This episode is all about behind-the-scenes of my new book and how I traveled around multiple cities around India, meeting up with street photographers I found off Instagram and seeing where the road took me. I ended up in desert villages, ancient homes and even attending my first cremation!
This episode is all about the adventure behind the book– I can’t wait to share this travel cookbook with you
Use code “sahara” for 15% off on all Silver Fern products
Use code “eatfeelfresh” for 20% on all 4-ounce stand-up pouches of GoldynGlow
Intro + Outro Music: Silent Ganges by Maneesh de Moor
Let’s take the discussion further in the Mind-Body Balancers FB group: www.facebook.com/groups/1213662491998309/
Discover Your Dosha (Mind-Body Type) with my free quiz: iamsahararose.com
Pre-order my new book Eat Feel Fresh: A Contemporary Plant-Based Ayurvedic Cookbook: eatfeelfresh.com/book/ and receive a signed book plate, inspirational card and 10 bonus recipes
Join my Awaken Your Powers Masterclass to become a leader in the new paradigm with Shaman Durek: www.iamsahararose.com/awaken-your-powers
Episode 124 – How I Wrote + Shot Eat Feel Fresh in India with Sahara Rose
By Sahara Rose
Namaste. It’s Sahara Rose, and welcome back to the “Highest Self” podcast. A place where we discuss what makes you your soul’s highest evolvement. This episode is brought to you by Silver Fern Probiotic. It is so important that we have healthy gut bacteria because our serotonin, the happy neurotransmitter originates from a gastrointestinal tract, so when there are imbalances in the gut, that can lead to brain fog, depression, mood swings, and even anxiety. Silver Fern Probiotic helps restore the growth of good microbes in your flora so you are able to fight off anxiety and depression, as well as IBS, Crohn’s, colitis, and candida.
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Have you ever tried golden milk? Golden milk is a delicious mix of turmeric and healing spices that is so nourishing for your body, great for your brain, anti-inflammatory, and burns stubborn belly fat. Well I have a special gift for you. You can try my favorite golden milk tonic, it is called Goldyn Glow, Goldyn with a “Y,” and they are clean, all-organic vegan free of refined sugar, fillers, solving agents or preservatives. It goes a long way, all you need is one teaspoon per serving, and you can use it in so much more than just golden milk, but also smoothies, juices, cooking, baking, et cetera.
All contain black pepper, which is super important because it increases bio availability and absorption. So if your golden milk doesn’t contain black pepper, you’re not getting the full benefits of it. So head over to goldynglow.com, goldyn with a “Y,” G-O-L-D-Y-N” glow.com, use code “eatfeelfresh” and you will receive 20% off all their four-ounce stand-up pouches. You’re going to love this stuff.
Also I’d like to make my book tour announcement. I will be coming to several different cities not just to share my book, but to have a Bollywood dance party, and hug each other, and talk all about the doshas, and relationships, and business, and self-care, and everything in between. My book launch events are so much more than me just talking about the book, but it’s really a way to create community and to have a lot of fun. So come join me October 12th in L.A., October 17th in New York, November 30th in Miami, and I’m going to be going to San Diego some time in between then. Head over to my website eatfeelfresh.com/book. I’m going to be adding some more cities, so head over there so you can stay tuned, and I’m so excited to meet you in person.
In episode 117 I shared with you my why, my reason why I wrote my new book, “Eat Feel Fresh,” and how Ayurveda truly saved my life. I talk all about the health problems that I went through, and how I didn’t come to Ayurveda because it was cool, or hip, or sexy, or anything like that. But I came to Ayurveda because my health was deteriorating, my periods had stopped for two years, really bad digestive issues, anxiety, insomnia, fainting, so many health problems. So listen to 117 if you want to know more about that and why I decided to make it plant-based, why I felt that Ayurveda needed an upgrade.
A 2018 scope because the world has shifted so much, and you know, in ancient India cows were considered holy, they still are considered holy, but they were treated so much differently. And that’s not just in India, that’s all around the world, and now we have factory farming, we have GMOs, we have antibiotics, chem trails, so many things that we are dealing with on a pollutant level that they didn’t have to deal with a hundred years ago, let alone 5,000 years ago.
So why Ayurveda needs to shift for today’s people, become more alkaline, become more modern, include more of the leafy greens, include more of the super foods just because the food wasn’t grown in ancient India doesn’t make it not healthy. And really seeing Ayurveda as this living and breathing science that it is that is always changing, that is always accumulating, and shifting for the population, and taking what works for them and letting go of what doesn’t. And if you even look at Ayurveda in India it’s so… I mean the food is drastically different between north, south, east, west. And every city little province in between, every single one has a different type of eating, even different types of biryani, different types of language, cultures, religions, so many different differences in India—different differences of course.
So Ayurveda, how can we say that there’s one Ayurveda for everyone when it’s not even the same in India? So I wanted to look at it from a 2018 lens while still paying reverence to its traditions. And I want to share with you a little bit more about the book-writing process and why I went to India to shoot this book, and how I even got the photos of this book. So I’m really excited to share it with you because as you’re flipping through this book and now you know the whole back story i’s going to take it to a whole nother level for you.
So I actually began writing “Eat Feel Fresh” long before I wrote “Idiot’s Guide to Ayurveda.” So before I wrote “Idiot’s Guide to Ayurveda” I was in India trying to figure out this whole Ayurveda thing and to make it modern. And I started to play around in the kitchen, and you know, replace rice with some quinoa, or maybe even cauliflower rice, and ghee with sesame oil, and I was making everything more modern, more plant-based. A bit of my background came from raw vegan nutrition, and that’s where I started, I became a health coach, sports nutritionist, and then ventured into Ayurveda because of my health problems.
But I’ve actually gone to raw vegan culinary school, so I’m trained as a raw vegan chef. So for me, plants are my things that I play with, and I don’t see them as just like you cut up some vegetables and you throw it in a salad. For me, one vegetable can take so many shapes and forms. So I look at vegetables a lot differently than I would say most people do, and most even Ayurvedic people do because again, in ancient Ayurvedic times they didn’t have blenders or pulsers, so there are of course no cauliflower rice, no smoothies, all of that stuff because they also didn’t have electricity.
So that’s why in ancient Ayurveda they say don’t eat food that was cooked more than three hours ago, and that makes total sense because in ancient India there were no refrigerators, so of course, if a curry that you cooked is sitting outside in 100 degree weather for more than three hours, it’s gonna go bad. But now we have refrigerators and we can safely store food, and there’s no reason for us to cook from scratch three meals a day unless of course you have the time and the desire, then go for it. But for most of us, we have dharmas to chase, and things to do, and we don’t want to be strapped to our stoves cooking for the rest of our lives.
And a lot of sexism comes form that too, which I can do a whole other podcast about. But you know, the men who created Ayurveda, easy for them to say, “I want a warm cooked meal three times a day, wife go do it.” Pretty sexist, and there is still a lot of patriarchy in India, which can come into the vedas, and this could be a great podcast conversation to have with the patriarchy that still exists in that.
When I was living with Ayurvedic doctors in India I remember they were talking about looking for a wife for their relative, their little nephew, and he’s like in his 20s, and they’re like, “Well, we definitely want her to be a kapha.” I’m like, “Oh, why kapha?” Cause you know, in the west we’re always like, “Oh, I don’t want to be a kapha cause they’re overweight.” And they were like, “No, we really want a kapha.” And I’m like, “Why?” And they’re like, “Well because they make the best wives.” And I’m like, “Huh.” And I thought about it, I’m like, “No shit they said they make the best wives. Because a kapha’s going to take care of you, and make sure you’re good, make sure you’re fed, be so motherly and nurturing, and put you in front of her.”
