balanced diet

Balanced Diet According to Ayurveda

Traditional Indian meals – the thalis and the ones that used to be served on a banana leaf are all about balanced diet. According to Ayurveda, a simple formula to balanced diet is to include - the six Ayurvedic tastes or Rasas: sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent, and astringent in every meal. It is believed that including all six tastes in every meal will ensure a balanced meal and a feeling of satisfaction preventing snacking and overeating.

Balanced Diet According to Ayurveda and Modern Science – is the title of the academic paper by Dr Arbune Anadrao and Dr Suchitra Shrikhande in PARIPEX - INDIAN JOURNAL OF RESEARCH | Volume-9 | Issue-1 | January – 2020.

Here are insights from the article for us to better understand the concept of Ayurveda that believes good health starts with proper metabolism of food and good robust digestion.

Balanced dietIt is based on the premise that food, when consumed according to our personal physiological needs, acts like a medicine balancing our metabolism and promoting vitality. Ayurvedic Diet based on the principles of Ayurvedic medicine and focuses on balancing different types of energy within your body, which is said to improve health. Unlike many other diets, the Ayurvedic diet provides personalized recommendations about which foods to eat and avoid based on your body type. It's also popular because it's not only said to promote better health for your body but also your mind.


To be able to function properly, our body needs all the nutrients that come from foods, that is proteins, carbohydrates (sugar) and fats, plus vitamins and minerals. To help maintain a healthy weight and have the best chance to stay in good health, balance is key.

VATA-PACIFYING DIET: Vata is balanced by a diet of freshly cooked, whole foods that are soft or mushy in texture, rich in protein and fat, seasoned with a variety of warming spices, and served warm or hot.

  • Protein: small amounts of poultry, seafood, tofu
  • Dairy: milk, butter, yogurt, cheese, ghee
  • Fruits: fully ripe, sweet, and heavy fruits, such as bananas, blueberries, strawberries, grapefruit, mangoes, peaches, and plums
  • Vegetables: cooked vegetables, including beets, sweet potatoes, onions, radishes, turnips, carrots, and green beans
  • Legumes: chickpeas, lentils, mung beans
  • Grains: Cooked oats, cooked rice
  • Nuts and seeds: Any, including almonds, walnuts, pistachios, chia seeds, flax seeds, and sunflower seeds
  • Herbs and spices: cardamom, ginger, cumin, basil, cloves, oregano, thyme, black pepper

PITTA-PACIFYING DIET: Pitta is balanced by a diet of fresh, whole foods (both cooked and raw) that are cooling, hearty, energizing, comparatively dry, and high in carbohydrates.

  • Protein: poultry in small amounts, egg whites, tofu
  • Dairy: milk, ghee, butter
  • Fruits: sweet, fully ripe fruits like oranges, pears, pineapples, bananas, melons, and mangoes
  • Vegetables: sweet and bitter veggies, including cabbage, cauliflower, celery, cucumber, zucchini, leafy greens, sweet potatoes, carrots, squash, and Brussels sprouts
  • Legumes: chickpeas, lentils, mung beans, lima beans, black beans, kidney beans
  • Grains: barley, oats, basmati rice, wheat
  • Nuts and seeds: small amounts of pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, sunflower seeds, coconut
  • Herbs and spices small amounts of black pepper, cumin, cinnamon, cilantro, dill, turmeric

KAPHA-PACIFYING DIET: Kapha is balanced by a diet of freshly cooked, whole foods that are light, dry, warming, well spiced, and relatively easy to digest—ideally served warm or hot.

  • Protein: poultry in small amounts, seafood, egg whites
  • Dairy:s kim milk, goat milk, soy milk
  • Fruits: apples, blueberries, pears, pomegranates, cherries, and dried fruit like raisins, figs, and prunes
  • Vegetables: asparagus, leafy greens, onions, potatoes, mushrooms, radishes, okra
  • Legumes: any, including black beans, chickpeas, lentils, and navy beans
  • Grains: oats, rye, buckwheat, barley, corn, millet
  • Nuts and seeds: small amounts of pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, flax seeds
  • Herbs and spices: any, including cumin, black pepper, turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, basil, oregano, and thyme.

Basic Ayurvedic eating practices include:

Intake of six rasas or tastes.

Eat mindfully and with concentration.

Avoid talking, laughter, and other distractions to fully appreciate your meal and the wholesome benefits it provides.

Eat slowly enough

that you can savor the taste of the food.

Eat quickly enough to prevent the food from getting cold.

Eat the proper quantity of food. Be aware of hunger signals and signs of fullness to avoid overeating.

Eat only when your previous meal has been digested


  1. Eat roughly the same amount of calories that your body uses. Healthy body weight = “calories in”- “calories out”.
  2. Eat a lot of plant foods: vegetables, legumes, whole grains, fruits and nuts.
  3. Limit your intake of fats, preferring the healthier unsaturated fats to saturated fats and trans fats.
  4. Limit your intake of granulated sugar, ideally less than 10g/day.
  5. Limit salt / sodium consumption from all sources

A BALANCED DIET IS PLEASURE: A balanced diet should bring us our body needs, no more, no less, but it must not be strictly followed every day; equilibrium can be achieved over several days.


Restrict saturated fat to < 10 or < 7% calories

Avoid trans fatty acid sources

Moderately augment mono- and polyunsaturated fat to maintain total intake above 25%

Restrict cholesterol to < 300 or < 200 mg daily

Augment fruit and vegetable intake for soluble fiber content

Favor complex carbohydrates

Reduce salt intake


  1. Don't Suppress Appetite.
  2. Eat whenever you feel appetite.
  3. Eat two times a day.
  4. Don't overeat.
  5. Eat food in their natural form.
  6. Eat food within 48 minutes of cooking.
  7. Eat food cooked at home. 8. Eat food with a calm mind.


