7 years ago, I said “I do” to my dear Tomer.

Just kidding… we never really got married. Well, let me explain this better. Today, I wanted to WRITE for you. Today won’t be just another recipe (although I am including some insanely good recipe links here for some of the insanely delicious food we devoured on these special occasions that I am going to tell you all about).

I want to share some pieces of my life with you, since I am a writer at heart, and I’d love for you to get to know me a bit better.

So here we go, this is the story of our 7 year anniversary, some pieces of how we met, why we don’t celebrate our marriage date, and what we did on Tomer’s 30th birthday. This was a big month for us (in reality, this all happened December 2017, but I am sharing it with you now), and I am grateful to be able to include you in a piece of our history.

Our Wedding & Why We Don’t Celebrate It

The day of our “wedding” was one of the worst days of my life. I was shaking, almost crying, and just waiting for it to be over. I don’t even remember the date exactly… All I can say is that I am so very glad that it’s over!

I know, you must think I am insane. Let me explain…

The Backstory

Ever since I was little, I dreamed of having a big wedding, wearing a beautiful white dress, looking glamorous, and being carried off by “prince charming”. Those of you who know me well or personally are probably rolling with laughter right now. This is not the girl I am now…

When I was 20 years old, I went to Melbourne, Australia to study abroad. (Here are a few embarrassing photos from that time, another life…)

Studying abroad in Melbourne, Australia | Soul in the Raw Studying abroad in Melbourne, Australia | Soul in the Raw Studying abroad in Melbourne, Australia | Soul in the Raw

When I was there, I took a course called “Sexual Politics” with Professor Sheila Jeffreys. All I can say is that I thought this was going to be an easy A course, where I would learn about laws about sex, or something like that, but it ended up changing my entire life.

When I took this course, it was the first time in my life when I actually made sense of my sexual assault. I learned about the hierarchical structure in society, about systems of control, about patriarchy, and about why sexual assault is not an issue of one psychotic man, but an issue of a society whose power structures place women in a vulnerable position, at the hands of men who learned that women are sexual objects. There are many more women who are raped than men who rape, meaning that man men will go on to rape again and again, and of course, most men do not rape women.

But sexual assault is so common (1 in 4 are assaulted, and ALL women are harassed in their lifetime), that it became clear to me that this is not an issue of a single, psychotic rapist. This is a rape culture issue in the entire society, in every single society in the world.

This shook my world so much, and it also explained why my 18-year-old boyfriend in high school raped me for 2+ consecutive years. It was not because he had a mental problem. It was not because he was an evil person. It was because he was raised with that message, that this is how and what he should do, and how he should behave with women.

Ok, you may think I am totally digressing and telling you a story about my sexual assault experience when I am supposed to talk about my horrible wedding. Well, they are connected.

When I met Tomer, I was really nervous to tell him that I was sexually assaulted. I didn’t want him to be scared by it, or to treat me differently, even though it did warrant different treatment in many situations. Strangely enough, Tomer is so intuitive that when I told him, he kind of already knew and he wasn’t surprised at all.

Also, on our first “official” date, I told him I did not want to get married. I was trying to scare him off a little bit, and testing his boundaries. He showed no sign of surprise or shock, and I was the one left surprised!

So ever since the beginning, he knew that for me personally, the marriage institution, especially in Israel (where it is run by the religious establishment), but also in the world in general, meant patriarchy. The way weddings are strcutred, the words that are said in them, all have an intimate connection to the institution of patriarchy in society – the way men control women.

Let me stop right here, right now, and say that if you view this differently, that’s totally fine. I have still gone to my friends’ weddings (in order to support what they wanted, not because I like weddings, trust me), and I still love you if you got married, or are planning to. This is just how I personally feel about weddings for the last 10 years or so…

Our Actual Wedding

I would probably get married to Tomer in some sort of wedding if he really insisted because I love him very, very much. However, much to my relief, Tomer was actually very happy that I did not want a wedding or a marriage, because after thinking about it for some time (he had never thought about any of this before at all), he realized that he felt pretty similarly to me about it.

However… when we decided that we wanted to move from Jerusalem to San Diego, we realized that Tomer needed citizenship. So, we realized that we absolutely had no choice but to have an official wedding ceremony.

