Watch the full interview below or listen to the full episode on your iPhone HERE.
Stu: This week, I’m excited to welcome Dr. Shivani Gupta to the podcast. Dr. Gupta is a pioneer who redefined the health and wellness industry by bridging the gap between ancient and modern medicine. In this conversation, we discuss the principles behind Ayurvedic medicine, how it relates to modern day science, and how to implement it into a framework for better health and vitality over to Dr. Gupta.
Some questions asked during this episode:
- What are the principles behind Ayurveda?
- What are your thoughts on modern day western medicine?
- How can Ayurvedic practices be used to support gut health?
Get more of Dr Shivani Gupta:
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The views expressed on this podcast are the personal views of the host and guest speakers and not the views of Bega Cheese Limited or 180 Nutrition Pty Ltd. In addition, the views expressed should not be taken or relied upon as medical advice. Listeners should speak to their doctor to obtain medical advice.
Disclaimer: The transcript below has not been proofread and some words may be mis-transcribed.
Hey, this is Stu from 180 Nutrition, and welcome to another episode of the Health Sessions. It’s here that we connect with the world’s best experts in health, wellness, and human performance in an attempt to cut through the confusion around what it actually takes to achieve a long-lasting health. Now, I’m sure that’s something that we all strive to have. I certainly do. Before we get into the show today, you might not know that we make products too. That’s right. We are into whole food nutrition and have a range of superfoods and natural supplements to help support your day. If you are curious what I find out more, just jump over to our website that is 180nutrition.com.au and take a look. Okay, back to the show.
This week, I’m excited to welcome Dr. Shivani Gupta to the podcast. Dr. Gupta is a pioneer who redefined the health and wellness industry by bridging the gap between ancient and modern medicine. In this conversation, we discuss the principles behind Ayurvedic medicine, how it relates to modern day science, and how to implement it into a framework for better health and vitality over to Dr. Gupta.
Hey guys, this is Stu from 180 Nutrition, and I am delighted to welcome Dr. Shivani Gupta to the podcast Dr. Gupta. How are you?
I’m doing great.
Thank you so much for sharing some of your time today. I know it’s coming towards the end of your day for you, and you must be getting tired and looking forward to getting home, but we’ve got lots of questions that I’m excited to ask you today. But first up, for all of our listeners that may not be familiar with you or your work, I’d love it if you could just tell us a little bit about yourself, please.
Sure. So I am from Houston, Texas, born to an Indian immigrant family, and I grew up living in two worlds because I’ve not only lived in the West and went to school in the West, but every year I go to school in India. And I just remember growing up in these two worlds where we ate a certain way the rest of the world, we used herbs and spices and teas to fix ourselves when we were in India, but when we were here in the US, we did it differently. And so that just led me on my journey. Eventually I realized I had to take control of my own health.
I always grew up thinking I had no immune system and I couldn’t understand why I was always sick and no one else was. And I finally realized it was my chronic antibiotic use in high school that culminated in not having a gut health situation that worked, just not having a gut that could support me. And that’s when I discovered Ayurveda and I realized that there’s this entire system of health and healing in medicine that can help me feel whole, but also build an immune system, build gut health, and have that energy and vitality I wanted. And once I had that, I was like, okay, now the whole world needs to know this.
Fantastic. Fantastic. Well, yeah, I’m super keen to jump into this and I remember, I mean many, many years ago I traveled through India and we spent about three months there, and I remember just the sight and the sounds and the colors and the market stalls with so many colorful herbs and spices, and it was just a completely different world to the world that I was used to in terms of food. And I realized that these herbs and spices were just ingrained in this culture from day dot. And as we’re starting to find out, there’s so much power in that. So I guess my first question then, for everybody that isn’t familiar with Ayurveda and Ayurvedic practices, tell me a little bit about the principles, please, behind this.
Sure. So Ayurveda is, like I said, an entire science of life. It’s a way of living that we can apply to ourselves that’s truly preventive and Ayurveda teaches us that our goal is to bring mind, body, and spirit into alignment because the body has its own intelligence and the body knows how to stay healthy. It’s just life, environmental factors, inputs that we use that get in the way. And so by doing an annual detox, by supporting the body, putting the body back into its healing state constantly the body can stay vibrant and healthy. Ayurveda encompasses circadian rhythm, which is living according to nature’s clock and sleeping according to nature’s clock to optimize our health. Ayurveda teaches about the digestive fire and having that fire within us, that’s our metabolism that’s there to support us and give us our brain health and everything else, that gut health is the key to all health.
Ayurveda teaches that how we eat and when we eat is almost more important than what we eat, although what we eat is super important. And then Ayurveda also teaches us that we have our own individual mind body constitution called Ardochsho. And understanding your constitution and your makeup and keeping that in balance is also a big key to having the optimal health we crave. And Ayurveda is a sister science to yoga. So when we talk about yoga, pranayama meditation, that science is literally the sister science. So these two things are recommended constantly and instead of being so hard on our bodies, Ayurveda teaches us to live a life of moderation. And that is a true key for longevity and wellbeing.