  1. Kaviraj Ambika Datta Shastri;’’Ayurved TatvaSandipika “Hindi Commentary ;’’ “Sushrut Samhita’’ 2. Acharya Vidyadhar Shukla,Prof.Ravi Dutt Tripathi,“Charak Samhita”,Vaidya Manorama Hindi Commentary,Sutra sthan chapter 5 - Matrashitiya.
  2. /diet/

(Writers Dr Arbune Anadrao is HOD & Prof.vSharer Kriya Dept, RIARCH, Mayani;

Dr Suchitra Shrikhande MD is a Scholar, BM Ayurved College,Nandanvan,Nagpur)

Dal Khichdi

Khichdi by Any Other Name, Tastes Just As Good

When Swiggy released its ‘What did your City Eat’ list for the year 2021, the data suggested Mumbaikars ordered Dal Khichdi the most…here’s low down on the trend…

Dal Khichdi when it was announced as the national dish of India, a few years ago, there was much discussion on its relevance across the length and breadth of the sub-continent. And, after considerable deliberation it was accepted hands down as the dish that has its presence across the country with its little variations.


Indian cuisines have always leveraged on the lentils for their protein consumption. Protein-rich lentil cooked with rice – also substituted with millets if one wants to avoid the simple carbs is as basic to Indian cooking as it can get. That’s in short a quick recipe for Dal Khichdi. A bit of a seasoning using onions, at times the inimitable ginger-garlic paste, mustard seeds and zeera, some green chillies and ghee – voila – the national favourite is ready. In south pepper is used too, and it becomes enough fierce to deal with the winter chills.

This love for khichdi caught the eye of quite a few entrepreneurs who have found a way to turn this into a sustainable and scalable business model.

Hamza Bandookwala

Hamza Bandookwala, who founded Comfort Curries, a network of home chefs in Mumbai mentions how each of the cuisine imparts its uniqueness to Khichdi. “It’s amazing how there are so many variations. As a Bohri we eat what we call Dal Chawal Palida. Parsis, Bengalis, Sindhis – each have their own delicious versions of this dish, and that’s the beauty of it.”

“While dishes like biryani are for weekend extravaganza, Khichdi is more like comfort food. Perhaps, that is the reason it is the most ordered dish,” says Hamza.

In addition to being the go -to comfort food, At Indian homes, Khichdi is considered healthy and easy to digest, and often prescribed for the sick and recovering. As the world is moving towards health food, and interestingly also towards comfort food according to recent studies, it is indeed evident that India takes to Dal Khichdi. And the new age entrepreneurs see the opportunity and they create delicious versions of the good old Khichdi.

Nagpur based Khichadiwala is probably the first exclusively Khichdi serving brand in India. They have on their menu nineteen varieties including Tomato Spinach Khichdi – popular during winters, Garlic Khichdi and even Italian version of Risotto. Manish Khanchandani and Sagar Bhajani started Khichadiwala in 2014, and they presently have their kitchens in Bengaluru and Hyderabad. "We did a small workshop to explore the idea of selling healthy food in fast food format. We realised it is Khichdi that has the potential,” shares Manish.

Manish Khanchandani

He adds, “This is not a seasonal trend. It will stay. Our main target are the ones who are home sick, who eat Khichdi as that connects them to nostalgia. This is for those who want to eat guilt free comfort food. And, its healthy.”

In the year 2020, Ola Foods started the much successful Khichdi Experiment, after extensive market research and discovering the increasing demand for home-cooked food. The menu is indeed an experiment with a variety of flavours and ingredients worked into the otherwise simple recipe.

Ola Food during their research found out that there are atleast 200 varieties of Khichdi in India.

Anshul Khandelwal, Head of Marketing, Category and Revenue, Ola Foods, in a conversation with Business Line said: “Migrant working professionals aged 25 to 35, as well as young couples who have just moved to new cities, are health-conscious but do not have regimental diets. They want to be mindful but they don't want to give up on the taste and excitement of food. We are serving them mostly.”


For the Mumbaikars, who have been ordering Khichdi the most, and those travelling to this buzzing city in India, popular website includes in its top Khichdi places from Mumbai – Quarter Canteen, Bandra; The Bombay Havelli, Sindhful, Soam, Chowpatty and Jaihind Lunchhome outlets.

health data

88% of Young India Faces Lifestyle Issues says Health Data

Ayurvedic nutrition brand Kapiva's year-end heath data survey reveals that amongst the age group of 25 - 45, 88% are facing lifestyle issues and on an average there are atleast three issues per person  

Kapiva, a modern and accessible Ayurvedic nutrition brand has released a year-end health data survey in collaboration with market research platform CrownIt.

The survey was done across Mumbai, Delhi NCR, Bengaluru, Hyderabad & Kolkata – 10 cities together and the data revealed that 88% of the people amongst the age group of 25-45 are facing one or other lifestyle issues such as digestion, acne, hair fall, weight management or stress with an average of 3 issues per person.

Speaking about Kapiva, founder Ameve Sharma, says, “Lifestyle issues are very common these days amongst millennials but it is crucial for us to understand the root cause and the depth of the impact to solve it. With this survey, we want to help millennials realize the potential of Ayurveda and how easily they can adopt it in their daily routines for a better lifestyle. We want to enable them to break through stereotyped perceptions of Ayurveda and are happy to see that a majority of people have already started taking their steps towards it. Our endeavor would be to keep innovating our offerings and make them as convenient to use as possible to drive widespread adoption.”

The health data survey surely confirms the fear that as a country India may not be so high on health, despite the quick fixes and dietary changes done by many post Covid.

Kapiva is a brand that’s endorsed by fitness enthusiast and healthy lifestyle advocate actor Malaika Arora, who is a brand ambassador and investor as well.

Here’s what she says about the effect of pandemic on our life style, “The pandemic changed our lifestyle in numerous ways. If we look closely, we can see its impact on both our physical and mental health. I strongly believe that we can all take proactive steps for a holistic lifestyle and to achieve that Ayurveda is my go-to solution. It is exciting to see people adopt this practice and I want to do my bit in encouraging more people to try it.”

