After many years of tinkering with new-age nutrition, Vasudha Rai came to realise that what changes us is simple everyday food. The beauty expert and former beauty director of a reputed magazine has now written a book, Glow, that talks about holistic beauty, one that goes beyond physicality. From basic garden-variety fruit and vegetables to potent Ayurvedic herbs, Rai tells you what to eat to ensure beauty inside and out. Published by Penguin Random House, Glow will give you tips on how to build strength and immunity, brighten and clarify your skin and obtain peace of mind with potent Indian remedies. Here’s more from Rai...
What is your opinion of the phrase ‘you are what you eat’?
Everything that you consume will never go to waste. It could manifest into disease or good health, it’s up to you to choose. By this I mean not just the food that we eat (that obviously has a profound effect on our inner health and outer beauty), but also the thoughts that we consume. Every toxic thought, every toxic bite will degrade your health and beauty. While people most often think of skincare when it comes to beauty, it actually all begins with what you eat and how you think.
What is your personal mantra to glow everyday?
Lots of water, fibre with every meal, some sort of yogic activity (be it asana, pranayama or dhyana), no snacking between meals, and never keeping a grudge.
How will you convince a generation that relies on instant mixes and fixes, to go the natural way to take care of their skin?
Well, you’ve heard of that old adage — you can take the horse to the water but you can’t make him drink it. I have provided a book that is deceptively simple in the sense that I have managed to simplify reams and reams of research, I have also given enough tips on how to eat and apply each of the ingredients. However, it would be impossible for me to control the results, or ensure that people follow my
But that said, there are enough young people of this ‘instant’ generation who have written to me telling me how much the book resonates with them, so I feel it would be unfair to generalise.
There is a notion that natural treatment is time consuming — be it the time it takes to prepare the remedy or the time the remedy takes to show results. What are your thoughts on this?
Anything that lasts for the long term is time consuming. But more than anything, you have to develop habits that can be sustained over a lifetime. In my book, I have spoken about very simple things like eating Indian greens, or Indian berries, millets and ghee. These are not time consuming activities, for this you just need to change your weekly food shopping list.
Replace all the junk with these local ingredients. It is said that you can develop a new habit in 21 days. Just do this for 21 days and change your lifestyle, your health, your beauty.
How much of external beauty actually comes from inside (getting flawless skin by drinking natural infusions and so on)?
I would say about 80 per cent. It was said for the longest time that beautiful skin is genetic. But I disagree. You can transform your skin just by eating well. It will not show results in a week but do it for three months and I promise that you will not be disappointed.
How can certain foods/natural remedies help you deal with stress — which is the root cause of so many life-style diseases that people have to deal with today?
A lot of us eat unhealthy food to deal with stress but a poor diet indirectly contributes to stress by imbalancing sugar levels and eventually your hormones. If your hormones are imbalanced, you will not feel your best and therefore you will not do your best.
Clean healthy eating helps the mind and body function better. There are so many herbs that help reduce stress. For me, the most important of these is tulsi. I don’t drink caffeine at all, just tulsi tea. It helps reduce my anxiety but still keeps me alert enough to work efficiently.
Have you kept in mind the availability of ingredients and cost (not too expensive) while suggesting the remedies and recipes?
Yes most of the ingredients in my book are locally and daily available and therefore are cheap. The only one that may be a bit more expensive is sea buckthorn, which is local to the Ladakh region. It is a beautiful berry, which is one of the most nutrient dense foods in the world.