Oh, wow. Boy. Oh, boy. Radically different then to modern day western medicine. And I’m just thinking, just a thought just popped into my mind. So if I have an issue today and I go to see a doctor, I’m generally talking about the symptom of the issue that I have. How would I start the journey with Ayurveda? If I want to live the best version of myself, I want to optimize myself like bulletproof myself for the next 10, 20, 30 years, where would you start me on that journey? Because you’ve touched on circadian rhythm, you touched on gut health, you touched on sleep and energy systems and immunity. How do we get into that? What would we do?
I’m a big fan of the herbs and spices and learning to incorporate them into our lives as superfoods because they have such power in them in terms of nourishing the body, building the body back up into wholeness, into a position of strength. So I usually reach there first for turmeric and different herbs and different teas that I developed. So I’m usually reaching there first and then I’m quickly also saying there’s six pillars to vibrant health from Ayurveda. Let’s start with sleep. And most people think their sleep is fine. I think most people’s sleep is not fine. And so I ask them to track their sleep. I don’t want to wear trackers long-term in bed. I don’t think we need to have EMF affect our body constantly. But tracking sleep is a very powerful way to improve your sleep and then stay on that path.
Once we sleep well and follow our circadian rhythm, we’re going to reduce that inflammation, we’re going to allow the body to detox and rejuvenate overnight. And then a lot of the things that we’re doing that are already good for us because people say I’m pretty healthy, I cut alcohol, I cut sugar, I eat healthy, I hydrate. I meet a lot of women who are doing the work and their sleep is horrible. I’m like, that’s the problem, let’s go after that sleep with sleep ritual, sleep tea, sleep self-care, sleep optimization, sleep formula, reset your sleep cycle and then you can continue.
Brilliant, brilliant. Well look, you’ve just hit upon quite possibly my favorite topic in the whole sphere of health. So I am obsessed with sleep. I’ve got three daughters and two of them are twins. And when the twins were born, my sleep crumbled and so I just jumped down this rabbit hole of just fixing it and it took a while. And now I’ve got great sleep and I do track my sleep. I wear an aura ring and I’m fastidious about the tech.
But I don’t know a great deal about Ayurvedic principles and practices for sleep. And you’ve mentioned like teas and herbs and things like that. So please tell me more about that.
Sure. So number one is we should be sleeping 10:00 to 02:00 on the circadian clock. 10 to two is the time of day when pitta, which is one of the doshas, when it is in the sky, it’s the energy running that timeframe of 10:00 to 02:00. So if we sleep 10:00 to 02:00, that fire is there to help us detox the body, the lymphatic, the glymphatic, really clear all the stuff we collected during the day. One analogy I use is imagine that garbage trucks are coming out at night and it’s going to clear up all the junk from the day that we consumed mentally, any emotionally that no longer serves that needs to clear out. And then going into our gut, any processed foods, anything that we consume that did not suit, anything that even touched our skin, that our body’s holding those garbage trucks are going to take it out and eliminate it in the morning.
So we have to be ready for the garbage trucks to come or they just will not come. And imagine if you never gave the garbage trucks the chance to come, what would happen if your trash accumulated for a week or a month outside your home? It would be really gross. So I like to give that analogy so we can understand how important it is, how imperative it is to honor sleep. And a lot of people say, I’m a night owl. I get my best work done at night. I’m sorry, but that’s the pitta, the sun and that energy of fire that’s supporting you because if you go past or close to 12:00, you will get that second wind. You’re going to use the fire for a different purpose than supporting your health. So 10:00 to 02:00 is key. We also teach finish eating dinner by 07:00, do your different things around your home, wrapping the day up, preparing for the next day.
And then we teach that the Ayurvedic self-care rituals are a powerful way to support better detoxification and better sleep. So for example, I teach that you can put a towel down in your room and do dry brushing. Dry brushing is a way to exfoliate the skin, but it’s also going to move the lymphatic system of the body. Now imagine what’s the body’s job tended to, detox us. So what if we already moved because many of us sit at our desk all day. So I know for a fact how stagnant my lymph is and if I haven’t moved enough or walked enough, that’s a way to move our own lymph before bed.
Another great self-care practice is Abhyanga massage. Abhyanga massage is self oil massage. So you just take a food grade oil, like a high quality organic food grade oil, sesame oils, the king of herbs and oils and Ayurveda, but anyone is fine, coconut oil. And you rub that all over the body from the feet moving up to the head. And dry brushing also was moving from the feet up towards the neck and you’re going to generously give that oil to the body. You’ll be creating oilation of the joints, oilation of the skin. It’s so grounding. And one little hack from Ayurveda is if you put that oil on the tops of your feet, let’s say you had no time, just put it on the tops of your feet. That alone will improve your sleep quality. So there’s a lot there from Ayurveda where we have these self-care rituals. From there, I love to do an Epsom salt bath, further detoxing and supporting the body. If I don’t have time for the Epsom salt bath, do a hot shower, raise that body text so it’ll plummet before bed. And then I use my sleep tool.