Here are a few highlights from the year-end health data survey by Kapiva based on people’s view of the ancient science:

  • There’s a significant uptick (95%) in the awareness and willingness to adopt Ayurveda
  • Lucknow faces hair & gastric concerns the most, while Kolkata deals with stress
  • Health data suggests close to 90% of people believe that Ayurveda has no side effects 
  • 4 out of 5 believe that Covid has increased their willingness to embrace Ayurveda
  • Critical illnesses like blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar/diabetes, liver health issues, and heart disease are directionally higher in top metros and among heavy smokers and drinkers.
  • Digestive issues are more common in married people vs others.
  • Women are more prone to hair and skin issues and for the same, they prefer ayurvedic solutions.




Banamin – As Good as a Banana

You Have Only One Life. Don’t De-Taste it by Eating Raw, Bland, Unreal Foods


Nikhil Gandhi, the founder of the clean label healthy food and supplement’s brand, Banamin, is a vegan in transition and an advocate of creating healthier society through food. The company he has founded – Banamin Healthcare believes in research and innovation, and produces a variety of low GI, Gluten free and nutrient dense plant-based snacks, pre-mixes and even supplements. The company specialises in using Bananas, beans, veggies and other fruits instead of wheat to create food products.

The website says Banamin products are developed by ‘Super Achievers in Corporate World for Today’s Super busy & Stressful Lifestyle’. And here’s the story - The Gujarati that Nikhil is, he loves his home cooked food, and by virtue of being from Maharashtra, he loves his food spicy too. A chemical engineer by profession, he worked for Indian Oil for a few years from his home town, and life was sorted. He enjoyed eating home-cooked vegetarian food. And then he joined Shell company, and work took him to Malaysia., where food became a major problem. “I had to travel a lot. This was in the year 2008. The concept of vegetarian food was difficult to explain in most places at South East Asia during that period. Wherever I went, vegetarian food meant any dish with veggies. I tried to survive on ‘Ready to Cook’ food, fruits and shakes. From nutrition point of view, it was difficult and not sustainable enough. Some of my colleagues shifted to India, or became non-vegetarians,” Nikhil shares his experiences, which led to the idea of creating nutritious food - snacks, pre-mixes and supplements that are tasty and plant-based.

BanaminBetween 2011 and 2013 Nikhil conducted many experiments in his kitchen and did a whole lot of research. “I liked the luxury and lifestyle that came with a career in corporate world. But I jumped into my venture thinking if it doesn’t work, I can always get back to corporate.”

“For the pilot plant studies during 2016, we used raw materials from various corners of India, Malaysia and from other parts of of south east asia. We had also used the raw material during various seasons to test the impact on nutrition. We only use natural food product sourced directly from farmers to develop our healthy ingredients. Since 2016, over the next 3.5 years period, we have developed 200 plus recipes and 30 plus products.”

Nikhil was not in a hurry. He wanted to develop 100% Gluten Free, Plant Based, chemical free products with longer shelf life, with no added flavours; basically, 100% clean label products packed with nutrition, and products that are 100% Indian made. “We are gluten free, milk free and healthy.”

“My background helped too. My family members are either doctors or pharmacists. My sister is a Biochemistry Major. All this helped me to envision the project right from designing the plant, to streamlining the manufacturing process from raw material to the final stage. We created a unique prototype. The major problem when we started in 2016 was procurement of raw materials, which wasn’t as easy as how it is today,” he explains. Nikhil began by selling his products outside India.

BanaminBanana as the Base Ingredient

Nikhil feels banana is one of the most undermined super foods that is easily available in India. “Given a choice between what’s easily available and what is exotic, I will surely lean towards the former. While I was doing research, I did not want to use grains to replace wheat. Instead, I found we could use banana to create familiar recipes.” With our pilot plant studies and subsequent R&D, we have developed inhouse technology to produce pharmaceutical grade highly nutritious banana powder which is also having >15 months Shelf Life without using any preservatives.

Product Line

“Our products are Plant Based, developed from fruits, vegetables & legumes. No preservatives, stabilizers, additives, flavors, colors, sweeteners or any other chemicals are used during any stage of the manufacturing. All our products are Gluten Free, Low in Glycemic Index, Rich in Nutrients, Preservatives Free, Chemicals Free and suitable for everyone in family, especially Vegans, Vegetarians, Celiacs, Diabetic persons, Obese people, Athletes, Fitness Enthusiast, Growing Kids and Women.”

The Market

Banamin sells in Malaysia, Singapore and in India through their online stores since late 2019. Banamin has also done sampling in Australia and Canada, however due to covid19 pandemic, the plans for launching products have been delayed. But Banamin serves individual customers from Australia and Canada.

The company is bootstrapped in order to have the freedom to experiment. “We are happy with the current progress with our shoestring budget. Once we are ready to scale to next level, we will definitely look for investment,” shares Nikhil.


We have created product portfolio considering the export market. In a way, Covid forced us to look at India as a potential market. We see Indian market is more into Ready to Eat food. So we have to adopt to the Indian customers’ preferences.

When we began marketing for India, we rebranded our Vegan Omelette as Utappam, and Pancakes mix as Parathas. We have Falafel. We also introduced Vada. We do have baking mixes for cookies / crackers that we haven’t launched in India yet – Nikhil reveals.

Further, operating from Tier 2 city has its own set of problems including the key issue of logistics, both in terms of ease of having and from cost perspective. As Indian customers are extremely price conscious, shipping charges also plays a vital role in product demand !!

Post pandemic as every entrepreneur in wellness and food industry will agree, health awareness amongst food lovers has been increased. It is really a good boost for Healthpreneurs. About Vegan Product sales perspective, Indian people will continue to be cautious, especially because vegan products have always been projected for Premium segment,considered as super expensive and Indian vegan brands are keeping this notion alive with highly priced offerings.

