Category Archives: Cooking

My friend – Cheelu Chandran

Cheelu Chandran. Resilient. We have all heard of that person who gets knocked down by life a million times and then gets up a million and one times… Cheelu is that person. This is going to be a short personal introduction because I am genuinely at a loss for words.  She had a huge impact on me for very personal reasons. Made me realize that there is nothing that one cannot over come. One just has to want to! Read on and you will know at least a little bit of why I say this.

I met Cheelu at the Beach House Project in march last month at an idyllic week long residency in Fort Kochi. You can read about that trip here. One week together can get a bunch of people quite close quite fast. And that is exactly what happened. Cheelu is a huge follower of the  Ketogenic diet and I got to re-learn a few principals of how to treat my body. She is next in my series of Effortless Friendships. Read on to find out more about her.

What did you study in college?

I majored in Psychology, Journalism and Literature. I later did my P.G diploma in Psychotherapy and Counseling

What made you choose therapy?

One of the reasons I chose to major in the subjects that I did because I liked the combination and there was only one college that gave this option. Apart from that, I was interested in all three. In my later years, I came across far too many life challenges which made me re think a lot of things and reassess my life. I began to research as a part of my own soul’s journey, the nature of human behavior. The more I researched, the more I delved into my own pain to make sense of all the things that had happened and were happening in my life. As I dug deeper and got more intimate with my feelings, a whole new world started to unravel and I wanted to reach out and help as many people as I could to tell them that there was a way out and there was someone here to reach out to and someone who understands. This was something that I didn’t have in my own life. All my learning was through intense self-discovery. I learnt that often in our lives, we are at what I call a V junction. One goes down to the Victim road and the other, the Victor road. There is no right or wrong road. It is just what we choose. I often say to my clients, “since we are still alive, why not give joy and triumph a try. If it doesn’t work there is always our
default mechanism to fall back on”

What is DeBox?

DeBox is a philosophy, a concept I created to break the boxes of conditioning that we all live with. The rules of black Vs white, right Vs wrong, good Vs bad can Vs cannot, must not, should not have left us rooted in fear and limitations of what we are capable of. In other words, DeBox helps you dig in, break boundaries and puts you on the road to optimum holistic wellness and harmony. This is done through workshops, one on one counselling, healing through sound and a proper food plan The three-pronged strategy is Think out of the box; Live out of the box; Destroy the box. DeBox. It was conceived in one corner of my bed in 2014 when I was recovering from a sudden paralytic attack I had in 2013.

DeBox is about holistic wellness to take you from a space of merely existing to living a full life. To take you from a fearful existence to a love filled life; from limited thinking to an abundance mind-set. This is done through using very simple and easy to do process. Every process contained in the DeBox program has evolved from within me from doing 20 years of research and soul searching on emotions and behavior and something I have personally tried and tested on me. That’s how I know for sure that it works.

Why a Ketogenic Diet?

After my paralytic attack in 2013, I was under heavy medication, from steroids to sleeping pills and everything between. Add to it the enormous insecurity that I faced because of loss of balance as only my left side was working. Everything suddenly became unfamiliar and most of what and who I knew, disintegrated into unfamiliarity. As a result, I turned heavily to food as a source of comfort mostly because the medications made me extremely hungry. I gained enormous amounts of weight. It took me three years to gauge the amount of weight gain and more than that to accept it and still love myself because being fit is of prime importance to me. Even though my wardrobe had shrunk to a few clothes that fit, I was in denial up until December 2016. That changed when I went in to hospital for a dental surgery and I stood on the weighing scale. The reality hit me like a bolt of lightning. Up until then I had tried almost every diet under the sun and I had imagined that they were working. Keto was almost like a Divine message that I received. I was angry and desperate when it came like a flash from a conversation I had had with someone in the recent past. That was it. I did my research and it made a lot of sense. I have been on it since January 2017 and the results are starting to show, slowly but surely. Most importantly I am feeling healthy and haven’t fallen ill since I started. I used to be down with a fever almost every month since 2013. Whenever someone asks me how I am, this is the first time I am saying that I am very well.

Could you share a typical work day with us?

