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Being an “Ayurvegan” with Darshana Thacker: PYP 183

darshana-thackerDarshana Thacker is the culinary project manager for Forks Over Knives, as well as the chef responsible for 125 kid-friendly recipes in the brand new Forks Over Knives Family book. She has been a Forks Over Knives (FOK) insider since the very beginning (in addition to being a top-notch plant-based chef, she's also FOK producer Brian Wendel's girlfriend).

FOK is a big deal in the world, at least in my world. When I speak at plant-based events, I find that somewhere around 50-90% of the attendees first discovered this lifestyle through the original FOK documentary. It's consistently been the top-selling documentary on amazon and the top-watched documentary on Netflix.

I've interviewed Brian, and was amazed at his pure gumption in getting this giant dream off the ground. When he got the idea to make a movie about T. Colin Campbell and Caldwell Esselstyn, he wasn't a movie producer. He had no experience in media. He was doing commercial real estate in Santa Monica, California, for heaven's sake!

But Brian is one of those people who doesn't seem to have genes for self-doubt and hesitancy. So he was unable to explain exactly what had gotten into him as he innocently and vigorously launched one of the greatest forces for health and happiness in the past 30 years.

So when I got the chance to talk to Darshana, who's been with him the whole way, I was excited to hear about the FOK odyssey from her perspective. What I got in the interview, of course, was much better than that. Darshana's own journey, from 1970s India to California, from traditional homemade food to the delights of greasy westernized fare, to discovering her own passion and penchant for healthy plant-based cooking.

We discussed the milestones and triggers for her transition to plant-based eating, and her combination of traditional Indian Ayurveda with principles of vegan cuisine in formulating fun, delicious, and kid-friendly recipes for the new cookbook.

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We covered:

  • the changes in the Indian middle class in the 1980s, and how eating out signified affluence
  • how traditional Indian family cuisine got corrupted by westernization
  • getting hooked on cooking through the Food Network
  • immigrating to the United States to expand her environment and herself
  • meeting Brian and discovering ethical veganism
  • learning about the implications of eating dairy and eggs
  • watching FOK take shape and grow from Brian's passion
  • how to think about cooking healthy meals for kids
  • translating the standard American diet into whole-food, plant-based dishes (healthy versions of pizza, spaghetti and meatballs, pancakes, enchiladas, and tacos)
  • what recipes got cut from the book
  • the six tastes of Ayurveda, and why they belong in every meal
  • reconciling the differences between plant-based and Ayurvedic practice and evidence
  • getting in tune with our own bodies' desires
  • the wisdom and limitations of bioindividuality (“at what point does your need impinge on someone else's life?”)
  • the new line of FOK prepared foods
  • the FOK meal planner service (a menu plus shopping lists, totally customizable)
  • and much more…

Enjoy, add your voice to the conversation via the comment box below, and please share – that's how we spread our message and spread our roots.

Links

Forks Over Knives

Darshana's Kitchen

Forks Over Knives Family – book

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Music

The Plant Yourself Podcast theme music, “Dance of Peace (Sabali Don),” is generously provided by Will Ridenour, a kora player from North Carolina who has trained with top Senegalese musicians.

It can be found on his first CD, titled Will Ridenour.

You can learn about Will, listen to more tracks, and buy music on his website, WillRidenour.com.

Disclosure

This post may contain amazon affiliate links. I may receive amazon gift certificates from your actions on such links.

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Music

The Plant Yourself Podcast theme music, “Dance of Peace (Sabali Don),” is generously provided by Will Ridenour, a kora player from North Carolina who has trained with top Senegalese musicians.

It can be found on his first CD, titled Will Ridenour.

You can learn about Will, listen to more tracks, and buy music on his website, WillRidenour.com.

Gratitudes

Thanks to Plant Yourself podcast patrons – Kim Harrison – Lynn McLellan – Brittany Porter – Dominic Marro – Barbara Whitney – Tammy Black – Amy Good – Amanda Hatherly – Mary Jane Wheeler – Ellen Kennelly – Melissa Cobb – Rachel Behrens – Tina Scharf – Tina Ahern – Jen Vilkinofsky – David Byczek – Michele X – Elspeth Feldman – Leah Stolar – Allan Kristensen – Colleen Peck – Michele Landry – Jozina – Sara Durkacs – Kelly Cameron – Janet Selby – Claire Adams – Tom Fronczak – Jeannette Benham – Gila Lacerte – David Donohue – Blair Seibert – Doron Avizov – Gio and Carolyn Argentati – Jodi Friesner – RuthAnn Funderburk – Mischa Rosen – Michael Worobiec – AvIvA Lael – Alicia Lemus – Val Linnemann – Nick Harper – Bandana Chawla – Martha Bergner – Molly Levine – The Inscrutable Harry R – Susan Laverty the Panda Vegan – Craig Covic – Adam Scharf – Karen Bury – Heather Morgan – Bonnie Lynch of Plant Happy Oregon – Sabine Kurtzhals – Nigel Davies – Marian Blum – Teresa Kopel – Julian Watkins – Brid O'Connell – Shannon Herschman – Linda Ayotte – Holm Hedegaard – Isa Tousignant – Connie Haneline – Erin Greer – Alicia Davis – Heather O'Connor – Carollynne Jensen – Sheri Orlekoski of Plant Powered for Health – Karen Smith – Scott Mirani – Karen and Joe Crabtree – Kirby Burton – Theresa Carrell – Kevin Macaulay – Elizabeth Rothschild – Ann Jesse – Sheryl Dwyer – Jenny Hazelton – Peter W Evans – Justine Divett – Joshua Sommermeyer – Dennis Bird – Darby Kelly – Lori Fanney – Linnea Lundquist – Valarie Hummel – Emily Iaconelli – Levi Wallach – Rosamonde McAtee – Dan Pokorney – Stephen Leinin – Patty DeMartino – Mike and Donna Kartz – Deanne Bishop – Bilberry Elf – Marjorie Lewis – Tricia Adams – Ian Cramer – Nancy Sheldon – Lindsey Bashore – Gunn Marit Hagen – Tracey Gulledge – Lara Hedin – Meg from Mamasezz – Stacey Stokes – Ben Savage – Michael K – David Hughes -Coni Rodgers – Claire England – Sally Robertson – Parham Ganchi – Amy Dailey – Brian Tourville – Mark Jeffrey Johnson – Josie Dempsey – Caryn Schmitt – Pamela Hayden – Emily Perryman – Allison Corbett – Richard Stone – Lauren Vaught of Edible Musings – Erin Hastey – Sean Owens – Sagar Naik – Erika Piedra – Danielle Roberts – Michael Leuchten – Sarah Johnson – for your generous support of the podcast.

Disclosure

This post may contain amazon affiliate links. I may receive compensation from your actions on such links. It don't cost you a dime, tho.

2 comments on “Being an “Ayurvegan” with Darshana Thacker: PYP 183

  1. Christine Nielsen says:

    Although it is a tough day for many, just remember that you have had a huge positive influence on Josh’s life (congrats to him on the cover!) and continue to make such a positive difference in many thousands of lives. Thanks for what you do Howard!

    1. Howard says:

      Thanks for the kind reminder, Christine!

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