So why in Ayurveda do they say do all of these things? Well they had a woman who was doing it full-time for them. So that has changed, thank God, and now women in India are active in the workforce, getting educated, incredible powerhouses. So even in India it’s not like there’s a woman staying at home cooking all the time. That has shifted too. So guys, we have to continue questioning things and moving forward. We can’t get stuck to the past, we can gain reverence and truth from the past, but we cannot get stuck in these old paradigms again. We’re always shifting, we’re always moving forward.
So what I wanted to do with this book was kind of have like a me I’m imagining and ancient times and the modern times, and I’m holding both of their hands, and I’m being like, “Kids, how can we get along here?” and I brought the two together. So I remember when I first got the deal for this specific book—again, this is after I wrote “Idiot’s Guide to Ayurveda,” but it was before it came out. And I had decided my next book would be the cookbook with the recipes that saved my life, the recipes that I had been making for so many years. Some of the ones that I was going to put at “Eat Right For Your Mind Body Type,” which is the book that I wrote before “Idiot’s Guide to Ayurveda,” which is now my 12-week program. And also you get the first half if you leave a review for this podcast and e-mail it to me at [email protected].
So I knew I wanted to do the cookbook next, and I just took a walk because walks are where I get all of my creative downloads, and I just said, “What do you want this cover to look like?” You, as in the universe, holy spirit, pachamama, whoever it is answering us, and I got the vision of me in front of a blue house holding a basket of fruits with a white off the shoulder dress. And I was like, “Okay, thanks guys. Mm, how are we gonna make that one happen?” And I realized instantly there is a blue city in India. I had never gone there, it’s called Jodhpur, and I had always wanted to go because if you haven’t noticed, my favorite color’s blue, and everything I do is blue. Blue is also related to the throat chakra, and that is the chakra that in my life has been really the one that I’ve been working through, finding my voice, speaking my voice, sharing it, sharing my story, not being afraid of it.
So I knew I had to go to the blue city of Jodhpur. Okay. So I told the publishers, I’m like, “I have a great idea, the cover’s going to be shot in India.” They’re like, “Mm, yeah, we’re not going to send you out to India. You’re free to go to India, but we’re… that’s not part of our book’s budget.” I’m like, “Okay… Hm, okay,” and this is a little different than I expected. So I was sitting and kind of trying to understand should I go to India right now? I mean the book is gonna be due in two months, so I’m gonna have to go to India like in a few weeks, and somehow find photographers to go to this blue city that I’ve never been to, to take a picture in front of this blue house that I don’t even know exists, and somehow it’s going to look amazing, and I’m going to get all these incredible pictures of people cooking in the ancient Ayurvedic ways, but I don’t really know where they are. I hope that they still exist. I’m just gonna book a flight and try to see if this happens.”
So I did. Total trust in surrender moment. And I remember I was so nervous cause, you know, I was going by myself to India to somehow shoot photos, and I remember going online trying to look for photographers. And I don’t know if you have seen like kind of the Indian style, it’s a little bit different than the U.S., it’s very curated, it’s very Bollywood. So I’m like looking, so there aren’t many like freelance photographers at least that I was finding online. So I would just look up all these wedding photographers like Indian wedding photographers, and it was some of the corniest shit I’ve ever seen. Like these like the couple, and the girl has so much make-up on, and they’re like, “La la la.” And I mean, okay, I’m like half Indian, so I shouldn’t be making fun, but I was not trying to do Indian wedding photography in this book. I was trying to go for raw, “National Geographic,” like these moments in time that you’re not even sure like is that from 5,000 years ago or is that still happening now? But like somehow I’m miraculously in the photos, like that’s what I want. I wanted you to flip through the book, cause let’s be real, people don’t read books. For all of you who actually read “Idiot’s Guide to Ayurveda,” like you are my hero, thank you. My own parents, and fiancé, and brother have not read the book, so thank you.
But I wanted people to flip through the book and feel like they were on a journey to India. And not the India you see in “Slumdog Millionaire,” not the India with party, and chaos, and all these reds, and oranges, and like the India that the media shows, but I wanted to show my India. My India that is bright, it is blue, it is playful, it is colorful, just like the plants that we’re eating. It’s a fresh version of India and a fresh version of Ayurveda. And I knew that I was going to go to this blue city, and I was going to somehow find the photographers, but I was not having an easy time with these Bollywood wedding photographers. And at the same time, I had no budget guys, I’m all out of pocket, and you know, when you write a book you get an advance, it’s not very much. And that was really the income I had coming in at that point.
So I was like, “I don’t even know where I’m gonna get money to go to India for like a month and shoot all these photos, and get all this content.” So I decide to go on Instagram, like we all just do when we have questions in life, right? The holy mecca of answers, but this time it actually gave me some great answers. So I got creative, I’m like, “Okay, #indiaphotographer. Mm, no, okay. #indiaphoto. Okay, these are cool.” And then I started to follow all of these photography accounts from India that were shouting out different photographers. And then I would start following all those photographers, and then I would basically message them and be like, “Hey, want to like meet up and take photos for my book?” And they’re like, “What magazine do you work for?” I’m like, “Mm, no, it’s just gonna be me for my book that you haven’t seen.” So you can imagine, like a lot of the big-time photographers just didn’t respond or, you know, gave me these enormous like numbers that I obviously couldn’t pay for.
So I knew I had to get even more creative. So I’m like, “I’m going to go for the young photographers, like the 18-year-olds, like the ones who even have 18 years old on their bios.” Because they’re gonna be young and adventurous, and they’re gonna be up for going to the places that I want to go. And they’ll be starting out just like I’m starting out, this is my first book that’s like me on the cover, and you know, why not work with some other cool young people? Though they are ten years younger than me, but I’m with it, you know. I never think age should hold anyone back, and for all the people who thought I was too young to teach about Ayurveda, it’s like, I’m sorry, but screw yo face cause look what I’m doing, so age should never hold anyone back. For me, it’s just a number.
So I went on Instagram, I started looking up these hashtags, and I found these amazing photographers. Aman Chotani was a great one, he had actually been an assistant photographer for a “National Geographic” shoot, and he was willing to meet me in Jodhpur and make my dreams happen. I was just kind of sending him reference photos, he’s like, “Yeah, we’ll make it happen. I know some places there,” and he leads photography tours there, guys, he’s amazing, Aman Chotani. And then some young ones, Naman Shrivastava, also I tagged them on my Instagram so go check it out. 18-year-old boy from Northern India, and just so full of life, so spunky. Another one Akshay Shandrish Pandey, and he was 20 years old from a village in South India.
So I basically went right before I was gonna go, my boyfriend at the time, now fiancé, he’s like, “okay, I’ll come with you,” thank God, because I need a wardrobe assistant. He came with me and we went off on this journey, and it was my first time meeting these photographers, we first met Aman in Jodhpur, this blue city. And you know, I had no idea what to expect, and the city is blue, but there’s a lot of trash on the ground. I have actually never seen a city with so much trash, and it’s actually really, really sad. It seems like they don’t obviously have, you know, garbage on the street, and people aren’t really taught like throwing things away, or there’s a lot of fecal matter on the street. So I was imagining just getting to this like blue, incredible city and like where do we start? And it was actually quite hard to find houses that still had all the blue paint on them, and didn’t have like mounds of trash and there were so many stray dogs and it was really breaking my heart.
