Jas­mine’s quest for bal­ance

Irish Daily Mail - YOU - - WELL BEING - WELL­BE­ING Sarah Stacey

If chilly damp days make you yearn for body- and mind-warm­ing com­fort food, slow-cooked and sloppy enough to need a bowl and a big spoon, Jas­mine Hem­s­ley is right be­hind you. ‘Eat­ing hot food in cold weather – por­ridge, soups and stews – is easy on the di­ges­tive sys­tem and helps to give you bal­ance and vi­tal­ity.’ Such sim­ple ideas are guid­ing prin­ci­ples of Ayurveda, the an­cient holis­tic health­care sys­tem with roots in In­dia, which Jas­mine has fol­lowed for the past eight years.

‘I’ve long been fas­ci­nated by the im­por­tance of di­ges­tion and gut health. Ayurveda holds that our vi­tal­ity, well­be­ing and hap­pi­ness come from a life in bal­ance and that the se­cret to main­tain­ing that bal­ance lies in the strength of our “agni”, or di­ges­tive fire,’ ex­plains Jas­mine. The cook and well­be­ing coach, best known as one half of the sis­ter duo Hem­s­ley + Hem­s­ley, has gone solo with her new book East by West: Sim­ple Ayurvedic Recipes for Ul­ti­mate Mind-Body Bal­ance.

It’s a long way from the cheese and ketchup toasties that Jas­mine, 37, lived on at univer­sity. She first heard about Ayurveda in 2001 when she was mod­el­ling, but it wasn’t un­til she started work­ing in the well­ness world that Jas­mine ‘slowly re­alised the im­por­tance of be­ing in tune with na­ture, which is the cor­ner­stone of Ayurveda. To­day it’s fun­da­men­tal to my life.’

A light­bulb mo­ment for Jas­mine was eat­ing her largest meal in the mid­dle of the day and hav­ing a lighter sup­per. ‘That way I sleep bet­ter and have way more en­ergy. We need to learn to re­spond to our own rhythms and needs, which may change through­out the day.’

Ayurveda dis­tin­guishes three mind-body types called doshas based on the five el­e­ments that are the build­ing blocks of all life (see be­low). But, Jas­mine, em­pha­sises, ‘it’s not a diet you have to fol­low strictly. There’s no fall­ing off the wagon. It just nudges you to move in­tu­itively in line with na­ture when­ever you can.’ If that sounds airy-fairy, start small. Con­sider, for in­stance – as I did, rather grumpily – whether you re­ally need that next jolt of caf­feine on a busy day, or would you feel bet­ter with a gin­ger tea? (I did.)

Jas­mine is on a pas­sion­ate mis­sion to ed­u­cate us about Ayurveda and it’s use­ful to read through part one of the book be­fore the recipes. Some key in­gre­di­ents in Ayurvedic cook­ing such as turmeric have made their way into con­ven­tional med­i­cal re­search and Jas­mine’s favourite turmeric-rich Golden Milk recipe has a star­ring role. There are lots of de­li­cious dishes for ev­ery­one, in­clud­ing veg­e­tar­i­ans and ve­g­ans, with treats ga­lore. In fact, you could just eat your way through the book this win­ter. East by West by Jas­mine Hem­s­ley is pub­lished by Blue­bird, price €45.

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