Why would you take on an endurance-testing vegan and gluten-free diet with all its promise of mystical communion with nature and better health when you can have a gooey chocolate tart from the city’s best patisserie? Raveena Taurani, founder and owner of Yogisattva, a one-year-old organisation that has been promoting raw and plant-based food in Mumbai, has the answers. Taurani, who has always been a vegetarian, was introduced to raw and plant-based food at a Ashtanga yoga retreat in Goa and has been hooked since.
She says, “Devoid of any dairy or refined sugars – I gained amazing muscle strength in the span of just two weeks without any additional protein supplement. I had great energy, slept better and overall felt nourished and happy. After that – there was no going back.”
Taurani enrolled for a chef training course in Bali to learn vegan, raw and gluten-free cooking.
At Yogisattva’s cooking class this weekend, participants can learn how to make a dish for every course right from almond butter and dairy free chai for breakfast to grain-free wraps with organic vegetables for lunch or dinner to vanilla strawberry “no cheese” raw cheesecake for dessert. While “no cheese” cheesecake is a dietary oxymoron, Taurani’s recipe promises to deliver on taste.
She adds, “The quality of dairy has largely depleted since our ancestors’ generation and the excessive hormones induced in the milk make it a health hazard. It’s important to note – that cows get their nutrition from plants, so why don’t we remove the middle source and directly go to the plants for our nutrition?”
But how sustainable is a raw and plant-based diet?
Says Taurani, “For raw food, the challenge is to source good quality organic produce. While I get great quality fruits and vegetables sourced from organic farmers, I often struggle with the quality of vegetable leaves that you would use in a salad. Plant based cooking allows you to experiment with different produce that cannot be eaten raw. Some vegetables such as eggplant, lady’s finger and broccoli have to be cooked for their nutrients to become available for the body to absorb.”
It helps that Taurani is not a rabid evangelist of vegan and gluten free diets.
She says, “Many people are accustomed to think that diets mean only an exclusion of foods – hence, I urge people to think of what you can include rather than exclude. I ask them to focus on making a lifestyle change which is a long term solution opposed to a diet change which is a short term solution.” The key is to find a balance as she puts it.
The best part of the class is that while Taurani sources a lot of ingredients such as hemp seeds and raw cacao from outside of India, all the cooking she teaches uses ingredients that are easily available in India.
The three-hour cooking class, which costs Rs 3,000, will be held on February 20 at Studio Fifteen in Lower Parel, Mumbai. Register by emailing email@example.com.