My single workday involves multiple things. It is an amalgamation of clients for one on one counseling and/or sound healing, creating keto recipes, researching on how to use sound as a powerful healing modality. I am also doing my Shamanic and Angel therapy studies.

What is your process/thinking/philosophy?

My process: if I can a make a difference to one person I am one step closer to my life mission.
My thinking: each one of us is already infinitely wise and immensely capable of achieving whatever we set our minds to. Everything is just buried under piles of conditioning and boxes.
My philosophy: each one of us is born to thrive, not just survive. Our default mechanism ought to be joy, peace and love.
My motto: at least one of them: If I can so can you

What sets your work apart from another?

All the life skills I impart in my workshops and one on ones are something that I have developed during my twenty years of life challenges and research. In that sense, they are original ideas. What further sets me apart is that I have tried and tested all my processes on myself. I have lived and continue to live with what I teach. I also take the emotional roller coaster ride along with my clients and feel their pain. Thus, it makes me more empathetic. I do not dish out advice and I do not quote from psychology books. I help you build bridges, based on your unique life experience and inculcate self-love. Therefore, there are different processes for different people.

What are some of the hurdles you face as a business?

More recognition of what I am doing, more collaborations for where I want to take this. Right now, I am single-handedly managing everything. I have had team members who joined of their own volition and left of their own accord.

What is the next step you see for your business? Expansion plans?

Forming collaborations and teams to look after various areas of the business. A chef, a musician and a work space.
Step 1: to open a sound healing center and a keto café preferably in Goa.
Step 2: to make DeBox global as a premier holistic wellness center
Step 3: to be the next Louise Hay, from India to the world

Favourite drink/ movie/book/go to place?

Favorite drink: coffee with cream
Favorite movie: I cannot name one. I love horror, true stories and court room drama
Favorite book: again, I have several that I love, apart from the ones that I will and am writing
Favorite go to place: Starbucks, my home and kitchen

Cheelu Chandran

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Diwali 2016 – Besan Laddoos!


The only time in a year that I make sweets for a festival is Diwali.

Don’t get me wrong, I always have sweets, cakes and other (healthy) sinful stuff that I make for my home- I do have two growing kids who are ever hungry!

It started 17 years ago when I got married. I am the product of a mixed marriage and as such there were never any rituals or puja’s in my house growing up. While I don’t miss that I do miss the culture and tradition associated with festivities. Though we celebrate everyone in our own way. So once a year I go on a laddoo making spree. It started with one odd kg. Last year I topped it at 19kg’s!! This year is a little scaled back at about 15kg’s 🙂

I thought I would share the recipe with you all. I make really good melt-in-the-mouth laddoos even if I say so myself 🙂

– 1 kg Besan or fine Chickpea flour

– 1 kg fine ground sugar

– 1 kg Ghee or clarified butter


The original recipe calls for roasting the besan and ghee together but I find it easier to dry roast the besan first. Remember to keep stirring till the besan gets a darker hue/tan and the kitchen is filled with a nutty fragrance. Stir and stir some more or bits of besan will burn. That much of tan you don’t need!

Next put it a large vessel to cool. At this stage it helps to sieve the besan so as to break any little lumps. They look unsightly later and these little pockets of besan that did not get to mix with any sugar or ghee… trust me not nice to taste when one gets these bits in a bite full of sumptuous sin.

Once cool then mix the ground sugar. Remember to wait till the besan is cool before adding the sugar as the sugar will leave water and that will be the end of your laddoo making experiment.

Then add warm/hot ghee and knead the mixture till smooth and evenly mixed. The temperature of the ghee will depend on how cool your mixture is at this point. That’s it. You are ready to start shaping the dough balls.

It also helps to roll the balls out 2-3 times as it’s easier to shape into balls as the dough cools. Else they will look like flat pedas.

In the traditional recipe you would have to wait till the ghee and besan mixture cools substantially before adding the sugar. Then knead away and shape into balls.

Oh! and the reason I am standing on a stool in the first picture is that after an hour and a half of constant stirring your arm will pain. The elevated height really helps.

It’s quite simple. And your family and friends will love you for it. My kids keep sneaking a few every time they pass the dining table 🙂

Happy Diwali!!

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