Episode 2: The UMA Ayurveda Podcast- Unlocking the Power of Food through Ayurvedic Cooking with Divya Alter

Divya Alter is a prolific voice in the world of Ayurveda. She and her husband are the co-founders of the Ayurvedic culinary school, Bhagavat Life, Bhagavat Life, and Divya’s Kitchen, an Ayurvedic restaurant in Manhattan. Diyva also authored the book  What to Eat for How You Feel: The New Ayurvedic Kitchen, an accessible guidebook for bringing the ancient science into your kitchen and daily life. Diyva has a grounding presence and a way of educating the world about Ayurveda that is both inspiring and accessible. She also brings food to the forefront, helping us see that Ayurvedic cooking is not limiting or convoluted, but rather a way to ignite and honor our health. It’s also a way of cooking for everyone, as Divya says, “you can adjust your local dishes to make them Ayurvedic.”

Links:

Divya's Kitchen

Bhagvat Life Culinary School

Episode Transcript:

Shrankhla Holecek: [00:00:40]  Hi! I am Shrankhla Holecek, the Founder & CEO of UMA, an Ayurvedic beauty and wellness collection. This is the UMA Ayurveda podcast. Each week I’ll be having a conversation with someone I greatly admire on the topics of Ayurveda, holistic healing, spiritual well-being and alternative health. By sharing this wisdom, I hope to share a personal truth and revelation with you. That, as ancient as they are, Ayurveda and other healing modalities are as modern and relevant today, as ever. 

Shrankhla Holecek: [00:01:39] My guest today is Divya Alter. Divya and her husband, Prentiss, are the cofounders of Bhagavat Life, an Ayurvedic culinary school and Divya’s Kitchen, an Ayurvedic restaurant in Manhattan. Divya is also the author of What to Eat for How You Feel: The New Ayurvedic Kitchen. To use her words - For Divya, food is much more than a means of sustenance. It is a friend that has transformed and uplifted her on levels way beyond the physical. Divya’s cooking is based on the ancient principles of Shaka Vansiya (SV) Ayurveda, which teaches us how to link our physical and mental needs with the foods and seasonings that will balance us accordingly.I’m personally a huge fan of Divya’s Kitchen and all that Divya is doing in this space, and it is such a pleasure to be speaking with her today. 

Shrankhla Holecek: [00:01:44] Divya, it is such an absolute pleasure to be talking with you formally on the podcast. I am so excited to learn a little bit more about you, more than I have already in almost a stalkerish way, from both from Stacey as well as reading about you. I'd love to start out with what Ayurveda mean to you and what has it done for you?

 Divya Alter: [00:02:15] Thank you, Shrankhla. I'm really happy and very honored to be on your podcast. I always felt you as a kindred spirit. And I'm very, very fascinated with your stories. Well, I'm a very big admirer of all the work you do. So thank you so much for having me.

Shrankhla Holecek: [00:02:34] Gosh. Coming from a connoisseur as yourself, let me take a moment to acknowledge just how humbling that is.

Divya Alter: [00:02:42] Well, no, it's just...

Divya Alter: [00:02:45] So what does Ayurveda mean to me? Ayurveda has been the agent of some of the major changes in my life. It's truly.. It's been truly life changing to me. In terms of, first of all, figuring out my diet and what's good for me to favor and what to avoid in terms of food and then Ayurveda through the years it has helped me overcome some destructive habits and develop good healthy habits. And in general, good lifestyle practices that have helped me really evolve as a human being. And I cannot imagine my life without Ayurveda..

 

Shrankhla Holecek: [00:03:37] You know, it's so funny you say that because I feel the same way. And perhaps we came at it from different places in our lives. Because I almost re embraced Ayurveda in some ways when I needed it most. But was there a precipitating moment for you? If you feel comfortable talking about it, that that you felt that you made the space for Ayurveda in your life.. Or was it a gradual journey?

