CHENNAI: Mayavi Khandelwal drinks a banana milkshake for breakfast and enjoys ice cream for dessert. And here’s the chocolate sauce on top — she reversed her ‘diabetes’ with her diet!
The 54-year-old from Mumbai is vegan and swears by plant-based whole foods. That means no meat or dairy — just vegetables, whole grains, legumes and fruits. Over the last three years since she’s made the shift in lifestyle, she’s become something of a celebrity in fitness circles. By day, she runs My Pure Path, a vegan and ‘oil-free’ tiffin service, at night she conducts culinary classes for an ever-growing following of people with ailments. And when she’s not cooking or eating, she’s either at a yoga class or training for her next marathon.
Ahead of a two-day cooking spree in Chennai next week, we catch up with this mom-preneur who is redefining the wellness code for desi women everywhere, one plate at a time:
So how long did you have diabetes?
Almost 10 years. Three years ago, my blood pressure was so high that my doctor said I should be in hospital. That’s when I decided something has to change.
How did you step into a vegan lifestyle after this?
A friend put me onto a specialist in a plant-based diet with whole foods. I gave it a try and was able to stop my medication in a month. A year later, I was able to stop blood pressure meds and in the last nine months, I’ve been able stop medication for hyperthyroidism.
That’s amazing! So is your whole family on board with this way of eating?
Yes. My husband, in-laws, even my driver have started eating this way since. My daughters don’t live with us now, but both have tried it and experienced its results.
What are the replacers for staples in the kitchen like dairy and sugar?
Milk is switched to nut-based milks like almond milk, dates make a super sweetener and instead of oil while say sauteeing vegetables, I would use water or some sort of nut replacement like cashewnut paste.
There must be days when you have cravings for real doodh and dahi...
The thing is there is nothing that I don’t eat. I drink tea with almond milk, which tastes great. I make dahi vada and about a dozen different kinds of cheeses — you must try the one we make out of potato and carrot... We make pizzas and chocolate cake and gluten-free pasta. It’s a real joy to eat!
What is the biggest misconception that you’ve heard in one of your classes?
That going vegan will reverse diabetes. You can’t just go vegan and eat lots of sugar or deep fried foods. You also need to be sugar-free and oil-free.
We hear that you’re planning 40 dishes in two days for this Chennai class. And you’re halfway to 60. How do you do it?
(Laughs) Before this shift in lifestyle, my husband would call me a painful woman as I would complain of aches and pains. Now, I have more energy than my son-in-law.
The two-day class will be held on August 1 and 2, and is priced at `12,000. For details, call 9840230151.