Healthy Living

Health Secrets I Learned From an Ayurvedic Practitioner That We’re Not Talking About Enough

Source: Pexels | Nadin Sh
Source: Pexels | Nadin Sh

When it comes to my health, I’ll try anything—from the latest technology and medications to natural, holistic remedies that have been around for hundreds of years. I take my health seriously and always look for ways to improve it. So when I got the chance to work with Ayurvedic practitioner Bridge Ochoa, I jumped at it. As the CEO of Bridge Ayurveda, Ochoa has over a 90 percent success rate, helping clients overcome digestive and hormonal issues and symptoms like fatigue and hair loss. Working with her not only improved my health, but I learned so much from her, too. The wellness secrets I learned have been major game-changers—and we’re not talking about these things enough. Today, I’m sharing the four biggest wellness secrets I learned from working with Ayurvedic practitioner Ochoa. Keep scrolling to learn more.

Ayurveda Practitioner, Bridge Ochoa

Bridge Ochoa founded Bridge Ayurveda in 2021, and has helped countless patients holistically recover symptoms such as hormonal imbalance, digestive issues, fatigue, and hair loss. With over a 90% success rate, Bridge Ayurveda uses Ayurvedic courses, workshops, retreats, and 1:1 programs to help clients whose busy lifestyles have played a significant role in their physical and emotional health.

1.  Eat what makes you feel best 

Years ago, I tried the keto diet when everyone was raving about it, only to find that my body responds better to a high-carb diet. Skipping the pasta and bread made me feel sluggish, and I had serious water retention as a result. Turns out, Ayurveda knows there’s a reason for this. “One person’s medicine is another person’s poison, which means all salads and vegetables are not healthy for everyone,” Ochoa said. Foods that work for one person won’t necessarily work for another because everyone has their own Ayurvedic constitution. This is a unique blueprint of your body that contains a ratio of the vata, pitta, and kapha doshas that control different elements in the body. It’s also the reason why eating styles and food modifications work differently for everyone. Although you can take a free quiz to determine your constitution, Ochoa recommends working one-on-one with a certified Ayurvedic practitioner who will be able to guide you on your wellness journey.

Since working with Ochoa, I’ve learned that I have a predominant pitta dosha, which correlates to a lot of fire in my digestive tract. Predominant pitta doshas benefit from a diet rich in grains and lower in fat, hence my body’s positive response to a high-carb diet. Now, I structure my meals around these basic principles (rather than whatever diet is trending), opting for a small bowl of granola for breakfast, sandwiches or wraps for lunch, and basmati rice or pasta with a protein for dinner. The best part is I feel all the better for it. Giving my body the food it needs has naturally increased my energy levels and improved my mood; I can get through the day without feeling the need to take a nap and am less irritable.

2. Focus on the digestibility of your meals

In Ayurveda, the digestive system is the master of the body. According to Ochoa, this is why Ayurveda doesn’t pay too much attention to the macronutrients and micronutrients of a meal. Instead, it focuses on the digestibility of each meal. No two people are the same, and everyone’s body digests food differently. Ayurveda encourages everyone to eat what’s best for them and their digestion. “Generally speaking, if you are experiencing digestive issues after eating your ‘healthy’ gluten-free, dairy-free, and low-FODMAP food, it’s not healthy,” Ochoa said.

I now pay attention to how certain foods sit with me for hours after eating them based on how well they help settle the acid in my stomach. Although this isn’t foolproof because I have chronic inflammation, the way your body digests the food tells you a lot about whether or not that food serves you and it has been extremely helpful in guiding me toward the right foods for my body. For example, many doctors, friends and family members used to tell me to eat more fiber to regulate my bowel movements, but I’ve come to the conclusion that minimal fiber is key to keeping my digestive tract in check. Not only did eating more fiber make me bloated and feel sluggish, but it also worsened my constipation. 

No one knows your body better than you, but if you’re unsure of how well you’re digesting certain foods and meals, try keeping a food journal or taking mental notes to keep track. This will help you get more acquainted with your body and keep it balanced.

3. Incorporate fresh herbs and spices into your diet

According to Ochoa, Ayurveda emphasizes regularly incorporating fresh, high-quality herbs and spices into your diet for optimal health and digestion. In addition to their ability to improve digestion, they also add tons of flavor to any meal. Plus, they can help you get more creative in the kitchen, regardless of your cooking skills.

While people respond differently to certain herbs and spices like diets and foods, Ochoa said the classic Ayurvedic digestive tea of cumin, coriander, and fennel seeds is usually good for all metabolic types. In my case, incorporating fresh parsley into all my meals has been a major game-changer. I love adding it into pasta sauce or sprinkling some onto the final product along with fresh black pepper. Since doing this, I’ve noticed a massive improvement in my digestion, heartburn, and bloating. Test out different herbs and spices to see what your body responds to, or, if possible, chat with an Ayurvedic practitioner about what would be best for your body and goals.

4. Keep your mind and body in harmony

Stress can wreak havoc on your health, but I have a lot on my plate—working full-time, finishing my degree, and planning my wedding—and de-stressing is often easier said than done. Ayurveda recognizes that life happens. It goes beyond picking the right foods for your constitution and fosters a strong and healthy mind-body connection. “More of us are coming to find out that good nutrition is more than just the food you put on your plate—it’s about the whole person, the mind, behaviors, and lifestyle,” Ochoa explained. “We need to balance these factors to foster mind, body, and spirit balance. Ayurveda has had this figured out for thousands of years.”

Now, I prioritize unwinding periodically throughout the day. I exercise and meditate in the morning and take five minutes to do deep breathing between work tasks to reset my brain and body. I also do breathwork after work, which helps signal my brain and body that it’s time to unwind. While my stress isn’t completely gone, I’ve noticed a major difference in how I handle it. I’m able to ground myself better and feel less overwhelmed. Case in point: I used to get anxious whenever I had a jam-packed schedule (think: multiple appointments, studying, wedding planning, and work). Down time is vital for my mental health, and I worried I wouldn’t be able to get everything done and fit in time for myself. But I now know I can handle it, and I no longer get anxious about what’s on my calendar. If there are weeks I have less time for myself, I know they won’t last forever.

So many of us are caught up in the constant hustle. While being ambitious certainly isn’t a bad thing, it’s important to take the time to nourish your mind, body, and spirit. This may look like going on a walk in nature, catching up with a friend, or reading a good book. Whatever it is, balancing your life as best you can is key to optimal health and happiness and a pillar of Ayurveda.