I grew up in India receiving warm oil massages from my grandmother when I was a baby. I was given herbal remedies for everything from an upset stomach to sore throats. And I was taught that food was one of the most powerful tools for healing.
Looking back, I realize that I did not completely recognize the amazing value of Ayurveda back then. I was, however, always drawn to the alchemy of cooking and the magic that took place in my mother’s (and grandmother’s) kitchen, both of whom were amazing cooks. They transformed simple ingredients into something nourishing, beautiful, and oh so tasty. Cooking alongside my mother very early on inspired me to pursue three years of culinary training at the Institute for Hotel Management in India, and I loved every minute of it.
Soon after that, I got the opportunity to complete my bachelor’s degree in the United States, and went for it. Immediately after that, I got my MBA in finance, marketing, and international business.
Recognizing the value of a traditional career, I took what I like to call a “detour” into the corporate world. I climbed to leadership positions in finance working for brands like Kraft Foods, Heinz, and Ford Motor Company for nearly 15 years. I never did lose my love for cooking, although it was then limited to cooking 1-2 times a week for family and friends.
It may sound like I achieved great success, and in terms of professional growth, I certainly did. But the long hours and demanding workload took a toll on my body. I developed Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, had high cholesterol, carried excess weight, and my asthma, a condition I’d had since childhood, was worse than ever. Not to mention that I had walked away from my dream of being a chef.
As you can imagine, urgent care visits were a common occurrence and a temporary band-aid for a much bigger problem. It took getting hospitalized with pneumonia for me to finally wake up to the fact that I was nothing without my health, and that I needed to take charge in order to heal and get better.