lab Vitalité started as a blog where we recorded what we discovered and our nutrient-packed recipes on our journey for the sake of healthy living, natural and holistic nutrition, which is our passion. Our posts to share our gluten-free, lactose-free and refined sugar-free recipes, to raise awareness about natural life and to explain the importance of body-spirit-mind balance attracted great interest. Upon requests from us; We created “Natural & Healthy Catering”, which we prepared with gluten-free, lactose-free and refined sugar-free menus, using completely natural, organic, seasonal ingredients. In addition to our catering service, we also prepare weekly product packages full of health and nutrients, which we call "Digestive-Friendly Flavors That Make You Feel Good". We continue to share our new recipes and experiences through our Instagram account.

What's in your morning rituals? 

Milay Nil: My morning ritual is intense. I care about how I spend the first hours of the day because the way I start the day determines the energy of my whole day. I dedicate the first hours of the morning only to myself. I take care not to deal with anything else, not to pick up the phone. My personal care routine includes dry brushing and hot-cold showers that increase my blood circulation. For oral and nasal hygiene, I use oil pulling with coconut oil, tongue scraper and a neti pot for sinuses. Then, by drinking a large glass of warm lemon or vinegar water a day; I start by doing yoga, meditation, breathing exercises and EFT (emotional liberation technique). Thus, I am able to start a new day with more vigor and energy by purging the accumulations that had unintentionally formed in my body the previous day. With the satisfaction of this time that I set aside for myself alone, I can give my 100% to my loved ones, my environment or my job in a much more motivated and productive way for the rest of the day.

Gazelle: I get up very early in the morning. After sending my son and daughter to school, I have an Ayurvedic routine to start the day fresh. I take a warm shower after cleaning the tongue and mouth, oil pulling, lubricating with warm sesame oil. Then I do yoga and I always try to end yoga with meditation. Then I drink my warm water to which I add a tablespoon of organic apple cider vinegar and have my breakfast. On days when I don't do yoga, I walk for half an hour before breakfast, if possible. 

What's in the Lab Vitalite kitchen right now?

Gazelle: Currently, in the Lab Vitalité kitchen, we are preparing foods and beverages that support the immune system, which we attach great importance to during seasonal transitions. Especially ginger, turmeric, organic apple cider vinegar, black pepper, onion and garlic are among the materials we use the most. In addition, fresh vegetable juices and smoothies prepared with green seasonal vegetables, rich in vitamins and minerals, are indispensable in our kitchen in this period.

What is it in your life that you think has been of great benefit to you and that you would like to do more? 

Milay Nil: There's definitely more time with nature and Qigong. Just for this reason, I moved to Bodrum with a radical decision. I met Qigong, a life energy work art, when I was studying Naturopathy in England, but I couldn't find the opportunity to practice it until I returned to Turkey. After I started Medical Qigong, which I started to study this year, I realized that this art is not as easy as it seems, but it has many benefits for balancing and increasing the life energy. 

Can you give us a few tips to keep your life energy high and to feel "vitality"? 

Milay Nil: Getting off autopilot! When yoga, meditation, qigong, and spending time with nature are practiced devotionally, it takes us out of the mind and into the body; that is, it raises our life energy by bringing it to the main. Apart from them, I think the most important thing that increases vitality; our awareness of our feelings and thoughts. Although we all think that we live our lives with our own conscious choices, in fact, our state of being conscious and behaving is only 5% of the total. The remaining 95% is actually learned and conditioning about ourselves, other people and life. Unfortunately, most of us direct our lives with beliefs that are in our subconscious but that we are not even aware of, and we direct our lives with mistakes that we believe make us "us". This is the only thing that quickly consumes the life energy within us. How much of our lives can we truly live as ourselves? How much of it do we live on autopilot as those we think we should be, with fossilized thought patterns? There is nothing that increases our life energy and makes us feel vitality like seeing this and starting to live the person we are in an authentic way. 

Do you have a preferred cooking technique to get the maximum benefit from food? 

Ceylan- Milay Nil: Since the philosophy of our cuisine is based on maximum nutritional value and containing minimum toxins, all the cooking techniques we apply allow us to get maximum benefit from food. Therefore, the type of food determines the cooking technique we prefer. For example, we prefer the slow cooking technique, below 70 degrees, for meat, fish, chicken and derivatives, which are animal foods. In order to preserve the healthy fats, vitamins, minerals and enzymes they contain, we either steam them lightly or dry them in the dryer at 46 degrees to preserve their raw qualities.

We see that you frequently include microgreens in your recipes, how would you describe their importance? 

Gazelle: Microgreens are sprouts of various vegetables, herbs and spices. These edible plants, with an average length of 4-5 cm, are considered superfoods with the vitamins and minerals they contain. They're also very delicious. For these reasons, we use microgreens extensively to add taste, color and health to the dishes we prepare.

What are your favorite seasonal fruits and vegetables that we can include in the spring detox? 

Gazelle: In order to prepare the body for spring, it is very important to stay away from heavy, fried or sugary foods that tire the liver and turn to fresh vegetables and fruits. Celery stalk, asparagus, artichoke, coriander and pineapple are our favorite vegetables and fruits for spring detox. In addition, warm water with lemon slices is a must throughout the day. Under the theme of "#nilveceyinbahardetoksu", we also have spring detox recipes that we have prepared for the new period.

What attracts the most attention in your natural and healthy catering service?

Gazelle: Our sharing boards attract the most attention in our natural and healthy catering. Every season, we bring together fresh seasonal vegetables and our dips in different flavors, lactose-free cheeses and homemade crackers on a wooden board. No two presentations are the same, colors and flavors change according to the season.

Ceylan Sel Sohtorik - Founding Partner of Lab Vitalité

Ceylan Sel Sohtorik studied Entrepreneurship and Marketing at Babson College. After university, he attended the French Cuisine and Patisserie training program at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. Ceylan Sel Sohtorik, who worked in the hotel industry after returning to Turkey, attended the Holistic Health Coaching certificate program at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. She founded Lab Vitalité, the address of seasonal, natural and organic recipes, with her partner Milay Nil Sönmez.

Milay Nil Sönmez - Founding Partner of Lab Vitalité

Milay Nil Sönmez, who studied Entrepreneurship and Marketing at Babson College; He started working on natural, organic and healthy foods in Belgium, where he went after university. He received Holistic Health Coaching training at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. Then, she attended the Nutrition for Everyday Living, Natural Skincare & Nutrition and Natural Chef certificate programs at the College of Naturopathic Medicine (CNM) in London. Sönmez, who founded Lab Vitalité with his partner Ceylan Sel Sohtorik, still continues to receive Naturopathic Nutrition and Naturopathy trainings at CNM. 

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