Melisa Karabeyoglu, MS, RD

  1. Tell us about your cultural background?

    I am half American half Turkish. My mother's side grew up in New York all their lives and had German and Irish descent. My father's Side were originated from Bosnia and then lived in Istanbul, Turkey. Therefore I grew listening to a fusion of Turkish, Bosnian, English and German. This of course shaped my identity, and my love for learning about different cultures around the world.

  2. What do you wish people new about your cultural foods?

    Turkish food is not only about kebab! Actually meat is very infrequently found in Turkish food as it is a luxury. Turkey is an agriculturally rich country and therefore has a lot of plant-based, grain and dairy rich food. I am plant-based and find it very easy to find naturally occurring vegan dishes in Turkey. 

  3. What are some of your culture’s health-related values, beliefs, and practices?

    In Turkey, it is very common to believe in the evil eye. Most houses, women, and babies always have an evil eye as a form of decoration, jewelry, or clothing item. It is thought that the evil eye blocks the viewer's energy and therefore protects the wearer from jealousy. 

  4. What family food traditions are most important to you?

    In Turkey, it is common for the youngest to drink water first when the family sits at the table. Also, Turkish families love eating meals together at the table. Meal time = family time. 

  5. What foods do you eat when you are not feeling well?

    I love to drink sage tea which is cleansing for the body. 

  6. Tell us about your comfort foods.

    I love to get my sugar from natural dried fruits like figs, dates, and apricots which are plentiful here.

  7. Are there any foods that you avoid eating for cultural or religious reasons?


  8. What kind of foods do you like to eat on a regular basis?

    I am plant-based so I love green juice and green smoothies. But then I also love having Turkish tea and lots of fresh fruit and vegetables which in Turkey is plentiful.

  9. Would you share a plant-based recipe from your food tradition with us? Why did you pick this recipe?

    A delicious plant-based food found in Turkish cuisine (and nearby countries) is dolma. It means "stuffed". You can make it with rice, pine nuts and currants, grape leaves and some delicious cold pressed Turkish olive oil. Here is a recipe: "STUFFED GRAPE LEAVES WITH OLIVE OIL - BEST TURKISH ZEYTINYAGLI YAPRAK SARMA"