Part I: Bhavani Jaroff
Bhavani Jaroff has over thirty years experience as a natural foods chef. Her career began while a student at the N.Y.S. College of Ceramics at Alfred University. At the time, there was not a vegetarian meal plan on campus so Ms. Jaroff designed and implemented a Vegetarian Meal Plan for the university. As part of her work study program, she cooked for 75 vegetarians daily and within the first semester, the program had expanded to over 125 students. After college, Ms. Jaroff worked in many natural foods restaurants both in New York City and Boston. Recognizing the need for an alternative to standard catering, Ms. Jaroff founded Morningstar Catering, a full service natural foods catering company. She ran Morningstar Catering for 12 years, before choosing to be a stay-at-home mom and raising her three children as vegetarians. As a homemaker/businesswoman, Ms. Jaroff put her catering experience to work and organized other mothers to form a food coop which she ran out of her home for the next 8 years. Bhavani can be heard on Progressive Radio Network every Thursdays at 10am (ET)/ 7am (PT).
Part II: Talya Lutzker
Talya Lutzker is a Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner, Nutritionist, Professional Chef, founder of Talya’s Kitchen Catering Company and the author of 2 cookbooks. She also teaches yoga, cooking classes and is a certified Ayurvedic masseuse. Talya’s passion for holistic medicine and innovative, healthy food sparkles through in her intelligent, warm, fun and inspiring teaching style. Through cleansing programs, cooking classes and one-on-one consultations, Talya helps people learn to love cooking, self-care and eating well.
Yoga and Ayurveda, Talya’s first loves, are the foundations of her many skills and offerings. In the Bay Area, Talya offers Iyengar-inspired yoga classes that focus on anatomical alignment, deep muscular engagement, pranayama and the use of props that protect and deepen the yoga practice. She studied Iyengar Yoga at the Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute in Pune, India and has practiced under the tutelage of senior and master Iyengar teachers Kofi Busia and Maya Lev for the past 10 years. Talya holds a B.A. in Environmental Studies and Physical Activities from the University of California in Santa Barbara and is a graduate of the Coaches Training Institute’s Leadership Program.
Caryn Hartglass: Hello everybody! Good day! It’s Jaunary 15, 2013 and it’s time for It’s All About Food and I’m your host, Caryn Hartglass. Thanks for joining me. It’s been a big progressive radio network day for me and maybe for you too, but this morning I had the wonderful opportunity to be on another progressive radio network show The Natural Nourish and we’re doing a bunch of cross-promotion, cross-pollination here so that you can learn about the other programs that are on this network, and I’m enjoying it because I’m learning too. There’s just so many wonderful programs, and we’re just going to keep doing that. So, I’ve got another progressive radio network guest that I’m really looking forward to talking to today, and the two of us have been talking about doing this for too long and now it’s finally going to happen, so let’s proceed. My next guest is Bhavani Jaroff and she has over 30 years experience as a natural food chef. Her career began while a student at NYS college of ceramics at Alfred University at the time there was not a vegetarian meal plan on campus so she designed and implemented a vegetarian meal plan for the University. As part of her work study program she cooked for 75 vegetarians daily and within the first semester the program had expanded to over 125 students and after college she worked in many natural food restaurants in both New York City and Boston. Recognizing the need for alternative standard catering she founded Morning Star Catering a full service natural food catering company which she ran for 12 years before choosing to be a stay at home mom and raising her three children as vegetarians. Let’s bring on Bhavani, Welcome! Finally!
Bhavani Jaroff: Hi Caryn, thank you for having me.
Caryn Hartglass: You’re welcome now the one thing I didn’t mention in here is I eat green because you’re going to tell us about that.
Bhavani Jaroff: After retiring from Morning star catering and staying at home with my kids, after many years I actually went back to school and became a Waldorf teacher before that started I Eat Green. Waldorf education is based on the philosophy of Rudolph Steiner and one of the philosophies of Rudolf Steiner is how important your food is and the food meal plan at the Waldorf school in Garden City where my children went was not representative of that, so I proposed changing the cafeteria program to be a healthy alternative program and after much back and forth it was finally accepted and I took over the cafeteria at the Waldorf school and brought the educational aspects of Rudolf Steiner in line with the cafeteria program and so we served almost all organic at least natural foods and you know the chicken I think was organic but it was hormone, antibiotic free. We tried to highlight different seasonal vegetables, we started a composting program at the school and then I also incorporated community service throughout the high school so that all the students got to rotate through the cafeteria cooking for the homeless and then going onto the streets in Manhattan and serving them.