Nikhil Gandhi continues to work around the problem areas, in creating new varieties, in reducing the costs and increasing shelf life to name a few. He adds, “As a company Banamin is committed to the statement - We are Food Lovers who are solving the biggest problem most people facing. i.e. Eating Healthy, Nutritious and Balanced Foods without sacrificing taste and without eating chemicals.


Delhi High Court Orders Proper Labelling of Vegetarian Food

Labelling food products has been on the top of 'things to change' in India ecosystem. With more and m0re people adapting to newer food habits for health reasons, looking behind the cover has become norm. However several Indian food companies are yet to adapt the change. And, more than once a green dot need not signify a dish to 100 percent vegetarian.

Food regulationsIn this scenario, earlier this week Delhi High Court ordered 'Full Disclosure of Manufacturing Ingredients' for food products. This comes after a complaint that many food articles having ingredients sourced from animals are passed off as vegetarian by affixing the green dot. Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Jasmeet Singh expressed their displeasure over the failure of the authorities, Central Government and Food Safety and Standards Authority of India in checking the lapses and non compliance of Food Safety Act, 2006. 

What is the definition of non-vegetarian food as per regulations

Non-vegetarian food contains “whole or part of any animal including birds, fresh water or marine animals or eggs or products of any animal origin, but excluding milk or milk products”.

Here's what regulations say

All non-vegetarian food must be labelled with “a brown colour filled circle… [of a specified diameter] inside a square with brown outline having sides double the diameter of the circle”. Where egg is the only non-vegetarian ingredient, a “declaration to this effect [may be given] in addition to the said symbol”. Vegetarian food must be labelled with a “green colour filled circle…inside the square with green outline”.

The court said that the law “very clearly intends and expressly provides for declaration on all food items…as to whether they are vegetarian or non-vegetarian”. However, “it appears, some Food Business Operators are taking advantage of — upon misreading of the Regulations, the fact that the Act does not specifically oblige [them] to disclose the source from which the ingredients — which go into manufacture/production of food articles, are sourced, except…specific express exceptions”.

The court said the use of non-vegetarian ingredients, even in “a minuscule percentage”, “would render such food articles non-vegetarian, and would offend the religious and cultural sensibilities/ sentiments of strict vegetarians, and would interfere in their right to freely profess, practice and propagate their religion and belief”.

What does the High Court Order mean?

After this regulation , ingredients like Disodium Inosinate, which is used in instant noodles and potato chips etc., and is made from meat or fish will no longer be displayed as a code. One the label a manufacturer must disclose all the ingredients that went into making a product and if it is plant-based, animal-based or cell-cultured.

Lucia Vimercati Infuses Ayurveda and Yoga into Mediterranean Living

Lucia was 10 when she got introduced to Yoga by her physical education teacher, who was also a Yoga practitioner. Ever since then, Yoga remained with her in some form or the other. She started to practice Yoga only in 2004 and in 2012 Lucia left her job and started teaching Yoga full time. “I was going through a stressful situation at work. That is when I felt a call to go back to my practice in a serious way and explore more of what Yoga had to offer in addition to asanas. She found a small studio – Yoga Lila, where the teachers not only taught Yoga asanas but also brought attention to the benefits of meditation, mantra chanting and the study of sacred texts.

“I loved that so much that I was attending every class and workshop they offered and this prompted me to train and share all these practices myself.” Lucia eventually left her corporate career to become a Yoga teacher. She also started studying Vedic chanting with Shantala Sriramaiah of Veda Studies in Belgium. Lucia is now back in Italy, where she teaches online, due to the pandemic. Her courses include Hatha Yoga, Restorative Yoga, Yoga Nidra and Hormone Yoga for Women – a dynamic asana sequence aimed at helping women with hormonal imbalances, especially those going through menopause. Along with her Yoga teaching, Lucia has also excelled the art of plant-based and Ayurvedic cooking.

You have been in a corporate career in the past and also taught Yoga to many office-going professionals. In your experience, how does Yoga help in balancing work and health?

I worked in the corporate world for over 30 years. My last job as Director of Sales and Marketing Southern Europe for an international hotel chain was very rewarding, but also very stressful. I was travelling most of my time. Multitasking and over-performing were considered the minimum standards. Yoga helped me to stay balanced, disciplined and healthy, both physically and mentally. Through Pranayama, I learnt to control my breath which not only helped me stay calm but also enhanced my focus. I could now use my voice more effectively and in a focused way when I had to give a speech in front of many people.

During my stay in Brussels, I also had the opportunity to teach the staff of one of the European Union departments during lunch time. In this short time period, I could mainly teach asanas. Despite that, I saw the difference in the students from the beginning to the end of the class: some students came in totally stressed or crunched from sitting all morning in front of a computer and after a moment of total silence or a few breathing awareness exercises, they would completely change their gaze and posture. I could feel that they were much more centered and focused. By the end of the class, they all had a sparkle in their eyes. For many, it was the only opportunity to discover and practice Yoga.

Many of them continue to practice with me online since I moved back to Italy. Stress is such a major cause of diseases and offering Yoga in the office not only contributes to the employees' physical and mental health, but also keeps them disciplined and focused, so there are tremendous benefits for corporate professionals if they practice Yoga.

What led to your interest in Ayurvedic cooking?

After we practice Yoga for some time, we naturally feel the need to change things in our lives. And food is one of them. Cooking had always been a passion and when I started to explore ways that I could make my food even healthier, Ayurveda was a natural choice as a sister science to Yoga. During my stay in Germany, I took a course on Ayurvedic cooking where I learnt the basics of an Ayurvedic diet with many recipes and how to better integrate spices in dishes.

What I mainly like about Ayurveda is that it is not a “one-size-fits-all” system. It’s tailored to each individual according to their constitution and health conditions and it can be adapted to local ingredients and seasonal patterns. If you don’t like an ingredient there are always plenty of others to obtain the same benefit.