So Deep Sleep Tea is something I developed. Any Ayurvedic tea or sleep tea that has good herbs such as Ashwagandha, osmanthus flower, cardamom, Brahmi, we love Brahmi. So any adaptogenic tea will calm the mind, calm the digestive system, calm you down to put you bed, and then you can also take a sleep formula to keep you asleep. And that’ll build that pattern of the body being trained to get excellent sleep. And we’re like, oh, I don’t want to take something to sleep. Well, we have to if we want to get on a cycle. Once you’re on a cycle, you can let go of that. But when you participate in habits like having a glass of wine or having really stressful days for a stressful time period in life even then those sleep tools are very effective for us.
Yeah. And perhaps people don’t understand the gravity of poor sleep because it really is the cornerstone of health. Without it doesn’t matter really what you eat because if you have a poor sleep, you’re going to be more sensitive to glucose, you’re not going to want to exercise you’re brain fogged 24/7 and you make poor food choices because you’re constantly craving this dopamine hit. I think from processed carbohydrates just to get that hit. You mentioned sleep formula to help you stay asleep.
And I know that we’ve spoken at length on this podcast on generally there’s two camps of people, people that struggle to get to sleep and people that struggle staying asleep. And it’s kind of 50/50 when we talk about this, but I know that a lot of executives that listen to this have problems with the monkey mind where they’re waking up at 03:00 in the morning and their mind is racing. And so I’m keen to understand your thoughts on that. You mentioned the sleep formula as well, and I know that there are so many different things that you can use, but I love the fact that this is coming from an Ayurvedic perspective, which is absolutely basking in so much tradition and culture. So tell me about the sleep formula and your thoughts on waking up mid in the middle of the night.
So the deep sleep tea I design puts you to bed. It’s not going to hold you asleep. The holding asleep deep sleep formula that I designed is a sublingual dropper. And what it does is you take only as much as you need for that night of sleep. So two drops per hour of sleep desired or at work back to three drops. And what happens is it holds you asleep. And so there’s a lot of times where I as an entrepreneur wake up at two or three in the morning and I’m like, oh my God, I forgot to deposit the checks. And I’m like, I don’t even know what the checks are. Then I’m like, stop thinking. You can’t think in the middle of the night what doing.
Yeah, I know.
And if I get angry, if I have a thought that makes me angry, done, the sleep is done and that’s when I’m more angry because I’m going to lose the sleep. So I love that I have a sublingual solution. You can take only as much as you need to get the rest of your sleep. So I have taken it at two, three or four in the morning and said, okay, I need two hours more of great sleep and it’ll give me just those sleep cycles and I’ll still wake up refreshed in the morning. Now if people are in Australia and you cannot order my product because I don’t ship abroad yet, there are other great medical grade companies. I have seen Pure Encapsulations makes a product, I think it’s called Best Sleep Ever or Best Sleep. I’ve taken that before when I was post-op and I needed something very strong. It worked wonders. I have a sleep cream I just tested and fell in love with and I’m like, can I private label this cream? It’s so phenomenal. But it’s a GABA cream that you just put on the temples behind your eyes.
Oh, right. Transdermal.
It’s called Somnium by this company called Ipothecary. So I’m so obsessed with sleep. I’m constantly testing product because I’m like, you better than or not better than me. Oh, you’re affected? Okay, great. Because my own toolkit as a practitioner can’t just be what I made. Everybody is so different. So I’m constantly picking up those tools and testing them.
Yeah, fantastic. Well, I know what it feels like when you have a great night’s sleep and oftentimes I work very hard for my sleep and I’ve got routines and rituals and I do a lot of the things that you’ve spoken about. But every now and again, I’ll wake up at maybe 04:30 in the morning and I know that I’ve done the hard slog and I’ve got lots of deep sleep, but I know I’m not going to get back to sleep at that time too close to wake up time. But if I had that extra hour, I would wake up feeling like a superstar.
Yeah. Interesting. Oh look, fascinating. I’m going to dive into the products after our conversation, but no, that’s really… I mean it’s such a cornerstone of our health. So then tell me about your thoughts then on modern day Western medicine. Because even on things like sleep, they’d say, well that’s fine. Take a sleeping pill, whether it be a Valium or an Ambien or whatever that may be. And I know that these things they could be highly addictive and they come with their own traits as well. And many of them stop you getting into that deep wave sleep that is so vital, especially you spoke about glymphatic drainage and with all the cognitive issues these days that we’re seeing earlier and earlier and earlier in people, I wonder whether we’re just not clearing out all of the detritus in our minds by accessing this deep wave sleep because we’re taking pills and things like that. So tell me about modern day medicine in comparison to Ayurvedic practices.
