I have had an opportunity to briefly interact with Kaushani Desai for last 6 evenings, as she was a guest at my home. Radhika and her friend Ranjini organized Ayurvedic Cooking course in twin cities, one in Secunderabad, and one in Hyderabad. Kaushani Desai is an international Ayurvedic cooking teacher from AOL organisation. She has been teaching Ayurvedic style of cooking for decade now, and has taught over 6000 students across 30 countries including Pakistan, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, Mauritius, South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe Kenya, Russia, Denmark, Poland, Spain, Slovenia, Indonesia, and more. You can find videos of some of her classes on youtube. Her cooking recipes can be found in her book Sattva, which is available at many online book stores including Amazon. She also authored “Healthy Food Tasty Too”
The word Ayurveda comes from two Sanskrit words Ayur, which means life, and Veda meaning science. This science of life or longevity is the holistic alternative originated in India and is more than 5000 years old, and seems to be gaining importance once again, after staying in oblivion for several decades. Ayurvedic cooking is finally gaining popularity again, now that many folks wants to go back to roots, and world is exploring more and more avenues towards healthy living. It is actually endearing to learn that this type of cooking is gaining importance in several countries outside India too, thanks to foundations like Art of Living
Kaushani conducts this course in Hyderabad, just about once in a year. Radhika attended this course for the first time few years ago, and has become aficionado of this type of cooking, since then. It is a six-day, three-hour daily course and is divided into theory and practical cooking. I remember Radhika doing a KT (knowledge transfer) of all the key data points to me every night, after her first experience of Ayurvedic cooking. She told me, Kaushani asks us to “Drink Food, Eat Water”. It is a simple yet highly impacting (if we follow it). I remember Radhika raving about her tasty potato cutlet, which made up of It is steamed and mashed potato, mixed with grated bottle gourd, pumpkin, roasted on iron pan and given a peanut coating. This evening, Kaushani and Radhika made Focaccia bread, Desi style, without yeast, yet pretty tasty
I had asked many questions to Kaushani over last several evenings about her experiences teaching in over 30 countries, what inspired her for this type of cooking, and what she likes to eat & cook, and also interviewed her and few of her students this evening. Since I just had 30-minute window and 15 minutes battery in my camera, I just spoke to couple of her cooking course participants. However, this 8 minute video should give you essence of Ayurvedic cooking, and what you have missed, if you did not attend the course. I was quite surprised to see two participants from Russia, and feedback from one of them is in this video. I was quite flattered to see her enthusiasm for Ayurvedic cooking and its benefits
I had chased Kaushani Desai to give me at least 30 to 40 second overview of the course; she finally gave me awesome 4 minutes overview.
She said, her course is unique because she uses experiential techniques, which means, participants not just learn theory, they actually experience healthy way of cooking during the course of 6 days. She tells how we need to understand needs of our body, and understand signals emitted by our body, which we ignore because of busy life style. She uses an holistic approach to drive her message. She says we need to wake early before 6AM, start our day with meditation, pranayama, and breathing techniques. She talked about right time to eat breakfast, lunch, or dinner, so that we leave some time for digestion. She says, participants actually lose 3 to 4 KGs during 6-day course itself, if they truly follow what she taught and what they have learned. She said, she met someone who lost 30KGs and she could not have even recognize that person when she met this person in Delhi. It is told that folks who follow Ayurvedic cooking techniques become more alert, have better control of their eating habits, do not get tempted by junk food, and enjoy food with more awareness. I guess I am revealing too much info. Listen for yourself or better yet attend her class somewhere around the world, if you are destined to attend J
Video can be seen via below URL
Few highlights and data points from course that I have learned from talking to Kaushani Desai, and also by reading various interviews & articles from Kaushani Desai
- Learning how to choose ingredients according to our own constitution or body type (also known as Doshas)
- Understanding medicinal values of different spices.
- Understanding right mix of spices and food.
- Realizing that food affects the mood, and that we are what we eat
- Rediscovering the basic principles to understand what the body needs
- Understanding food properties – what type goes with which spice – besides temperature and mixing right.
- Grinding spices at home is ideal, at least dhania and marcha.
- Ghee or clarified butter, says Desai, must be used in food rather than using oil. This, considering ghee is also used as a medicine in ayurveda.
- Remove the perception that ayurveda form of cooking is boring and bland
- Eating and munching while walking or standing, especially at gatherings and parties, is not good for digestion. It must be avoided
- Importance of taking a look at the ingredients when we buy food products, and the composition of preservatives
- Keeping at bay five white poisons: milk, sugar, refined oil, white flour and margarine
- Herbal cooking course does wonders to our mind, kitchen habits and the belly
- Herbal cooking that is not only light on stomach but also calms the mind
- We can retain the food value by steaming, and cooking in vessels like brass, stone, wooden or stainless steel pots.
- Do not cook in aluminum pots and non-stick cookware because they are carcinogenic
- Iron, earthen, stainless steel pots are best to cook and keep food.
- Small things like using black pepper instead of red powdered chilli, adding methi to pumpkin to lessen its gas effect, adding a little ajwain to roti or rice if you are eating it with some spicy vegetable, as it will nullify the hot effect.
- How to make date laddoos at home, which is quick preparation of fig powder, walnut, almonds, coated with coconut powder and mishri
- Using natural products are used which enhance the flavour of the dish
- Most health problems are caused due to improper diet, she pointed out. “In Ayurveda, every food has its own taste (rasa), a heating or cooling energy (virya) and a digestive consequence (vikapa)
FEEDBACK ON KAUSHANI DESAI’S RECENT COURSE IN ESTONIA by AOL TEAM.
We would like to express to you our gratitude for Kaushani Desai and her wonderful courses in Estonia in the period from 19.02 till 06.04 (when she managed to make 2 Part 1 Ayurvedic Cooking Course and 1 Part 2 ACC). She is amazing, very strong and inspiring teacher. After her courses the whole country is moved in the direction of Ayurveda and healthy style of living. She is indeed great pillar of your knowledge. We were lucky enough to planned her for 2 courses – Part 1 and Part 2 ACC, but then we were soooo lucky to get her for one extra week when we arranged extremely fast one more Part 1 course for her with more than 40 participants which quite big number for the country with population just about 1 million people. Thanks a lot, We hope you will send Kaushani to us very soon. Though now we have 4 our own Ayurvedic Cooking Course teachers, we always will be happy to host such a great master and professional with any program she would like to present.
With love and gratitude,
AOL team in Estonia
Detailed event snaps in this PDF file –> Feedback