Caryn Hartglass: Wow that’s really ambitious.
Bhavani Jaroff: Yeah it was a great program and it’s still going on today, although I don’t know if the community service aspect of it is. When I left the Waldorf school, my kids kind of outgrew the school at the time, I started I Eat Green, and I Eat Green is really a conglomeration of all the different passions that I have from gardening and growing food to cooking healthy food and sharing the passion with people and trying to motivate people to make better choices with their fork both for their own body and for the planet and that’s all about what you’re doing as well.
Caryn Hartglass: That’s right and amen through all of that. Thank you for doing that because we need more people doing it and we need more people doing it and people doing it and putting their own spin on it because we all don’t relate the same way to people. People need hear this message in many different way packaged in many different ways from different people some people are audio some people are visual and some relate to different cultures and we just need more people doing this
Bhavani Jaroff: Absolutely and you know my vegetarian path has changed so much from when I was sixteen and I first read Diet for a Small Planet which inspired me. The reason behind becoming a vegetarian at that time was because of the myth that we didn’t have enough food and I was now aware that we did have enough food to feed the animals instead of the people we were growing the wrong food for the people and so that was the impetus behind me becoming a vegetarian and then over the years I started doing it more also from the health point of view. at first I talked about going on a white diet. I was sixteen what I did I know I just cut meat out and ate everything else that I regularly ate so it was white pasta, bagels, bread. I really didn’t know so much about eating healthy and then when I had children and I was now, actually it started even before that but when you really become thoughtful for the health of another being you really have to take it on a very different level.
Caryn Hartglass: You know I agree with you but unfortunately, whether parents think that way or not a lot of them are not doing that.
Bhavani Jaroff: Absolutely, absolutely they’re not and you can just see it by all of the…
Caryn Hartglass: They’re letting their kids rule very often, the kids are influenced by marketing and their environment and the parents are tired and weary and overwhelmed and they want to have a nice relationship with their kids and they give in.
Bhavani Jaroff: They don’t want to fight about food so, chicken nuggets. I remember being in a supermarket when my daughter was young and my last one was definitely prone to temper tantrums and in the supermarket she’d be asking for something that I was not going to give her and she’d have a full fledged temper tantrum in all the supermarkets and I remember walking out, leaving my wagon, walking out of the store because I wasn’t going to give her what she wanted and people were looking at me like I was a terrible mother, just give her what she wants already, but there was no way I was going to to do that.
Caryn Hartglass: Good for you, I’m sure it’s paid off
Bhavani Jaroff: It has, it has, my kids all eat well even my son is no longer a vegetarian, however he does not eat fast food and is very aware of the meat that he does put in his body and also enjoys a lot of vegetarian food. And I think that’s one thing that I’ve come to realize is as you were saying before how everything’s packaged differently and people can hear it in different ways, because I want to help convert people to eating healthier and also healthier for the planet, I guess I’ve become more lenient in, or flexible in meeting people where they’re starting, where they are to start with and if you have someone who’s eating meat all the time, thinking that they’re going to become vegan or vegetarian right away is just not going to happen so you have to do it gradually you know I’m a private chef now and I have clients that I’ve been with for four years and just in the last few months that they’ve asked me to do one meal a week vegan and I’m so happy about that and I’m talking to them slowly and saying just let me know when you’re ready to go to two meals a week but they were meat and potato people before I started working with them.
Caryn Hartglass: It’s somewhat mind boggling how brainwashed we all are about what we’re supposed to be eating and how so many people are literally afraid to make changes. They’re afraid so you do have to step carefully, open the door, let them try one or two things, let them know they’re not going to die or feel bad…
Bhavani Jaroff: But also to not be judgmental, that’s been something I’ve really worked on over the years because it’s hard to not be judgmental sometimes when we firmly believe in what we believe in and we believe it’s better for so many reasons not just for our own health but looking at our society and look at the earth, our planet and climate change and what industrial agriculture and raising animals in this unsustainable way is doing to our planet so from so many aspects it’s infuriating sometimes to have people that just don’t get it and it’s hard to stay patient and be understanding and compassionate with meeting them where they are and try to win them over.