It’s interesting that the supplement company I built is sold by doctors. And so I call on doctors all day, orthopedic, geomedicine, primary care, GI, and as an Ayurvedic practitioner, who do I go to for my health? I go to functional medicine, acupuncture, chiropractic, energy medicine, medical massage. So I run to a lot for what I do to myself at the gym and that’s my dream team. So to me, I think western medicine has its place and time. I think it’s wonderful when we have an acute health issue, we need some understanding, maybe some testing. I think they’re very good for surgery when we need surgeries of different kinds. But I think where they miss the mark is 80 or 90% of what we’re looking at nowadays is symptomology related to inflammation or chronic disease.
And I don’t think that they have all the tools in the toolkit yet to handle us for that because their system is not built to have the time. Their system isn’t built for them to be reimbursed for spending that time on us. Also, they get a little jaded dealing with high volumes of people. So when they say, Hey, just eat healthier and hydrate people here that might or might not take any advice. So it’s interesting to me, Western medicine is using the toolkit they have, giving us the pills and the pharma solutions, but many of us don’t tolerate them. I don’t tolerate pharma solutions. My body’s like, “What foreign thing did you drop in here? I don’t accept.” And I need much deeper solutions than a pill. I don’t think sleep can always be fixed with a drug. Is it trauma? Is it high stress situations where you need to make an adjustment? I’ve had people where they’re grieving their spouses, dad, I don’t think your pill’s going to fix that.
How about I recommend, okay, this is to get you to sleep so you don’t go nuts? Fine. Temporary solution. Also, I’m prescribing that you please go see a therapist who’s wonderful. Here’s a book of business of practitioners. I know also healing trauma can be somatic. Let’s dive deeper there. So I wish that they had the time and the toolkit to give us the support we really need. And that’s where I find Ayurveda comes in is like, Hey, it’s actually you are the whole circle and there’s no one hit wonder pill that solves problems. And a lot of times I do a session and it’s much more therapy than I ever imagined I would be doing. I’m literally like, that’s your problem. Go see therapy. That’s the issue. Don’t tell me it’s perimenopause. It’s your marriage. You can become very medically intuitive once you’ve done this for long enough. And I have this wisdom in the back of my mind. I can usually look through my computer files of data and I’m like, actually, Ayurveda would tell you this. So it’s interesting.
It is, yeah. It lends itself to the question of… People are so time poor and looking after yourself takes time, but you have to allocate that time to look after yourself because it’s way more important than just ensuring that you get in the car and do the 09:00 to 05:00 grind and then retire and hope that you’re going to have enough life left in you to enjoy your fruits of your former life in terms of work, work. But yet you have to put in the time, time exercising, time sleeping, time working on the sleep routine, time preparing food so you can eat good nutrition rather than just picking up some convenient meal on the fly when you’re out there. And then yeah, time to understand that these quick fixes aren’t always going to be the best for you long term. That glass of wine before you go to bed to try and calm down, probably going to rob you of deep sleep.
Yeah. It’s very, very interesting. You touched on inflammation, which again seems to be right at the epicenter of most modern day issues today. And I know that gut health is very, very central to managing and inflammation and many people’s inflammation starts in the gut. Now, I mentioned before we started recording that back in the day 15 years ago, we were really, really interested in gut health because it was an up and coming phrase that was used but was deemed as quackery by lots and lots of people in the medical fraternity. Now, fast-forward 15 years and it’s like gut health is everything, but again, addressing a healthy gut takes a lot of time. It’s not a quick fix, there’s not a pill for it. And I know that unfortunately people still don’t know where it’s-
True. I wish it was. I wish it was that easy. It would have made my life so much better.
That’s right. I mean, crikey. Yeah, years perhaps if you’ve done the wrong thing.
And you still are able to destroy what you created and have to do it again.
That’s right. Absolutely right. So how does Ayurvedic practices, what’s the protocol there to start to address gut health? Because I know that even functional stuff now we start to look at, well, removing a lot of the issues start perhaps even pulling stress forward situations like exercise, stressful exercise out of your day and stop it with things like yoga and breathing and then working with different supplements like broths and whatever it may be. But I know that Ayurveda is so different. So where would we go if we were looking to address that from your perspective?
Sure. So inflammation is that root cause of so many metabolic diseases and we know that and most people who go to a specialist are told you have something, you have arthritis, you have gastritis, you have, I can’t even name them all. Colitis, diverticulitis, name it. So there’s so many itis. We’re all running to the specialist. They’re all telling us we have something itis, that is inflammation and chronic low-grade persistent inflammation can start as early as our 20s and then just be there as this slow burning fire. And fire sounds serious, but it literally is a fire in the system and we just are not seeing it. We get symptoms as we age. So a lot of times in the 30s people are like, oh, I’m just slowing down a bit. 40s, they’re like, I feel aches and pains.
