Finding myself frustrated by the overwhelming amount of information on diet and nutrition, I reached out to the ancient practice of Ayurveda for answers. This was a classic situation of having studied too many dietary theories, having read way too many best sellers (and not so best sellers), and experimenting extensively. I did the blood type diet, the low carb thing, the paleo thing, the Pesca-vegetarian thing...In other words, I've been my own guinea pig for a few years now. Though never to a dedicated extreme, because I am a person that naturally seeks balance, or lacks discipline (not sure which).
Recently I returned to the beautiful yoga studio and the yoga goddess, Natalie, that owns it. In the few months that I had been away, she transformed. She has always been strong and beautiful, but now she was lean all over and beautiful and strong. "What happened?" I squealed, "you look spectacular?"
She proceeded to tell me that she had invited an ayurveda specialist to lecture to the new yoga teacher training students. This time, she said, she paid close attention to what the recommendations were for her constitution and began to employ them. She experienced almost effortless results and felt that 15 pounds had just fallen off.
I too had been exposed to this ancient healing/lifestyle philosophy in years past (and of course read a book or two on it). It is about 2500 years old and originated from India and is practiced today throughout the world. The basic belief is that each of us has a natural born constitution, or dosha. They are Vata, Pitta, and Kapha or some combination of these. This philosophy believes that everything including food, elements, weather, routine, sleep, etc. has an impact that either amplifies or balances the individual dosha. Balance is maintained when these different lifestyle practices are put together to offset the amplification of ones natural balance. The primary thought is "like increases like".
After taking a short on-line test at http://banyanbotanicals.com/info/prakriti-quiz/ it turns out that Natalie and I have the same constitution: Vata-pitta, and like Natalie, I was eating way too many salads and raw vegetables that were difficult for my body to break down. I reached out to the arevedic specialist, Taya Smyth, from California that Natalie had worked with. She took a lot of confusing information and simplified it into practical dietary and lifestyle information that was specific to my dosha. It turns out that all the cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts), onions, lettuces, and daily protein shakes were providing nutrients that my body already had loads of and found easy to store. My new focus was to add much greater diversity and more warming foods and practices to my routine. I discovered that being on a plane would be far less painful if I eliminated tomatoes from my diet and sipped hot water. Honoring my desire for restorative practices, such as weekly Chinese foot massages (best $30 treatment ever), meditation, and hot baths followed with a soothing sesame seed oil rub was instrumental for me.
I am early in this process, and still experimenting, but I can tell you this--my chronic pain is subsiding, hormones balancing, bloat and unexplained weight gain is gone. I am feeling, strong, rested, inspired, and energetic. Thanks to my muse, Natalie (Body, Mind, Core) and the fabulous nutritional councilor, Taya Smyth, for your brilliant guidance!