 

Divya Alter: [00:04:11] Well, I would say both. So looking back at my life .. I've had some major health challenges and I needed help somehow or other, Ayurveda would come to me .. to the rescue in different ways, through different people, different parts of the world. I experienced it the most when. I lived in India for five years and I lived in injury, especially when I lived in Vrindavan, which is one of the holy places, the birthplace of Lord Krishna. And it was such a life changing experience. But at the climate in India has always been very difficult for my body. So I would get sick, especially with digestive problems or parasites or something like that. And the local doctor who was an amazing Ayurvedic doctor. And Dr. Pratap Gupta, I really do love him very much.

 

Shrankhla Holecek: [00:05:08] And is he based in Vrindavan?

 

Divya Alter: [00:05:10] Yeah, he's been. And he comes from a lineage of Ayurvedic doctors. So his father, his grandfather, they all had like a clinic. And I would go to him and he was the he was very familiar with the Western mentality. And he's helped me tremendously adjust to... You know, you would chastise me lovingly. You would say, why do you try to do everything at once after us or whatever is so. Oh, he was the first Catalyst's to kindling my interest, you know, over there and experiencing the tremendous benefits of not just taking remedies and herbs, but really adjusting my diet and experiencing some of the treatments. I took a couple of workshops with him and he taught me how to cook sweet rice like Kheer is called Kheer in India. I still remember his tips. It was it's been so many years, like more than 20 years.

 

Shrankhla Holecek: [00:06:12] Oh, by the way your Kheer is amongst the best I have had! So it definitely is delightful how ever your first experience with Kheer came to be!

 

Divya Alter: [00:06:26] Thank you. So. Yes. And then later on I, I've had a couple more like I was very sick. I had maybe confection. A few years later, I ended up at the back, give them the hospital in Mumbai and they have an Ayurvedic clinic and they treated me there. I stayed for a month and it really helped me tremendously so that the treatments helped me just gain energy and be able to stand at my feet because I was very weak. And then I moved to the United States and a few few years later, I feel so say I was feeling just so sick and like chronic fatigue, severe digestive problems, allergies. I don't know how all this accumulated for me. But then I met through through that. I met Dr. Marian Teitelbaum and her teacher who became my teacher. Vijaya Ramekin Mishra. And they really turned everything around for me. Made Ayurveda so practical and so alive as a science that I decided to dedicate my life to helping people experience Ayurveda in their life, especially through food, because this is my passion.

 

Shrankhla Holecek: [00:07:48] And how grateful we are for all your service in this adventure! And I'm very excited to talk about your breadth and depth of knowledge in Ayurvedic cooking and as you rightly said in Ayurveda.. Or maybe you didn't say that, but implied it then... And to me, that is the fundamental tenet of where you start... The body's balancing... The body's healing of itself.. the body's detoxification processes. And even though UMA is a product company that deals with more skincare and aroma therapeutic wellness, I always challenge people on thinking about what they are eating, even when they present with skincare issues, because that indeed is the root of everything in Ayurveda..  . But before we talk about your amazing Ayurvedic cooking process, I would love to start with Divya, the incredible entrepreneur who is forging new paths both with Bhagvat life, which is your culinary school and Divya's kitchen, your Ayurvedic restaurant in Manhattan. Please tell us all... Because I know our listeners would be incredibly excited to hear about those.

 

Divya Alter: [00:09:14] Yeah, well, I have to give credit to my husband, Prentis, because he is the business mind behind all of these. I am more of the organizer and just creating all the programs and recipes and menus and all that. But really, he's the business person behind it. So we are a team. We are very ambitious, probably too ambitious because we're always so busy. It's not the kind of business we do to just make money. We need to have some profit to sustain what we do for a long time. But our main drive and inspiration is just seeing how much people benefit from what we offer, how they feel inspired, and how they feel that they can apply something positive in their life to make even small changes. Even if it's not a big change, small changes count and they're so important. So we tried to make Ayurveda accessible through our cooking classes and other wellness events and through the restaurant, through food. And just to show that you don't have to be a practitioner to create big life changes, you can just start with simple steps like [00:10:37] little things and you feel [00:10:38] that they help you. That's a great that's great.

