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How the Doctor’s Kitchen Founder ignored the haters & built a leading lifestyle brand

Rupy Aujla has a mission to improve the diet of one billion people, and with Jay Radia’s guidance, it could become a reality. This week Jay sits down with Rupy to discuss his lofty goals and find out just how he plans to reach an eighth of the world’s population with his new app. Rupy speaks candidly with Jay, detailing how his arrhythmia diagnosis changed his perspective on medicine and nutrition. 

Aspiring entrepreneurs can’t miss this chance to get an insight into the mind of one of Britain’s brightest tech founders as he advises his friend on the perils of starting a business. 


00:58 – How Rupy’s family health inspired him to become a Doctor

08:03 – Rupy’s Optimism

10:05 – Rupy’s Arrhythmia Diagnosis

13:23 – What inspired Rupy to go to Social Media 

22:37 – Elon Musk and CEOs with Banter

25:20 – Rupy’s mission to reach one billion people



We'll be going through your life in different parts, but I wanna start off by just going straight into the deep end. Right. I. Because I've listened to your interviews before that there was this one situation which took place when you were quite young, I believe you were like 11 or 12 and, um, your mom took you to a room and she shared some information with you.

And I know that played quite a big part in what's made you in this position here today. So it'd be great if you could just share what happened.


So for the listeners, that's. Like worst formal allergy where your blood pressure drops, you can lose consciousness, and you go into shock. There are some different reasons why people can go into shock. Sometimes it's cryogenic, sometimes it's due to allergic reactions. And in this case, it appeared that, um, mum for no reason would have these, uh, attacks.

And there wasn't a trigger found that sort of was the start of her. Journey as a patient during that time, I and the rest of the family were always like on high alert. Right. We had to make sure that, you know, if mum was driving or mum was out, we'd make sure that we always had like a telephone or the ability to call an ambulance, cuz these could happen just randomly.

And they did, you know, like once every few months or something like that. And if anyone's like ever had the experience, it's, it's pretty shocking. One of the things that my mom thought was really useful for me. to know how to do was deliver adrenaline via EpiPen. And so I remember vividly one day, my mom called me into the lounge and said, look, mommy needs her medication.

Here is this pen. What you need to do is take the lid off and then push it into my thigh until you find it until you hear a click. I remember the time taking the lid off stuff really, really freaked out and scared and all the rest of it pushed us in. And then she fainted robbing her thigh and it was a dummy EpiPen, but she was like, look, you've learnt how now to inject me with adrenal.

If I ever need it in the future. And that was my first sort of experience of like medicine and how important it was. And I think watching my mom. a B diagnosed with a condition B having had medical treatments and pharmaceuticals to treat her, but also C overcoming it using a diet last little approach.

Like she went back to like VEIC principles. She went back to like clean eating. So sh I watched her sort of like get stronger and really learn about her body and that, and that kind of instilled in us more of a culture than perhaps we would've had otherwise, you know, had mom, I mean, every Indian family is all all about, you know, the turmeric and rubbing coconut oil.

And my dad's obsessed with mustard oil. He puts it all over his legs and all the rest of it, you know, cures everything apparently. But, you know, I think more so than most families because mom had those issues quite early on in her life and yeah, that kind of like planting the seed. If I'm honest about how important it is to look after your wellbeing, but also.

It probably was the reason why I went on to, do medicine because neither of my parents who are both in business, I should say, wanted me to go into medicine is, is kind of unusual for an Indian family, not to want their kids to go into medicine, but that, that was the case for me. I


Right. And you're 11 years old. You probably had a busy day at school, being in a tuck shop, eating too many sweets and chocolates or were on the playground. And then you are thrown into that situation, which is, you know, parents are the most important people. And to watch your mom go through that, it must have felt probably quite difficult.