But at the same time, the people were beyond friendly. Like we would just walk around and I just remember this old lady, she was sitting on her roof, and she’s waving at us. I’m like, “Does she think I’m someone else?” And this is when I was walking alone with Steven. And she’s waving at us, waving at us and she’s like, “Come here, come here.” So we’re like, “Okay.” So we like go upstairs inside her house, and we sit with her, and she’s speaking in Hindi just laughing hysterically like pinching our cheeks and showing us the skyline, and she just sits there, and she just wanted to have some company. So we sat with her, and then her daughter-in-law brought us chai, and we just had this beautiful moment with this total stranger, that would have never happened in the U.S. And everyone was so helpful, like anywhere we would walk around they’re like, “Do you want to take a photo with me? Did you want to do this? Take a photo in front of my store.”
And you know, we would just see these incredible homes with just these old ancient doors that are literally from hundreds of years ago. From, you know, in Rajasthan it’s the area of India where the maharanis, the royalty is from. So it’s so royal, like the palaces are amazing, and the reason why the houses are blue in Jodhpur and have been blue is because they would paint it blue if they were a Brahmin, which is the highest caste in India, the Brahmins were priests, they were like the spiritual people. So they were considered the highest caste when the caste system was in place, it is no longer in place. So that’s why the homes were blue but that’s why people aren’t really repainting them blue because now that there’s no caste system in India, there’s no need for this differentiation, but it’s more of this just historical and heritage thing to keep the city blue. And I really hope that people keep painting those houses blue because it is so stunning. When you see a street of all the blue houses I just love it.
So we went around and I would like look at this window, and I’d be like, “I want to take a picture there.” And I would like knock on their door and be like, “Hey, can I come up?” And they’re like, “Sure, come on up. Like do you want anything else?” And I’m not even being sarcastic, it was literally like that. Everyone was so beyond nice, and it’s so funny because a week ago someone was knocking on my door, and I’m like, “Who is it?” And the person kept knocking, I’m like, “You got the wrong address. Go away. No, no one’s home.” And the person kept knocking, and then I got really scared—and this is here in Los Angeles—and I got so scared. And the person just kept knocking I actually called the police, and it was this whole thing. Turns out it was actually someone who like lives in the building and wanted to use my phone.
But the point of the story is I was hysterically crying and calling the police because someone was knocking my door because that is how scared we are. Like we don’t open our door for strangers who want to use our phone at 10:00 o’clock at night. Like hello, that screams murderer all over it.
Whereas in India—and I’m not talking about in the big cities, in the big cities they have the same issue—but the small towns, the small towns, Jodhpur I would still consider it a quite—thought it is a city, it has that small town feel to it. And there isn’t that level of like crime and fear of your neighbor, and everyone just trusts one another, and people are just walking down the street, drinking their chai, like holding around their baskets of fruit, sharing their food with everyone. And it’s amazing because in these small villages there actually isn’t really poverty because everyone supports one another, a lot of people work in the agricultural fields so they’re able to bring fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, food is very abundant there.
It’s actually in the big cities where you see a lot of the poverty and the really heart, heart, heart-wrenching things that we see in the media a lot of the times. Because in the big city they don’t have that support network, that community. They’re not still farmers, they’re not still growing their own food. Space is expensive, they live in slums, they don’t own the slums, the slums get demolished, et cetera. But in these small villages they’ve lived there for generations, and they know each other, they support each other, they love each other. And you know, it was really just refreshing to see that this still exists in other parts of the world, and I wish it still… I mean I think it still does exist in small towns in the U.S., and all around the world, but I wish that we could somehow bring that small town vibe into these bigger cities.
So we went around just taking pictures of everything, and Aman knew this family that were out, out, out in the desert, like a deep, deep far drive into the desert called Salavas. And this little village, they lived the exact same way as they did in ancient times, so no electricity, no running water, no refrigeration. They literally live in cow dung huts, and this is by choice, not because they have to. They’ve chosen to continue to live this way to preserve heritage and preserve culture.
So he had gone there to take photos, and he’s like, “I think you would really love it.” So we went out into the Rajasthani desert, past camels, and you know, small shanty towns, and we made it to this beautiful place with little cow dung homes. It doesn’t smell because cow dung is dry and it’s mixed with clay, so it doesn’t smell, guys. And we went and you’re going to se the photos of it in the book. I’m sitting on the ground learning how to make naan, which is their traditional bread, chai, which we all now what chai is, and cutting vegetables with them like over a fire on the ground like exactly the way that my ancestors used to cook and created Ayurveda 5,000 years ago.
And to be able to relive that was just so meaningful for me because it’s not every day that you get to live exactly the way that your ancestors did. And you know, obviously, a big part of my sole contract was to revisit that life that I had, you know, being one of the people who wrote about Ayurveda thousands of years ago, and you know, what I believe and what other healers have seen is that when I was one of the original founders writing the chakra samhita, the ancient Ayurveda text, but I had to split apart from them. And in that split I did not like how Ayurveda was becoming quite religious and quite patriarchal, and I wanted it to be more modern and free and liberating, and I didn’t want to stick to these steadfast rules, I wanted it to be like for the people.
And I had to split apart from the other babas that were writing these Ayurvedic texts, and at that life I said, “You know what? One day I’m going to come back and I’m going to bring Ayurveda for the people. I’m going to open it up for everyone, there’s going to be no religion and patriarchy in here, and I’m going to let people decide how they want to incorporate Ayurveda in their lives.”
And this is actually why I came back in this lifetime to do that, and I did fulfill that, and I could deeply feel when I was in India this time, you know, whenever I’m in India—and I’ve been to India you know, at least 30 times at this point—but every time I would go back I felt like, “Oh, I still… I need to be here for longer. Like there’s still more work that needs to be done. Like there’s something else left here for me.” It was always an incomplete moment. And this time when I left after shooting this book I could really feel almost this weight being lifted off my shoulder like, “Like okay, your work here is done.” And not that obviously I’m never gonna go back to India, I’m gonna go back again this year, but this like level of almost like responsibility I had to bring this side of Ayurveda in India to the modern population, that wait had been lifted off my shoulders.
It’s like you don’t know how scared I was the day before that photo-shoot because I first of all did not have any idea how the photos would go, I did not know where we were gonna take those photos. I didn’t know who was gonna do my hair, which ladies, y’all know that that’s an issue. And I remember I just thought that there would be a hair salon there. Like isn’t there a hair salon everywhere? Well, no, not in Jodhpur. There was one that was only for weddings, and oh my god, if you just went on their website and you saw the hair they do, I was like, “No, I can’t… I can’t look like that. It’s like a quinceanera Bollywood bride.”
So I’m like, oh my God, like freaking out. I remember I like I found this like there was this 11-year-old boy who came over and he did my mendi, my henna. He actually did a great job, we literally found him on the street. And then these two boys came over, they were like 15, and they said they were going to be the ones doing my hair. I was like, “Okay, like I want curls,” and I had told the person to tell them to bring the curling iron, and they came with a hair straightener. And I’m like, it’s the morning of my book launch, I’m like, “Um… I said curls. Like I definitely need loose curls.” And they didn’t speak any English. They’re like, “Straightener.” So I’m there that morning showing them YouTube videos of how to curl hair with a hair straightener.
And they’re like kind of trying to get it, and then I’m trying to do it myself, and I’m really bad at doing hair, and I have really long hair. Like their little like Barbie hair straightener was not gonna be able to curl this hair. And I was so just stressed out like, “Oh my god, this is the cover of my book and my entire book, and I don’t even know what I’m gonna do right now, but I just have to trust and surrender that this Barbie hair straightener is somehow gonna create luxurious voluminous curls in my hair.”
And after like three hours of showing them YouTube videos, as a team we figured it out and my hair does not look half bad in the book. And it was just again, another moment of trust and surrender. In India you don’t know what’s gonna happen. Like literally, anything you plan, just know that that plan’s not gonna happen. So there’s no point in having a plan. All you can do is go with the flow, that’s it.