How do you personally approach the idea of eating healthy and right?

We often hear “we are what we eat” but I would add “we should eat what we are” and harmonize our diets with the nature that surrounds us using local ingredients and according to the climate we are in. We are part of nature and we are made of the same substance of nature.  Food is a gift from nature for which we can only be grateful. Whether we are cooking for our family or for ourselves, we have an opportunity three times a day to bring ourselves in harmony with nature and improve our physical wellbeing.

What is outside (Macro-cosmos) is also inside us (Micro-cosmos) and in order to be well we should try to harmonize with nature. For example, if we live in a very cold climate, eating raw food will make our digestion worse as our Agni (digestive fire) will be impacted. Ayurveda mentions that some ingredients naturally have cooling or warming properties so people need to investigate that through research or consult with an Ayurveda therapist or doctor to know what is best for them. Similarly, eating a plant-based diet also gives us a chance to practice Ahimsa, non-harming, one of the Yamas (restraints) in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras.

How does your course ‘Yoga in the Kitchen” and your two e-books titled ‘Yogalicious’ bring the above principles into practice?

I see many people wanting to improve the way they eat, but often have no idea how to do that. They think that eating a plant-based diet will be boring and tasteless. Or they would like to use alternative ingredients like tofu for instance, but don’t know how to cook it. Or they are not aware of the variety of vegetables, grains and beans that exists and keep using the same ingredients.

For this reason, knowing my passion for cooking and my studies in Ayurveda and Macrobiotics, the small studio where I was practicing and studying in Italy asked me to start this course. It was very much appreciated by students and some of them made their entire family change their diets and solved some of their health issues thanks to that.

My cooking is mainly a mix of Ayurveda, Macrobiotics, raw food principles applied to Mediterranean plant-based recipes. I like to work with different colors, shapes and textures but as I am terrible at arts, cooking is my own way to express my creativity.

My books are an extension of these principles applied to Mediterranean cuisine. I have worked with some of the traditional recipes making them plant-based and healthier. I try and recommend the use of ingredients that are organic, seasonal and local as much as possible. More importantly, my dishes contain no ingredients of animal origin, industrial products or sugar.

The reason why I write sugar here is, because of the increasing awareness of sugar as the main cause of many diseases–obesity, diabetes, heart and circulation problems, skin problems, hormonal disturbances and many others. Ayurveda prescribes that each meal should include 6 tastes (rasa), one of them is sweet. However, when they say sweet, they don’t mean sugar or any replacement for it (except for honey). They mean ingredients that are naturally sweet like rice for example. This is healthy sugar and it is okay to consume.

Do you have any particular favorite Ayurvedic preparation or ingredients?

One of my favourite ingredients is ginger, I put it everywhere….my tea, my smoothies, my juices, my vegetables and even my spaghetti! The other favourite is chickpeas, I love them as they are or blend as hummus or as flour to replace eggs in an omelet for example.

While Veganism is comparatively a recent trend, how does Ayurveda approach a non-dairy diet?

Milk is considered sattvic (pure) in Yoga and Ayurveda. However nowadays, especially in the West, cows are subject to intensive farming and are full of antibiotics. From this point of view, I don’t think cows’ milk can still be considered sattvic. I personally never digested dairy well, for this reason, I am very grateful for the possibility of using alternative products or making my own almond milk for example. On the other end, I have used ghee on the recommendation of my Ayurvedic doctor some time ago and it did not cause any problems at all.

My advice is “listen to your body”, if you feel that you don’t digest dairy or any other ingredient or it makes you feel bloated or not well, then stop using it and replace it with something else. After all Ayurveda claims that “we are what we digest”.

Are there many eat-outs and restaurants that offer plant-based and Ayurvedic meals in Italy?

There are more and more restaurants that offer exclusively plant-based menus or vegetarian/vegan alternatives to their clients. There are also quite a few organizations that train Ayurveda Therapists and offer Ayurvedic treatments, however, up to my knowledge, there are no purely Ayurvedic restaurants in Italy. I believe Ayurvedic food is still considered more as a niche for people who practice Yoga or for those interested in alternative treatments.

Based on your observations and practice of Yog Nidra, would you say there is a particular connection between food and sleep?

The way we eat influences the way we think and act. In addition to improving our immune system, it also impacts our nervous systems and therefore also our sleep and it affects our Yoga and meditation practices. Eating a Sattvic (pure) diet allows us to nourish our souls and, combined with the other Yoga practices, it allows us to evolve spiritually.

When we practice Yoga Nidra regularly and we are spiritually evolved we can enter a status that allows us to burn our samskaras (the impressions which affect Karma), our habits and tendencies, so that our whole personality can be improved. Being more relaxed and less anxious are the benefits accessible to almost everybody, but they are only the tip of the iceberg of a regular Yoga Nidra practice.

I am happy to share some of my recipes with you.



India- The Best Destination for Vegetarians

India is already the best destination in the world for vegetarians. It has had a head start for Vegans: Wendy Werneth

Wendy Werneth is an intrepid traveler, vegan foodie and polyglot. She has travelled over 117 countries so far and as a vegan has explored 30 to 40 countries and written about her experiences in her blog Wendy had visited India in 2019 when she brought a group of vegan travelers to tasty fares in Bangalore and Pondicherry.

Wendy will speaking at Namaste 2021 on August 29th at 6 pm IST.

How did you turn to veganism? What was your initial initiation?

My journey to veganism started in 2014. My father had recently passed away from complications caused by type 1 diabetes, and the last couple of months of his life were quite miserable. Seeing him on his deathbed, I knew I didn’t want to end up like that, so I started looking into the lifestyle choices I could make to improve my own health.

That was how I discovered the benefits of plant-based nutrition, and initially I was mainly interested in it for health reasons. At first, I was just cutting back on my consumption of animal products and didn’t plan to go fully vegan.