Cause it's, you know, someone's really powerful. You probably saw and then went through. Pain. Right. And you know, deep down, you probably knew that if you don't put this into her leg, like


I was very nervous. I remember capping the top of the EpiPen and just getting quite fidgety and stuff. And that sense of relief as well, like straight away afterwards, like, ah, that was just a dummy. But then like the realization that you know, what I can do this, you know, I, I have the capacity and the ability to help if needed.

And that, I think gave me that sense of identity that perhaps I didn't have before. The ability to heal the ability to cure the, and, and to want to sort of establish me as that more, and probably why I went into medicine and, you know, we're skipping forward a little bit here, but like that sense of identity being embedded from an 11-year-old to now, like I'm turning 37, you know, spanned over 20 years.

And me now wanting to change direction and sort of dive into a more entrepreneurial skin and change sort of like my vocation has come with a lot of sort of, uh, internal friction, right? Like an internal sort of like. Mm, am I doing the right thing? I'm turning back on something that I've dedicated my whole life to.

Um, I'm still helping people in a way, you know, through doctor's kitchen and preventive medicine. I truly believe like food is the root to, you know, healing a lot of people, but still when you're not doing the day-to-day, when you're not there, like jabbing people with a needle, it's a, it's a different experience.


You know, Caroline Dweck. Who's written an incredible book about growth mindsets talks about it's how we approach scenarios and events in our life that can either lead to growth or lead to, you know, destruction. And I'm reading a lot about stoicism at the moment in that our perception of external events leads something to be either positive or negative.

And so I always try and look at scenarios, however, small or large and try and see the benefit. Of those, you know, whether that's in business, whether that's in the day-to-day, whether it's, you know, scenarios that you see on the news, like what's going on in Ukraine right now is like H horrific. And, what we see in politics at the moment is horrific.

But like, what are the things that we can learn from all these different events? And I think that's really important. And I think part of the entrepreneurial journey is actually trying to hone that skill of being that positive person. It's something that you went through. Own experiences as well.

Like you had to sort of branch out and, and make sure that you lent into that growth mindset because otherwise it kind of leads to failure, right? Or, you know, just a negative perspective and things.


Appreciate what's happening at that moment. a huge skill. And, um, you've obviously you're displaying it in abundance,


Like that's literally how my, my sister like refers to me as like, he's the guy that. Comments on the incredibleness of the water. Yeah. I have down days all the time as I'm sure does everyone, but do I try and learn from those days? Do I try and learn from the frustrations? Like I was just cursing my MailChimp I'm literally sending out a newsletter today and MailChimp is like, terrible unless they're sponsoring the podcast, a terrible product.

It's so bad. Like it's so ubiquitously used, but there are so many janky functions of it and I'm like cursing and I have to, I have to always like bring myself down to 11 and be like, okay, Ru, come on. Like, you know, had adaptation right here, you know? Yeah. you wouldn't like to send an email to thousands of people before this.

So just, check yourself. So yeah, every, you gotta hone this skill every single day and every single moment other. You know, it's just, uh, it's just hot air. No,


We'll talk about that. By the way. I do know a lot about space, so we can chat about that one offline. I'm gonna fast forward for people. You know, you went to Imperial uni, you went to one of the top medical schools and then became a GP and really successful like that. And then I know during that period, when you are becoming a GP, like certain voices start coming to you and saying, Hey look, do you remember that moment?

Like food is medicine. Like, let's, that message is so, so important. And I know. We're travelling around the world. You had some epic stories, which, um, maybe another podcast we can share for jokes, but I know there was this moment in Australia, you're in Australia. And suddenly that voice inside you is saying food is medicine.

Food is medicine. That, that voice is getting so loud that, yeah, you're hearing it like, can you, can you take us

[:s a, as a junior, it was like:

So like going back well over 10 years now, I. I just flipped into atrial fibrillation for no reason, no triggers. I was a bit tired, been like, you know, 10 days of night shifts or whatever, anyone who's a doctor or knows a doctor knows about how gruelling those are. And that's really one of the turning points in my life.

