A Minute with Sahara Rose: The Renowned Ayurvedic Author Who Is Modernizing the Ancient Science
At twenty-eight, Sahara Rose Ketabi seems like she is both a life-long sage of Ayurveda and someone just starting their journey with the ancient science. Sahara has joyful approach and reverence for Ayurveda. Even after practicing it for more than seven years and authoring two books—Idiot's Guide to Ayurveda and Eat Feel Fresh: A Contemporary Plant-Based Ayurvedic—she exudes a fresh wonder for it. "It is my gift that I incarnated on this planet to share," Sahara tells us. "It’s not something I consciously think about, but rather it streams through me. I have spent many lifetimes doing this work."
Sahara began practicing Ayurveda when she was twenty-one when her "body began shutting down after following a raw vegan diet." She was suffering from digestive, hormonal, and bone density problems, along with anxiety and insomnia and a host of other health issues. Her body, which had gone into perimenopause, was depleted of hormones and not healing, even after countless doctors' visits and prescriptions. Sahara knew there was a root cause, a holistic way to rediscover her body's health and vibrance—and that's what led her to discover Ayurveda.
When she took her first Dosha quiz, everything became strikingly clear. "It was like I was reading my autobiography," she says about her dosha, Vata. "Every issue I had, including aspects about my personality, was there. It allowed me to see that it was all interconnected." From that point on, Sahara focused on bringing her Vata back into balance.
As Sahara physically healed her Ayurvedic practice unveiled wider truths. "It led to emotional understanding," she says, which led to deep studying and "professional sharing, which prompted spiritual awakening." Today Sahara is one of the most profound voices of modern Ayurveda. She lends her youthful, honest approach to the ancient science in every aspect of her work. Read one of her books, or listen to her podcast, The Highest Self (which is the number one spirituality podcast on iTunes) and her friendly, inclusive, do-what-works-for-you attitude is like sharing bowls of nourishing pumpkin curry with your best friend. Her insight just feels so right. And her wisdom is deep.
Which is one of the million reasons why we admire Sahara. She manages to make the world’s oldest health system seem and feel incredibly fresh and inclusive—because, after all, Ayurveda is there for all of us.
A Q&A with Sahara Rose
You have said that when you began implementing Ayurveda into your life and focusing on balancing your Dosha, you started seeing a wider truth about the mind-body connection. Can you talk about this—and also about what inspired you to write your books?
I don’t think anyone becomes a healer without first needing the healing themselves and that was my journey.
When I began focusing on bringing my Vata back into balance, the suggestions were very dairy-and-rice heavy, which I did not want to have, especially coming from raw veganism. So I began deeply studying Ayurveda in India, along with modern nutritional science and drawing parallels between the two. I saw that they really were pointing to many of the same things. For example, Ayurveda states the mind and body are connected, and science shows that 70 to 90 percent of serotonin is stored in our gut. We can see that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to health, which Ayurveda teaches us. And I could see the Doshas in every person I met.
What needed an update were some of the recipe suggestions, as back in Ayurvedic times, there were no refrigerators and it was created in India, where raw foods are dangerous to eat. This led to me writing my books Idiots Guide to Ayurveda and Eat Feel Fresh: A Contemporary Plant-Based Ayurvedic Cookbook and creating my podcast Highest Self Podcast. My mess became my message.
What are some of the greatest modern misconceptions about Ayurveda?
There are SO many. I have an entire spread dedicated to it in my book, Eat Feel Fresh.
- You can only eat Indian food to follow Ayurvedic guidelines.
- You cannot eat any raw foods.
- Your morning routine should take two to three hours.
- Ayurveda is complicated, foreign, and confusing.
- Only Indian people benefit from Ayurveda.
How can someone start to incorporate Ayurveda into their lives?
This will depend on your unique Dosha! I recommend first taking my Dosha quiz on my website to find out what your unique Dosha is. Once you know, my suggestions are:
- For Vatas, eat warming, grounding foods such as sweet potato, curries and soups. Stay away from raw, dry, cold foods. Practice grounding meditations and doing one thing at a time.
- For Pittas, eat cooling, hydrating foods, such as leafy greens, juicy fruit and herbs. Stay away from hot, spicy and acidic foods, as well as coffee. Practice calming exercises and activities.
- For Kaphas, eat detoxifying, cleansing and bitter foods. Stay away from comfort foods, carbs, dairy and sugar. Practice stimulating practices like cardio and shamanic shaking.
Let's take a specific look at your most recent book, Eat Feel Fresh. What was the inspiration behind this book?
My desire to make Ayurvedic nutrition approachable, relatable, and upgraded for today’s time. The world has significantly shifted since ancient Ayurvedic times 5000 years ago. First of all, there were no refrigerators, therefore when Ayurveda says not to eat food cooked more than three hours ago, that’s because it would have gone bad. However, today if you are supposed to freshly cook every meal from scratch right before eating it and throw it away, you won’t be able to work and do your dharma. Meal-prepping is a helpful way of making sure you get your six tastes of Ayurveda in by making a daily Six Taste Bowl (which I share recipes for in Eat Feel Fresh!).
How does food impact our mind, body, and soul?
Food is the fabric of who we are. It literally creates the material that our soul exists in. Our thoughts are a reflection of the foods we eat. When we eat foods that are rajasic, stimulating and aggravating, we have rajasic thoughts. If we have foods that are tamasic, dull, we have tamasic thoughts. If we have foods that are sattvic, pure, we have pure thoughts. This is why Ayurveda and yoga are sister sciences always meant to be practiced hand-in-hand. Yoga means to yolk, to become one with source. You can only do that when your physical body is balanced.
What is your vision for the book? How do you hope people use it and evolve with it?
It has been incredible to see how it has impacted the lives of thousands over the past year since its release. It has helped people with chronic illnesses, depression, anxiety, inflammation, digestive issues, hormonal imbalance, stress, obesity, and so much more. It has allowed people to heal their relationship with food and eat according to what they need, not what the media tells them to. It empowers people to not worry about their physical health anymore so they can fulfill their dharma, their soul’s purpose. It starts with food—but it’s so much more. I discuss all the spiritual growth that comes with an Ayurvedic lifestyle approach on Highest Self Podcast.
Is an Ayurvedic-focused diet malleable?
Absolutely! In Eat Feel Fresh, I teach you how you can use Ayurvedic guidelines to create meals from all types of cultures, from Italian to Thai to Mexican food. I also teach you how to make tri-doshic recipes that balance all three Doshas and how to make minor adjustments for each Dosha.
To learn more about Sahara Rose and her books and podcast, visit: https://www.iamsahararose.com/