Kavita Devgan, a renowned nutritionist and author, has released her recent book 500 Easy, Delicious, Healthy Recipes. For those who want to give their lives a healthy culinary twist, this book might be for them. We caught up with her to talk about how you can jump-start your journey to a healthy life, with minimal obstacles.
What was the idea behind the book?
All my previous books (the five above) were written with the intention of spreading gyan… you know ways to eat better, become healthier, live holistically, lose weight properly, exercise properly, be aware, shortcomings and lifestyle disorders… So I thought it was time to make life easier for everyone with a book, a tool that can help them put all that gyan into practice. Also in my practice as a holistic health weight loss consultant, most people were constantly asking for healthy recipes… so the concept of this book has been on my mind for a long time.
The idea behind this book is a step beyond Fix it with Foods and is very simple: it is to actually help people eat all the foods they know they should eat, but just don’t for countless reasons.
It has been set up to make cooking easy, accessible and really fun, in the hope that this will encourage them to cook more at home. And I think cooking more and eating more home-cooked food is an essential lifestyle change we need to make to get and stay healthy. I feel like the pandemic has made the world realize that it’s best to eat more at home, and I hope this lesson sticks. All people need now is encouragement and confidence that it is achievable. I think this book will do this job well.
Your columns have developed a wide readership. What does writing a book involve when it comes to spreading unique and fresh recipes?
I’ve always maintained that writing helps me reach more people (compared to my one-on-one consulting session), so I focus on that extensively and enjoy the process as well. My several columns over the past twenty years have served as a route for me to spread my ideas about health and healthy eating and the power of a preventive lifestyle to a wide audience.
It has helped me reach people all over the world and the response has been very satisfying. My writing not only helps my readers but also helps me connect with people and understand their mindset, needs and requirements. Most of my books are the result of the nuggets of information I have collected through understanding. what people need, or want to read, through my columns. For example, during the Covid pandemic I wrote the book The Immunity Diet because I felt that people were making an effort to understand what immunity really was and to rise above the marketing-led perceptions, hype and floating myths.
Around that time I also realized how people were finally starting to understand the importance of eating more home-cooked food, but were feeling lost because most people weren’t really sure how to prepare healthy yet tasty food. This is where the idea of creating a unique, practical and easy-to-follow recipe book arose. In any case, I shared recipes with my clients (whom I advise) and had also written a column, so putting the book together was a piece of cake and before I knew it, I had to limit the book to 500 recipes. .if my editor said no more, please.
How would you describe ‘stress-free’ cooking?
Over the years, cooking as a stress buster had become a chore that caused stress to most people. I find this sad because I believe that being able to cook food that is food for our bodies ultimately turns out to be good for our souls as well. I wrote this book to ensure that people don’t find cooking a job and return to the kitchen with pleasure.
This book is intended for all types of cooks: the regular everyday cooks, those who like to be in the kitchen once a week… those who have help at home, and those who normally order out, but now want to eat simply. , easy to make at home. This book is for mothers who are tired of planning different menus for three meals (and snacks) every day, singles who want to prepare a quick dinner after a hard day at work, and also for those who like to eat variety but are not sure how they need to add vegetables, grains and lentils that they have never cooked (or perhaps even liked), such as spinach or millet or quinoa or lobiya. It contains recipes that appeal to the nutritionist and chef in me. I cannot and do not want anyone else to compromise on the health quotient of what they eat, but at the same time I understand that unless the food is tasty, acceptability and sustainability are not possible, and that I am personally a lazy cook (can’t fathom spending hours in the kitchen) and also understand that most of us have little time… that’s why I was convinced that Easy, Delicious, Healthy… are the three criteria that every recipe in the book must meet.
Do you feel that the Indian public has now become more health conscious? Will that transformation be a challenge for chefs?
I think as a society we have been slowly but surely moving towards health (rather than just weight loss) over the past decade, but the Covid pandemic has accelerated the process exponentially. Now I feel like there is a new increase in the number of people wanting to get healthy instead of just lose weight. I see this firsthand in my practice as a holistic health consultant. And because I also work and consult with many chefs and restaurant chains, I see first-hand the impact this has had on the hospitality industry, and believe me, it is very positive. Chefs have taken on this challenge – bringing together health and taste – fantastically and the result is clear for everyone to see and experience. When demand for healthy food soared, most restaurants adapted and performed quite well.
Finally, how can you view cooking not merely as a necessity, but as a meditative skill?
Well, I’m convinced that cooking is the new meditation skill; actually it’s centuries old, but it’s making a comeback. More and more people are starting to enjoy the process of making it as much as eating the meal. it’s a wonderful way to be present, attentive, and then rejoice in the end result. Cooking is a multi-sensory experience that requires you to pay attention to your five senses: touch, smell, sight, hearing and taste. Being able to do this is a crucial skill that can help improve our well-being through flow. creativity and skills development. Moreover, cooking makes us feel satisfied and grateful. These are strong positive emotions associated with better well-being.