And I did, and do you know what’s so crazy, guys? So when I was on that walk way before I wrote the book when I had the vision of seeing myself on the cover of the book in front of the blue house wearing the white off the shoulder dress holding the basket of fruits, well, Aman the photographer was like, “I feel like I know a really good house that we should go to, to take your cover shot.” And I’m like, “Okay.” And I was looking around, a lot of the houses had like graffiti on it and stuff. I’m like, “Uh… none of these, none of these.” And he took me through a gate that inside of the gate had another home and it was literally the home that I saw in my vision. To the tee, it even had this dangling like plant with these long viney leaves that was dripping down right in front f the doorway.
So crazy, I’m looking at this cover right now, it still trips me out it is the exact house that I saw in my vision. And I’m like, “How did you find this place?” And guess what? So the old man who comes out, he was in his 80s I’d say, he had lived there by himself since his wife had passed away like 30 years ago. And he spoke really good English, and I was talking to him, and turns out he has been studying Ayurveda his whole life, had worked as an Ayurvedic practitioner himself, and was growing ashwagandha at his house.
So the plants and the herbs that I was seeing were literally Ayurvedic herbs that he was still growing. And in India, Ayurveda’s not something that they’re as commonly practicing. It is a dying art that is now reviving again. So it’s not like everyone is an Ayurvedic doctor in India. Most people are very into the western medical doctor world, so to think that the vision I had was literally the home of an Ayurvedic doctor in Jodhpur is so, so, so astonishing. And you guys are gonna see the picture on the cover of the book, and then when you open up the book to where it says the table of contents, you’re going to see a picture of me and a guy with this turban, and that’s him; the sweetest guy. In that picture he was just telling me about the qualities of the herbs, and teaching me, it was so amazing. And in the book trailer you see him put his turban on Steven,and Steven put his baseball hat on him; such an amazing, amazing guy.
So went to India and really everything worked out. Not the way that I had planned, but even better. You know, I was able to—for example, we went up to Varanasi, wow, what an experience that was. So we shot the book in Jodhpur, everything went great, went to the Salavas village, beautiful, really got to cook in the ancient traditional Ayurvedic ways, you’re going to see that in the book. But I knew I wasn’t just gonna come to India to go to one city. You don’t go all the way to India to see one city and you leave. I believe India has a one month minimum to me. It’s like you got to spend a few solid weeks just to kind of get your feet on the ground in India.
So after we left for Jodhpur it was time to go to Varanasi. Now I had heard about Varanasi for many, many years. Varanasi is the great pilgrimage hub of the Hindus. It is where more than three million carcasses are brought each year to be cremated. It is on the holy river Ganga, the Ganges River in English, and it is essentially where all Hindus are meant to come to be cremated so their souls can be free and move on to the next life. So I had heard about this city for so many years and I really wanted to go because I, again, had seen pictures of these babas. These babas are like spiritual aesthetics who, you know, a lot of them have the dreadlocks, and the ash on their face. And you may have seen them in these festivals where they’re like, you know, holding like things on their penis. They like wrap their penis on these sticks and like balance all these things on them. Or their penises like move trucks—literally guys, Google it. And just, you know, crazy, wacky, but also so deeply spiritual.
So I had always wanted to go there, but for some reason, none of my Indian friends wanted to come with me. They’re like, “No, we don’t want to go to Varanasi. Varanasi is like if your grandma died and you have no choice you go there,” but they really didn’t want to go, and I didn’t understand why, I mean it seemed like such a cool city to me. So finally I had a chance, and Steven’s into all the dark stuff cause he’s a Scorpio, so he was like, “Oh yeah, dead carcasses, that sounds awesome.” I’m like, “Okay, of course, you Scorpio.”
So we go up to Varanasi and I remember driving to our hotel and I’m like, “Steven, look, look on that car.” He’s like, “What?” And we just see feet dangling. And I’m like, “Wow, that’s my first ever dead body.” And you know, this… what it was is they drive from the airport, the dead bodies are shipped to the airport, and then they drive them on top of their cars like the way that you would a Christmas tree. But they cover up the body, we really just only saw the feet on that one, and they drive them to the Ganga to get cremated.
So I’m like, “Wow, this is gonna be a trip,” but I noticed a very staunch difference in the energy, in the vibration there. Like it was rowdy, it was loud, it was a lot of commotion happening. Very different, Jodhpur had this like, “Oh,” like “Aladdin” energy. Like, “Oh, it’s so royal and beautiful here.” But Varanasi, no, I could already sense the difference, but I kept an open mind. So we go down that next morning at like 3:00 in the morning because we wanted to be there for the sunrise. Because every sunrise they have a spiritual ceremony called an aarti, and an aarti is where they sing mantras, and hymns, and they pray to the holy River Ganga, and it’s a very, very beautiful ceremony that I really recommend everyone at least checks out on YouTube if you don’t go up to Varanasi yourself and see it. But it’s with the fire, the agni, and it’s a very stunning ceremony that is done.
So we went there that morning, and I’m gonna put all this up on YouTube guys cause I had Aman with me and his friend who was taking video, my little 18-year-old squad, and we wanted to watch the cremations. So we went and the cremations had not started yet, and I saw this like—he was actually really cute, like he was like this cute, old man who looked almost like very like sunken in. And I’m just like looking at him, and he’s like sweeping by the cremation things, and I see this big building, like a nine-story building, but the building is totally empty. So we’re just kind of like walking around there and I’m seeing the babas, some of the people with the ash, it’s human ash that they put on their body, it’s their way.
Cause in Varanasi, death is nothing to be scared of, it is just a circle of life. So they put the human ash on their faces to show like this is all part of the cycle, there is nothing to fear. And in fact, you are not allowed to cry at a cremation because it is creating a bad energy for that soul. Instead everyone is celebrating, and singing, and you know, creating a positive goodbye for the soul to leave so it can leave on a high note, which I think is very beautiful and very inspiring for the ways that we do funerals.
So I see this old man, this big building, and then this man starts talking to me, and again, and I’m so lucky I have this on video, I’m gonna throw it up on YouTube. And he starts telling me just about the history of Varanasi and what that big tall building was. And this is not in the book guys, don’t worry, the book is really happy. But what it was, was that so many bodies were coming to Varanasi to be cremated, and a lot of them they didn’t have money for a proper cremation cause it can cost you a few hundred to a few thousand dollars, which is a lot of money in India.
And they didn’t have money for the cremation, but they still wanted their bodies to go into the Ganga so they could be reincarnated into, you know, their next afterlife. So the bodies were kind of just left there, and they ended up being a lot of bodies that were left and the government didn’t know what to do with them because obviously health issues, et cetera. So they created this electric crematorium, and that’s what that was that I was standing next to—again, not in the book—but it was an electric crematorium where they are able to cremate the bodies for what costs about $10 U.S. instead of doing the whole… Cause normally when they are cremating the body by hand it is like an eight hour long burning process, whereas this it is like only a few minute long burning process, but the body’s still able to turn into ash to be left into the Ganga.
So that man that I had seen that was such a cute little man, he actually was called an Untouchable. And Untouchables are considered the lowest caste in India, so Brahmins are the highest caste, and Untouchables are the lowest caste, and they’re even called untouchable because it’s believed that if you touched them that you will too become an Untouchable or get a disease from them, which is so, so sad because they’re human beings.
