Laura James is a consumer journalist and author. She writes on trends, interiors, food, diversity and style for many national newspapers and magazines. She is the author of nine books and is published in more than 10 countries. Her most recent book, Odd Girl Out, is published by Bluebird / Pan Macmillan. She is also an ambassador for the National Autistic Society.
"AYURVEDA GIVES ME ROUTINES TO USE WHEN LIFE FEELS TOO FRENETIC."
What does Ayurveda mean to you?
For me, Ayurveda offers a structured way to get myself back on track when life feels stressful or becomes unmanageable. When I feel myself drifting off-track I immediately make an appointment to see my Ayurvedic practitioner.
When did you discover it?
I first came across Ayurveda around 10 years ago when life was quite stressful. I had four children, a frenetic job as a freelance writer with all the stress of deadlines that entails and I needed to clear some space in my head and start looking after myself better.
What drew you to Ayurveda?
I loved the structure. I am autistic, so respond well to routine and rituals, although I do find it hard to stick to them.
How long have you been practising it?
On and off for 10 years.
Anything major it’s helped with?
It’s definitely helped me manage my stress. Also, I have a genetic connective tissue disorder called Ehlers Danlos Syndrome. Ayurvedic massages really help with the pain this can sometimes cause and are exceptionally good at helping with digestive issues.
Is it part of everyday life or merely part of your medicine cabinet/fall back routine?
I go through phases, sometimes it’s central to my life, at others it’s there in the background.
Top 3 Ayurveda tips that have worked for you?
The things that work best for me are managing my diet, having regular massages and taking regular yoga classes.
What surprised you most about Ayurveda?
I think the thing that surprised me most was how good I feel when I’m really engaging with an Ayurvedic way of life.
Did you integrate it gradually or overnight for any particular reason?
I think more gradually and taking the bits that worked for me and leaving the rest.
Do your children/family eat like this?
And if they do do they know it’s Ayurveda or just home cooking? – just home cooking
Favourite Ayurvedic recipe or go to ingredient
My favourite ingredients are pretty prosaic, ghee, coconut oil, turmeric
Day to day routines?
I oil pull, using coconut oil, try to have a massage as often as I can and change my diet when I feel my natural tendency towards being vata-ish comes to the fore.
What do you wish was more accessible in our society to my an Ayurvedic lifestyle more simple?
I think it would be great if it were just seen as mainstream, in the way yoga or mindfulness now are.
How does Ayurveda support support your lifestyle?
It gives me routines to use when life feels too frenetic.
Do people around you/in your circle of friends know about it?
Yes, most of them do.
Whats the one thing you would encourage everyone to try/do you think would benefit the majority of people’s health for the better?
I think getting a regular massage makes the most difference to me and also eating foods that are natural, warming and nourishing works so well for me.