• Thursday, May 19, 2022

Dr Asghar & Sonal Chowdhary talks about their new book 'The Ayurvedic Kitchen' With Frontlist Media

on Apr 12, 2022
The Ayurvedic Kitchen

Sonal Chowdhary is a holistic nutrition consultant with a specialisation in weight management, sports, and clinical nutrition. She is a certified Ayurvedic nutrition consultant and a medical yoga therapist. She is also a certified holistic cancer coach from the Centre for Advancement in Cancer Education, Richboro, PA, US. She is an exercise prescription from the American College of Sports Medicine-approved Exercise Science Academy. She has also authored a book—Traditional Recipes for Pregnancy and Motherhood.

Dr Asghar is the founder-director of Greens Ayurveda in Azhiyur, Kerala. Greens Ayurveda is a renowned Centre for Ayurveda Treatment and study programs (www.greensayurveda.com). Dr Asghar is a graduate of Ayurvedic medicine and a postgraduate in yoga therapy. Patients/students from all continents flock to the centre for treatment and education in Ayurveda. He is also the author of two books on Ayurveda.

1. How did the two of you decide to write a book together on Ayurveda?

The idea behind writing this book was to present Ayurveda in a very simplified, contemporary and relatable manner to the reader so that they can easily incorporate the Ayurvedic principles in their daily cooking and food habits to achieve optimum health.

2. Please briefly explain the factors on which customisation of diet is carried out.

Ayurveda believes that every person has a unique constitution and no one fixed rule or diet is fit for everyone. It says even medicine should be individualised. The customisation of diet is carried out based on many factors, among which the important ones are Prakriti (individual constitution), Guna (attributes), Samskara (processing), Sathmya (homogeneity), Vaya (age), Desa (habitat) and Kala (season). Ayurveda also emphasises that the diet should be customised for each individual according to Shaareerika and Maanasika Prakriti (physical and mental constitution), Agnibala (digestive power), season, current health status and daily changes and other natural environmental factors surrounding an individual.

3. How much is the accuracy of Doshas Quiz in the book?

The dosha quiz is fairly accurate. However, to get confirmation, one should consult an Ayurvedic doctor. This book will guide the reader to have an individualised approach as per their constitution and genotype, which they can know using the Dosha Quiz in the book and help them understand ways to include foods in their diet that are best suited for them.

4. Taste also has an impact on mental health. How does Rasa affect our emotions and consciousness?

According to Ayurveda, taste or Rasa has a deep impact on mental faculties. It states that the rasa of any food (that is, the initial effect in the mouth) often relates to its effect on our emotions and consciousness (mental effect). For example, spicy foods raise the emotional temperature, and sweet foods/desserts make one feel mellow.

According to it, the purity of food influences the purity of mind. The different tastes and textures of food can induce three different states of mind, known as the Triguna- 

a) Sattva, which is a happy, contented state

b) Rajas, the excited yet agonising state

c) Tamas relates to a lethargic, delusional, arrogant, and ignorant disposition. 

Conversely, the state of mind also influences the desire to consume certain types of food.

5. Please share one of the recipes that help in gaining weight.

Ayurveda offers several effective strategies for building and nourishing the body that encourages a balanced approach to gaining weight. It teaches you to eat a deeply nourishing diet while balancing Agni (the digestive fire) to ensure that your body can actually absorb the nutrition you are eating. To gain weight, a Vata pacifying diet that includes foods that are generally grounding, warm, oily, smooth, stabilising, and substantive should be incorporated into daily meals. Below is a recipe that is easy to prepare and mitigates Vata. It cures emaciation, supports muscle tissue, and is rich in potassium, Vitamin B-6, fibre and antioxidants.

Stuffed Banana


Serving size: 1 

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 20 minutes

Calories: 395 Kcal per pc



Grated coconut – ½ cup

Chopped cashew nuts – 2 tbsp

Raisins – 1 tbsp

Sugar – 1 tbsp

Cardamom – ½ tsp

Plantain – 1 medium-size, ripe

Ghee or oil – 1 tbsp


  1. Sauté the coconut, nuts and raisins on slow heat in 1 tbsp ghee till slightly roasted.
  2. Add sugar and cardamom powder. Mix well.
  3. Make a small cut in the middle of the banana.
  4. Fill the cut banana with the coconut and nut stuffing and sauté in ghee.
  5. Consume immediately.

6. What is that one element that many of us consume but is extremely bad for our health?

Fried potato chips are one food that is widely consumed by all age groups. But according to Ayurveda, it is toxic for the bodily systems and hampers tissue metabolism. Deep frying of potatoes can develop toxic substances, such as acrylamide, which can prove to be carcinogenic.

Ayurveda gives a lot of importance to the processing of food. According to the Charaka Samhita, the processing of a food substance leads to an alteration in the inherent properties of the food; it is known as Samskara. For example, just like frying potatoes, even heating honey is totally contraindicated as it blocks the subtle channels of our body.

7. What are some of the tips and tricks that can be used to create energy and mind-body balance?

Ayurveda talks about various ways in which one can attain mind-body balance and harmony. The book Ayurvedic Kitchen talks about some of the various important aspects of it. A few of the rules of consumption of food are:

  1. Eat only when hungry and should include all the six tastes.
  2. Practice mindful eating in a relaxed environment
  3. Eat fresh and seasonal foods and should include healthy fats
  4. Take care of your portions of food - should not be too little or too much
  5. Eat foods that are compatible with each other and nourish your constitution.
  6. Include foods that maintain your digestive fire.

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