And most of them work in the crematoriums, most of them for his parents and his parents after that have all been doing cremations their whole life because no one will give them any other job. So a lot of them just live off of whatever that they can find. Like if someone let’s say had their nose pierced and was cremated and that earring, that nose ring is left in the ash. They’ll find that and sell that, or a ring or something like that. So it’s heartbreaking, it really is. So I did an interview with both of them, I sat next to them and asked them questions, and it was so amazing to hear how positive that their understanding of death was. They’re like, “Why would anyone be afraid of death? Don’t they realize that we’re all going to die? Like this is just one lifetime, one level here, and we’re gonna come back here so many times, and each time it’s gonna be more joyous, and more fruitful, and really we’re just here to find our dharma, that’s it.”
And it was so refreshing to hear this point of view because obviously in a city of death you can get really dark about it, but it was anything but that, you know. The only people who had this weird dark fetish about it are actually the Americans cause there’s like death tourism there that people want to come to like look at the dead bodies, and you know, we even had people asking like, “Do you want to come on the boat with me? I found some like dead body parts washed up down shore,” because they were used to like Americans and foreign people wanting to see that. But for the Indians, it’s like, “No, we don’t need to see that. Like why would we go out of our way? Like one day my body is dead, one day it will be alive.”
So this has turned into talking all about that, so let me know if you guys like hearing abut this. But it was such an eye-opening experience for me because, again, I came in with no expectation and it really opened my mind. I mean I definitely left a different person, really dropping my fear of death, and you know, seeing this dead body, and without all the fear and emotions that we attach to it, but just seeing it as, you know, our bodies are just temporary vessels, and eventually we’re gonna shed them and take on a new vessel, a greater vessel. And it was just such a great way to end that book shoot to really see that, you know, even a book, it’s like it is a crystallization of who you are at that moment, but it is not forever you. You put all this work and all this energy out there like how you do a baby, and then you craft, and you create the book, and then it takes on its own legs, and your soul continues on its own journey.
And that is a part of life, we can’t hold onto anything in life, life is always moving, and we have to accept that and be on the right side of that. Cause if we hold on to the past, then we’re going to remain attached to a dissolution because we are never who we were yesterday even five minutes ago. We are always evolving, changing, taking new forms. And there’s a constant death and birth of us every single day, so it really showed me that in its truest form.
And after Varanasi we went down to Kerala to South India. And Kerala is known as the epicenter of Ayurveda. It is not where Ayurveda was founded ,a lot of people believe that Ayurveda was actually founded in the Indus River Valley in Northern India where my ancestors were actually from. But Kerala became the safe haven for Ayurveda because when the British rule took over India, they made Ayurveda illegal. They said that it is barbarian, it doesn’t make sense, and Ayurveda had to go underground.
So as it went underground, it went down south where there was less government regulation because North India was where all of the government, and the wars, and the chaos were happening, whereas South India was never affected by those wars, and it still till today, it’s in provinces that even speak different languages. Some speak Tamil, some speak Hindi, they are all different, and different small almost Socialist governments, which have very much served them, and because of that, Ayurveda could remain safe.
So went down to Kerala and Kerala became its safe home, and that is the city that if you’re interested in Ayurveda you must go because every little corner you turn is an Ayurvedic spa, Ayurvedic store, Ayurvedic spice shop, et cetera. So it’s really cool to go down there and Ayurveda’s not this like weird thing, it’s like everywhere you go there’s Ayurveda stuff. So went down to Kerala, which is just beautiful. If I were to live anywhere in India it’d be Kerala because it is like the Caribbean of India; lush palm trees, coconuts everywhere. The word Kerala actually means coconut because coconuts are so vast there, and we went to this island that is literally exists off of coconuts.
So all they do, the women, they open up the coconuts, they use the kind of like brown stringy bits of the coconut and they create ropes, and then they create baskets, and all sorts of things, and they take the shell and they make bowls, and spoons. And then with the meat of the coconut they make different desserts, and then the oil, they press the oil, and we go to see exactly how virgin coconut oil is pressed step-by-step. I put it on my Instagram Story, I’ll put it up again. I’ll save it on my Story Highlights so you guys can take a look, so cool.
So we were literally seeing from the coconut shell how it’s distilled, all of the different layers of creating organic coconut oil; so very, very awesome. And just it was such a great kind of like vacation type experience because Varanasi was rough, one other part about Varanasi is there are a lot of beggars there. So if that is something that’s difficult for you to see, I wouldn’t recommend going there because a lot of tourists come to Varanasi. And the only places in India that you see beggars are where there are tourists because most Indians don’t give money to beggars, and that was the really hard part for me when I first moved to India to not give money to beggars. Because I was so… my heart would break every time I would see these kids like knock on my window, and I’m sitting in an air conditioned car and they’re like living on the street. I couldn’t not, I mean they would always say, “Don’t look at them, don’t look at them.” I’m like, “How can I not look at them? They’re humans, they’re like humans looking at me. I can’t pretend they don’t exist.”
And what I realized why they say that is because when you give them money they start to recognize your car, and they start to do that, and then a lot of kids will come, and they’ll jump on your car, and will kind of create a scene until you give them the amount of money it is that they want. And again, it’s not because the kids are being crazy, it’s because they’re forced to by older people who basically are profiting off these children. So that’s a really big issue that’s happening in India.
So in Varanasi you see a lot more of the beggars, of the lepers, of the women who were affected by acid—acid thrown at their faces; like horrific stuff. But in South India it is the total opposite. Like there is no poverty and South India—at least in the province of Kerala—the government will give you a job if you don’t have a job. So it could be like, you know, cleaning the river, or picking fruits off the trees. And again, since it’s very lush and jungle-like, there aren’t any big high rises or cities. Like you’re literally living in a beautiful jungle. So that really helps, really clean air, really good energy. It’s totally different, they don’t even speak Hindi, they speak Tamil, all the signs. Even if you see the writing it looks totally different. They don’t even watch Bollywood, they have their whole other Kollywood industry down there; different music. So it’s a whole other side, like a lot of people think India is all the same, and it’ 100% different.
But I really love Kerala, it was my second time being there, and just it’s so nourishing, and warm, and soft. And they wear lungis, which are these like big skirts, like the men wear them, and super, super cool and refreshing. So I definitely recommend going to down Kerala if you’re interested in Ayurveda or just want to see that side of India. And Varanasi too, a lot of people have great awakenings in Varanasi. Varanasi’s a very potent city, and Jodhpur if you—and all of Rajasthan—if you want to see more of the culture of India.
So all of that you will see in the book. So this is a lot more than a cookbook, guys. As you can see, this is really a travel book with a cookbook, with am Ayurveda informational book. So you will see the beautiful Ganga, you will see the coconuts, you will see it all woven into the pages of this book. And the recipes also, so for me it was really important, I was really into food styling, I was a food blogger for seven years. So for me, we eat with our eyes, and that was extremely important for me. So I wanted crystals in every shot, I wanted flower petals, I wanted the food to look so high vibe that when you see it’s like a spiritual experience.
One of my favorites in a vision that I had were soups in the colors of the chakras. So the chakras are energy centers that we have in our body, they relate to different physical and mental symptoms. So root chakras, survival, sacral chakra, sensuality, creativity, abundance, solar plexus, identity, heart chakra, compassionate love, throat chakra, communication, third eye chakra, intuition, crown chakra, universal source energy, receiving downloads.
So I was envisioning a deck, like an array of soups that were the colors of the chakras to balance each of the chakras. So that is in the book, guys, and you have recipes for all seven soups. You will see, oh, this was a good one, so for tri-doshic dinners, when you open that up, you’re gonna see a picture of me sitting on the floor with these three beautiful Indian women in gorgeous colorful saris, and it’s hilarious how that happened. So we were in this coffee shop and this boy in the coffee shop in Jodhpur, he recognized me from Instagram. And he’s like, “Oh my God, I follow you on Instagram.” And I’m like, “Oh, wow, so cool,” like who would have known in the middle of Jodhpur that anyone would be following me.
