So, I started seeing an Ayurveda nutritionist over 2 months ago because I wanted to see if a constitution-based diet would give me more energy. I have a couple friends doing so and they swear by it. I walk into my first appointment to find that my Nutritionist is an Irishman of modest stature likely in his 60’s and resembling Robin Williams in the Dead Poets Society. Think shaggy hair and cardigan. His office is cluttered with books – Niche, Carl Jung, Sigmund Freud. I must admit that being in the room with a westerner made me a bit more comfortable with this approach to ‘healing’ through diet and herbs but am still a bit cautious. After an in depth consultation I walked away with a new, strict diet plan, a ‘herb mix’, and several bottles of herbal pills to take daily.
I’m a self-studied nutritionist myself and open to trying new things and learning more. Further, one of the 8 Limbs of Yoga are the Niyamas or Observances and one of the five observances is Sauca or cleanliness. Yogi’s (like me!) seek to follow these observances in life and Sauca involves many things like keeping a clean body and house but also eating wholesome food. So I went along with it and started preparing from scratch brown rice, some grain called amaranth, and quinoa to include with my pressure-cooked lentils, adzuki beans, and mung beans. The legumes were prepared with the special spice mix that includes a variety of regularly found herbs and spices like fennel, cardamom, cinnamon, pepper etc. And I always am to include lots of ‘allowed vegetables’ including greens like spinach/kale/collard greens, carrots, onion, and I am to include lots of fresh ginger. That’s lunch and dinner and every day breakfast is steel cut oats (or another whole grain like amaranth/barley) with cinnamon and a natural sweetener – I typically use agave but maple syrup and honey are also options.
The microwave is completely off limits in Ayurveda so I prepare everything in my pressure cooker or on the stove. And all processed foods are off limits or on occasion The Lost Book of Herbal as a treat. Pasta is a prepared food as is tofu by the way. He allows minimally processed yogurt, unsweetened but prefers that you make it yourselfâº (that’s not happening yet)!
He assigned my spice mix according to my ‘constitution type’, which I liken a bit to a Myers Briggs personality assessment. Your constitution type is basically how you were born and how you have always had a tendency to respond to different phases of life. There are many tests you can take online to determine what you are. I think I tend to be Pitta-Vata and apparently my fatigue is a bit stress related leading to an imbalance of my Vata he says. So the herbs he gives and the spice mix is supposed to help cultivate balance (sattva in Ayurveda means balance). When we’re balanced we feel good all around. If you know what your constitution type is you can learn what you need to do to keep yourself in balance.
The herbal pills are for the most part, plants/roots grown in India on organic farms and then inspected and created into pills locally (Banyan Botanicals is in New Mexico and is a big supplier). I’ve never heard of any of these herbal remedies, as I understand it these plants/roots are grown only in India and have been used as remedies for 5000 years. These are the very same remedies that the European explorers died on ships to bring home to the motherland in the early days of colonization leaving me to believe they must have some merit.
It’s been a couple months now and I’m feeling pretty good. A bit clearer, more energetic and a few people think I lost weight although that wasn’t the goal. I have a lot going on in my life right now but I don’t feel that overwhelmed by it.