Caryn Hartglass: People have to understand, I have to just say this, I totally agree with you but the challenge for many of us is acknowledging what is going on in the world today and it’s pretty horrific so we’re looking at three major things that are just out of control and that is the way we raise animals for food, and what’s happening with our health and what’s happening to the environment. and I say this all the time, factory farming has to end and there’s just tremendous cost for all of us with our food and being unhealthy and I have the answers, a lot of us have the answers and you want to just shake people and say you don’t have to suffer but they don’t want the information so you’re right we have to be loving and non judgmental and compassionate and step lightly, be patient, and keep breathing.
Bhavani Jaroff: Keep breathing and like you said slowly win them over and the way that I have come to do it is just by presenting really good tasting food. I have been around so many vegetarians over the years and I’ve been asked to judge pot lucks where there’s a big vegan feast and I have to tell you there’s so much bad cooking out there that it’s enough to turn anybody off and it’s really crucial that people have the opportunity to taste really full flavored delicious rich vegan food because if everything tastes like it was just picked out of the garden and that’s delicious I don’t meant to put that down because there’s nothing better than fresh picked out of the garden salad but what I mean is that the food has to be really flavorful and beautiful presented and crafted with the consciousness and artistic quality so that it is enticing and appealing because we eat with our eyes as well as our taste buds and if it doesn’t pretty then I know this having raised children as vegetarian that you have all their friends coming over and if you don’t make something that looks appealing and looks familiar to them kids aren’t even going to try it.
Caryn Hartglass: I feeling like I’m hearing myself talking here.
Bhavani Jaroff: One of the first things to introduce kids to tofu I would make tofu parmesan and you can use rice cheese instead of cheese or if you’re okay with cheese you can use some organic mozzarella cheese but basically you know making the cutlets with some organic whole grain breadcrubs that you make and frying it just like you would a chicken cutlet or an eggplant parmesan and it’s delicious if you put tomato sauce on it and the kids love it.
Caryn Hartglass: You know, it’s crazy sometimes over the holidays one of our relatives was really being thoughtful and said I want to make you something vegan for the family dinner and she thought she’d make a little vegan lasagna she’d never made one before she was panicking for a week about it and then served it and she was surprised at how good it was and it’s tomato sauce and its pasta all the things people are used to eating it’s not that different
Bhavani Jaroff: Right, actually vegan lasagna is one of the things that I judged as being the best thing being at this vegan pot luck and it still was not very good. Actually last week I shared a vegan pesto lasagna for anyone who wants a really great recipe you need the creaminess you need to substitute that ricotta cheese that is in the lasagna in order to really have it feel full flavored. If you only do lasagna with tomato sauce it kind of drives out and it doesn’t have the creaminess that people are looking for in a lasagna so I make a pesto without any cheese and I mix some tofu in there little soymilk or rice milk or almond milk and you end up with a creamy luscious green pesto tofu mixture that is excellent and you know put some vegetables and it is just a great recipe.
Caryn Hartglass: Anything with pesto.
Bhavani Jaroff: That’s true, I agree.
Caryn Hartglass: So we met just last week even though we’ve had some–oh no I think we met in the studio once but we were at this event last week for the book that just came out Foodology by Wenonah Hauter and you had her on your show already, and I thought we just might talk a little bit about some of the topics that were bought up in the book. I was, it moved me quite a bit and it depressed me quite a bit.
Bhavani Jaroff: The issues are so big and they can be so overwhelming it’s hard.
Caryn Hartglass: Because you and I have been very similar approaches we want to change the world by putting healthy delicious food in people’s mouths and I think it’s a pretty good strategy, but one of the messages I got in the book was that one person that one person at a time concept isn’t enough and we need to be writing our legislators and letting our government know what we want in order to make change because this is big powerful force that our corporations, just a handful of them, that are totally in control of our food supply and it’s really frightening.
Bhavani Jaroff: It’s very frightening. It’s so discouraging for me as well when I’ve been on this path so long and the products that I’ve use for so long that I’ve thought of as someone like me starting out this start up company and becoming successful and then selling out to a big corporation and you can understand everybody wants to be financially successful and be able to move on but then these parent companies take over and they push to change the ingredients, they push to weaken organic standards, they add sugar where they don’t need sugar, they add carrageenan where they don’t need carrageenan they just add different things and they change the product and then they also push and promote the goals of the parent company which in this case we’re just coming off of proposition 37 in California there’s so many of these organizations or companies put money into defeating proposition 37 which is our right to know for labeling GMOs and that’s what’s going on all over.
