Volunteer Spotlight: Daniela Flores
Tell me about your background
I was born in Mexico City but I never lived there. Because of my dad´s job we had the opportunity to live in different cities of Mexico, but I basically grew up in Toluca which is a nice town located in the southwest of Mexico City. My mom and dad are both engineers and they grew up in Veracruz, which is a port city in the Gulf of Mexico. I have an older sister, her name is Michelle and she is a Psychologist. I love my family, and I’ve learned from each one that life is to enjoy, to work hard, and help others as most as we can.
I went to college in Mexico City, at Universidad Iberoamericana, and I graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Nutrition and Food Sciences. Some years later I went back to get an undergraduate course as a Diabetes Nutrition Educator. Last year I got married, and because of my husband’s job we moved to live to Detroit for one-year period. By the way, a great experience in our lives!
What lead you to pursue nutrition?
My mom is a great person, she always has been an educated woman interested in learning new things, and so I remembered when I was a teenager that she once showed me a book of Nutrition. I remember that I got really interested on what I read, and thought that when I grew up I wanted to become a Nutritionist!
I have always thought that nowadays people are more interested in learning about what is good or better for their health when they eat, but sometimes they are also confused with many information they see or hear everywhere. My main interest is teaching people how to become healthier, and the importance of a healthy lifestyle. Giving them tools to learn more about health and nutrition, like being a “health advisor,” so they can decide better choices.
What lead you to Cooking Matters, and what keeps you volunteering with us?
Since I was a child I learned from my family to work for a better society, wherever we live. And if we are able to use our time to volunteer, let’s take that opportunity!
So, when my husband and I moved to Detroit, my personal life changed in different ways because I used to have a job in Mexico, and many activities. Suddenly I found myself with plenty of time to make the most! That’s why I decided to find a volunteer program, and I thought this should be a great opportunity for me.
I love challenges, so this is Cooking Matters for me. Additionally, I felt so excited to find a place where I could contribute in the nutrition field, as well as keep learning.
Do you have any highlights from a class that you can share?
My native language is Spanish, but I learned English at school and when Vani told me that there was a group of Latino women where I could be a volunteer, because of the language situation, I felt really excited. Then I found out that being part of this course in Mexicantown meant more than giving the lessons in Spanish. This was about cultural empathy with each woman. I worked with Tamara as the coordinator and John as the chef, great people that also integrated very well their knowledge with the classmates, resulting in a multicultural team experience! I also remembered that at the end of the course everyone was speaking “Spanglish” (combination of Spanish and English) and the language was not anymore a barrier, because we all have common interests which were to learned from each other, and have a great time!
Tell me about your family, what you do in your spare time
Because my husband’s job assignment is only for one-year, we are enjoying our stay at the maximum! We like going to the museums exhibits, the parks, concerts, and sports games. We enjoy traveling, and walking in Downtown River walk. We also like trying new food- basically local Michigan products. I have also learned from Cooking Matters to cook Michigan recipes! We really love the state of Michigan. And, regarding the weather, we like it a lot. This is the first time in our lives that we have experienced the four seasons of the year and each one is amazing, we even love the snow!
We also enjoy running, cycling, swimming, and reading, watch movies, and spend time at home.
Do you have a favorite recipe you would like to share?
Before I got married my mom taught me different recipes, and we did a recipe book so I am going to share one of this recipes.
I love seafood for example tuna, which is mainly a source of protein and iron and is also and easy dish to prepare. So this is a dish made with tuna with a Mexican style.
Mexican style tuna- 4 portions
• 2 cans of tuna (water), drained
• 4 tomatoes
• 4 cloves of garlic
• 3 canned chipotle peppers
• 1 can of peas
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• Chopped Parsley
1. Bring a pot of water to a boil, add tomatoes. Let them cool.
2. Blend tomatoes, garlic and chipotle peppers
3. In a saucepan heat the olive oil over medium heat. Adjust the heat to low and add the tomato mixture using a strainer and then season.
4. Add drained tuna over medium heat
5. Add peas and chopped parsley, toss until well combined.
Serve it with tortilla chips.