And he’s like, “Oh my God, I’d love for you to come to auntie’s house and meet them, my mom will be there, you’ll love it, they love to cook.” So we’re like, “Okay.” So we went over to his auntie’s house and there we are, sitting on the floor, chopping up vegetables with his mom and his two aunties just laughing and having a ball. So you will be there with us in that moment.
So many little serendipitous little things like that that I really could not have planned occurred. And why? Because you know, the universe wanted one: people to see this friendly, beautiful, bright side of India. Not to say that the other side doesn’t exist, but we pay so much attention to the dark, and whatever we give attention to will persist. So let’s celebrate all that India has given us, Ayurveda has given us, and at the same time make it modern, make it refreshing, make it fun.
So all of the recipes also have Sanskrit names, and for example, the chia pudding is called Chandra, which is moon, which you might recognize from yoga practice, moon poses, moon salutations. Or the sweet potato toast is sundari, which means sweet. So they all have Sanskrit names, which I actually found out later from Dr. Suhas when he was on the podcast most recently that in Ayurveda they actually in ancient times would give all the food Sanskrit mantras because they wanted it to boost the vibration of the food. And I did not know that, that idea just came to me to give each food a Sanskrit name and a mantra, and that just happened.
So you’ll see throughout the book it has all these beautiful little things about how your doshas are related to your dharma, what does it mean to be your highest self, quotes from people who inspire me. And I’ve also really broken it down like the first entire half of the book is about Ayurveda, but in a modern way. So again, what are the differences between my approach to Ayurveda and the more traditional approach it’s more plant-based, it includes mushrooms, it doesn’t only have overly cooked food with lots of spices, it has ingredients from all around the world, et cetera. So we dive into that.
I have a quiz for what dosha are you in the kitchen, which is really fun. It shows you what kind of chef you are, if you’re a pitta, vata, or kapha chef. Talk about the doshas in the mind and in the body, and again, in my more modern style, which I think really resonates with people who come from, you know, a more modern nutritional background. And I have delicious recipes, especially the potions, so good, different tonics you can make with different sort of adaptogens like ashwagandha and shatavari, and as well with just ingredients you have in your house like cumin, coriander, fennel seeds, turmeric, ginger, et cetera.
I have loads of really good desserts because, hello, everyone loves some desserts. And one good thing about Ayurveda they say you got to eat something sweet every day, so it is mandatory to have dessert. No, I’m kidding, you can just have a sweet potato, but why not have a dessert some times just as a fun treat for yourself? Everything is sugar-free, I use monk fruit throughout the book. The reason why I use monk fruit is because monk fruit is a non-glycemic sweetener so it has no impact on your blood sugar levels. Unlike, for example, honey or maple syrup, though they are natural sugars, it’s still sugar. It still increases your blood sugar levels, still will cause weight gain and feed candida, and a lot of people have candida.
So I use monk fruit, pure liquid monk fruit, the brand I use is called Lakanto, I use their liquid one. I don’t use the powdered one because again, to get something in powdered form you’ve added chemicals and you’ve also added erythritol, which is a sugar alcohol, which causes digestive issues. So don’t use erythritol or sugar alcohols, pure monk fruit, it’s literally in liquid form. The one I get Lakanto, L-A-K-A-N-T-O. I have a code, I think it’s 20% off, it’s “sahara.” So lakanto.com, use code “sahara.” Just get the little liquid one, it’s like $8, and I think one bottle will last you at least a year, like two drops are the equivalent to like a teaspoon of regular sugar, so it’s very strong.
And it doesn’t have the same side effects as stevia. Now we are seeing that stevia can be related to infertility. The stevia plant was used as a contraception, contraceptive in Latin America for many years, I mean still in villages it is used for that. So not saying that you can’t get pregnant and have stevia, you totally can, but it is known to be something used as a contraceptive. So if you are having hormonal issues, period issues, maybe you’re thinking about getting pregnant, I would say just get off of it. And some say it can be related to brain fog, et cetera.
Again, I think that you can do a little bit of stevia if that works for you, but I would rather just do something that doesn’t have those any type of side effect. Especially for me, again, I didn’t have my period for two years so now that I have it back I’m really adamant about hormonal health, and I don’t want anything that could potentially mess with my hormones. So I use monk fruit for that reason, but you could use stevia if for whatever reason you don’t want to use monk fruit, but I do think you should give it a try. Stevia also has that really bitter aftertaste that a lot of people don’t like, and monk fruit has no bitter aftertaste, none at all, so it’s a cool thing to try.
Also want to talk about shatavari. So a lot of us know about ashwagandha, and ashwagandha is an adaptogen. An adaptogen are herbs that help heal your body, and they help your body deal with stress in a more efficient way and they adapt to whatever it is that is going on in your current state. So let’s say you have too much stress, they’ll reduce stress. Let’s say you are too tired it will bring up your energy. So why they’re called adaptogens is they’re basically adapting to what you need at this time. So they’re going to work on you differently in the morning than they will on you at night. And they’re going to work differently on you than your friend, and if you’re pregnant, if you’re not pregnant, so it’s always adapting and changing, which is super, super cool because it’s such an intelligent herb.
So I love adaptogens so much, they’re really hot right now. So a lot of us know about ashwagandha. Ashwagandha in Sanskrit means “strength of stallion.” So when you ingest ashwagandha you are strong like a stallion. And it was actually used as a way for men to, you know, get it up and stay up. So it was used to increase male vitality, and essentially just create more strength, more testosterone in general.
Though, now we know, it works the same way as women, but in Ayurveda there is an herb specifically for us ladies too. And again, it’s not just for ladies, but it is a more yin herb. And that is called shatavari, so shatavari is a more feminine form. Again, different herbs, but shatavari means “she with a thousand husbands.” So get that, a thousand husbands, if you have some shatavari. So it is amazing because it helps balance female hormones, I came across it when I was first learning about Ayurveda to help with my menstrual cycle, and it really helped, it calms the nervous system, and of course helps you deal with all the hubbies coming your way. So both are great, ashwagandha works in one way, shatavari works in another, but if you have female hormone levels, you need more yin energy, try some shatavari, really good, you could use it in the same way.
I have lots of chai-inspired stuff, I love like a good cup of hot chai, but a lot of the chai—especially the chai concentrates that you find—have so much sugar. Oh my God, a chai latte in Starbucks has like 28 grams of sugar. Can you imagine that? 28 grams, that’s like drinking a Coke. And we’re like, “Oh, I’m just gonna have a chai,” and that’s like drinking a bottle of Coke. So major, major sugar overload, and it’s not even… it’s not even like a maple syrup, it’s straight up like cane sugar. Even if it says organic cane juice, cane equals sugar, so we don’t want that.
So I teach you how to make your own chai, no sugar, with the real herbs, but super easy. Like that was my goal of this book, how can I take everything and make it as easy as possible, and as little dishes as possible. Because I really, I have a small apartment and a very small kitchen, so like two dishes out literally gives me a panic attack. So I wanted the fewest amount of dishes possible, like how can I make everything in one bowl, so a lot of one-pot recipes, a lot of things that you can make, leave in your refrigerator. I am all about meal prep, I know again, ancient Ayurveda says cook every three hours, but I don’t have a housewife waiting for me to cook every three hours, it’s up to me, and I’d rather fulfill my dharma and not cook every three hours and cook every two days or so, and have food ready for me in the fridge. So if you’re with me, you’re with me, and if not that’s cool too.
