Eat. Sleep. Work. Repeat. A teenager’s life, in short. Health? Who cares? One of the many problems faced by today’s teenagers is choosing between what they call “comfort food” and a healthier lifestyle. Interestingly, youngsters today are more health conscious than ever before. However, health comes at a hefty price—compromising your taste buds! What if you could enjoy the best of both worlds? Sounds awesome, doesn’t it?
Look no further. Cheat It All is the ultimate guide for all those unwilling to give up on drool-worthy favourites yet wanting healthier options. With over 75 cheat recipes of delicacies, including an Oreo milkshake, a blue cheese burger, a spicy hotdog, and a classic American cheesecake, you will never again have to think twice before you indulge.
We interviewed the 18-year-old author of this book Vedant Bahri, who has been, since the age of fourteen, been blogging, as well as sharing his recipes and restaurant reviews. He has become popular among his friends and family as the “ultimate food guru”, advising them on the restaurants they should visit and the food they should try there. But, what drove him in direction? Read Below:
- How did you develop your interest in cooking and what gave you the impetus to come up with the idea of this book at such a young age?
I have been a huge foodie all my life. I remember once (I must have been 12)while watching an episode of Rachel Allen: Bake on the television; the Dutch apple cake that she baked made my mouth water just by watching. I knew I had to make it, but the question was how? I had never baked before and didn’t know anything about it. That’s when I researched on the Internet and baked the same cake in a dhokhla pan as I didn’t possess a cake pan at the time. After that I watched many more episodes, baked even more and started to just adore food and baking. I saved money to buy more gadgets and appliances to add each time and better equip my little kitchen with the best baking utensils available. I researched a lot using the Internet, magazines, books or anything that I could Findlay my hands on. Gradually I learnt cooking and have been making my own meals on weekends.
A few years ago, I created my own food blog (The Foodie Journey By Vedant Bahri) which became very popular with friends, family and even unknown people. But when I started putting on weight I tried to work on recipes that are healthy and don’t compromise on taste either…jotting down recipes, experimenting, which just organically grew into a book!
- What did you enjoy the most while compiling the book?
I enjoyed every bit of it. The TREAT section includes all the things that I personally love to eat, with my personal healthy twist, of course.. Photographing the recipes gave me a chance to cook all of it again and eat it too.
My second favourite part is the INSPIRE section in which I have interviewed celebrities from film, sports and even the culinary world such as John Abraham, Tiger Shroff, Mary Kom, Saina Nehwal, Vikas Khanna, etc. It was extremely inspiring and interesting to know their opinions on fitness, their health secrets and how they manage to stay so fit despite their hectic lifestyles. This’s what makes the book unique.
- How do people with a sweet tooth cheat it all?
It’s all about substituting the unhealthy stuff and trying to replace it as much as possible. Processed sugar is one of the unhealthiest ingredients in the world, so it is important to limit it as much as possible. Ingredients such as honey, agave, date syrup have the same calories as sugar, but are definitely better for you than sugar. Stevia is a great natural alternative to sugar; but can leave a nasty after-taste. You get the best balance of taste and health when you restrict sugar usage to a minimum in a recipe. All recipes in my book have been created to provide a balance between health and taste; my desserts may not be completely “healthy” or “preservative free”; but they are definitely better than you can buy from the stores in terms of health.
- What did you find most challenging while writing the cookbook?
Cooking, experimenting and eating is not a problem! The most challenging but also the most exciting part was getting interviews with celebrities. I had to write tons of emails, contact people and even get dozens of rejections. But in the end, I’m very happy with the interviews in the book.
- If there is someone you look up to for inspiration, who would it be?
Definitely Chef Manish Mehrotra, who is a part of the book. The food at his restaurant is probably the most fun and delicious in all of Delhi. I am inspired by his creativity and talent in the kitchen.
- What is your favourite cuisine and why?
American cuisine. Just like any teenager, I’m a huge fan of burgers, steaks, BBQ, salads and pies. I love the simplicity of the cuisine; I see American cuisine as very casual and delicious.
- Now that you’re a published author, what next?
I will be going to Ecole Hotelier de Lausanne, Switzerland, one of the world’s most prestigious management schools. I plan on pursuing luxury brand management, and eventually set up my own restaurant. I also plan on becoming an actor in Bollywood.