Dr Rupy Aujla’s first cookbook, The Doctor’s Kitchen, is the go-to book to help you kick unhealthy faddy diets for good. In the book, Rupy, explains the principles of healthy living in a fun and relatable way with over 100 vibrant, tasty recipes steeped in medical science which are easy and inexpensive to make.
Dr. Rupy will be joining us at our Battersea studio on Saturday 6th January, for a ride followed by a Q&A.; tickets also include a copy of his new book...
Hi Rupy! How do you juggle being both a doctor in the NHS and a recognisable figure in the health and wellness industry?
I'll be honest, it’s a struggle! Being a doctor in the NHS is tough, particularly when you're in training! luckily I have now been fully qualified as a general practitioner for and two and a bit years. When I came back from Australia I decided to do locum work; that's where I'm not in a salary position; I work 6 days and I can actually choose when and where I work. This means I have to figure out how to fit it around my schedule and unfortunately for me that means a lot of out-of-hours work and being in an A+E doctor and a GP, I do a lot of weekends, evenings and night shifts, especially when I have things to do during the day. When I have days off from my job in the wellness industry, I’m able to do full general practice clinics at my general practice surgery. I’m able to do around 3-4 days of clinical work per week, and the rest of every single moment of my time is put into ‘The Doctor’s Kitchen’.
What does a typical day look like for you?
A typical day for me currently is really varied. One day I might be having a meeting with my publisher or publicist, talking about ways in which we can improve the book earlier this year it was on a shoot or writing the book. Other times I’ll be running around focusing on culinary medicine, which is my social enterprise where we teach doctors and health professionals the foundations of clinical nutrition as well as how to cook so that looks is an online module where you learn about the evidence base behind nutrition and medicine and a hands-on module where you learn hands-on skills in a culinary school and this is really in an effort to elevate a health professional’s ability to have a conversation about food in hospital or clinical environment.
Do you think it is now more important than ever to education audiences on healthy eating?
Absolutely. It is imperative that we all understand the value of food and what we choose to put on our plates is one of the most important health interventions that anyone can make. My mission is to show that you don't need to sacrifice flavour or your cultural identity or your enjoyment of food because food can be both healthy and delicious and it's not all about function; it’s about flavour as well and that's really what The Doctor's Kitchen is all about. It's about showing people how delicious food can be and how healthy eating does not need to be restrictive or bland, it can be really, really enjoyable.
What is the most common issues you come across with people struggling to maintain a balance diet?
The commonest issue I come across is variety. People often stick to the same sorts of foods that they've always had or they know how to cook, because they're not as adventurous or don't have the confidence around food.
People always complain to me that they are time-poor, which is why I think it's really important to show people via my social media platforms, etc. that you can maintain a healthy diet when you have a hectic lifestyle. It's certainly easier said than done but I’m here to show kitchen hacks and ways in which you can actually make this reality.
The other common issue is that people often don't understand how important what they put on their plate or how they eat when they are out how it then translates to health outcomes. One of my jobs in general practice and even in emergency medicine, is actually to tell people how food has these effects; its impact on blood pressure, risk of cardio vascular disease or diabetes, even mood disorders.
The recipes on your site are amazing! What made you decide to finally bring out a book?
I actually thought it was pretty early in my career! A cookbook was always on my agenda but perhaps not this soon! I was approached by my literary agent and it's a real opportunity for me to show just how important food is in medicine and to health.
By virtue of the fact that a doctor is coming out with the recipes in a recipe book that's going to be available up and down the country, it's an amazing chance I've got to influence the population and the amount of homework that I put into it; The research; the fact that this is probably the first cookbook to ever have over 200 academic references that I’ve painstakingly gone through and read, reread and had checked, etc.
I hope people understand that this isn't just ‘on trend’ - this is something that needs to happen to improve the health of the Nation in a fun, engaging and excitable way.
Who influences you, both in health and on a personal level?
On a personal level; I have some really close friends that inspire me every single day -they're not in the same industry but they push me; being entrepreneurs that have started their own businesses.
Outside of my circle of friends, it’s a gentleman called http://www.naveenjain.org/ (. He is a big, big dreamer and he certainly influences me and the type of content that he tweets about or talk about on his podcast. He encourages you to think about ideas that other people might deem as crazy and if they don't think it's crazy, then you’re not dreaming big enough.
I think that's very true; particularly with my project of trying to create ‘culinary medicine’, which is where we revolutionise the medical curriculum and we bring culinary skills to future doctors. It’s a pretty revolutionary concept in the fact that I foresee the future of community kitchens with general practice surgeries in the future where everyone can have access to a kitchen and learn the skills of how to cook from scratch. That's my big vision and something I've been influenced by in Naveen.
From a health perspective, I would probably say my mum, who overcame illness when I was quite young. It really was my first introduction into the power of food in medicine as well as the power of lifestyle in medicine. Food is a very important starting point, I actually call it, ‘the delicious conversation starter’ to lifestyle medicine, which incorporates our mindfulness, our communities, social connections, exercise and sleep patterns as well as nutrition.