So lots of stuff that you can meal prep, lots of stuff that you can make for your whole family member. I have family members of different doshas, if you’re more vata and your husband’s more pitta, your kid’s kapha, you don’t really know what to do. It’s all about tri-dosha in this book, all about how can we make it work for all three doshas, and then I include little things that you can do for each dosha to change it up. Like it’s mostly pittas who need to change it, and in the way that they have to change it is to reduce the amount of garlic used because pittas don’t do well with garlic or excess onion. So I say either reduce the amount of garlic or omit it. One replacement that you can do for garlic is an herb called asafetida, and asafetida is used in a lot of Indian food, it has that pungent taste, but it doesn’t contain the garlic, and the garlic is going to make you more rajasic, which is like rage, and anger, and irritability.
And it’s so interesting because in ancient Ayurvedic times they said if you’re on a yogic path you are trying to become enlightened, one with Brahma. You cannot have any rajasic foods including onion and garlic, so any ashrams they don’t serve onion and garlic in their food. And the reason why is they said garlic alters your subtle vibration. So they meant that in some way it doesn’t make you as high vibe, your vibration decreases and it turns rajasic, angry, too furious too fast.
Well I looked into this, I’m like, “Well, like does anyone else know?” I’m like Googling and “scientific research garlic vibration” and I’m like trying to find something, and then guess what I found? I found that when you ingest garlic it actually triggers spasms in your esophagus, and those spasms will feel if you’re very, very tapped into your body, will feel like vibration. So when the ancient rishis who wrote Ayurveda were saying garlic triggers shift in your vibration, they were actually so sensitive to food that they were feeling the vibration in their esophagus, so it is entirely true.
Now again, I’m not saying, “Don’t ever have garlic again.” But if you are pitta imbalanced, which means you’re already really hot and fiery and have more rajas, more of the rage, then you don’t want to increase that with more garlic. And if you’re on a yogic path you are trying to become a true yogi, one with Brahma spiritual aesthetic, then also it will trigger a decrease in your vibration. Again, most of us are not here to be yogis, and when I say a yogi I’m not talking about like awesome pictures on Instagram #sponsoredbyaloeyoga. I’m talking about like a true yogi, which is a spiritual practice. And most of us—including myself—are on a householder path, and a householder path is someone who plans to just live in society, and get married, maybe have kids maybe, but you want to be part of society. The yogic path was to live your life to not have those material belongings or familial belongings. In fact, they have funerals for themselves, and in that funeral for themselves they invite all their families, they give up all their belongings, they change their name, and they become their sadu, their spiritual aesthetic selves.
So again, not for everyone, but I think it’s something interesting to know just because a lot of people, they notice a lot of people are having garlic. Like I know if you have the autoimmune protocol you’re not supposed to have garlic, and a lot of people are having garlic issues. So I think it’s interesting to have the conversation of well why weren’t garlics a part of Ayurveda? Just to talk about that, for example, I don’t eat garlic personally. I used to, and it’s not that I stopped because I was on a yogic path, but because I would notice that when I would eat garlic I would have this taste in my mouth for so long that really bothered me, and would almost like distract me, and I felt like I needed to like eat chocolate or like drink a lot of chai, or like brush my teeth or something, and it would still stay in my mouth and I really hated it.
And another thing they say is when you have garlic it gets in the way of your meditation, again, because of this aroma that’s lingering in your mouth. So I had just become so sensitive to every taste and sensation that having the garlic was just too overwhelming for me. So I personally don’t eat garlic and I’m okay, guys, I didn’t die of lack of taste. You don’t need garlic to cook. Again, the book has garlic in it, there are medicinal properties to garlic. Ayurveda even does have garlic in it, but it is for the right person. So in the recipe it says if you are pitta, reduce or omit.
So it has little fun informational things like that, it brings in the ancient Ayurvedic wisdom, the stuff that no one talks about, like true Ayurveda. Ayurveda’s not just the doshas, guys, it’s not. The doshas are just one small part, it is the six tastes, that is a crucial part of Ayurveda that people don’t talk about. I’m going to do another podcast about that, but the six tastes are like even more important than the dosha. Sometimes we get so obsessed, “Well what’s my dosha? What am I supposed to eat for only my dosha?” And that’s such a like western way of looking at like, “Please hand me a piece of paper and tell me what to eat.” And that’s not how it goes in Ayurveda.
In Ayurveda it says know about your dosha, and know about the dosha of the season and the time of the day, but this is only a guideline, this is only a place to begin. But it’s still going to be different for each person, and Ayurveda’s the practice of really knowing yourself and really tapping into your own subtle energy. And it starts with knowing your dosha but then Ayurveda gives you the reins, and then you’re in control. So again, I didn’t want to break this up like the traditional Ayurvedic cookbooks that are like, “These are the vata only recipes, pitta only recipes, kapha only recipes,” because we are all a combination of all three.
When I lived with doctors in ancient India we all ate the same meal regardless of your dosha, everyone shared a meal together, and I was so confused at the beginning. I’m like, “Wait, but aren’t you all going to eat your own meals?” and it’s not like that at all. They just take out the foods that will imbalance a certain dosha, so if you have a vata in the family you’re not going to do a kale salad, you’re not going to do excess raw foods, that’s going to imbalance a vata. You have a pitta in the family you’re not going to do something with hot sauce, or too much spices, or too much of the garlic or tomatoes. It’s going to imbalance the pitta in your family.
You have a kapha in your family you’re not going to do mac and cheese, you don’t want to do too much carbs, too much dairy. It’s going to imbalance the kapha, so you take out the foods that will imbalance a certain dosha, you bring in the six tastes, which are in the book, I will talk about them more—sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent, and astringent—which will make something tri-doshic. And then you can do further customizations to balance whatever dosha’s out of balance for you.
So again, when we talk about doshas and balancing doshas, you’re balancing the dosha that is currently in excess, too much. So if you have too much vata—bloating gas, constipation—you want to balance the vata. You have too much pitta—acidity, heartburn, irritation—you want to decrease that. Too much kapha—weight gain, lethargy, et cetera—you want to decrease that. And a good starting point for everyone is eat the six tastes and then you can focus on the taste, eat more of the portions of the ones that balance the specific dosha that’s out of balance.
So for example, all of the lunches in my book are six taste bowls, and they comprise of the six tastes of Ayurveda, and let’s say you’re a vata, you can do more of the sweet potato because that’s going to be balancing for you. But if you’re a kapha you can do a little bit less of the sweet potato because that’s going to be… you don’t want to do to much of that. But everyone can eat the same meal, portions can be a little bit different per person.
So this is really the way to do Ayurveda because it makes it so much easier, it takes out the guessing, no one is just one dosha. If I just had you eat vata recipes for the rest of your life, guarantee you are going to get some other form of imbalance. And what would you do if it’s the summer, what would you do if this? So it’s just so much easier to cook the way that they do in India, which is to cook tri-doshically, and then to further customize it for your dosha.
So that’s what I really wanted to show in the book, that Ayurveda is not this super confusing thing, it’s not like you get a prescription and that’s the only thing you can eat. There are times that you do that, for example at a panchakarmayou will have prescriptions. Everyone eats the same kitchari, the same rice and lentils, which I have a recipe for a brown kitchari in the boo, which is different than my kitchari cleanse on my website. That is a three-day kitchari cleanse with guidelines and day-by-day things which you can find on my website iamsahararose.com. It’s a different recipe from that, that is like my more modern one, the one in the book is a more classical kitchari using brown rice.
So even in a panchakarma everyone eats the kitchari, but then for example, a pitta will you know, maybe add extra ghee on it, and the kapha will not add ghee on there, and little things like that. So again, Ayurveda is not this uber confusing thing that is going to take the rest of your life to learn. Just follow the recipes in this book, look at the little cues. If for example if you’re pitta you can make the little suggestions, and you’re instantly going to feel so much better. And instead of stressing about, oh my god, what are the macros? Do I have enough fat? 20% fat, what does this plate look like, blah, blah, blah.