 

Shrankhla Holecek: [00:10:43] I think that has been the most meaningful personal lighthouse, for lack of a better word for me when it comes to Ayurveda, because even in my personal journey, there are times that I'm practicing 25 things from Ayurveda, whether it is Pranayama and being a good yogi and eating good ghee and [00:11:08] cattery to, [00:11:09] and sometimes it's down to two when I am travelling maniacally. But I love that I have never felt like I needed to judge myself by how good or bad of an Ayurvedic I was being as long as it was part of my life. And that I'm glad you outline and underscore that you can start your Ayurvedic journey in bite size modular fashions and realize what might be right for you in that period of your life and still see tremendous benefit from that. So I like calling that out when we do these conversations because it is a beautiful aspect about Ayurveda that way.

 

Divya Alter: [00:11:54]  [00:11:54]And you made many of our listeners who are new to Ayurveda, [00:11:59] you may be practicing some Ayuvedic, you may be doing some Ayurvedic practices without even knowing, you know, if you're scraping your tongue in the morning.. You can get a tongue scraper from health food store near you ... if you if you if you're showering in the morning, you're practicing Ayurveda and self care. So there's so many little things in our current Western American culture that actually come from Ayurveda.

 

Shrankhla Holecek: [00:12:28] You're totally right, it was funny, I was watching an old Curb Your Enthusiasm recently where Larry David is talking to his wife, Cheryl, as they're divorcing about what she taught him in the whole marriage. And he brought up the idea of tongue scraping. And I'm like, that's Ayurveda for you, Larry David. But anyhow, it's crept into mainstream practices without many people even realizing its Ayurvedic! When I first learned about the Divya's kitchen and your very authentic service of Ayurvedic cooking, I was overjoyed, but very curious because I wondered... How you're managing the journey of building awareness around Ayurveda, but also changing taste profiles. Tell me a little bit about that.

 

Divya Alter: [00:13:23] Yes. So this is this is a very fascinating to me also because I read is a universe of science, doesn't it? You don't have to eat Indian food to be Ayurvedic. You can practice it anywhere in the world. And what you have to do is adjust. I call it Ayurvedized. That is like a jar. First of all, learned the main principles in this case. We're talking about diet and food. Learn to make the main Ayurvedic principles for digestion and then adjust your you can adjust your local dishes to make them Ayurvedic. That's why you will see it in our menu. We have Bosnia and Risotto. I love Italian flavors. I have a minestrone soup and all these other things. So but there what I do what I do is I take. First of all, sometimes it's like, I wonder if I can make an Ayurvenic minestrone. So I would look at the traditional recipe and I would say, yeah, I could replace this with this. I could add a little bit of this to support digestion of this, I, instead of this oil. I use this oil instead of this cooking method. I'll use this one just to make it easier to protect the panna in the food. So this is how I Ayurvedize recipes. And this is also what I think people appreciate. Appreciate the flexibility of applying Ayurvedic principles to local cuisines.

 

Shrankhla Holecek: [00:14:59] That's a great point and a very, very helpful tip. Sting a little bit on that and clarifying that, something that maybe I get bombarded with as a question, which is many in the West have come to associate Indian food with the muggle or tandoori cuisine, as it were. You know, the naans, the very rich curries and having grown up in Indian and in Ayurvedic household. I know that at home we eat much more simply with that food kind of reserve for celebrations or meals out. But a majority of friends here or even in the U.K. expect to all, quote unquote, Indian meals to have that rich, very spicy profile. Have you had to deal with that at the Diyva's kitchen?

 

Divya Alter: [00:15:53] Yes. In fact, you know, in the beginning, we were listed on some platforms like Yelp and I think Open Table. And they listed this also as Indian because there is no Ayurvedic category yet. Yes. So and we experience this like sometimes you get like one star reviews from people who came and they really expected modern Indian cuisine, you know, with cooked with the heavy oils and really spicy and deep fried. And our menu is very consistent, very centric, very balancing dishes there without deep fried anything. We don't put too much or nothing is greasy on our menu. And we use very only four types of healthy oils. So we just removed the Indian category from our description. And yes, we face this. So sometimes I like to come out in the dining room and meet our guests and speak with them. And when they see especially, like I can notice, traditional Indian family and I would ask them, I would explain to them that this is a centric Ayurvedic Cuisine. And if you like, not everything has chili. And if you like, very spicy, we have a hot sauce. So I like to explain. And, you know, very often, actually, especially like families that come with their grandparents or their parents, they would tell me that's exactly how we like to cook at home. Very simple. Very healthy. Yeah, but they are people who expect like modern Indian cuisine. And they just come with the wrong expectations to our restaurant.