We signed up to go to the court house, and get the papers signed. We invited my parents as witnesses, and my best friend, because she insisted on being there.

I was extremely upset that day for a few reasons:

  1. As I mentioned, weddings go against everything I believe in, and I really didn’t want to get married.
  2. During ceremonies, I often feel trapped and uneasy. I feel a lack of control, and it makes me very upset.

Luckily, we had the sweetest female judge who married us, and when she said ‘husband’, I corrected her to ‘partner’. Everyone laughed. Here are some photos of us at the beautiful San Diego court house in 2013, getting “married”:

Our Wedding in San Diego, at the courthouse | Soul in the Raw

Our Wedding in San Diego, at the courthouse | Soul in the Raw

So the best part of this whole “wedding” experience is that Tomer completely understood why I was upset, and calmed me down in his charming way by just being very normal about my stress and accepting it.

Funny thing is that after we got married, we had 2 more weddings! So because Tomer and I got married on his first trip to the United States, the first time he met my family and friends, we decided to have a big party just so that everyone could meet up and take advantage of this “wedding” thing…

This was actually the best part, and we had a lot of fun. We made all of our own food, and invited just a handful of my best friends and my parents.

Our Wedding in San Diego, with friends and family | Soul in the Raw Our Wedding in San Diego, with friends and family | Soul in the Raw

As you can see, we were very happy on this day, and had a great time! We spent 3 days making all vegan food for the party, and it was a beautiful celebration. We also then had a party with family and friends back in Jerusalem.

So the date we celebrate, December 13th, 2010, is actually the date we met and started dating. And that’s because this is the most meaningful day for us, as we were both committed to one another from the start. From our first month dating on, I knew I wanted to spend my life with Tomer. He was and is my bestest friend, and truly my life partner. Here is a photo from a while ago when Tomer and I just met, celebrating his birthday by walking around the mountains of Jerusalem (we are major hikers, and it’s one of our favorite activities together):

When Tomer and I met | Soul in the Raw

Since most of our relationship is spent cracking jokes at each other (I always say that this is our true form of intimacy and communication), I am about to stop all this cheesy love talk, and move on to the good stuff…

Our 7 Year Anniversary

So, celebrating our 7th year together, we had a lot of fun spending time with my parents, kayaking, and eating bomb food, as always! By the way, if you’re wondering, yes, we are both vegan, and no, I did not turn Tomer vegan (another chauvenistic assumption many people make when they meet us…) We went vegan together, as a couple.

On our 7 year anniversary, we had a beautiful picnic in Mission Bay, in San Diego, where we enjoyed the most delicious two cakes that my mom made, according to my recipes. She made my twix recipe into a cake (OH MY GOD, IS ALL I CAN SAY!!!), and my amazing raw vegan cashew cheesecake too. You really  must make both of these recipes. They are absolutely delicious, and so easy and quick to make, compared to any other cake.

Raw vegan twix cake for our anniversary, recipe on my blog | Soul in the Raw

Raw vegan twix cake for our anniversary, recipe on my blog | Soul in the Raw

We also really enjoyed our time together kayaking. We really love to be active (and eat a ton, as you can see), on all of our celebrations. It’s so much fun being active together, and trying new activities that we haven’t before. Although I have gone kayaking a while ago many times, and I absolutely love it! It’s a very budget-friendly option of something fun to do together. You can easily find a groupon for kayaking, and it’ll cost you definitely under $50.

Kayaking in Mission Bay, San Diego, for our 7 year anniversary | Soul in the Raw

Oh, and of course we had the most fun time doing self care night together at home, when we returned. We made a face mask, and had a pretty hilarious experience putting it on each other.

self care for our 7 year anniversary date | Soul in the Raw

And we also ate tons of delicious raw vegan cheese with crackers and veggies. This cheese recipe is out of this world, and it’s a perfect appetizer slash super fat-filled and satisfying meal ;). Recipe for this insane raw vegan cheese is here.

Vegan Cheese Recipe | Soul in the Raw

Watch our fun self-care routine we did together in the video here:

Ok, now let’s move on to the other date in December, Tomer’s 30th birthday. As you can tell, December is a crazy month for me with all this planning and food prep, but it’s our month of celebration! Good thing it’s in winter – I really dislike the winter, so having this to look forward to is so awesome!