I’m in my 40s. All my friends are like, “I wake up stiffer. I can’t [inaudible 00:23:50] the same. My skin is not the same, my hair’s not the same. I don’t understand why this is all harder.” 50, 60, 70s, all the complaints get louder. And until we go to the doctor and here you have something itis, here’s a pill, we’re not willing to make a change. And I think that’s nuts. Why do we have to wait that long? The minute I get aside, I stop, I check in, I’m like, what’s wrong? The other day I had plantar fasciitis. I was like, you have an itis, really? What are you doing? Obviously you’re not taking your turmeric. Secondarily, you’re obviously not taking care of your feet. Have you gained a few pounds? That’s excess weight on your joints and systems. Is that the problem? So really just stopping and asking relevant questions of yourself, of how am I causing this? What am I doing to participate?
So what I love about Ayurveda is we for 5,000 years have been obsessed with our gut health. And I love that modern day science has jumped into this conversation of we have a gut microbiome. It’s the most important thing ever. There’s something called gut brain axis. All of this is connected. It’s great that we finally have science to prove what we knew was true. And in Ayurveda we teach this concept of a digestive fire. It’s called agni. Agni means fire. And so we imagine, I’d like you to imagine you have a fire in your gut and your job is to manage this campfire with absolute reverence. So let’s say you were in the middle of nowhere and you were able to build a fire. Do you think you would take real good care of that fire, so you get to have warm food, sustenance, protection, whatever else you get from a fire you would?
In the same way we’ve been gifted this fire and our job is to maintain it so we have a great metabolism. So when we eat something, all the good from it can be processed, assimilated, absorbed into the system to support us. And then also that it’s strong enough to kick out the bad things because inevitably nowadays we eat processed foods and ingredients that have foreign chemicals and foreign substances that are not good for us. So honoring the fire means igniting it in the morning. So I teach everyone to have either a shot of aloe vera juice or have a cup of ginger lemon tea to start their day. I teach everyone from Ayurveda to use a copper tongue scraper, scrape your tongue 7 to 14 times gently so that you can massage all the organs of the body, start detoxification and ignite that fire. So those are the morning practices. Oh, then start your day with hydration or an herbal teeth to inspire peristalsis in that first bowel movement.
Also, we know now it protects the adrenals. In Ayurveda, we always said, have a copper lined cup by your bedside and start your day with that water. That’s the most important way to remineralize the system and rehydrate the system. Imagine 5,000 years ago they said copper cup, copper tongue scraper. Why? Because it’s an antibacterial metal. You can keep consuming it without worrying about germs and bacteria, and different things. So you do that. Then Ayurveda says, eat three times a day. No snacking. Practice intermittent fasting. Don’t eat from 7:00 PM till 7:00 AM the next day. If that’s pushed a little farther, fine because you’re doing herbal teas and yoga and all your self-care, your movement for the day, three meals a day, no snacking. That allows the fire to open, do its job, close rest before it’s opened again. And also we teach don’t hydrate and drink your water 30 minutes before or 30 minutes after your meal because you’re going to shut down the fire.
Here in modern day times we say, oh, you have digestive acids, you have enzymes, digestive enzymes. Don’t flood them with water. So that’s the modern day understanding. We always said there’s a fire. Don’t touch that ice water in that restaurant. Don’t drink ice water. Make better choices. Hydrate outside your meals. If you’re going to have a sip of something in a restaurant, order a hot water and put lemon in there or put ginger in there. Ignite your fire before you eat, but don’t put out the fire. And so these are some of the how to eat practices from Ayurveda that when people think of taking care of their health, they’re like, oh gosh, it’s too much work. I don’t have time. And the thing is, like you said, if we’re not willing to take care of this body-
… that we’ve gifted, what’s the point? And how I eat is just how I eat now. It’s not hard to me because that’s part of my lifestyle. So I like to show people how to just build it in. And a lot of people say to me, you know Shivani, I feel like I have a little Shivani on my shoulder because every time I’m stressed and anxious, I just make a cup of tea and I tune in with myself. They’re like, you’re there to remind me that our life is meant to be at the pace we decide. And all these things impact our gut health. If we’re going to go through crazy stresses that will completely obliterate the gut and then you have to rebuild again. And I truly believe that at least half the population suffers from leaky gut. So it is all that much more important that we are building our gut health, otherwise that inflammation, that lymphatic system are going to be constantly at battle, which is why we have so much autoimmune going on.