But as I continued to educate myself, I learned about how my food choices were destroying the planet, and about the horrible things happening to innocent animals in the meat, egg and dairy industries.

The more I learned, the more I realized that being fully vegan was the only way that I could live in alignment with my own values. I took about four months to make the transition.

How does India compare as a vegan destination as opposed to countries which have very specialised vegan restaurants? 

It depends on how you look at it. On the one hand, it’s true that India doesn’t have as many specialized vegan restaurants as some other countries. But on the other hand, there are many naturally vegan dishes that are already part of traditional Indian cuisine.

This is especially true in the south of India. In the north, it’s of course still very easy to avoid meat, fish and eggs, as all restaurants are used to accommodating the many vegetarians in India who don’t eat these things. Dairy products are the one thing you need to be careful about as a vegan in India, but even so it’s not difficult to avoid them.

You can just ask restaurant staff to prepare your dish with vegetable oil instead of ghee, for example. Since many restaurant staff are not yet familiar with the term “vegan”, it’s best to be specific about the ingredients you don’t want (ghee, curd, paneer, cream, etc.).

This might be intimidating at first for vegan travelers who are used to eating in restaurants where veganism is widely understood, and where vegan options are clearly marked on the menu.

But personally, I much prefer trying traditional local dishes that happen to be vegan even though they’re not marked as such, as opposed to eating in an all-vegan restaurant that serves “international vegan” dishes that are not really part of the local cuisine.

What attracts you to Indian cuisine? How is an Indian vegan diet different from other countries?

I’ve always loved Indian food, and I continue to be amazed by the huge variety it has to offer. There’s such a mix of spices that every dish is always a new adventure.

The main difference I’ve noticed between vegan food in India vs. in other countries is that there are not as many plant-based meat and cheese alternatives in India. This is just fine with me, since I don’t miss eating animal products and don’t feel any need to recreate the experience.

In Western countries, though, it’s common to find plant-based versions of burgers, chicken nuggets, hot dogs, etc. Whereas in India, where many people refrain from eating animals for religious reasons, the idea of eating something that imitates the look, taste and texture of animal products hasn’t taken off in the same way.

How does the veganism of different states and religions in India appeal to you?

On my most recent trip to India, I really enjoyed discovering many local vegan dishes that were new to me, particularly in the state of Karnataka. Through conversations with one of the co-leaders of our tour, I also had the opportunity to learn more about Jainism and how veganism coincides with Jain teachings. India has such a rich cultural and religious diversity, so no matter how many times I return there will always be something new to learn and discover.

Do you think given our huge proclivity for vegetarianism, we can become an attractive tourist destination for vegans. Is vegan tourism a big industry?

My answer to both questions is definitely yes. India is already the best destination in the world for vegetarians, so it has a huge head start over other countries when it comes to catering to the needs of vegans.

Vegan tourism already makes up a sizable chunk of the tourism market and is growing at an astonishing pace. Tourism-related businesses that do not respond to this change in the demand from their clients are going to get left behind.

You have travelled all over the world. How many countries have you been to and have you recorded the vegan stories in all these countries. Is veganism a cultivated choice, a societal trait or an environmental necessity? In a family of vegans, can veganism or vegetarianism be forced or should it be a choice?

I’ve been to 117 countries so far, but many of them I visited before I became vegan. As a vegan, I think I’ve visited 30 to 40 countries in Europe, Africa, Asia and South America.

I do my best to share as much helpful info as I can about these countries on my blog, The Nomadic Vegan. And I also publish guest posts by other authors on destinations that I have not yet had the chance to visit.

As for the question on whether veganism should be “forced” within families, I’m child-free by choice, so I don’t have experience with raising children and would not presume to tell other people how they should raise theirs. I find it very odd when people say that parents shouldn’t “force” veganism on their children.

Should parents not instill in their children their own values and the moral code that they live by? That’s what parenting is! Children already have innate compassion and empathy for animals. It’s only through societal pressure that they are taught to suppress that compassion.

Please tell us a little about your tour. Why did you choose the two south Indian cities of Bangalore and Pondicherry?

The tour was actually organized by a vegan company called Escape To, which specializes in sustainable, vegan tours to places on the Indian subcontinent. So while I didn’t choose the destinations myself, I was thrilled to explore this part of India.

I had been to Pondicherry on my first visit to India, back in 2004, but at that time I skipped Bangalore. To be honest, back then I didn’t think it would be that interesting, because in my head I had stereotyped Bangalore as a modern technology hub, and I was more interested in the traditional architecture and culture of India.

But thanks to the opportunity to co-lead a tour there with Escape To, I discovered that there was much more to the city than I had imagined. Traveling as part of the tour was a very different experience than traveling independently.

Both forms of travel have their advantages and disadvantages, but the tour was very special because Escape To arranged opportunities for us to share meals with locals inside their homes, meet with local entrepreneurs and activists, and visit community-driven empowerment projects. Those were experiences that I never would have had by visiting India on my own, and it really gave me a deeper understanding of and appreciation for the country.

Are there any famous ambassadors of veganism from India?

Yes, and their numbers are growing! I don’t follow the lives of celebrities very closely (whether they’re from India or from anywhere else), but I do know that a number of Indian celebrities have adopted a vegan lifestyle or at least switched to a plant-based diet. A few examples are Alia Bhatt, Vinita Chatterjee and Sonakshi Sinha.

What is the most compulsive argument for people to turn to veganism today in your view.

There are many compelling reasons to adopt a vegan lifestyle. As for which one is the most compelling, that’s going to depend on the individual person and what they care about the most.

It could be the many health benefits of a plant-based diet, the fact that going vegan is the single most important step we can take as individuals to reduce our ecological footprint and save the planet, or it could be that they believe in non-violence and don’t want to cause unnecessary harm to innocent animals.

For me personally, the most compelling reason for going vegan was because it was the only way for me to live in alignment with my own values of compassion and non-violence. My conscience would not let me continue to call myself an animal lover while at the same time paying people to kill animals.