Caryn Hartglass: Every time when I was reading the book and I was familiar with all the things that had happened over time that she was mentioning and what’s great about this book is that it puts it all in one place the history how we go to where we are today but I kept wondering to myself maybe I’m just denying or innocence but i couldn’t believe that people individuals would really promote these things that are so bad for us or be a part of that but I guess money and power are really…
Bhavani Jaroff: Years ago I saw the movie Future of Food and in that there was a court set up in Europe where they were actually asking people from Monsanto when the European Union was not allowing GMOs into their country they were saying to the executives of Monsanto well why don’t you eat the GMOs for a year and you be the experiment and then let us know how it goes. They were refusing they were not going to eat the GMO products. You wonder don’t they have children and grandchildren don’t they care? But you know as you said money rules and I remember when I was first pregnant with my oldest daughter there was a big lawsuit amongst the Beechnut executives where they had been promoting artificial colored sugar water and apple juice in baby bottles and they went to jail but it was one of the first white collar crimes that I remember but it always gets me when people are like well you can’t just trust anything coming out of China and it’s like hello, Beechnut was right here. You can’t trust anybody when it has to do with the money they just don’t have any integrity.
Caryn Hartglass. I think Wenonah had talked about a few examples that had happened much earlier like that in her book and laws had come along so that you couldn’t do that and Beechnut still did it anyway.
Bhavani Jaroff: The one thing that she does talk about are all the anti trust laws that were weakened under Reagan and conglomerations that have been taking place and there’s used to be laws to prevent that so that we had some choice and now we don’t have choice not only in our food system but in our healthcare system, all the insurance companies that are becoming conglomerates, all the hospitals are becoming conglomerates the local community hospitals are all now owned by a big hospital pharmaceutical companies are now margining all the merges that are now happening with the weakening of the anti trust laws and are allowing corporations to become so powerful that of course with the court’s ruling that corporations can be considered people in their rights to voting and be giving donations to political parties it’s just become a ridiculous situation and so you’re right what Nona was saying we really all have to now become political activists we can no longer just make these decisions make good decisions with purchasing good products but we really have to stand up and get out there and protest and sign petitions.
Caryn Hartglass: And write letters not just emails but send paper mail that makes a tremendous impact.
Bhavani Jaroff: We don’t have the money that these corporations have but we do have the numbers in people.
Caryn Hartglass: I want to believe that we can make a difference with individuals and it’s really easy to get frustrated and think that I can do sometimes I’m a little fearful that the only thing that will work is if we all just stop everything, stop buying, just everybody stop let the whole machine come to a complete halt and say we are not participating any more until we’re heard.
Bhavani Jaroff: That’s the 99% movement was trying to do and is still trying to do This great movement brought awareness in this big way that didn’t exist before protests to the 99% and to the 1% corporate ruling that is just out of proportion.
Caryn Hartglass: I agree with it all, that it’s all important but I still believe myself that if you and I can change a lot of people’s eating habits things will change significantly.
Bhavani Jaroff: This is a great article today in Health section of the Science Times about transitioning to become a vegan, it was great and it was really just saying don’t do it overnight, it’s not going to happen overnight cold turkey, that you need to be patient with yourself and do it slowly and develop your taste so that if you’re craving a burger don’t’ expect a vegan burger to taste like a hamburger it’s going to taste different and it’s going to be delicious and it can satisfy that craving but it’s going to be different and you have to…
Caryn Hartglass: I’m going to need to read that article.
Bhavani Jaroff: For anyone who hasn’t seen it it’s really create and it’s so do able in little bites I’m not vegan I should just say that because people will know that on occasion I eat fish and on occasion I eat dairy and it’s something I’m striving towards myself I do think it’s healthier and better and I’m working towards it but I still feel that my food choices are so so much better than most.