Wow. Lots and lots and lots of fantastic advice there. Absolutely. And you mentioned about the rest periods and three meals a day and no snacking. And I wanted just to dive into that a little bit more because I’m 50 now and I’ve been through trialing lots of different ways of eating and I’m very lean and I like to be very active. And back in the day, 10, 20 years ago, I used to snack all day long and I was always hungry, but now I have three meals a day, I don’t need to snack because I’m not hungry. So it lends the question, well what are you eating for those three meals a day? Are they sufficient? Are they nourishing? Are they providing the body with everything that it actually needs to then digest, absorb, assimilate, and then just shut down for that period of time? So do you guide your clients into a particular way of eating that allows this nourishment to happen without the need to snack?
Sure. It’s interesting. Back in the day, like 20 years ago, I was working with a personal trainer when I lived in Jacksonville, Florida, and he said, treat your body like a Maserati. If you want to get that metabolism going, you have to eat every two hours. And so it’s just funny, the philosophy changed so, so much. We swing in many directions in terms of nutrition. I always laugh, lately I’ve seen so many new diets. I saw the lion diet, the carnivore diet, the this. I see so much happening in social media and I’m like, yes and, we can all have a diet that works for us. It’s our job to really monitor our blood work, our signals from our body, do a stool test on yourself. If you’re going to do, go to a functional medicine doctor and order a stool testing. I used to order all my tests on myself, but really understand what is the price of what you’re choosing to do? Is it all good or are there markers that are shifting?
And so I do guide on nutrition. The way I guide is first of all, remove the inflammatory foods from your life because I’m so about inflammation and joint pain. So I teach people, look, the top five inflammatory foods are gluten, dairy, sugar, red meat and alcohol. And I say red meat is with a caveat. It’s for those people for whom it’s hard to digest. So it’s just like I’m Indian and I can eat every bean and lentil on earth with ease that doesn’t mean that everyone else’s system based on their ethnic backgrounds and where their family’s from on earth can eat the way I eat. If I was born in Ireland, I could probably tolerate red meat beautifully, but that’s not my heritage. So I don’t like to tell people how they must eat, but people ask the question all the time.
Usually they want a quick fix. And I say, look, the Mediterranean diet is trusted and be used in the blue zones and used as a example of a great diet that’s well-balanced, looking at that understanding, that it’s about fresh, healthy, they eat from the sea, they eat foods that are less processed. I think that’s a great approach. And then looking at that now, customized for yourself. I personally am a gluten-free vegetarian. And it’s been interesting because lately I’ve had a big talking to with myself about giving up the vegetarianism. And that’s a big deal because 42, so to change from a vegetarian to non-veg is a huge internal conversation. But I’m a practitioner and I look at my blood work and my blood work says, you are Omega-3 deficient big time and I’m willing to eat the fish oil capsule. So I was like, well then maybe you have to eat the fish, but pick a road.
You can’t be about reducing inflammation, but then not do the homework required to get the nutrition your body needs. This is the problem. And so even as a practitioner, I’m like, okay, the body, it might have a different need and I might need to honor that.
So I really like to look at what the person needs. I think we can all agree sugar is pretty poisonous. I think we can all agree, alcohol’s pretty poisonous. Conventional dairy, most people don’t have what they need to consume it. But I do love conventional dairy. So really that’s system dependent. Gluten, that again is system dependent. I think if most of us could fix our gut health, we wouldn’t be as gluten intolerant, which would be great. Also, they shouldn’t put what they put in our gluten so we could eat it better, don’t drown us in poison. And then meat of course, is so person dependent. So a lot of times I’ll take red meat off the table, people will stay pescatarian, eat their white meat, all of a sudden the inflammation goes down. Okay, let’s heal the body and then go back to what you were doing.
Interesting. Yeah. You’ve raised so much there. Genetic heritage for one. Sure. So I’m European and meat and potatoes, we’ve always eaten that. So we are good with that. And I’ve had DNA testing and it said, you know what? You are fine with saturated fat. So I’m not sensitive to saturated fat. And also carbohydrates, I’m fine with that as well because I guess I’ve got generations of consuming those types of foods behind me. So yeah, totally agree. But for you, different with Indian heritage, less meat, more legumes. Makes sense. More spices, things like that. And also you touched on these new trending diets. I mean, veganism isn’t that new, but carnivore is.
Carnivore for me is almost like it’s the ultimate elimination diet because perhaps you’re so ravaged inside, the only thing that you don’t react to is going to be just this form of protein. So I think adopting a diet like that whilst could be seen as well, this is… Like I’ve never felt so good. I think that’s probably more grounded in, well, I’m at a point now where I react to everything because my gut is so ravaged. This is the only thing that allows me to at least get through the day. So I think if you’re that perspective, that type of diet probably does require a lot more intel into, well, what’s actually going on? Why can’t I tolerate most of the foods today? Because that you mentioned ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s and all the other gluten intolerances under the sun as a consequence, I think of just this autoimmunity that gets pushed through the roof with escalating inflammation.