 

Shrankhla Holecek: [00:17:48] And I am glad that you called out that that most Indians, specially those of us that were raised in India, eat much more sopped make Ayurvedic food as part of our daily lifestyle. And I'd love to hear in your words, and I'm sure our listeners would as well. What sopped make as food means. 

 

Divya Alter: [00:18:15] So, Sattvic is, It's a type of energy. It comes from the concept of Sattva, Rajas and Tamus. Sattva is the most balancing energy of illumination. Goodness. Enlightenment. This is where we feel very balance, where this type of energy, where we feel light and happy. And then Rajas is the energy of passion, of a lot of movement, of a lot of change. Rajas is more a lot going on. Very stimulating.

 

Shrankhla Holecek: [00:18:56] Right.

 

Divya Alter: [00:18:57] And Tamas is the energy of inertia, of slowing down of. It's also sometimes related to darkness. If you're in too much in tamasik energy, you can you may feel depressed. It could lead to lethargy and laziness like that. So I like this example of imagining a room in your house and you have a very nice, clean room with lots of light and beautiful plants and really nice, like airy energy is just it just feel you entering. Like, oh my God. The energy here is so amazing. You feel immediately uplifted entering this room. And then the same room you invite a party. And you get 50 people in there doing loud things than maybe drinking or loud music and dancing and having a lot of fun. And then the next morning, the same room is just full of garbage. It needs some serious cleaning. So that's it. It's like how even us we can go through different stages and we perceive those energies through our consciousness so we can go through different stages of consciousness or eat different foods like one. The same food can be Sattvic, Rajasik and Tamasik. You you have a nice fresh peach. And it's so juicy and fresh and sweet. Just picked from the tree. Beautiful. And then you you can this peach and it becomes more Rajastic because it's it's been sitting there for a long time. And then if you leave it, leave this open and the peach starts to get moldy. That would be a Tamasik energy. So just shifts of energy. I hope this makes sense.

 

Shrankhla Holecek: [00:20:57] Most certainly does. And I think it's worth calling out that Ayurveda has always emphasized the importance of balance in our lives and its balance within our bodies, within our Doshas, within the energies we live in and environments profoundly impact all of those things. And it wouldn't denote that we may externally... Be exposed to a lot of Rajasik and Tamasik energies, which further underscores the importance of Sattvic eating in our lives. Because you're right that I see less and less Sattvic energy in in going through my day to day, whether it is less contact with nature..  Or being closer to oceans .. or being able to observe that more meaningfully in my personal life. So that piece of the balance is definitely something that I seek out in whichever way I can to maintain that life of energetic and Doshic balance.

 

Divya Alter: [00:22:14] Yeah, that's beautifully such a strength. And and just to echo on this, it always begins with self-awareness. And that's another aspect of viability that they really love it. It helps us understand more about ourselves, our nature, not just our Dosha, our body type but who we are, what we're meant to do in this life, but also to develop this self-awareness. And then through self-awareness, we make decisions of what we need right now to balance.

 

Shrankhla Holecek: [00:22:45] You're completely right. And if there's one thing people should take away from in Ayurvedic exploration is the idea of strong intuition and truly listening to one's body, because very often what my body is truly telling me is going to be different from what your body tells you. And listening to that inner voice, the true inner voice is how I think most of us can achieve the purpose that we're on this earth for. Tell me a little bit about your voice and how you eat every day Divya. 

 

Divya Alter: [00:23:31] Oh, well, I I love to eat very simple foods, so we I'm committed to preparing fresh meals every day. So it's very easy actually. I'm realizing how much more I'm cooking now with home, because with the restaurant, I know that I am at work and I have freshly cooked food that I really love every day. So it's not a problem. And I can focus on other things. And now I've been at home and it's like, oh my God, I have to cook lunch and I have to cook dinner. Ohh..