Caryn Hartglass: We don’t have any evidence for the ideal diet at this point in time we have a lot of information that gives us an idea and basically we know that a diet that’s based in plant foods and whole rather than processed is the best but we don’t know if we need a little bit of animal product or not we don’t know that, that hasn’t been demonstrated
Bhavani Jaroff: I was a young mother and i was having a child before any of my friends and i just felt that as a vegetarian at that time without knowing a lot I know a lot more now I felt like i needed to have that protein how that’s drilled into us and so that’s when I started eating fish again and then I kind of just kept doing it and now as I’ve learned more and I know the conditions of the ocean and the garbage that the fish eat and I know the pollution in the water and I used to be able to [grasp on it] that fish live in the natural life until their caught they’re out in the wild they’re not being raised and offering and I’ve been able to rationalize it better and now the whole farming world has changed that’s no longer the case now they’re being raised just to be slaughtered just like the meat and so if I do eat fish I’m very mindful as to what fish I eat and that it’s wild caught but still like you said it’s lots of issues. Same with dairy I was shocked to know that dairy contributes to greenhouse gas emissions almost as much as meat productions. I thought that was better.
Caryn Hartglass: And it’s not. Then there’s also the veal connection which is directly related to dairy. You can’t have milk without a baby calf which ultimately is slaughtered most of the time.It’s not a pleasant world we live in
Bhavani Jaroff: It’s not, it’s not. Again, I am choosing to eat dairy, I do try to know that it’s being farmed locally, raised locally, I know the farmer and just trying to be mindful of that kind of thing and also just eating a lot less of it and most of the time I choose not to, and I’m feeling better about it, and I certainly believe that there will be a day when it will be over for me.
Caryn Hartglass: I wish you the best with that and certainly if there’s more people doing what you’re doing it will become easier for everyone. One other thing about fish, there’s lots of different feeling bout it I know that there are some people who call themselves vegan and even on occasion have a small amount of fish if they feel it’s important. There are things out there like DHA supplements from algae which give us what many people are looking for when they eat fish. You can get them from plant based sources. The thing that gets to me mostly, what drove me to eating plant foods was I’m not into pain and suffering and even fish I have read some amazing stories about how they think and live and care about their families and experience pain they don’t look anything like us but there’s a lot going on down there under the water that we don’t comprehend.
Bhavani Jaroff: I’m sure, I’m sure
Caryn Hartglass: And hopefully we’ll just move to a better place.
Bhavani Jaroff: Well the other thing also that started changing my mind about fish is you are told that you want to eat the fish that you’re going to get all these omega 3s however nowadays with the farming fish, they’re feeding them fish pellets and fish pellets if you really search into what’s in fish pellets they’re putting chicken parts and slime from the chicken gut into the fish pellet and fish aren’t supposed to eat chicken so what happens to the nutritional value that you thought you were getting from fish from getting omegas 3 when they’re not eating the plankton that you think they’re getting the omega 3’s from, but they’re now eating chicken parts. All of a sudden the nutritional value is going to be different.
Caryn Hartglass: We have to stand up and not support this and let more people know about it and not make them want to eat what they’re eating today. If people stop buying it we won’t have it that’s why I believe in what we’re doing more than anything else.
Bhavani Jaroff: I agree with you and we really need to help encourage people to pick a subject that they can feel passionate about and to become active. There are like you said just so many issues you talked about just three, the environment, cruelty to animals, and our health but there’s so many more. There’s climate change and that goes under environment and the economy. It goes on and on and so if everybody at least picked one area that they’re willing to put some energy into it would be so much better. I’m getting to the age where I know many people that are starting to retire and think about retiring and when you are retired there’s so much time and energy that you could promote and put towards these good causes and most people that I know are not doing that. When I think about just going to Florida and playing golf, it makes me crazy
Caryn Hartglass: I’m with you, well Bhavani thank you. Where can people hear your show and find your website?
Bhavani Jaroff: My website is www.ieatgreen.com. And they can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Caryn Hartglass: And your show on progressive radio network is…
Bhavani Jaroff: Thursday at 10 and you will be my guest, I look forward to continuing this conversation.
Caryn Hartglass: Absolutely, ok, thank you so much for joining me and we’ll talk on Thursday
Bhavani Jaroff: Thank you, thanks for having me.
Transcribed by Meichin, 2/25/2013
Caryn Hartglass: Ok we’re back I’m Caryn Hartglass, you’re listening to It’s All About Food here we are on January 15th 2013 and now we’re going to bring on my next guest Talya Lutzer and talk about her new book Ayurveda Vegan Kitchen. She’s a certified Ayurveda practitioner, nutritionist, professional chef, and founder of Talya’s kitchen catering company and the author of two cookbooks she also teaches yoga, cooking classes, and is a certified masseuse. Talya’s passion for holistic medicine and innovative healthy food sparkles through in her intelligent, warm, fun, and inspiring teaching style. Through cleansing programs, cooking classes, and one on one consultations she helps people learn to love cooking self care and eating. Well welcome to It’s All About Food.