And compassion and non-violence are values that virtually all humans hold dear. We may have grown up eating animals and their secretions because our societies taught us that it was socially acceptable, but if we really look at the matter objectively, we will see that eating animal products doesn’t line up with our own moral values.

Tridoshas That Dictate Your Body Type

Understanding the body type takes you a long way in adapting healthy lifestyle and diet that works positively for the body

The science of Ayurveda works upon restoring the balance between mind, body and environment. And, the traditional medicine system that focuses on prevention works on the principle of understanding the body and its reaction to environment and the food we take.

Ayurveda divides people into three doshas - Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Each of these body types have unique set of characters, which is determined through understanding the physical and mental traits of individuals. Be it diet, medicine, exercise or therapies – there is a need to understand the type of body in order to prescribe the ideal one. And, understanding which type of body you have goes a long way in adapting healthy lifestyle and diet that works positively for the body.

In other words knowing your dosha helps you to understand your body and its needs; In addition to health, it also helps in positively influencing your personal life; It helps you to lead a healthy lifestyle – the kind that suits you; And in case you develop a health issue or looking for a cure for your ailments – arriving at suitable treatment. Above all, it helps you plan your diet – the food you eat, what you must eat and what you must avoid in order to maintain balance and prevent illness.

Physical and Mental Attributes

A Vata body type person usually has fast metabolism. People with this Dosha are mostly thin and have dry skin. They are restless and active and light sleepers, and very often forgetful. They are sensitive, emotional and easily stressed. They are more likely to be creative. They are dictated by the elements of air and space.

Pita body type people are usually medium built. Dominated by fire element, they are warm and their high energy is dictated by the fire element. They love food and are blessed with good digestion. They have delicate skin and enjoy good sleep. They are passionate in everything they do, even if its only a talk. They can be loud, impatient and dominating. They are intelligent, ambitious and go-getters

Kapha body type people are usually heavy built with wide hips and shoulders. Thick wavy hair, good stamina will not stop them from enjoying their beautifu

Body Type

l sleep. Most often lazy and slow in activity, they have lesser appetite and can gain weight easily. Loyal and stable the Kapha body types are sentimental but not very emotional.  Fairly intelligent, they enjoy good company and rich and tasty food.

Each person reacts in a certain way to the environment, seasons, the way we live our lives and food we eat. The way you eat or lead your lifestyle influences the doshas and can lead to imbalance. It is important to maintain balance and the dosha an individual is born with. This ensures good health, both physical and emotional. For this to happen its important to eat well, and eat healthy and nutritious food. And, it is important to understand food that works best for your body. Ayurveda does give you a way forward in understanding the same, and lead you towards a healthy lifestyle.

Meat Eating

7 Myths Used to Market Meat Eating

Latest study by Greenpeace explores the myths adopted by meat industry in order to feel accepted, and loved in order to promote meat eating

Greenpeace Denmark has published a new study on the common myths about meat eating. The study is the result of the increasing awareness and the number of vegetarians, vegan and flexitarians across the world, especially Europe. And how in order to counter the new wave, meat industry is pumping in money for promotion. Greenpeace also believes that several myths and lies surround meat eating are consciously being spread in order to counter the increasing market for green/conscious food.

The Greenpeace study is titled - Dissected, the 7 myths of Big Meat’s marketing

According to the study the "7 myths often adopted by big meat brands and organisations in Europe, that play to known consumer needs to feel accepted, successful, loved, respected and ultimately, to feel ‘good’, and as a result fuel meat eating:

• Myth 1: ‘Meat is part of the climate solution, not the problem’
• Myth 2: ‘Meat is good for you’
• Myth 3: ‘Eating (red) meat makes you more of a man’
• Myth 4: ‘Good women prepare and serve meat to their family’
• Myth 5: ‘Eating meat is a patriotic act’
• Myth 6: ‘Eating meat brings people together’
• Myth 7: ‘Eating meat is about freedom and choice’

Meat Eating

In an article on their website, Greenpeace goes on to mention - To make things worse: these myths are targeted to some of the most vulnerable groups in society. Young children, for example, who are not fully capable of processing the information in front of them. Or young adults who might be wrestling with their sexual identity. And of course parents, trying to do the right thing for the future of their children in the midst of the deepening climate and biodiversity crises.

The marketing playbook used by the meat industry is no different from the one deployed by the tobacco or alcohol industries in the last decades. Advertising of tobacco and alcohol has been highly regulated for the well-being of society. Shouldn’t it be about time to also start regulating advertising for the well-being of the whole planet and apply similar restrictions to meat marketing too?  The Greenpeace's writer asks.

With the looming climate crisis and food security issues it is for the government bodies to take it upon themselves, and work around this meat or Vegetarian conflict. Both the plant based /alt protein industry and meat industry must work with an understanding of each other, and official climate friendly regulations will surely play an important role in right communication.

Note: The article quotes extensively from the piece published on the website belonging to international organization


Top Plant Based Launches of November

In India GoodDot's Unmutton Kheema and Impossible Burger's entry into New Zealand are the two buzzing launches of November

plant basedOne of the highlights of November was from Subway Singapore. As a response to the increasing demand for plant based protein in Asia, the brand has announced its plant-based Chicken Schnitzel and for this the brand has partnered with Nestle to leverage of the latter's Harvest Gourmet Schnitzel. Subway suggests Schnitzel to be best paired with lettuce, tomato, sweet corn and Subway specially spicy mayonnaise sauce. The plant based Chicken Schnitzel starts $7.50 for a 6 inch and $12.50 for a footlong.

California-based Impossible Foods introduced its Impossible Burger made from plant based beef in Australia and New Zealand early November. It will be available on the menus of top restaurants in Auckland, New Zealand and Greater Sydney area. Australia's leading burger brand Grill'd will also have Impossible Burger on its menu.

plant based
BVeg Keema Samosa and pav

Plant based Indian plant-based meat brand BlueTribe launched vegan Chicken Keema and Chicken Nuggets that will be available in Chandigarh, Mohali, and Panchkula. Soon the brand will launch pea-based chicken and pork sausages. Currently Blue Tribe's market includes Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Kochi, Kolkata, Mumbai, and Pune.

