SEASONAL SELF-CARE BLOG
Q & A with Annie Kunjappy
Posted on October 14th, 2015
Annie Kunjappy was born and raised in Malaysia by immigrant parents from Kerala, India. She has been in New York since 2004, spreading her knowledge and love for food and conscious eating. Annie will be leading the food portion of our Seasonal Self-Care workshops on November 1 (Winter Wellness) and April 3 (Spring Detox).
How do you know Leigh?
Leigh was my first yoga teacher! She started teaching her first yoga class at the warehouse loft space where I lived in San Francisco in 1990. I feel that her amazing teaching laid a strong foundation for my yoga practice in the years to come. We were both artists in the theater/dance/ performance world and have collaborated on several projects over the years.
Have you always been interested in food? When did you realize you would have a career as a chef?
My mother was a fabulous cook, so I had the good fortune of growing up eating very good food! I have always loved delicious, creative food, but my specific interest in food and healing came about from my own investigations into healing myself from eczema and other sensitivities that had plagued me since childhood. Western doctors at that time offered very little beyond steroids and cortisol creams as salves for the symptoms. My “return” to Eastern medicine and particularly to discovering the power of the daily practice of conscious eating was what finally healed me. This lead me to getting trained as a chef specializing in food and healing.
You studied and taught at the Natural Gourmet Institute for Health and Culinary Arts. How did you decide on that specific program? What was it like going from student to instructor?
The Natural Gourmet Institute offered a program that included the study of Ayurveda, Chinese 5-phase Theory, Macrobiotics, etc. Their approach to gourmet cooking had, at its heart, a devotion to health and healing.
Your approach to to nutrition and self-care is based on Ayurveda, Chinese Medicine and western nutritional science. Can you explain how you integrate all of these “systems” into one?
Each tradition has fine-tuned it’s approach based on the truths of their environment, culture, history and value system. They have their differences and underlying similarities. I do not integrate all these systems into one by any means. Each person, under their specific set of conditions will ideally learn to address their own physical and spiritual needs informed and aided by the richness offered by these various approaches.
What can people expect from your upcoming seasonal attunement workshops? Is it accessible to people who have not been exposed to ayurevda, chinese medicine and seasonal practices?
It is designed to be accessible to the newcomer with plenty of inspiration for further study and investigation. There will be very do-able recipes and easy to follow charts, etc. to take home and start your own practice.
New Yorkers tend to be perfectionists. Is there a way to eat “perfectly” for the seasons? How would you suggest people approach a seasonal diet?
With a keen sense of listening to your own body, curiosity, and flexibility.
When you eat in alignment with the seasons, how do you feel?
Vital, energetic, strong, healthy. Not suffering from overheating in the summer, nor freezing in the winter. There is a sense of flow and ease.
You are also a performer. Do your two passions ever intermingle?
There have been a few shows that included the eating of cupcakes, the cooking and consuming of food on stage, and recipes… And I try to bring my performance background into my workshops, with the hope of making them fun and inspiring…
What do you like to do in your free time?
Hmmm….. “free time”? Time is time for me… I write and paint and read and do fun things with my family and friends….
If you could go anyplace in the world, right now, where would it be and why?
Right now, not always, it might be Tibet, as it used to be… I am curious to experience what a country whose governmental mission was the research into spiritual life would have been like….. Also the thin air, the high plateau the vista…