 

Shrankhla Holecek: [00:24:01] This is a good call out to our audiences that Ayurveda does lay a pretty strong emphasis on cooking and eating freshly cooked food. And I'm glad you brought that up. But if you have you found good hacks around it, because I know some people in within our audience group will be wondering, how do you nourish yourself with these healthy, fresh cooked meals? And what advice might you have for our listeners?

 

Divya Alter: [00:24:41] Yes, for sure. I mean, I have to I always cook for also cook for my husband, who is a big eater, and he likes variety. So lately, I mean, my home cooking lately has been mostly testing recipes from my new cookbook. But, something that. And again, I would just explain what we like to eat. And of course, this might not be balancing for everybody. We'd like to have a simple breakfast. So I usually start with a pre breakfast, which is the cooked apple pre breakfast. I'm happy to describe the recipe in a couple of minutes. And this this is really helpful because it helps us eat something small and do our meditation and exercise it with whatever else we want to do in the morning and then have breakfast. And we prefer to have more savory, like salty kind of breakfast rather than sweet. We don't really eat oatmeal so much, not not so much in the spring. It's it feels too heavy for us. But I like to have to make like a light protein breakfast. So now in springtime, I really like making fresh mung sprouts. And I would just so tell them, because when they're rather two aggravating for Vata, the airy energies. But I would just saute them sometimes I would add vegetables or I make this traditional Ayurvedic protein staple cope, . The recipe will be my new book. And it's made from it's something like vegan paneer. I don't know how to explain it. I make it into cubes and then I toasted and cook it with two maybe leafy greens or Asparagus, Something like that. It's it's very quick cooking. So in the morning we do something that quix fast and sometimes we would just make a dowel like a lentil soup, maybe some vegetable in it because we need, we feel that we need more protein in the morning.

 

Divya Alter: [00:26:46] The easy to just type of protein and we are vegetarian so we don't really eat meat, fish or eggs. And then for lunch we usually lunches the most time consuming cooking and menu and and still we keep it simple. Now they say, I've been doing a lot of one cooked meals just because I want to have more time to write my book. So I've been using a lot of the instant pot. The especially for making like a quick soup, especially with lentil soups. That has been very helpful. So make a Khichri or there are many other recipes for one pot meals that I would might make. And dinner is usually in the hands of my husband. Cause the 15 minute cook certainly would just make something super simple, let's say vegetables with a little bit of Paneer cheese and rice or something like that. Another hack I would recommend is you can split the the prep time and the cooking time so you could prep your vegetables the night before or in the mornings for cooking them later or so, you know, make your spice blends on Sunday or whenever you're preparing for the week, you can kind of split the prep time and then cooking time. This really saves most of you because cooking time takes doesn't take much time for quick meals. But if you if you do a lot of the prep work the day before or even a few days you can prep for a few days is not ideal, but it's better than eating out. So that, I find this very helpful, too.

 

Shrankhla Holecek: [00:28:32] And that is, Divya, You've been so kind and have shared some recipes with us in the past. So we'll be sure to link those at the bottom of the podcast to tell us about how we can get more of this amazing wisdom. I know you've mentioned a book and an upcoming book. I would love to hear more about how we can get more from your restaurant or your culinary school. Please tell us about that.

 

Divya Alter: [00:29:03] Yes, of course. My cookbook is called What to Eat For How You Feel the new Ayurvedic kitchen. It came out three years ago, and this month we actually celebrating the sixth edition. 