Like this almost computer-like relationship we have around food, looking at food as numbers, is so, so going against everything that food is all about, right? Like food is something that is meant to be shared, it is meant to be experienced, it brings families together. You’re supposed to sit down and enjoy your meal. And for most of us we are so busy with our lives, and we become obsessed with food, but then when the food is there we’re too busy to even focus on enjoying it. And then when we’re done with the meal we didn’t enjoy the meal, so we feel like we still need more, so then we start to eat more food, and then we want something sweet, now we want something salty, now we want to eat again, blah, blah, blah, blah, where none of that would have happened if you had just sat and enjoyed the meal.
So above what you eat it’s how you eat, right? You know, I could be eating the healthiest salad when I’m arguing with someone, and it’s going to end up tamasic, poisonous in my system because I’m in an angry mood. I could be eating my green smoothie and I’m like on the go frantic, and it’s not going to digest well even though it’s a green smoothie. So the way that you eat food is so important and it’s something that we so underlook because we want to look at everything like a math project and find the solution. If X is this, then go keto, and that’s not the way that our bodies work, our bodies are harmonious creatures to nature. And the further we rip ourselves apart from nature and have a powder and protein this for everything, then what’s gonna become of us?
You know, plants give us the information that our cells need to recharge, readapt, and heal. We stop eating plants, we stop living. Like don’t give a plant water and see what happens. Well, we’re doing that with our own food. Our food, our plants, we’ve always eaten plants. Why do they grow at eye level and we’re able to pick them off trees, and off bushes, and just pull them from under the ground? Why? Because we’re meant to eat them.
So the book is 100% plant-based, there’s no dairy, there’s no ghee in this book. Again, I think that you can have ghee if you want to have ghee, go for it, it’s not been part of my journey. I believe that we take on the energy of everything that we eat and the way that cows and animals are treated today is so very different than the way that they were treated in ancient Ayurvedic times. And when we take on the energy of everything we eat we’re taking on that sad energy of the poor cow that was taken away from its mother or its child and forced to give milk and inject it with hormones so it could supply more milk, and be more profitable, and given antibiotics so it could survive in the disgusting conditions that we put these cows in.
And that’s that we’re taking on—anger, fear, sadness, and chemicals. So when we have all of these plant-based solutions instead that we can have, instead of ghee why don’t you just have sesame oil, which is warming for vatas and kaphas, or coconut oil, which is cooling for pittas, or in the summer season as well. We can have avocadoes, we can have tahini, we can have so many amazing plant-based fats that the earth provides us with that we don’t need ghee anymore.
It totally made sense at the time because that was the source of fat that was the most readily available for them. It is also a major religious thing. Cows are revered in India, Shiva was a cow herder, he had his bull and it was so sacred to him, and that’s why in India it’s illegal to kill cows, which I talked about it in episode 117. But now these cows that are not killed roam around the streets and cities and basically live off trash, and they’re not treated well either.
So things have changed and I don’t think we need animal products to survive, and we’re seeing the science of that more and more and more. Again, this book is not like a “go vegan or die,” book. I have just chosen to make it plant-based because that’s what helped heal my body, and I think that it is a refreshing approach that can work for all people, and something that hasn’t been done with Ayurveda before. Most Ayurvedic recipes are lots of cream, and milk, and ghee, and cheese. And you know, we don’t need that, and that’s what’s held a lot of people away from Ayurveda because it’s so dairy-rich and so rice and bread-rich.And we don’t need that, and we can still follow the principles of Ayurveda while following a plant-centric, plant-celebratory diet.
So I’m very, very honored and excited to share this book with you. I hope that it transforms your relationship with food. I hope that it inspires you to travel the world. I hope it allows you see that food is so much more than numbers, but really something to celebrate, and enjoy, and to spend time for. You know, it’s such a meditative practice to cook your own food and to know everything that you’re putting into your body, and to sing to your food, and increase its vibration. Even the way that you prepare food changes the nutritional content of it. If you sing to your food and you spread it with love it’s going to be healthier for you than if you like, you know, someone made it for you in a rush and was in a bad mood.
And now we’re even seeing with that beautiful study in Japan that they took the different water molecules and in one they said, “I love you, I love you, you’re amazing,” and they froze it. And the other one they were like, “I hate you, eff you,” and just anger towards it, and they froze it too, and they saw that the way that it crystallized into a snowflake, the one that they said “I love you” turned into this beautiful snowflake, like perfect symmetry. And the one that they said “I hate you, you suck,” turned into this like disastrous asymmetrical blob.
So imagine if water can take such different forms from just saying “I love you, I hate you,” imagine what could happen with your food if you can just pour some love into that. So that is why cooking is worth it for you, because when you’re getting food from anywhere, you know that they weren’t pouring love into that. But when it’s coming from yourself you are interacting with that food, you are cultivating a relationship with that food, you begin to understand how to eat it, how it works. You had your hands on the food, like just that is such a grounding experiencing. We’re so stripped away from food, we’re like on our computers and like metal all the time. Just to just touch something from earth and itself is so healing, just to like have your hands on like a root vegetable or in a bouquet of cilantro. It’s so grounding and it’s so healing, and something that we as humans have been doing for thousands of years that only recently have we stopped.
So even if you’ve never cooked before, the recipes in this book are super simple. Again, lots of one-pot, lots of meal prep, lots of bowls that you can put together. I’ve made it as easy as possible, as painless as possible. So really, you can cook, and eat, and enjoy it, and you can move on and live your life. Because I don’t want you to be tied to the kitchen. I didn’t create this cookbook so you can stress about what you’re going to eat. I created it so you don’t have to worry about that anymore.
I want that to be the one thing that you can just cross off your checklist. Like, “Okay, I’m just going to look at ‘Eat Feel Fresh’ and create a recipe from there, and focus my energy on fulfilling my dharma and becoming my highest self.” So really my wish is this cookbook is like the last cookbook you need so you can just have something beautiful to share and look at, and then use that energy to do whatever it is that you were meant to do here on this planet. I don’t want you to stress about food, I don’t want you to weigh, and measure, and count macros, and calories, and blah, blah, blah. I want food to be a pleasurable, luxurious, colorful, vibrant, health-inducing balancing experience. And even more so between meals to be filled with all those qualities and more.
So I’m honored, honored, honored to share this book with you. You can order it on eatfeelfresh.com/book and submit your receipt there and you will receive bonuses including ten bonus recipes and my e-book, “Best Essential Oils for Your Dosha.” Again, head over to eatfeelfresh.com/book and you will receive those bonuses.
And as a special book launch giveaway I have going on right now one winner who leaves a review for my book on Amazon. So when you buy the book on Amazon, leave a review for the book and e-mail it over to me at [email protected]. Just take a screenshot of your review and e-mail it over to me and one winner is going to win a giveaway which is a one month supply of YouVeda mood formula, value of $99, one month supply of YouVeda digestion formula, value of $99, Four Sigmatic latte bundle, one box of each—the chai, golden milk, and matcha lattes, plus the Lion’s Mane coffee and reishi cacao, value of $100. Silver Fern probiotics and digestive enzymes, Goldyn Glow golden milk, as well as Rasa Koffee. So head over to Amazon, leave a review for my book, and take a screenshot, e-mail it over to me at sah[email protected] and one winner will win the lucky giveaway.
Thank you so much for tuning in, for sharing this space with me, and I’m so honored and excited to see where this journey brings you. Namaste.
Episode 124 – How I Wrote + Shot Eat Feel Fresh in India with Sahara Rose