Emine Ali Rushton has over 10 years experience across beauty, health, trend and wellbeing journalism and is presently beauty & wellbeing director at thinking woman’s glossy Psychologies. Emine’s faith in an Ayurvedic lifestyle was cemented when she followed its principles while pregnant with her first child (Gentle Birth Method). The principles of an Ayurvedic diet are the subject of her first book, The Body Balance Diet Plan and here Emine shares the keys to living a healthier, happier life.
The basis of the Ayurvedic diet is based on 3 things - Always eating seasonally; always eating according to your specific body type or ‘dosha’, and always eating food at the right time, in the right combinations, to optimise digestive fire (‘agni’).
The biggest misconceptions of an Ayurvedic diet are that all the food is weird. All natural food can be Ayurvedic - it’s just ensuring it’s seasonal, how you spice it, when you eat it, and what you eat it with that is key.
To successfully integrate an Ayurvedic diet in a family, where tastes differ is to stick to the most basic ‘as seasonal as possible’ rule, and then be smart with spices to help immunity, energy etc. We make about 90% of our family food from scratch. Yes, we have occasional fish fingers and chips, but our meals are always built on veg, grains and pulses… if we eat organic meat or fish, we always pair with simple seasonal veg, which again, is Ayurvedically sound.
While many people in India do not eat meat, but meat makes up part of an Ayurvedic diet perfectly comfortably, but always in moderation - Meat is a ‘rajasic’ food – which means it can rev us up a bit and make us a bit less ‘balanced’ inside, digestively and emotionally. Modern day thinking would say it is ‘acidic’ which is a similar thing. But again, you can eat red meat more in winter when your body needs the extra calories (and keeping our immune systems healthy requires good iron stores, which of course, red meat delivers). I stopped eating red meat on a regular basis when I was about 10, so it’s not affected my life at all. But we make a nice organic ragu or lamb kofta or equivalent a couple of times a week for my daughters who are young and growing and do well to have that iron.
Sugar is one of those things that the more you eat, the more you want and I find the cleaner and more seasonally I eat, the less I want unhealthy foods - I am very prone to a sweet tooth (as is my father), and we’ve both found that simply cutting back for a set time was enough to return our palates. I tried to eat a coffee shop chain granola bar after 2 weeks of no sugar and my teeth actually ached. We don’t realise how sweet food is if we’re always eating sweet food! But let me balance this by saying that I do eat cake and chocolate and sweet treats in small amounts every now and again, and always enjoy fresh seasonal fruit, and honey, maple syrup, jaggery – so I am very very far away from being extreme about it! I never eat sweet on an empty stomach as it makes me jittery, but I do love pudding, and just try to make it as slow-release, complex and low in refined sugar as I can.
The idea of living in the ‘eternal present’ is 100% Ayurvedic and that’s the origin of mindfulness, in this incredible 5000 year old wisdom - The other day I was rushing up the stairs to tidy a room before someone came over to photograph it. But I got completely sidetracked by the incredible acid-pink sunset. I challenged myself to look at every little inch of it, all the curves and puffs and curlicues of the cloud, and the incredible prismatic light. Before I knew it, the sun was setting. I got lost in the joy of that moment and it went on for almost an hour. The room was a tip but it no longer mattered. I am and always have been, good at stopping. I love to laze, to read, to garden, to potter and live in the ‘eternal present’. I use Ayurveda in tons of other ways - from blending teas and balms to preventing the regular seasonal ailments that everyone else seems so prone to. The best thing that Ayurveda gives you is intuition and the ability to read your body’s language. Once you have it, you can’t ignore your self anymore. And you just don’t want to.
Three books that have made a lasting impression on me are - The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje was moving, unforgettable, painful, raw and deeply beautiful. Beloved, by Toni Morrison is the saddest and most deeply insidious depiction of slavery on paper – it will tear you to shreds and then just about put you back together again. Finally, Arcadia by Lauren Groff is a great book for idealists everywhere.
Of all the people I have interviewed throughout my career, the three that have most inspired are - Margo Marrone of the Organic Pharmacy, whose kindness and authenticity is incredible. Annee de Mamiel, the amazing acupuncturist and good spirit, who is so generous with her wisdom and time. Finally, Imelda Burke of Being Content, who just leads life for all the right reasons, and is almost single-handedly responsible for bringing organics and naturals into the cool and fashionable future.
The three sites I recommend for wellbeing advice are - Being Content – their blog is filled with self-improving mind-candy. The Pool for its tight and smart edit and finally Get the Gloss for the balanced nutrition, fitness and wellbeing features.
Happiness is ... appreciating the beauty of the moment.
A daily ritual that sustains me is - A long, nightly soak in the bath, a cup of heabal tea (I love Pukka, Neal's Yard, Yogi and de Mamiel tea), and an hour with a good book. No gadgets, no noise. BLISS.
I feel beautiful when - I am with loved ones and free of worry.
I create balance in my life by keeping a very clear line drawn between work and home. The two will never sit well together, regardless of how hard you make it work. So, I'd rather work a bit earlier in the office or a bit later, knowing when I do get home, I can just be present, with my children, husband, in the moment (and my phone locked in a drawer!).
For more information on the body balance diet, visit http://balanceplan.co.uk
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