Yeah, I love the fact that let’s figure out what’s going on first and then try to come to a solution or a framework to address that. Which then lends me into my next question, technology. So we’ve got some great tech now in terms of DNA microbiome testing, lots of bloods, functional bloods, all that kind of stuff. How do you fuse that technology then with the ancient knowledge? Are there tests and practices that you might adhere to from an ancient perspective all the way through, I guess to the latest sequencing of whatever it may be that you’re trying to understand?
Such a great question. I love a lot of your questions. No one’s asked them of me. So when I built my supplement company, my goal was fusing East and West because the East has so much and the West has so much, and when you fuse them, you hit this perfect point of, okay, ancient wisdom meets modern science. And so I see that in testing and health as well. I love functional medicine. They have all these cool tests coming out. I just went to A4M, I’m going to go to the IFM conference. There’s so many lab testing companies out there right now. It’s kind of daunting. But they’re coming out with options. There’s multiple types of stool tests. There’s a lot of deep blood work we can do on ourselves. There is genetic testing now that we can get read. And I know a girl who founded a genetic testing company.
So it is a journey now to self-awareness. And once you have that data, I think we have to be a little careful not to get obsessive. I can know way too much about my body at times, and then that’s kind of problematic. I’m like, oh, I can’t touch this. I can’t touch that. I can’t do this. I’ve done food intolerance tests. So sometimes we have to be careful with how we behave with that knowledge. But what I find fascinating is in Ayurveda I would’ve approached it without those tools in a different way. We have the dosha quiz. We want to understand family history. We want to food journal log, like a real honest one. I would love sleep tech in Ayurveda. If I didn’t have it I have to go based on what the person says. But where they’re beautiful together, my dream is to one day fuse functional medicine with Ayurveda.
Because what I find is they’re assessing you. They’re bringing their western mind lens onto the problem, but they have this openness to the depth by which the body has an issue and they have the time. They make the time to hear us out. They do all this testing and gather all this data. What’s interesting to me is even in functional medicine, each practitioner is so different, what they specialize in. So I really direct people to the right functional medicine practitioner for them, get the data. Okay, great. No matter what’s wrong with you, you still have to optimize sleep, have a farmacy, FARM, a mindful medicine chest as I call it, of teas and herbs and supplements and superfoods to keep you healthy. You still have to know how to eat and when to eat and what to eat for your body. Ayurveda’s going to show you. You still have to do Ayurvedic self-care because they’re going to ask you to de-stress and stress less.
You’re still going to have to exercise and move in a way that works for you. Yes, if you have adrenal fatigue, let’s give up the HIIT workouts and move more into strength training, yoga and walking. And so there’s so much that Ayurveda can teach us and treat in a sense. Even without that testing, if you fix these things, your hormones will be better balanced, your gut will be better, your inflammation will reduce and thus a lot of those issues will get resolved. So that’s how I look at it is, okay, great., Even without that test, I would still tell you to do this. If you go the test, even better know the data, but let’s say you can’t afford it. A lot of people can’t afford a functional medicine, then, okay, this is going to help with any thyroid condition because it is the foundation of the self-care aspect we had to put in place. It’s the lifestyle we had to put in place.
Absolutely. Absolutely. And if you’re in the fortunate position to be able to afford a lot of this testing, then it’s great because it gives you that benchmark. If you want to lose weight, well, you need to know how much you weigh now, and you need to know what’s your goal weight. And oftentimes, are we deficient in any given nutrient? Are we accumulating heavy metals somewhere in the body? Well, if you don’t know, you can’t address it. So yeah, it’s good to know. Wow, there’s lots of… People are going to get so much information out of this. And so many light bulbs are going to go off, I think, in the back of people’s minds because yes, just address the basics first. Make sure that you’re sleeping, make sure that you’re eating properly. Make sure that you’re not addicted to sugar or alcohol or whatever it might be, or social media, all of these things that will disrupt our optimum lifestyle.
Now, you mentioned that you love the fact that there was a fusion between the old and the new. And I know that you have a company called Fusionary Formulas. So I’m keen for you to tell us about that as well, because a lot of the Ayurvedic practices have been put to, I guess, practice from a supplement perspective. So I’d love to know a little bit more about that, please.
Sure. So when I finish my PhD on turmeric, I was such a crazy evangelist about it. My husband looked at me and he said, if you’re going to keep telling the whole world to take turmeric for everything, you should just make your own. And I had young children at the time, and I thought that was kind of a flabbergasting idea who creates a whole supplement company? But I thought, let me try. And so I went about it and I met with a factory who I had known for a long time. They were friends of ours, and they create medical grade supplements. And I told them my idea and I said, let’s go source the most potent curcumin we can find out of India. And he’s like, okay, we found one. And he goes, but you can’t use that one. And I was like, why? He’s like, that’s so expensive.
Pharma could afford that ingredient. You cannot afford it. And I was like, well, how about we just test a theory because if I fail, at least I’ll fail in a big spectacular way. Or if I win, I’ll win so big and I’ll have proven my point. My point is, we should not have to take NSAIDs and opioids for pain. We should be able to get off those things way sooner or not take them and take turmeric instead.
