Basu Ratnam, Founder of INDAY

Every month we're highlighting a member from our Collective—a diverse group of individuals who are inspired by the love and wonder of Ayurveda. This month meet Basu Ratnam, Founder of INDAY—an Ayurveda-inspired fast-casual restaurant with multiple locations in NYC. Learn what inspired him to open INDAY and how he incorporates Ayurveda into his everyday life.

Hi! I'm Basu Ratnam and I'm a restaurateur from NYC. My dosha is 2/3 Vata and 1/3 Kapha.

What did you do before starting your own business?

I worked in finance—specifically buying and selling clothing companies.

What inspired you to open INDAY?

I wanted to make it easier for people to feel better through food by connecting an ancient practice with the modern wellness and culture of Ayurveda.

How did you come up with the name of your restaurant?

INDAY means INDIA everyday—I wanted to distill the values and traditions I grew up around and make it accessible and digestible for people on an everyday basis.

How did your upbringing influence the concept of INDAY?

My mother wrote a book 30 years ago called Spirit vs. Scalpel, which studied the difference between Eastern holistic healing practices vs. modern medical study of illness. It had a big impact on the foundation of my approach to my own well-being. For instance, I found that Western practices were too rigid and isolated in their discipline. I needed an alternative solution that connected mind, body and spirit. At INDAY, we do this by serving nutritious, dense and healing foods with a focus on holistic hospitality from our team to provide a more mindful experience for our guests.

In what ways does your menu incorporate Ayurveda?

INDAY is inspired by Ayurveda and we try to incorporate its foundational tenants into our menu creation. Our menu consists primarily of Sattvic, simple, seasonal foods: fresh fruits, healthy nuts, seeds, oils, ripe vegetables, legumes, organic whole grains, and antibiotic free/ organic lean animal proteins and is balanced with the six spices of Ayurveda. We also have been serving more Ayurvedic specific dishes like kitchari.

At INDAY, we pay attention by combining foods like heating herbs and spices during colder months and using cooling and hydrating ingredients during warmer months. Our menu also avoids ingredients that we believe cause inflammation or irritation like gluten, soy, tree nuts, raw dairy, refined sugars and processed grains.

Your go-to bowl combo from the INDAY menu?

Currently, I’m trying to eat more plant-based foods. My favorite bowl is our yoga lentils, which is split mung beans in a light seasonal curry, and I add our avocado salad. It’s protein packed, balancing and combines delicious flavors and textures that keep me sustained and satisfied throughout the day. 

3 tips anyone could use to incorporate Ayurveda into their everyday life?

  1. Eat intuitively. Listen to your body’s cravings and try to understand how different foods make you feel. Personally, I feel my best when I eat fresh ingredients and cooked greens. I think people commonly associate healthy food as raw, bland salads but it doesn’t have to be! It’s easy, fun and quick to cook up some leafy greens, legumes with great spices like turmeric, coriander and cumin (to name a few). I’m also favoring plant protein over animal these days, which I find myself craving more and more. When cooking at home, try to focus on healthier oils like grass-fed ghee, avocado oil and olive oil.

  2. Hydrate in the morning. I drink a big glass of warm water with lemon and add a dash of fresh ground turmeric (if I have it), as soon as I wake up. I find it a grounding way to start my day and also gives me a sense of balance and energy.

  3. Try to find time to quiet the mind. I do a form of Vedic mantra-based meditation 20 minutes a day—typically in the morning and evening. A few minutes of breathing exercises or meditation can go a long way. It’s a gradual evolution but can help you connect with yourself. Even simple expressions of gratitude at the beginning or end of the day are great ways to set your day with an open heart and mind.

Your favorite OJAS STUDIO date + grain bite?

Vata Inspired bites! 

Follow INDAY on Instagram (@inday_nyc) and check out any of the three locations if you're in NYC!

Shop Basu's favorite OJAS STUDIO date & grain bite flavor—Cardamom, Cinnamon & Walnut, inspired by the Vata Type!