Talya Lutzker: Thank you Caryn.
Caryn Hartglass: How are you doing today?
Talya Lutzker: I’m doing well.
Caryn Hartglass: Well I was just talking with another woman about everything that looks like you’re about: finding harmony through food I love it.
Talya Lutzker: It’s really fun.
Caryn Hartglass: Because there’s a lot of things that I was talking about in the last half hour that are wrong with the world that can be very overwhelming, very frustrating, very depressing and I’m so glad that there are people out there like yourself that are making it fun and making it tasty and making it balanced. That’s what are you vegan is about, finding balance.
Talya Lutzker: Yes, finding balance between your particular constitution and the food that you eat or even the type of yoga that you do or the type of work outs that you do. Really taking into consideration the uniqueness of yourself and then bringing outside elements that are going to calm that or bring more serenity to you.
Caryn Hartglass: What brought you to Ayurvedic food and study?
Talya Lutzker: I would have to tell you before I answer that question directly. I was looking at your website and you were the Executive Director at EarthSave, and when I was in college and I went to UC Santa Barbara but then I moved up to Santa Cruz just for a quarter to see an intern at EarthSave and so I also worked for them.
Caryn Hartglass: That wasn’t when I was there, probably…
Talya Lutzker: No not when you were there but…
Caryn Hartglass: Was that when they were on Frederick Street in Santa Cruz? Funky little house there?
Talya Lutzker: Yes, I loved that and It’s sort of the history of how I came to Ayurveda was I was always really interested in food as a way of feeling not only on a personal health realm but also in a more global way. And when I was in my late 20s I went to become a certified yoga teacher I’d been practicing yoga for about 8 years an when I was at my yoga teacher training we were introduced to Ayurveda it was the first time I’d ever heard of it but I also got sick at my teacher training and the nature of my illness was just severe itchiness and basically a rash broke out all over my body and I’d had some psoriasis when I was younger like around the age of 12 and then again when I was a teenager and again when I was in my early 20s it was never a huge problem it was just sort of a nuisance and when this rash broke out all over my body I just kind of knew what western medicine had to offer and I didn’t want it and yeah not much especially when it comes to skin and a sort of unknown a mystery caused illness like series or eczema. According to western medicine so i just set out on this journey to find a holistic healthcare practitioner and I saw many people but about 3 months into it I met DeAnna Batdorff who is now my Ayurveda practitioner one of my dearest friends, my mentor, she’s the person who wrote the forwards to my book and it was just the Ayurvedic way towards healing made so much sense to me it was somebody looking at me with a laser right into the center of my soul and seeing not just the physical issues but the spiritual and emotional issues that were also feeding the problem and Ayurveda has just been the most amazing godsend to me and I just loved that and in less than 6 months of eating an Ayurvedic diet that was right for my constitution, 85 to 90 percent of the skin rash was completely gone, never came back again. My hormones were more balanced, my mood was more balanced I was emotionally more stable I found my passion for what I wanted to do in the world for up until then I had not had any contact with.
Caryn Hartglass: It’s all about food.
Talya Lutzker: Food was the pathway.
Caryn Hartglass: Here’s my question for you. My understanding of Ayurvedic is have a heavily combined with dairy foods and you’ve come up with a vegan version and I love it because I’m all about vegan and I have a lot of concern about dairy foods, so how does that work? How is it that Ayurvedic which includes dairy foods, how is it that it considers that balanced and how can you come along and make it vegan, and how do some people react to that who really believe in the traditional principles? Is that a mouthful?
