Growing up with an Indian immigrant mother meant that 99% of our meals were home made from scratch. When I was in elementary school (shoutout to P.S. 102 in Queens!), my biggest dream in life was to eat a bologna sandwich on white bread in a brown paper bag like everyone else, but alas – I was stuck with a fresh made chicken cutlet sandwich in artisan brown bread in a reusable lunch bag! It was the 80’s – how embarrassing!

My mother would have fit in perfectly in today’s world with her ideas about using fresh ingredients and a total ban on processed foods in our house. We all know now that eating a diet of fresh foods, healthy proteins and fats, and limiting processed foods and sugar goes a long way with improving our overall health.  You don’t need me to tell you that. What has been of huge interest to me is the type of foods and spices that can specifically improve the health of my hair and skin - embracing the Ayurvedic belief that these outer manifestations are just a mirror of what’s happening inside the body.

Why this interest, you ask? Once upon a time, there was a girl who had amazing, long, straight black hair — the 'ideal' Indian girl hair.  Then came a lot of ramen for dinner in college, marriage, pregnancies, babies, long work hours and overall life stress! You guessed it – that’s me. That was the beginning of my downward spiral of chopping off my beautiful tresses, inch by inch, year by year, as I  lost more and more hair. I started researching what foods I could incorporate into my diet that would make my hair what it once was. But it needed to fit my three main requirements when it comes to daily cooking – simple, tasty, fast – to fit into my busy lifestyle and picky eaters.

Truth be told, over the years, this cooking regimen hasn’t made my hair go back 100% to what it was (only an age-reversing spell can do that) , but it looks and feels much healthier and shinier than in those post pregnancy years –that’s what matters. I may even grow it out again! I’d love to share some of the simple recipes that I cook all the time but with a few tweaks to the ingredients to make sure that I incorporate all that goodness. I hope you’ll enjoy the my blog series, SHIKS EATS where I highlight the foods and spices that make our hair, skin, nails super healthy and how I incorporate those into our family meal repertoire.

P.S. How I wish someone would make some fresh chicken cutlets for me every day now…



salmon with walnut and kale pesto


Masoor daal khichuri with quinoa