Discover your doshas with Jasmine Hemsley
For years, the Hemsley sisters – Jasmine and Melissa – have dominated the food world. After launching a high-end food-delivery service, they landed a blog for Vogue and their first book, The Art of Eating Well. Tapping into the wellness phenomenon in its infancy, their debut made icons out of its authors.
The London-based sisters have since written another book, Good + Simple, opened a café in Selfridges and launched their own Channel 4 TV show Eating Well with Hemsley + Hemsley. Since then, Jasmine and Melissa have pursued solo projects with Melissa releasing Eat Happy and Jasmine releasing East by West: Simple Recipes for Ultimate Mind-Body Balance.
Jasmine tells BALANCE: ‘I wanted to focus on the wellness aspect, rather than just food.’ East by West: Simple Recipes for Ultimate Mind-Body Balance, not only delivers 140 nutritious recipes but teaches the Ayurvedic philosophy, too.
Ayurveda, developed by the sages of India, ‘tells you to be mindful about what and how you’re eating’, explains Jasmine. ‘I’ve been fascinated by Ayurveda since I was a model and very aware of food and how it made me feel.
‘My mum is Filipino, so I grew up on great cooking – lots of soups and stews… hot liquid foods, which, I discovered, are very in keeping with Ayurveda.’
It also focuses heavily on digestion, which, Jasmine believes, is more important than what you’re actually putting into your body.
‘If your digestion is strong, you can eat junk food and still get nutrients from it,’ she claims, somewhat controversially, before adding: ‘Obviously, junk food eaten long term will weaken your digestion. But Ayurveda teaches that it’s better to have good digestion and a bad diet than bad digestion and a good diet.’
BODY AND SOUL
Balance is key, too. The idea that we should eat only one way is, Jasmine says, is detrimental to our wellbeing. ‘The problem with that is there isn’t one right way to live.’
So, how does this relate to cooking? Jasmine describes the recipes as ‘slow, comfort food’. She adds: ‘Super-nutritious and flavourful.’ There’s lentil stew, a chicken soup, chestnut pancakes and lots of black pepper – “excellent for digestion”.
‘Things like indigestion, eczema, waking in the night feeling anxious – Ayurveda helps with all those symptoms,’ says Jasmine. ‘Ayurveda wants you to learn about your body and listen to it.’ We’re listening.
START HERE: FIND YOUR DOSHAS
Each of us has a unique blueprint and will have one dominant dosha: Vata, Pitta or Kapha. They help us to identify how we are feeling and what to eat to bring our body back into balance.
Vata: A mixture of Space and Air found in all forms of ‘movement’. Someone who is predominantly Vata will have qualities that reflect those of Space and Air: they are quick thinking, fast moving and are usually slim-bodied. Common signs of Vata imbalance include anxiety, fatigue, dry skin and constipation.
Pitta: A mixture of Fire and Water found within all ‘transformation’. A person who is mainly Pitta will have a lively personality, sharp intellect and an athletic build. Imbalances lead to anger and conditions such as inflammation, rashes, heartburn and infections.
Kapha: This is a mix of Water and Earth and is found within ‘structure’. A Kapha person tends to have a solid frame and calm, loving temperament. A unbalanced Kapha type becomes lethargic and low in mood. In this state, they are prone to obesity and sinus congestion.