Talya Lutzker: I haven’t actually run into yet any Ayurveda doctors or practitioners who are like I don’t like what you’re doing I don’t think that this is Ayurvedic because you’ve taken out dairy. My approach to this was Ayurveda looks at every food and herb and living thing as it possesses its own elemental constitution and it’s the energy behind that constitution meaning ether, air, fire, water, or earth that give sit its nutritional properties and then there’s also vitamins and minerals which are more individual per food. In a larger scale from an Ayurvedic standpoint we’re looking at the energetics of food and how the energetic of a food can put somebody more into balance or more into an imbalanced state depending on the person depending on the food so dairy in general is very sweet and we really want to think about this as Ayurveda is a 5000 year old science originating from India where the cow is revered as absolutely sacred and I don’t know if you’ve ever been in India but cows stop traffic you go around the cow. I saw a cow in a restaurant and I was just like what. but it had wandered into the restaurant and nobody was trying to get it out it was probably like a big honor that it was in there but the energetic of dairy which is predominantly sweet is going to have a balancing grounding effect on the constitutions of what we call vata and pitta. Vata is the constitution of air and ether that’s very light and dry so the moistening aspect so dairy are helpful for vata and pitta is fire and water which is very hot and oily and the aspects of dairy that are dairy and so really good for the pita dosha which basically means element. what I did was looked at ok so we’ve got this sweet nature from the milk from the oily nature that goes in butter or ghee but where else can I find those same qualities in plant based foods. Well I can find the oily cooling quality on coconut oil which is also a stable oil when you heat it so it’s on par with butter or ghee in that way that you’re not changing a monounsaturated fat like olive oil into a saturated fat when you cook it which we really don’t want to do we’re using a fat that’s already saturated and that is going to have a higher smoke point therefore being more healthy in the long term like coconut oil so that’s the oil that kind of dominates my book in terms of an oil that i’m using for feeding or for making foods hot and then I was able to find that same sweet grounding quality in nuts like cashews and brazil nuts and the occasional macadamia nut.
Caryn Hartglass: Bless those nuts and all that they can do, they’re the best.
Talya Lutzker: And when you soak them and combine them with some lemon juice and some salt and some miso paste, or all different ingredients that complement them it really ends up tasting like cheese so I even have a couple recipes in here.
Caryn Hartglass: Better than cheese!
Talya Lutzker: Better than cheese, it’s such a great alternative to people who are lactose intolerant who don’t want to eat dairy for any reason and for vegans and I just found that while it may not always be a perfect exchange it’s good enough and it really works in these recipes.
Caryn Hartglass: Something I noticed, maybe I missed something, but it looks like there’s no wheat in this book or at least the one hat’s had a pasta made with alternative rice pasta.
Talya Lutzker: You don’t miss that, a good eye on your part. In my personal Ayurvedic practice I have so many clients who are not only having issues with dairy with gluten that it’s become another one of my specialties is helping people navigate through a gluten free diet and a gluten free lifestyle, so I just felt like it would be really helpful to leave my book predominately gluten free, there’s really only a few recipes that contain gluten in the form of barley predominately. And I thought it was also a good marketing point about the book even though my publisher isn’t…
Caryn Hartglass: It should say it on here, it’s important.
Talya Lutzker: I know, I think so too but maybe it’ll come out in the second printing.
Caryn Hartglass: I hate to say this but it’s trendy.
Talya Lutzker: I just was in the meeting this morning where someone told me that the gluten free as a buzzword, as an interest in the general public has gone up another 30 percent from 2012 where it has already made such a huge impact on the industry.
Caryn Hartglass: In some ways it’s scary because people aren’t feeling good and there’s lots of reasons why they’re not feeling good and I think food has a big part of it but more people are discovering when they eliminate wheat, when they eliminate gluten, they feel better. What’s going on with our food supply is scary. And what’s going on with wheat is supposedly the staff of light and I supported most of the recipes and responsible eating and living that are gluten free and I’m having a lot of fun with that, working with different flowers that I had never worked with in my life, bean flowers, nut flowers and other grain flowers, it’s just opening my world
Talya Lutzker: It’s really fun and Ayurveda’s main, at the core of Ayurveda’s medicine is the ability to digest your food completely, that if you have a healthy, vital, vibrant digestive system, the rest of your tissues and organs and other bodily systems are going to respond do that in a positive, more healthy way and so because that’s another, that’s also part of my thinking in making the book predominately gluten free. Although there are people who can process gluten just fine and so I’m not saying that gluten is bad for us it just really depends on can your digestive system process it enough to create a sense of vitality within you. Everyone is different.
Caryn Hartglass: It’s about balance, and you know that. Balance, key word. So many foods on grocery store shelves in the United States in the Western world and more and more in other countries have wheat in it and there’s a lot of reasons behind it and some of it is because corporate power and control of what’s going on. We need balance, we need more recipes, we need more food without wheat.