And so I built this formula about seven years ago and it was so good, and the doctors did start using it as a tool in their toolkit, and now tens of thousands of people have taken it. So I created a Turmeric Gold as a daily preventive, Inflammation Relief as all the herbs from Ayurveda that help reduce inflammation. And that’s called our pain solution bundle. So it’s what we’re most known for. Then I realized people aren’t sleeping well, let me fix their sleep. So I made sleep tea, Sleep Formula, and then I tinker after that. So I made a menopause tea called Hormone Rebalance Tea. When people come to me with a problem, it really hurts me until I can create a solution. So I try to mix my herbs and things and prove that even with tea, we can create a supplement level solution. And then with supplements, we can create a medical grade solution.
Brilliant. Yeah, it’s so fantastic to come from food, come from a perspective of food because of, I mean, I’m sure many people understand that a lot of the Pharma solutions come from the rainforest from a particular compound, from a tree or a plant somewhere along the line at some stage. No, that is fantastic. So Fusionary Formula. So if people wanted to access this and have a dive into the range and understand a little bit more, where would they go for that?
The website is fusionaryformulas.com. It’s F-U-S-I-O-N-A-R-Y Formulas. And then my website for all the Ayurvedic wisdom is shivanigupta.com.
Wonderful. Wonderful. Well, look, we’re just about coming up on time. I’ve got one more question that I’d love to ask you, it’s based around your personal non-negotiables, so the things that you do each and every day. So the healthy habits that you have to do to crush your day. Now, it doesn’t even have to be food related. It might be, I like to get sunshine in my eyes when I wake up and I like to ground myself. It’s things like that. What might that be?
I have many, and it’s funny because now I travel more for my business and it’s always this struggle of I, it’s funny how many things I pack for self-care before I think about clothes as to pack. Number one is I take my turmeric, I need to know my immune system has a defense system. So I pack my supplements first when I’m going to travel. Then I pack my teas because I am so addicted to tea time is me time. I have green tea a few times a day. I have sleep tea at night, so I pack tea and I always have tea every day. No matter where I am in the world, I will be having tea. I carry my tongue scraper. So to use a tongue scraper every day as a detox tool keeps me detoxed year round, keeps my gut health on point.
So that’s another non-negotiable, honoring sleep. I am a fanatic about like, okay, even I’ll go to conferences now, and I’m like, okay, it’s 09:00. I got to get back. Because I got to wind down, take that shower, release the day and get read for bed and honor sleep as the thing that matters. And then movement since 2020, I was in 2020 confused. So I’m like, how am I going to keep us healthy and alive? And I really tuned in and the answer I got was Moving nature mother Nature feels all. And so the practice of moving in nature, grounding in nature, releasing anything that’s bothering me and just soaking up nature’s energy, I do that every day. It doesn’t matter where I am. If I’m at a conference, I’ll still get outside and do it here in South Florida where I am, we go outside every night. We walk for 45 minutes at the park in nature.
And that alone has been one of the most powerful practices. I don’t think we have to pound on the body all the time. I do love really hard workouts and strength training, but I balance that with the walking and with the yoga to keep me centered and to keep me grounded and to keep me on my path because I find sometimes the world is pushing so much at us and when I walk, I can push it all away and say, I know my path, I know my truth, and I only live by that.
That’s excellent. Fantastic. Yeah, lots and lots and lots of little nuggets there, especially the walking. So beneficial, so easy. We can all do it. Even if we’re not in nature, we can pound the streets and just take in the world, people watch, do whatever you need to do, but just get out there and move. No, that’s fantastic. Well, we are we coming to the end of the conversation. Thank you so much. What’s next for Dr. Shivani Gupta?
What’s next is more books. I’ve written some books over the last few years, but I never thought they were good enough to publish, which is kind of sad. So my next goal is to write a book on turmeric, write a book on circadian rhythm, just because I want people to see the science and understand how powerfully Ayurveda’s tools can support them. And I want to get more into public speaking. I’ve done about a hundred talks, but I enjoy doing talks on bigger stages to get this message out there. So that’s one of my focuses going into the next year. And then this year I launched my new podcast, Fusionary Health. And so I’m interviewing all sorts of doctors just so people get all the different types of medicine that exist for us and the perspectives on those approaches that we can use to our health. So those are kind of my new next things.
Oh, boy. Oh, boy. Well, just as well, you are all over your Ayurvedic practices and sleep practices because I wouldn’t sleep if I was doing all of those things at once. But no, it’s wonderful. I really enjoyed the conversation lots and lots and lots to share with our audience. So thank you so much and we’ll put all of the links that we’ve spoken about in the show notes and look forward to sharing this with our audience.
Awesome. Thank you so much.
Okay, thank you. Bye-Bye.