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Ayurveda at the Ranch with Carla Levy

Recently, I was lucky enough to have a session with our Ayurvedic specialist, Carla Levy, who is at the Ranch one week a month.  In case you don’t know, Ayurveda is one of the oldest healing systems in the world, and the term actually means “science of life.”  It differs from Western medicine, focusing more on prevention and healing the root cause rather than just treating the symptoms.  It is a holistic approach that involves all aspects of life (mind, body and spirit) in order to keep a natural balance that’s true to your individual self.  According to Ayurveda, we are all born with our own individual balance called our Pakruti, and we also have our Vikruti.  Vakruti is always out of balance.  If you are balanced you are in your Prakruti.

Our Pakruti is made up of the combination of three doshas: Vata, Pitta and Kapha.  Each dosha is made up of the five elements: earth, air, fire, water and space.  One or two of the doshas may be dominate in your Prakruti, or rarely one possesses equal parts of all three.  Each person is different.

Carla determined that my Pakruti is mainly Vata-Pitta.  Physically, I’m more Vata, but my personality is more Pitta.  My constitution is definitely out of balance though.  Because I get cold easily (especially my hands and feet at night) she recommended I eat warm foods for dinner like soups or stews, not salads and raw veggies.  I found this really interesting because I normally eat fresh veggies and salads for dinner, which I thought was good for me. But because my Vata is out of balance (Vikruti) and Vata is cold, I need warm foods to balance me.  She also suggested I stay away from spicy foods because I was born with a lot of Pitta, which is already hot.  Spices can aggravate Pitta.

Also, because I have trouble falling asleep sometimes or can’t get into a deep sleep, she told me to try drinking warm milk before I go to bed.  Since I don’t drink milk, she said almond milk would be fine and to also add nutmeg or cinnamon, and it worked!  Lastly, after a physical examination, she contended that I’m not fully absorbing my nutrients. I thought this was strange, since I make an effort to eat a ton of veggies and fruit.  Carla then asked me how I normally ate my meals.  Well, I’m embarrassed to say that most of my morning meals are eaten in front of the computer, working, or while I’m driving, and my dinners are spent in front of the t.v.  She said that could be the reason I’m not getting the full benefits of the nutrients that I’m ingesting because it’s not just what you eat, but how you eat is equally important.  This makes perfect sense, because when you’re distracted while you’re eating, that leads to not chewing food properly– which leads to digestive problems.  You also take in whatever else you are doing with your food.

All in all, this was such an insightful consultation, and you can tell that Carla is so passionate about Ayurveda.  For me, it’s a whole new way of looking at health, and the idea that our health is as unique as our personalities and genetic makeup really resonates with me.  If you would like to set up a time to meet with Carla down at the Ranch, you can reach her at ayurveda@carlalevy.org.  She also has an Ayurvedic practice in San Diego as well and can be contacted through the same email.

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