Vegan prepped: Chef, yoga instructor introduces new habits

Pyarvin Abbasova

HARLINGEN — Originally from Russia, Pyarvin Abbasova, 34, brought to Harlingen her culinary knowledge, as well as her yoga expertise.

Abbasova lived in New York but moved to the Rio Grande Valley because of her husband’s job.

“We moved here for work. I think the first summer there was a big flood,” Abbasova said about her arrival to the Valley.

Once in Harlingen, she found the Whole Life Wellness Center run by Sandra Vitallo.

Abbasova has more than 10 years’ experience as a yogi and asked if she could join as a teacher.

“That was the only yoga center in Harlingen, and I asked if they needed substitute teachers. And they did, pretty much right after I moved,” she said.

“I always feel very at home in yoga studios and yoga centers. It has a certain vibe where right away I felt very at home,” Abbasova said.

By joining the wellness center, she was introduced to multiple people in the community, and that way she had a better introduction to the Valley.

Abbasova was also a kitchen manager in the past and is accustomed to eating plant based. When she arrived, she recalls not finding vegan options for her. Because of the limitations, she decided to do something about it.

“I talked to Sandra, and I said, ‘Hey, you have a commercial kitchen that you use only for making kombucha, but what do you think about doing plant based meals?’” Abbasova said.

“She loved the idea,” she said.

The vegan menu began in November 2019 and stopped in March 2020 due to COVID-19.

The duo started again with the vegan meals in November 2020.

Abbasova said the menu has a variety of options: Mexican vegan dishes, Vietnamese, Indian, among many others.

The next menu begins today.

The meals are packaged as any other prepped meal for easy use and fast grabbing for clients.

“We do it six days a week, and people have done it consistently for several weeks. And they say they feel better,” Abbasova said.

“Overall people have been very grateful,” she said.

Abbasova is also a full-time mom of a 5- and 3-year-old, which she attributes as a third full-time job.

“I think yoga and a healthy lifestyle just goes together. You start realizing what is good for your body even to eat,” Abbasova said.