 

Shrankhla Holecek: [00:29:14] Congratulations

 

Divya Alter: [00:29:17] Yes. And it just came out in German language as well. It was published in Germany and distributed in the German speaking countries, which is very exciting. The book will give you a really nice overview of Ayurvedic cooking, according to the Shaka Vansya Ayurveda tradition. Which I practice and trained in. And the book teaches you how to cook seasonal ingredients and adjust them according to your type of digestion. So I explained the four types of digestion, and it's a really practical way to figure out. What to eat? Depending on how what your digestion this is today, I put a lot of love in it and been getting a lot of positive reviews. And also, if you follow our Instagram account for Divya's kitchen, Divya's Kitchen NYC. We post once a week. We post video recipes that are very easy, like seasonal video recipes, and we post a lot of announcements and other things. And of course, my personal Instagram Divya Alter, we're pretty active on Instagram. And then for our school Bhagavat life, the website is Bvt Life dot com. We are currently developing an online curriculum and we'll be offering online cooking classes. And we've also started the Ayurvedic Nutrition and culinary training. The acronym for this is an act. And we've we've we've thought it for the past four years very successful. It's like an Ayurvedic chefs training, which goes for nine months. It has two or three levels. And currently we're preparing the first level, which is the knowledge part to be available online as well, because we've had people from all over the world who've asked us to take this training because there is not a training like that.

 

Shrankhla Holecek: [00:31:15] It's a everything I have read about, it sounds incredibly fascinating. And if I was in New York and I didn't have a startup to run full time, I'd be the first sign up for the for the training, of course. You've had hundreds, but I would definitely be in line.Are there resources that you have found helpful along your Ayurvedic evolution and journey that you'd be willing to share with the audience?

 

Divya Alter: [00:31:48] Yes, definitely. I, my teacher by the mission, unfortunately, he passed away three years ago with his Web site and especially his blog. And you can even go through the archives. It's such a such a treasure house of knowledge. The Web site is called S.V.. Ayurveda dot com. S V as in victor Ayurveda dot com. And if you click on blog and you go through some of the articles that he wrote years ago, and you can even search for keywords and come up with a bunch of articles. What I really love about his articles is that he would always bring the Sanskrit quotes from Chataka and Hita and other traditional Ayurvedic texts. And then he would bring in modern science and connect the two and make it very practical for us to apply in our daily life today. So that's a great resource. I always go there. Another great resource is Dr. John Douillard website. Dr. John Douillard is a very accomplished, very, really amazing person also, Ayurvedic doctor and his passion is to really bring the modern science into the Ayurvedic concepts. And he like if you're looking for approves of modern science about the healing benefits of fenugreek seeds. You will find it on his Web site. So his Web site is Life Spa dot com and yeah, these are two great resources. I mean, your blog is so practical. I really love your articles because it just makes it. It's like when I read your blog, it's like, oh, I can do this.

 

Shrankhla Holecek: [00:33:43] Why did you have to. I oh, the credit goes to the amazing people who such as yourself, who have volunteered great wisdom and valuable time to help disseminate deep dense but at the same time, bite sized wisdom on Ayurveda, which is what keeps the blog going. So thank you for saying that. But more importantly, thank you for being a contributor and such a generous sharer of your wisdom with people.

 

Divya Alter: [00:34:20] It is an honor, Shrankhla, just one more resource came to mind. That's a book that came out last year. It's called Healing the Thyroid with Ayurveda by Dr. Marianne Teitelbaum. Also very well researched book. And I really like this book because it outlines it's not just about the Thyroid, it's about many other things. It outlines a Shaka Ayurveda really well. And it has a lot of like over 40 pages. Thing with scientific research references. So that's also a great resource. 

 

Shrankhla Holecek: [00:34:56] You know, that's one I'm unfamiliar with. But I will be grabbing it today.I, absolutely love Ayurvedic literature that actually spans modern wisdom, provable science and things like that. So it sounds like an illuminating book on that. And I will definitely be grabbing it. A few questions Divya, to impose on your generosity. I love hearing this from everyone. What dosha are are you and what was your journey of discovering it?

 

Divya Alter: [00:35:32] Well, I may I believe my dosha is Vata-Pitta because it's so funny, because I've had over the years, I've had different Ayurvedic Doctor reading my pulse and somebody is they tell me that my doshas Pitta-Vata, I think. But I know that I know I read my body and I can read my pulse, too. But I feel definitely. I definitely feel that my dosha is Vata-Pitta and I think my Vata and my Pitta are very close, like, very closely. It's almost the same, but I'm more Vata, a little bit more Vata.