The fact that I was. For one second, a doctor. And then the next moment I was a patient and I was like in a hospital bed and hooked up to the cardiac monitor for the rest of it. Anyway, long story short, after going to see a whole bunch of different cardiologists and getting treatment and being put on medications and being told, that I need to have an ablation, which is a cardiac intervention.

I. Had my mom talking to me saying, you need to think about your lifestyle. You need to think about your diet before you entertain something more drastic, like a cardiac, uh, intervention. And honestly, like I'd forgotten a lot of those things that my mom was doing. And that actually led me to go into medicine in the first place during medical school, because when you're at med school, You're drilled in a certain way of doing things.

And there's a reason why, because you know, we practice evidence-based medicine. You don't want Cavaliers. It's not like entrepreneurship where you are actually rewarded for zigging where everyone else is. Zing. Everyone needs to practice uniformly. That's the kind of construct that I was working in when she was saying, you know, you should diet lifestyle.

No one else was talking about that kind of stuff. I really didn't appreciate it. To appease her. I really basically went in, tried to improve my diet and lifestyle, you know, looking after my gut health, making sure I had a plant predominant diet, making sure that wasn't when I wasn't doing night shifts, I was like sleeping better.

Yeah. I was doing a whole bunch of other meditation, you know, slowing down my breath. Right. All these different things. And then yeah, my air episodes just went. That was a turning point for me. That was like, okay, there's something in here. There's something in diet and lifestyle. And this is something that I need to talk to patients about.

And so. I didn't develop the confidence to actually have those conversations with patients until I was fully qualified as a GP. I'd been working for several years. I happened to be in Australia and I started thinking to myself, okay, well, I need to start talking about this in a more public forum, rather than just in the confines of a private consultation room, with patients.

Yeah. I started putting stuff out on, uh, on Instagram as, as everyone does. So you've taken these,


There's a vibe, there's a party. You're like, okay, let's join the party. And let's go with this food as medicine angle. What gave you the ultimate confidence? Cause I guess you knew it was right, but then there's probably some stuff holding you back as well. Or is it just like, Hey, let's go

[:ine, pat. Who's a GP? Back in:

It's literally just like me flopping my lines, me like not cutting things properly, you know, trying to manage. Cooking. And then looking at a camera at the same time, like all these different skills that I now sort of take for granted, I was like, kind of honing them in the background and I chat to a few people about it.

I'll be honest. I wasn't like building in public, which is what I advise now to like fail in public. Cuz that's how you learn. You've got a tech product. The worst you can do unless it's like something absolutely magical or transformative is build it in stealth mode. Whenever I hear that from entrepreneurs.

Faceplant, you know, you wanna build in public and you wanna get it in front of customers as soon as possible. So they can tell you where you're flopping and you can make it a better product. That's my experience of it. Anyway, I hold my hand up. I stand to be corrected by the master of everything tech related, which is Jay RIA.

But my, my impression is that I should have started a lot earlier than I did, but I, I kind of started it at my own sort of pace. So I spoke to a few people about it and they were like, Ru, you got it up, put it out there. I spoke to Amit about it. A bunch of other people they're like, yeah, definitely do it.

And I was so scared about clicking a record on that camera and pushing, publish. About the backlash about some doctor talking about food news medicine about like putting my head above the power pit, you know, all these different sorts of things that hold you back. And that's what comes from like doing a whole bunch of reps.

It's like this podcast, it's the case of having to do the work in putting the reps in that will make you a much better interviewer, a much better public speaker and a much better person. Uh, who can build that personal brand? Cause you're an amazing public speaker. I mean, you've built companies gotta say, you know, you've done all these things, but it's a different skill set that you can only really hone by practising.

No. No,


Oh, she's a huge


She took a photo of you. Then she'd asked her for five photos. She, I think it was about five or seven. She wasn't happy with the first and then she got the photo. And then I think she. Gave you a hug and ran off and like was giddy. So it was nice to see my mom experience that. Um, but no, no, no funny that moment was good, but yeah, no, going back to that moment, like food is medicine, right?

