Hello friends and inquisitive foodie minds,

Welcome to Garden Heart. Before you take a look around at all the dazzling Garden Heart goodness, allow me to share with you a little bit about my journey.


I once read that the first five years of a child’s life shapes the course of their overall health.

As a little girl, raised in Europe, I was surrounded by the abundance of fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs, spices and wholesome grains my family cultivated each year. I was lucky enough to learn from an early age from my grandparents the importance of nature and the role it plays in our overall health. They made it their mission to ensure I understood where our food came from, simply by showing us the source: our land, our very own backyard. Growing up surrounded by fig and cherry trees, grapevines, fresh apples and apricots, a wealth of vegetables and every herb available to season our stews, salads and soups, all harvested by my grandparents, made me aware that we are all connected to this beautiful earth.

Then something changed; at the age of 11 years old, my family moved to Canada. I was struck with digestive issues, colds, flus and the dosage of antibiotics that my family doctor prescribed every year to quickly cure my symptoms and send me back to school. I was also introduced to boxed, canned, and plastic wrapped food that had a shelf life longer than me (hope not, but you get the point). My parents worked really hard for the betterment of our future. Life was busy in this new country we now called home. Life moved faster than what we were used to and for a while we lacked the love, passion, and nourishment from our food to which we had dedicated so much of our life and surrounded ourselves with in Europe. The longer the shelf life of your food, the shorter yours will be, my grandfather would say when visiting. In my late teens, getting sick on a regular basis was normal and my battles with acne, bloating, yeast and bladder infections, hemorrhoids, pneumonia, bronchitis were cured with a dosage of antibiotics. And then something happened that forever changed me as a human being.

Four years ago, I was diagnosed with Mixed Connective Tissue Disorder (MCTD) part of the autoimmune disorder family. Often referred to as the “overlap disease”, I was struck with lupus, scleroderma and rheumatic arthritis.


MCTD attacks the cells and tissues, mistakenly viewing healthy cells as intruders. My life changed in that moment, in the months to come and the years that followed. I went through two years of high peaks of inflammation, to losing all mobility leaving me helpless. I decided that I wasn’t going to accept that as my state of being and decided to give it my all to live to my full potential. The idea of synthetic steroids and their side effects did not sit well with me; it was not a sustainable solution, so I took control and began my holistic search for my own answers, the first step on my fulfilling road to recovery!

It’s incredible to look back now and see how my priorities are completely different, the decisions I make are well thought out, and what I value most in my life has changed.

I embarked on a healing journey and along the way I realized the lessons I learned as a child are now able to guide me on this new path.

For me, it was re-wiring my mind and body to get back to the basics; the roots that started it all but also develop a loving relationship with myself. Healthy wholesome food was something that I lost for a while by moving to a different country, working in the corporate world and traveling for business, eating out and trying every diet that restricted the most nourishing ingredients.

This discovery has been the most rewarding, fulfilling experience and as a result of my own personal quest for health and wellbeing, Garden Heart was born in 2014. I wanted to share what I’m learning, my culinary passion and inspirations by going back to what I once knew best, my love for fresh, nourishing foods and hopefully entice you to join me on this journey as I share my holistic recipes. Here, you’ll find seasonal recipes using whole foods and healing nourishing ingredients, stories and gatherings with friends, as well culinary inspirations from garden to table. I am in no way a professional chef. I am a Holistic Nutritionist in the making, passionate to live a healthier life. I currently live in Toronto, Canada with my husband and our little dachshund, Charlie.

This is my journey and my passion to live a healthier life.

Elena (Elli)

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