 

Shrankhla Holecek: [00:36:06] It's a question we get a lot and one that I always provide one answer to followed with. But see, a practitioner, which I know sometimes seems unsatisfactory, but it is of somewhat nebulous journey of discovery because your body may present different constitutions based on what it might be going through at that moment in time.

 

Divya Alter: [00:36:34] Exactly. Sometimes we identify our imbalance without predominant dosha.

 

Shrankhla Holecek: [00:36:40] Exactly. So I'm glad you touched on how it is not always so straightforward and something that you learn immediately. But it is a journey of discovery, much like Ayurveda is. And I suppose my final question on this topic would be the balancing of Ayurvedic principles with sometimes the demands of modern life. It definitely sounds like you are doing an amazing and inspirational job with that. You know, cooking fresh meals and so on.

 

Shrankhla Holecek: [00:37:23] But any personal advice or thoughts you might share with our listeners on how to remain balanced given the environments we live in?

 

Divya Alter: [00:37:37] Oh, shrink. Well, I'm definitely a work in progress in terms of applying many different Ayurvedic principles. I can be doing a lot better.

 

Divya Alter: [00:37:48] But, you know, like one thing is we always like and this is something that I did as a beginner in Ayurveda few years ago. It's very important to start small and just done because sometimes we get so overwhelmed by all those so-called rules in Ayurveda. I don't take them as rules. I take them as guidelines. There is no black and white. You're not a bad person if you're not able to follow them. It's a question of it's a personal development. It's a path of evolution. So if you started with simple things that you can apply for yourself today without any stress. That's a good start. If you feel stress over following all the Ayurvedic principles, that's not healthy. So I would say building it has been very helpful for me to build again. Getting rid of bad habits that would was distracted from my health and replacing them with good habits. Avoiding the foods that I really liked, but they were not good for my health. And replacing them with healthier is still very satisfying foods. I think that's a very important principle and also the principle of not just giving up and going cold turkey, you know, it's to try to replace something that's not supporting your health and your progress with, with something else. Find a better replacement first and then go for the change.

 

Shrankhla Holecek: [00:39:28] That is up so eloquently put. And I think such a wise and sage set of guidelines to follow in getting started or even maintaining this journey get this has been incredible. I know I'm walking away with such a new set of things that I would like to explore. So I can't even imagine how helpful this has been for our audiences. Are there any things that you would like to add or anything I might have missed during this chat?

 

Divya Alter: [00:40:03] Maybe just in conclusion, we can touch on the main aspect of main concept of Ayurveda is that it supports the native ability of the body to heal itself. It's it's a practice of self healing. And Ayurveda is also a participatory practice. It's not like taking the earth or taking the pill and then continuing with your bad habits. No, it's a participatory. You will get better a few if you do better. But it's a concept of self care and self healing and really nurturing ourselves and developing this attitude of selfless self care. Yes, I need to take care of myself, to be strong, to do my entitlement, to do my duty, to help others, to to be of service to others. I feel that's really important, even especially today, when some so many of us are really looking very closely into how can I take care of myself better and Ayurveda, I haven't found any other science, any other medicine, any other holistic practice that gives us the most detailed, most personalized guidelines in self care.

 

Shrankhla Holecek: [00:41:30] I think that is such a beautiful call to action for those of us who are already on the journey, as well as those who are just discovering Ayurveda and I cannot thank you enough for sharing your time, sharing your wisdom and sharing your practice with us. We will be putting all the notes and details of everything that you so kindly shared with us during the podcast, in the podcast notes. And I encourage all our listeners to follow you on Instagram because that has been an amazing source of inspiration and wisdom to me, as well as check out your restaurant in in New York. There is truly nothing like it.Thank you, Divya.

 

Divya Alter: [00:42:19] Thank you, Shrankhla, Thank you for your very thoughtful question. So I really enjoyed this. Very meaningful to me. Thank you so much.

 

Shrankhla Holecek: [00:42:50] Thank you so much for listening. If you like more information on our guest and the additional references during our conversation, please visit us at UMAOils.com. See you next time!

 

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