The Art of Eating Healthy—Sitting Down With Anushruti RK
Anushruti RK is a food writer, photographer, recipe creator, and nutrition advisor based in Mumbai. She specialises in Ayurvedic and Sattvic food cooking and has a food blog based on these principles named DivineTaste. She pursued a degree in Chemistry and Management before taking up cooking and food blogging. This year, at m.i.l.a.p, she gave a talk on ‘Digi-Cookery: Gastronomy in the Virtual World’ along with Thirugnanasambantham K. The MIT Post got an opportunity to speak with her about her foray into the world of food blogging as well as Ayurvedic and Sattvic food cooking principles.
You pursued a degree in chemistry and then management, how did you end up building a career as a food blogger?
When I moved to Mumbai in 2003, I had the opportunity to get into a corporate career. I had specialised in quality management. At that time, Mumbai was new to me, and I had a kitchen to myself. It was like a melting pot of cultures. I had access to so many ingredients. I actually started cooking because I was very inspired by the taste a few ingredients could produce, and I wanted to take that taste outside my kitchen to the people. That is what inspired me to become a food blogger.
Unhealthy food habits are prevalent nowadays, especially in metropolitan cities and even in younger generations. Where do you think this stems from, and how can we curb it?
In my family, my ancestors have been cooking these kinds of food (Ayurvedic and Sattvic food) from generations, and that was an inspiration. At the same time, when I started cooking, I became very conscious of what goes into the food that I eat and the food that my family eats. I had done a course in Ayurveda nutrition and found that ayurvedic principles made a lot of sense. To curb fast food is a difficult thing—the fast-food industry is growing at a rate of 40% annually. People like fast food for a lot of reasons—fast food is cheap, readily available, and it’s tasty. But at the same time, it’s not good for your health, and it leads to a lot of lifestyle diseases. So if someone wants to be healthy, eating fast food definitely needs to be restricted.
Do you feel Indian food bloggers have more content to work with than their western counterparts, seeing as there are countless local cuisines here?
Absolutely. In India, you take any state, the way you make a recipe changes from place to place, for example, take Karnataka. The way you make Sambhar in Udupi will be different when you go a few kilometres and go to Dharwad. The way sambhar is made here is completely different than sambhar in Udupi. At the same time, we have a plethora of ingredients to work with, so many local ingredients to explore and so many cuisines to talk about. We need to delve into our ancient wisdom to find the best recipe book.
What do you feel is the most rewarding part of being a food blogger and what is the process involved in that?
The most rewarding part of food blogging is when you make a name for yourself, there will be brand collaborations, media attention, workshop invitations which also includes the monetary aspect. But apart from that, if you focus on reaching that stage, then you are not focusing on quality. Firstly it is very important to find your new recipe — what is your new recipe? What is your unique selling proposition? For instance, I am in a niche space. I specialise in ayurvedic food and sattvic cooking principles, and I stick to that, and that gives me authenticity and genuineness. This helps me to interact with the people who want to follow me for these aspects of my food and cooking. So it’s very important to find your niche and stay authentic to that. For example, I am someone who walks the talk—I say on my blog that sattvic cooking involves eating food without meat, fish and even garlic, eggs and all and I never use these ingredients even when I am travelling. So that gives me the authenticity, and then of course, if you focus and work in a consistent manner, things will flow. It is important to find your space, and genuine followers will come when you are true to your vision if you put up quality content. The focus should always be on putting up quality content. Once that’s taken care of your focus doesn’t waver.
Apps are good as far as convenience is concerned. But when it comes to food, if you are really committed towards your diet, you have to connect with your food and that will only happen when you cook yourself. It all melts down to organising yourself and finding time slots when you can actually cook. Yes, that would be a good option to make these type of cuisines available on food delivery apps, and popular restaurants and hotels. Still, the best way would be to make it yourself because when you cook yourself, you get to know exactly what’s going into your food. When someone else is making your food, they claim that it’s good. You don’t know what they are doing there, but when you cook yourself you know exactly what is going into your food and that is very important.