Tomer’s 30th Birthday

For Tomer’s birthday, I wanted to do my best to surprise him. We often joke that Tomer works for the Israeli intelligence, because he literally remembers every little thing I ever told him, and it is almost completely impossible to do anything to surprise him.

However, ladies and gentleman, I am proud to say that I succeeded this time!

For his birthday, I made him an amazing birthday breakfast (he loves smoothie bowls just like I do, and I even topped it with a special home-made grawnola I made for him – aka, dumping all the sweet things in the house into a food processor…). Please note how ridiculously adorable these birthday candles are!!!

Tomer's birthday smoothie bowl breakfast | Soul in the Raw Tomer's birthday smoothie bowl breakfast | Soul in the Raw Tomer's birthday smoothie bowl breakfast | Soul in the Raw

Then, I attempted to surprise him by booking a sailing lesson. For a few months, Tomer was begging me to go sailing or on a cruise, and I kept telling him how much “I hate sailing and cruises”. At one point, my mom said, “why are you so mean, just take the guy on a boat already”. Well, I had a plan all along! A plan that miserably failed.

It is very, very difficult to surprise this man. But stay tuned until the end, BECAUSE I DID SUCCEED EVENTUALLY.

So we had our lovely sail together, and it was really peaceful being in the water. After that, we went for a little walk, and then out to dinner with good friends.

Ok, so you ready for the hilarious surprise story? Here goes…

Right near our house (walking distance), there is a line dancing bar. This is the type of place you would hardly ever find our group of friends at… And we always joke about having vegan night at this spot, where we all come in with our vegan shirts and dance our booties off.

So I told them all in a private message before the birthday dinner to meet us there. They snuck out of dinner one by one, and headed to the bar.

After dinner, when we were passing by the bar, I told Tomer, “let’s just go in and check it out”. He was very confused… but I was very adamant.

We went in, and all of our friends were there already. He was super surprised! This was my big win of the day, I tell you! We danced a bit (wow, line dancing is an art! It’s so hard!), had many laughs, and headed home.

I forgot to mention that we also had a picnic with my parents the day before, and I cooked up a true raw vegan storm. I made delicious raw vegan burgers and sandwiches according to extremely specific instructions from Mr. Yanay-Triner. He used to absolutely love this sandwich with mayo and ketchup, so I made it for him using my amazing raw vegan bread recipe and raw vegan mayonnaise and raw vegan ketchup from my online course, The Effortlessly Flavorful Vegan Kitchen.

I also made the incredible raw vegan cherry cheesecake again – it is such a huge hit!

Raw vegan sandwich with my raw vegan bread recipe for Tomer's birthday | Soul in the Raw Raw vegan sandwich with my raw vegan bread recipe for Tomer's birthday | Soul in the Raw Raw vegan hamburger with my raw vegan bread recipe for Tomer's birthday | Soul in the Raw Raw vegan cheesecake for Tomer's birthday | Soul in the Raw Raw vegan cheesecake for Tomer's birthday | Soul in the Raw












Oh my god, ok, this post has me starving!!! This is all about food, well at least the last half. Haha!

I hope you have enjoyed reading about our magical vegan adventures, seeing how fun it is to celebrate occasions vegan-style with the people you love, and I definitely hope you will make some of these incredible recipes we all love so much. I also hope you enjoyed reading a bit more about my life philosophy, even if it is wildly different from yours, and if it is – I would love to hear about yours in the comments below!

Please be sure to watch the vlog, where I show you all this amazing food we ate and our adventures in more detail:

Tomer and I on his 30th birthday picnic with family, so much good vegan food!!! | Soul in the Raw

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Marina Yanay-Triner is a wellness coach and recipe developer through Soul in the Raw. Marina creates easy and delicious vegan recipes and writes about the health benefits of a plant-based diet, focusing on evidence-based nutrition information. She loves to help clients go and stick to plant based eating through her powerful coaching program, combining nutrition and cooking education along with transformational mindset work. Marina adopted a whole food, plant based lifestyle over 7 years ago, inspired by her mother's incredible healing story of reversing a crippling bladder disease. She has reversed PMS symptoms and encourage emotional healing from trauma as a result of this transition. Marina is incredibly passionate about the vegan diet for human health, animal welfare, and the well-being of our planet, all of which she envisions as co-dependent.