You, were one of the first people to really push that message. Right. But I know looking back if I look back at even. You know, most people's times when this happens. Like there's normally someone that we're afraid of. Right. It's either our parents, it might be our friends, it might be our cousins. And like, you know, it's shit.

But like, you know, this era that we've probably gone through, like, if you are at least a millennial or whatever year, like, you know, if you are born and you are like 18 years, plus like you do. At the moment get com you, you get compared with your family, right? You get compared with your siblings, your cousins like there's this like family ranking.

I know there is its invisible ranking that oh, like, which kid's doing the best. Right. So you are now GP. You're now like right in the top, the top league. Right. And you're like, eh, I'm gonna like take a bit of a punt here and. Be this Instagram dude and hopefully spread this message. What was holding you like back when you look back?

Cause it's normally someone or some yeah. It's normally someone. Do you remember what it


And you also feel like, you know, you've built up this identity, you know, registered with the GMC here. I'm a qualified doc. You know, I, I see patients and they tell me their most vulnerable secrets and their most vulnerable, uh, things that they go through. We talk about depression and impotence. We talk about bereavement.

We talk about all these different things. And here's this doctor now playing with vegetables, like smiling at the camera, being on like, trying to be like Jamie Oliver. Do you know what I mean? It was those, those little things. Seem kind of minuscule and insignificant, but actually build up in your head and unless you can actually get over that, which it took me years to do gears to do.

And unless you can really find alignment in what you are doing and what truly makes you happy and what you feel is having a massive impact on the world. You'll never get past that, that first step. You'll never get off the start line. Who knows, man, I could have been a GP for like 20 years before I decided, to do anything about it.

And by then you. Someone else might have already started, or I, I wouldn't have refined the skills that I need, you know, public speaking, the, be the ability to express opinions, the ability to interview or be interviewed. You're doing a great job, by the way, Joe. Thanks, man. I appreciate it.


You start posting. Um, I remember the start. I do remember seeing, I did even look back at some of those posts and you know, you are, you are starting off like you're getting the messaging, right? You're working it out. But I know quite early on, you already had some of your fellow doctors, right? Pro people that even look up to tell you that your message is not right.

Food is not medicine. And I remember it's a really tough period for you, right? Um, people, you look up to and like, this is what's gonna happen to a lot of people who voice. You know, a new movement, right? So like, how did you deal with like, literally this just call 'em haters. They were haters. Right. So in that, like how were you dealing


Yeah. Yeah. I'll be honest, mate. It was shit. It was absolutely shit. It was a shit time. I had to deal with people who I thought were more than colleagues but were actually friends who suddenly turned around and not, it didn't do it diplomatically. It wasn't like they called me up. It wasn't like they sent me a message.

It was, they just put it on social media. So for everyone to, so not only like, uh, are you like having negative feedback on something that you're doing that negative feedback is now being distributed in a way that willingly misinterprets your message, purposely misinterprets your messages and paints you out to be a fraud in front of everyone else.

And you. It happened on a relatively big scale. Some things were said about me and all the rest of it at the time. I remember it was pretty low. I had a, a, a few friends, a group of very trusted people, you know, some of whom were yourself and. Uh, I spoke to a whole bunch of, you know, just close people in my network that I knew were trustworthy.

I think two things were really important. I didn't engage with any of this negativity, you know, I didn't retaliate, I didn't feel like I needed to or anything, but I now look back on it. I'm like, oh man, I'm so glad that happened. I'm so glad that happened. Cause it, it allowed me to shred a whole bunch.

People from my, my life and my tension span suddenly widened because I could really focus on things that are actually allowing me, to grow and actually contribute to my ultimate mission. And the reason why I do what I do. so it meant I could focus more clearly. It also taught me, a really important lesson about being careful with whom you associate yourselves and who you trust.

