TRAVEL INTERVIEW: Kyle Willets of Cooking Up Prana
In this week’s travel interview I’m excited to introduce Kyle Willets of Cooking Up Prana: Ayurvedic and yoga enthusiast, world traveler, and advocate of healthy living. Kyle whips up dozens of delicious wholesome recipes, offers a 4-day detox program and presents lots of other information to help everyone live a more healthy, a-live life. Let’s find out where she got started, what she’s got on offer, and where she’s heading…
Q1. You have a lot of delicious looking healthy Ayurvedic recipes on your website. Did you learn the recipes in India? Or invent them on your own? Or ?
Most of the recipes, such as the Chopped Fennel Salad are my own creations. The Sun-Dried Tomato Pizza with Pizzazz, however, was inspired by Brendan Brazier’s original recipe in “Thrive”. I adapted it using the Ayurvedic nutrition principles I learned while studying in India.
I created this original dosha quiz based on the 5,000 year old science of Ayurveda. According to Ayurveda a person’s dosha, or constitution, is constant from birth to death.
To understand your dosha is a powerful thing. It empowers you to make diet and lifestyle choices that will keep yourself balanced and healthy. You can check out the dosha quiz here.
I typically recommend completing the 4-Day Home Detox at least 4 times a year, especially at the change of season. This helps prevent health issues that are brewing beneath the surface. It’s also going to help you regain your mojo and prana (energy) if you are feeling “out of sorts” or if have been experiencing more frequent or lingering colds and sickness.
Q4. Let’s talk about your world travels. Have you been traveling all your life? Or is that something that was prompted by your trip and studies in India? Or?
I first traveled abroad when I was 16. My soccer (futbol) team played in the youth version of the World Cup in both Denmark and Sweden. After having that experience I knew that travel would be a big part of my life.
As soon as I graduated college I took off for Nicaragua for 4 months of travel and volunteer work. Returning home to find a job, I knew that it wouldn’t be my last adventure.
Two years later I flew to South America and explored Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia. India, Asia, and Australia were part of my most recent round-the-world. This latest trip was about exploration as well as immersing myself in the study of Ayurveda, a magical experience that has profoundly changed my life.
Q5. You wrote a post about how you were quite fearful of heights as a young girl but then suddenly at age 13 started taking adventures like roller coasters, ferris wheels, and so on that involved heights. Any idea why/how you suddenly changed your perspective so drastically?
Like many things, sometimes we hold ourselves from something we want because of fear but as that want gets really big the fear just gets smaller. For me with heights the excitement and the intrigue finally outweighed my fear and I was just ready to leap.
Q6. I recently interviewed your husband, Tal Gur. Apparently you two met out traveling in the world. Could you please tell us how/where/when you met and hit it off?
Tal and I met at the Loki Hostel in La Paz, Bolivia in the Winter of 2010. The Olympics were on and the US was playing Canada for the hockey championship. Tal invited me to play a card game with him and a few others.
We hit it off and kept in touch (we both went to volunteer – Tal to Cusco, Peru and I went to Cochabamba, Bolivia). When my volunteering ended, I joined him in finishing a house project for a family who had lost their adobe home in torrential rains.
We hit it off right away, travelled together to Northern Peru, and 5 months later we were engaged in Montreal.
Q7. So since meeting Tal, you two have traveled quite a lot together. In fact, you recently finished traveling down the spectacular west coast of the USA. Sounds like fun! How do you both deal with living and traveling together 24/7, especially for long periods of time? Is that tough at times? If so, do you have any tactics to keep things going smoothly?
The truth is Tal and I travel well together the majority of the time. When we do hit a rough patch it’s usually because we’ve over-extended ourselves trying to fit too much into a day or overall adventure.
But for the most part we complement each other well, both engaging in our own interests in passions that can fuel us individually and help make our experience together richer.
Q8. What are your favorite 3 places in the world thus far? Why do you love them so much?
Sri Lanka for the culture, food, and friendly people. Peru for the memories of falling in love with Tal, doing meaningful volunteer work, and trekking to Machu Picchu. India for the immersion and study of Ayurveda.
Q9. What are your travel / blog / life plans for the rest of 2012?
With 4 months left in the year it seems like anything can happen. That said, I think I’ve just about narrowed it down to: Travel to India to do a 3 week Panchakarma (Ayurvedic detox), immerse myself in cooking, writing, and yoga for 6 weeks in Australia, say hi to family in Israel, and return to the US for the holidays, get a temporary “real job” and a dog!!!
Q10. Are there any places in the world you’re just dying to visit? What’s the appeal?
Wow, right now more than any place in the world I want to create my own home and be part of a meaningful local community.
I’ve seen a lot of the world and though there are plenty of places still to see, for me it would be the ultimate dream come true to see my own backyard with a veggy garden, a tree swing, and a dog running free.
Q11. What recipes do you have coming up soon on Cooking Up Prana?
Well, I just finished the last bite of one of them. Eating at the computer is one of my most challenging habits to break. Anyway, this Curried Tofu and Dinosaur Kale is major yum and I hope you get the chance to try it out.
I’m also getting inspired to try some chutneys, possibly one with roasted beets and balsamic vinegar…it’s an Aussie thing and I’ll do it with an Indian twist.
I’ve been dragging my feet a bit working on the logo and homepage redesign. But here, I’ll commit to it right now…You can expect the logo and redesign of CookingUpPrana for November. Okay now hold me to it ;)
Thanks Kyle for telling us all about your life of travel and cooking. Your recipes sound delish so I’ll have to go try a few! Meanwhile, you got it, I’ll hold you to finishing your loga and redesign. Have fun with it. cheers, Lash