"I have a theory. I believe untamed Vata is the reason why people in our culture are feeling more and more unsettled and angsty, and getting weirdly unwell as a result. Our "Vata" is out of balance. Contemporary life turns us into Vata types. But it also aggravates Vata energy. We’re set up to fail! I think that modern life demands that we become Vata-ish. We’re expected to be fast, fleety, jumping from one thing to the next, give answers "even if they’re incorrect," not concentrating fully, toggling, being thin (!), not settling on one thing, demanding lots of choices… and so on."
Sarah Wilson is a New York Times best-selling author and entrepreneur. Her journalism career spanned 20 years, across television, radio, magazines, newspapers and online. She’s the former editor of Cosmopolitan Australia and host of the first series of MasterChef Australia, the highest-rating show in the country's TV history.
She’s also the author of I Quit Sugar, as well as I Quit Sugar For Life and I Quit Sugar: Simplicious, and her books are sold in 46 countries and in 12 languages. Sarah founded IQuitSugar.com and the I Quit Sugar 8-Week Program, which saw more than 1.5 million people quit sugar worldwide. Her community extends to 2.3 million. Her most recent book, First, We Make the Beast Beautiful: A New Story About Anxiety, is published in the UK and the U.S. in April 2018.
Sarah’s interests include minimalist living, philosophy, anti-consumerism, combatting food waste, hiking, ocean swimming and eating.
"I mostly find Ayurveda is all about this: drilling down, going to the root."
What has been your journey with Ayurveda?
Ayurvedic healing is the most grounded approach to wellness I have encountered. It is a central part of my day-to-day, from when I wake up and scrape my tongue to when I go to sleep before 10 pm to fight my insomnia! I discovered Ayurveda as a way to cope with my autoimmune disease, and have been hooked ever since.
Which Ayurvedic practices do you incorporate into your everyday?
I wake up at 6:30 am to ease into the day, practise daily tongue scraping and drink hot water with lemon. I meditate for 20 minutes once or twice day. I try to eat and cook according to Ayurvedic principles - warm, dense foods for my vata - as much as possible to promote gut health.
What has Ayurveda helped you with?
Ayurveda has improved many aspects of my life, including my sleep and my digestion. Going to sleep earlier means I can wake up early and feel fresh and ready to embark on my day. As for food, I use Ayurvedic principles to manage my inflammation and autoimmune disease (Hashimotos): I eat warm, soft meals, drink warm drinks, cook with a lot of turmeric and oils and I don’t cook too many ingredients at once.
What is one of your most memorable Ayurveda moments?
I took a 6-week Panchakarma (Ayurvedic retreat) in India. I chose a clinic that was as far removed from the Westernised, washed down version of a Panchakarma that I could find. I went to Vaidyagrama, north of Kerala, an authentic clinic where I was monitored daily by a doctor and a therapist. There, I ate food cooked according to strict Ayurvedic principles and delivered to my room, and engaged in both prayer and meditation in Sanskrit. There is neither soap nor loo roll at Vaidyagrama, to avoid chemicals and disposables, and we were washed in mung bean powder after each treatment. It was hard, but during my stay, I experienced excellent digestion and found that I didn't have any of my usual cravings. It was very different from anything I'd ever done; it forced me to confront my deepest demons in a way that would have been impossible any other way.
How does Ayurveda help you deal with modern life?
I find that modern life deeply aggravates Vata — which also happens to be my dominant dosha — so Ayurveda helps me to balance the stresses and fast pace of mainstream society. I seek out warm places, drinks and food, combat dryness with oils and practise grounding, soothing yoga instead of intense aerobic exercise.