Talya Lutzker: Absolutely, yeah, for me it was like an added bonus of the book when I was writing it so thanks for noticing.
Caryn Hartglass: I pay attention. I want to talk about a few recipes in here so I am a big fan of tea and hot beverages. I live in New York, it gets cold and one of my favorite things to do is just sit and just have a warm, hot beverage and you’ve got some great recipes in here. I’m a big fan of chai, and you’ve got a recipe for chai here that looks great. And then you have a few others and they all seem to have a little bit of ginger in it. Can you talk about ginger from an Ayurvedic point of view?
Talya Lutzker: I love ginger. Ginger is almost triangular shaped and when they see a triangular shape it means that it’s an herb that is going to typically balance anybody. So there’s three doshas, three basic Ayurvedic elements in Ayurvedic medicine, vata, pitta, and kapha ginger is going to balance all three of them for the most part. Sometimes ginger if it’s too hot like if there’s too much of it that is really hot like especially in the form of dried ginger it can be a little too pungent maybe for the vata dosha or a little too heating for the pitta dosha so they have to pay attention to how much they take of ginger and in what form, but for the most part ginger is an anti-inflammatory, circulatory, herb so it’s going to increase and increase blood flow, making blood flow stronger and more vital and it’s also going to help with any sort of -itis in the western medicine so as an anti-inflammatory food. I really love to just add it for that little bit of kick that it gives, a little in flavor but also in energy, because another thing that I don’t focus on in my book very much at all is forms of caffeine and I’m in such a-I feel like just love food so much I’m such a foodie and yet I call myself the health conscious foodie because I just love to feel good when I eat and feel good all the time.
Caryn Hartglass: Shouldn’t we all want that?
Talya Lutzker: Again, I just think that everyone’s so different like I meet people who they have such strong digestive systems that they eat whatever they want and they never have problems so I can understand their perspective of, “why should I try to eat better?” I like what I’m eating and I’m not having any issues.
Caryn Hartglass: I know that there’s a lot of different people out there. There are a handful of people not many but a few people that live a very long life and they’re doing everything that we think is wrong and that’s a mystery, let’s not talk about them. I think a lot of people who are not eating well have lost their vitality, their body’s just given up and they may not notice that the food is causing a problem but at some point they’re going to fall apart and fall apart badly, but that’s my opinion.
Talya Lutzker: I agree with you when I see that too, but sometimes it’s just they’ve got to hit 40 or 50 before that starts to happen and the symptoms have to be uncomfortable enough for them to want to make the change. Anyway, going back to ginger. Ginger has this sort of warm invigorating action in the body. It gives us energy, so that’s why I’ve included it in a lot of these drinks especially if they’re a warm drink to be taken in the morning. When the drink should be taken at night, I mean ginger’s not going to keep you awake, but it’s going to improve blood circulation which studies have shown actually help us relax more when we do start to unwind at the end of the day.
Caryn Hartglass: It’s a really powerful food because, because of all of those properties it can energize you, make you feel really warm inside and that warmth, can give you energy, or it can actually relax you and make you feel cozy when it’s time to go to sleep.
Talya Lutzker: And usually it’s showing you exactly what you need. It’s not some arbitrary sometimes I feel this way and sometimes I feel this way. Your body is responding to it naturally and showing you actually you could really relax right now that would be in alignment with what you’re needing, or wow let’s give you energy we’re ready for it and here it is. It’s also a great digestive herb so I’ve included it in a lot of my recipes because as a tridoshic digestive carminitive and just a digestive tonifier. Tt’s a good one to think about when we’re wanting to make hot drinks or all different kinds of food really.
Caryn Hartglass: There’s a lot of really lovely recipes in here and what I like is that some of them are almost conventional but you add different spices to them that make them new, almost. We just have just a few seconds left really, where can people find you on the internet.
Talya Lutzker: They can find me at talyaskitchen.com and my book is available everywhere books are sold.
Caryn Hartglass: That sounds pretty good, well all the best with that I think it’s a really lovely book, thank you for writing it.
Talya Lutzker: Thank you Caryn, thank you so much for having me on your show.
Caryn Hartglass: I think i’m going to go and have a cup of Ginger Tumeric tea now. Ok, thank you for joining me on It’s All About Food, I’m Caryn Hartglass and you can visit me on my website, responsibleeatingandliving.com.
Transcribed by Meichin, 3/12/2013