By Shirin Yadegar
Q: As a holistic, Ayurvedic and Sports Nutritionist, how do you assess which foods create optimal health individually for each patient?
A: I look at the bigger picture of the individual—what their childhood eating patterns were like, periods of stress they’ve gone through in their lives, their ancestry, their blood type, hormonal panels, what their daily schedule is like, how often they’ve been on antibiotics, what they are currently eating, what foods they’re attracted to, their skin, even their dream patterns. I really try to get to know the deeper nuances of the person before making any suggestions because every little piece of the puzzle makes a huge impact on the ideal dietary and lifestyle suggestions for them.
Q: How do you achieve mind-body balance by changing your diet?
A: The foods we eat determine the way that we feel. Simply by changing our diets, we can change deeper mental and emotional patterns in our minds. We actually store most of our serotonin, the happiness hormone, in our guts. That means if our guts are full of toxins and bad bacteria, we will not be able to produce adequate amounts of serotonin, leading to depression, anxiety, and other mental imbalances. It’s amazing how interconnected it all really is!
Q: What is the number one thing that you believe will improve lives, independent of diet?
A: I truly believe movement is medicine. I even named my Costa Rica retreat the “Movement is Medicine Retreat” because the mantra is so near and dear to my heart. I believe that a stagnant body is a stagnant mind. By opening the channels of our bodies, we open the channels of our minds. If people exercised more often, most diseases and depression would cease to exist!
Q: Can children also benefit from Ayurvedic medicine? If so, at what age?
A: Of course! The best part about Ayurveda is its focused on prevention. Children are in the Kapha stage, meaning they are building the blocks that will last them for the rest of their lives. That’s why they often get sniffles and colds. To counterbalance that Kapha energy, it’s important they don’t consume too much sugar, milk and cheese because this will increase their mucus-build up and susceptibility to infections. Children really benefit from warm water with cinnamon in the morning, which will help flush out some of the mucus-build up. Leafy greens, beans and cruciferous vegetables are especially healing for children, even though they might not really like these items. Still, there are many ways to sneak these ingredients in children’s food, like blending in some greens in their pancakes or putting some zucchini in their spaghetti sauce. What they don’t know can’t hurt them!
Sahara Rose is the upcoming author of Eat Right For Your Mind-Body Type and Idiot’s Guide to Ayurveda. She offers a free Ayurvedic Mind-Body type quiz at eatfeelfresh.com and a guided 12 Week Program.