CHENNAI: Her father would tell her the story of a caterpillar, who always ate greens and transformed into a beautiful butterfly. Uma Swaminathan takes the teachings and inspirations from her father, a botanist, and found a connection to Ayurveda. She launched Healing with Herbs in the presence of T S Krishnamurthy, former election commissioner of India at Odyssey book store.
Uma pursued Anthropology and specialised in the herbs and spices of different countries. Talking about her book that focuses on healthy South Indian dishes she said, “It was my daughter who pushed me. I would always work on making our meals heathier by using the knowledge I had acquired. My daughter would nag me to pen them down, and here it is.”
The book consists of 258 pages of nutritional recipes and its benefits. Picking an example from the book, the ragi halwa Uma says, “We use rava and maida for halwa but I was trying to figure out alternative ways to make it healthy. Millets have been used for a very long time by the working class. It makes them strong so that they can work in the fields all day. I wondered why we ate polished rice? I began to research and learnt that millets can be used to make so many tasty dishes! During my US book tour, I made millet upma and halwa, they just couldn’t get enough,” she smiled.
If Ayurveda is a fad and how long did she think it will play a role in the kitchen? “It can never be a fad. It has existed for centuries and will continue to do so. We just need to keep practicing it. Where are the diseases coming from? This is where the fad of pizzas and burgers come into play,” she stated and also added that Teflon pans should be avoided as it causes cancer.
The book, Healing with Herbs is available at Amazon.com and costs `399