A Profile on Damyanti Gajjar

I am a trained Ayurvedic Health Care Advisor previously registered with The Chiropractors, Homeopaths and Allied Service Council of South Africa.

After completing an Ayurvedic course in 1998, I visited the USA and brought back a number of Ayurvedic books which were not yet available in South Africa. I studied these books with the goal of formulating a course in Ayurvedic Nutrition. Once I had complete the the syllabus, I visited a teaching hospital in Coimbatore, India to get it approved. With their positive input and approval, I started teaching the course in Cape Town in 2000, both from home and from the Ananda Kutir Ashrama.  I made regular trips to India in order to research other aspects of nutrition with a specific interest in understanding how spices and diets can be used in healing people.

I completed my first recipe book called 'Consious Cuisine'. The book explores a fusion of Ayurvedic Principles and Healthy Vegetarian cuisine. Using the principles of Ayurveda I have been able to follow a philosophy of trying to cook produce that is fresh, seasonal, locally grown, organic and as far as possible GM free..

My blog serves as an extension of my recipe book and I will be using it to document and share my experiences with food, Ayurveda and Conscious Cuisine in Cape Town.

My Philosophy

As a young Indian woman I was expected to assist my mother and grandmother with household chores.  Cooking was not necessarily taught, one observed and absorbed techniques and methods.

There were many Hindu festivals throughout the year and each festival was celebrated with special meals and dishes. I have only realized since I have my own family how important these festivals were. They created excitement and tremendous bonding within the extended family members.

Food is considered sacred and provides nourishment for body, mind and soul. Since studying Ayurveda I recognise the good fortune of  growing up in such a traditional household. Ayurveda is a health science that was passed down through the generations by word of mouth. 

I have adapted my cooking to suit a more western type of lifestyle. Using the principles of Ayurveda I have been able to follow a philosophy of trying to cook produce that is seasonal, locally grown, organic and as far as possible not genetically engineered. I am inspired by the fresh produce I am able to buy from the local organic markets.

Herbs and Spices form an integral part of my cuisine. I love the subtle tastes of fresh herbs. Researching the health benefits of the herbs and spices is an exciting part of the book.

The consciousness of the person preparing the food is vitally important. Our inner environment affects the outer atmosphere. We are all part of the same universe where the five elements make up all matter i.e. plant, animal, marine and human life.

This book has been a labour of love and I have enjoyed putting the recipes together. I do hope that you enjoy preparing the dishes as much as I have. All the dishes are tried and tested. Many of the recipes contained in the book were taught in my ayurvedic /vegetarian cooking classes.