And also like from that moment on things have just got better and better for the business in terms of the reach in terms of the opportunities. Now, fewer people are talking about who is sort of in my lane because I've, I've built my own and that's the way I choose. To live and breathe. Everything I wanna do.

It's like you, you gotta be on your own, but you, you gotta develop the confidence to do that. And it's those little setbacks. If you wanna call 'em setbacks that allow you to, to sort of pave the road. No, what you are


Am I still, and I still have that video in my mind of El Musk when he was in SpaceX where a lot of the most famous people in that industry, even, you know, people that have gone to space, they just didn't believe in his mission. Yeah. He's literally. On the screen. I St. Whenever I watch it, I even get, I cry with him.

I'm not gonna lie. I cry with him. And yeah, it's such a, and when you were saying that, I felt, you know, your, your emotion come through it's cause you know, what you're doing is for the great, good, but you know what it makes you stronger. Right. As you said, it gives you that extra, um, muscle that you actually need later on.

Um, and it comes


He that he loves banner. Yeah. He loves, he loves the banter. He's gotta take what he gives as well. And you know, I'm not really one to call people out online and stuff, but. His mission is so clear and well articulated. It's the reason why there's such a strong culture like Tesla and SpaceX because it's not because of the perks.

It's not because they've got like a slide and a Fussball table and all that kind of stuff that, you know, is the gimmicky stuff that like Silicon valley has. It's because there's a really clear mission with like a really extravagant sort of goal. And he attracts that sort of vibe and, and, and when people.

Who he respects like former astronauts say this is all rubbish or, you know, we shouldn't be an interplanetary species. This is completely used socio yada, yada. You can understand why that cuts so deep. Yeah. Yeah. But you know, I mean, he's, he's proven all of his haters wrong so far and it will continue to do so I guess, and


Right. And I wish more entrepreneurs have confidence in like calling out some of the, like, I remember when people were like shorting his stock, he just started calling them out. I love that. He's just, uh, do you know what I feel the best entrepreneurs. Really good at what they do and are really meaningful and purposeful.

But at the same time, they just have jokes. Like I think even for me, like, I feel that like your work has to play and if it isn't, then that's like, like to me, like the all-star, like, you know, the pound for pound, the top, top people, they just are top of their game and they're just having the band and they're joking.

Like, you know, they're gonna like, you know, winning. Obviously important, but like, they're just, they're just smiling. Yeah. They're just smiling. I know. Like, and like, I, I see Elon and he's just smiling and I love it. I'm, I'm smiling


I reckon there's probably loads of, uh, instances were within his own company culture, it's not particularly joyful or kind. Right. So it's not to say that, you know, these are the only things that you need. I think everyone can. Improved and that sort of kind spirit is definitely tied to mission, but there are other ways in which you can improve it as well, which I'm sure we'll get to chat about, on the podcast.

I, I think a clear mission, clear visualization or articulation of what you're trying to do. is really important. It doesn't need to be like a ground. Like what I'm trying to do is like, you know, help a billion people leverage the power of food to improve wellbeing and prevent disease. It doesn't have to be as grand a mission as that, you know if you are in the business of selling ice cream or you are in the business of selling tables or hardware or something, you can, although I, 1 billion like a.


And actually, in a lot of cases, a lot of people are dealing with malnutrition for whom my content is wholly unrelatable. So. Yeah. And with the population growth rate, a billion, I think is probably, I think we can get there in my lifetime, if not beyond that. Yeah, yeah, yeah. That's, that's why, I mean, like, let's say, I mean, literally back at the envelope, you got 300 million people, plus in America, you've got close to a hundred million in the UK.

You've got, uh, English-speaking people in India, I would say at least 200, 300 out of a billion population. You've got AIA. You've got a lot of Europe. I reckon. That's like we could, we could really go for that. Um, so yeah, that's my big, hairy goal.


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