Udaipur, India-based Gooddot's Unmutton Keema has been creating a lot of buzz. Flavoured with fresh whole spices, the keema is perfect for making the street food style keema pav, or for a burger and definitely to make kebabs. Unmutton Keema is the latest addition to GoodDot's plant-based product range.

Indian company BVeg Foods launched two products - Plant Based Keema Samosa and Keema Pav at Haldiram outlets.



Ayurveda Is So Much More Than Medicines – Gita Ramesh

“Ayurveda is not just about prescribing medicines. Ayurveda is about so much more. It is about prevention, about therapy, food, meditation and yoga,” shares Gita Ramesh, Jt Managing Director, Kairali Ayurvedic Group, during an exclusive interview

Nestled in the green district of Palakkad in Kerala, and spread over 60 acres of natural vegetation is Kairali Ayurvedic Healing Village. Serene, full of trees, herb and vegetable gardens, villas built as per vastu, it is a health retreat, which boasts of 100 percent Ayurvedic practices. In addition to medical assistance by qualified doctors (the facility also has a hospital license), the retreat focuses on providing holistic experience by providing best of traditional therapies, meditation and yoga guidance. Above all, food as medicine, the prime philosophy of Ayurveda is followed with passion.

Gita Ramesh, Jt. Managing Director, Kairali Ayurvedic Group is the architect of the healthy food menu at Kairali Ayurvedic Healing Village. For those in the wellness industry Gita Ramesh needs no introduction. She is considered amongst the leading authority in the Science and practice of Ayurveda in India. She launched the first  Ayurvedic Centre (New Delhi) in 1989 followed by a self-sustaining wellness retreat at Palakkad, Kerala – The Ayurvedic Healing Village (Formerly known as “Kairali Ayurvedic Health Resort”) in 1999. Today the company under its umbrella has over thirty centres spread in India and abroad. Kairali Ayurvedic products and medicines are widely retailed.

Ayurvedic Gita Ramesh has authored two books “Ayurvedic Herbal Massages” and “The Ayurvedic Cookbook” and is on the way of finishing her third book. She has introduced a healthy method of cooking using very less oil, simplistic preparation, vegetables cooked the right amount, and spices used sparingly - and the result is some really delicious preparations that are light on tummy and packed with balanced nutrition.

Gita Ramesh shares her philosophy of food and what traditional Ayurveda is all about during an exclusive interview.

Excerpts from the Interview:

When did your tryst with Ayurveda begin?

It started from the time I married Mr Ramesh. He comes from a family of reputed Ayurvedic doctors. The family has been into manufacturing medicines. During the time foreigners believed in Ayurveda much more than Indians. The general public did not know much about it. Traditional system of medicine that gives such good results was lost somewhere. We wanted to explore ways of taking it to people. We began by starting a therapy centre. We went all the way from Kerala to New Delhi to start Kairali which was then only a day centre. This was in the year 1989.

Slowly people, who took therapies started seeing results, and by word-of-mouth Kairali began to become popular. After 10 years, we came back to Kerala to set up the Ayurvedic Healing Village.

Where do you see Ayurveda now?

Ayurveda has been growing in popularity. While many are trying to replicate the system; various misconceptions continue. In order to meet the expectation of people, who want fast results, a mixture of various therapies is being given to the patients. Ayurveda is about continued therapy. Ayurveda in its pure form is still hard to find. What you often see is diluted versions.


What is true Ayurveda?

Ayurveda is science. Ayurvedic treatment depends on the lifestyle you follow. One needs to maintain proper routine, get up on time, eat at proper time and eat healthy food that is simple, easy to cook and digests easily, and sleep on time. This is called ‘Dina Charya’ and this needs to be followed. Then there is the seasonal routine - ‘Ritu Charya’, which involves Panchakarma - detox and rejuvenation therapies. Taking care of the body, oiling it every day, eating good food and maintaining clean environment around you, play a major role in making you a healthy person. When you stay at Kairali, you get all this plus yoga and meditation which are talked about in the ‘Dinacharya’.

You have written a book of recipes and have introduced healthy menu at Kairali. Do tell us about your philosophy of food.

I am passionate about food. And, that comes from my childhood, and my mother. We followed simple food system at home. The yearly detoxification was also there at homes; even though it was never at a mass scale like today.

Eating right food in right proportion is important, and that led to the thought of creating the menu at Kairali. We experimented and came up with tasty recipes. I wrote the recipe book and began to teach chefs and cooks to make dishes using simple vegetables that are grown in the premises. No outside food comes in. We use the same vegetables and make different recipes – we use them in raw salads, poriyal, curries, juices. Separate diet that is strict and nutritious including Kashayams and Kanjis are prescribed for the patients. We don’t use much of dairy. People who come here eat gluten free, vegan free. We don’t use milk in coffee and tea, and we do not serve yoghurt. On our menu we only serve buttermilk that too cooked using jeera and turmeric, which according to Ayurveda is good for health.

Another rule we follow as per the Ayurvedic principles is that food is served fresh and hot, and it includes all tastes - sweet, sour, astringent, pungent, bitter.

Everybody who eats the food relishes the dishes.

Is there any special Post Covid diet that you included in the Kairali menu?    

Our food has always been focused on immunity building. The masalas in Indian diet; use of ginger, garlic, turmeric and cumin are already good to prevent unwanted diseases, and people realized this during the Covid pandemic. We also have Chawanprash, Ashwagandha and Mulberine Tonic that we prescribe to help immunity system.

However, one should always consult a doctor before using Kashayams etc., to understand the right kind and dosage of Kashayam, which is also dependent on the seasons.