I’m Aparna, the founder of Wecology. In February 2020, I heard Dr. Vivek Murthy talk about the global epidemic of loneliness. During the immediately-following pandemic, I found myself without the ability to connect as I normally do - hosting in-person dinner parties in my home and featuring my cooking. It also made me realize that while I had co-founded a restaurant in Lhasa in 1997, run a functional food-focused sustainability consulting firm from 2000-2007, and eventually shifted gears to become a sustainability-focused investment banker, I was not only unsatisfied, I was stagnating.
While moving my parents out of their long-time home, I found photos of myself co-founding Makye Ame Restaurant in Lhasa and sitting with amchis (doctors of Tibetan Medicine) learning about Himalayan plants on the Tibetan plateau. I found journals from my start at the Erb Institute for Sustainable Global Enterprise at the University of Michigan, where I planned to join a Wall Street investment firm growing sustainable businesses in the Himalayan region. While I was reconnecting with myself, I was cooking three meals every day for my COVID-afflicted, diabetic parents and doing yoga as frequently as I could. As I rediscovered myself, I realized I had something different to offer the world: cooking as meditation, based on the Five Elements from Tibetan Medicine.
I created Wecology as cooking connects us elementally: it is an immersive act that directly connects us to plants, animals, ecosystems, and each other. Through cooking, I've made connections I never would otherwise have made: bammy has enabled me to connect with a Jamaican Uber driver, while socca has connected me to many a Niçoisee, and vegan cooking in general has connected me to a whole world of environmentally-minded, health-conscious people. The adventure of culinary wellness is not only in learning new ingredients and dishes but also witnessing and enabling transformation.
It is my hope that the Wecology culinary wellness adventure helps you connect to the world around you in new and different ways just as it has me.