Divya Alter is a certified nutritional consultant, educator, author and chef in the Shaka Vansiya Ayurveda tradition. Divya began her practice over 30 years ago as an intern in the kitchen of a yoga ashram in her native Bulgaria before moving to India where she became captivated by Ayurveda and the notion of prevention and healing through food (it is through Ayurveda that she cured herself from an autoimmune disease).
In 2016, Divya and her husband Prentiss founded Divya’s Kitchen, a plant-based restaurant in New York City that reimagines classic dishes through an Ayurvedic lens. She is also the co-founder of Bhagavat Life, a nonprofit culinary school that offers cooking classes and North America’s first Ayurvedic chef certification program.
Divya is the author of the bestselling cookbook What to Eat for How You Feel: The New Ayurvedic Kitchen (Rizzoli, 2017) and the forthcoming Joy of Balance: An Ayurvedic Guide to Cooking with Healing Ingredients (Rizzoli, 2022).
On this episode, Divya shares her one way ticket to Vrindavan, India. As she puts it: “It’s a place where people go for inspiration. Sometimes if you feel kind of stuck in your life and you’re like ‘I don’t know what I’m doing, I don’t know where I’m going’. So if you have a kind of existential crisis, Vrindavan can give you the clarity of who you are and what you’re meant to do and be”. For Divya, what she also loves about Vrindavan is that “it has this very special sweetness in the atmosphere. It’s saturated with spiritual energy that you cannot really explain”.
Plus, Divya walks us through the ancient Indian healing system that is Ayurveda, highlights her books, restaurant and product line. In the course of the conversation, she offers some wonderful tips like how turmeric can stop bleeding, why mung beans are the best beans of all, and why you should add cardamom to your coffee.