MATERIAL GIRL, MYSTICAL WORLD: JASMINE HEMSLEY

Jasmine Hemsley is the British former model turned foodie, who found fame as half of healthy eating sister act Hemsley Hemsley. But her new book, East By West, is a solo venture—a modern take on the ancient practice of Ayurveda … PLUS she shares what makes her a Material Girl in a Mystical World.

THE NUMINOUS: So Ayurveda. Why is it having such a moment? Is it a backlash to the “clean” eating movement?
JASMINE HEMSLEY: I think it’s because when we talk about “wellbeing,” is not just about the physical anymore—what we look like. We want to FEEL great too, so it’s also become about mental and spiritual health. For example, yoga is so mainstream now, and Ayurveda is the framework for this practice. It also isn’t a fad diet. It’s a philosophy that’s been tried and tested over 5000 years. It’s a way of eating that’s comforting, and that can also feed a whole family.

TN: Having been exposed to lots of different diets as a model, what’s the one thing you’d like to teach the world about food + healthy eating?
JH: That it’s time to take a beat to really enjoy our food. So often we talk passionately about food, but do we really savor it? How about treating each meal with respect, like a ritual, and taking the time to ask: do I actually like this? Does it make me satisfied? Do I really need more? These kinds of observations can help us begin to figure out what we need in life, let alone on our plates.

TN: For a newbie, Ayurveda can look so complex—how would you sum up the philosophy in a sentence or two?
JH: Ayurveda is about finding your balance, and going with the ebb and flow of life. It’s as simple as, if you’re feeling hot eat something cooling, and when you’re feeling cold eat something warming. But what’s really magic about Ayurveda is the herbs, which are nature’s medicine cabinet. For example fennel and ginger are great for indigestion, turmeric is anti-flammatory. By sprinkling your food with these herbs and spices you’re fortifying yourself against whatever the day will bring.

Jasmine also creates pop-up sound baths as Sound Sebastian

TN: So many popular food philosophies have a kind of “one-size-fits-all” approach. Which is not our experience of life! What is the best thing about embracing our inconsistencies and ever changing physical and emotional states?
JH: I see mind-body awareness as a framework for understanding our whole selves—for example, coffee makes me go a bit erratic and crazy, so I know it doesn’t suit me. I can drink it on holiday when I’m a bit more chilled, but when I’m in London, buzzing already, it sends me into overdrive. What you’d say in Ayurveda is having too much “vata.” It was this awareness that coffee was making me anxious that helped me find ways to bring more calm into my life. It’s about feeling empowered to make choices that are right for us as unique individuals—with hot beverages, and with life!

TN: You’ve already got a name as being part of Hemsley Hemsley with your sister, Mel. Why did you want to do a solo project?
JH: It’s been seven years with Mel, and we’re still a team and we’ve still got lots of projects going on—but this is my passion project and an expression of all the things that excite and inspire me individually. I have a Filipino mum and a British Dad, so I’m East by West by upbringing. And my travels through India and the influence of the natural wisdom in the way of eating there has always completely fascinated me.

TN: What’s your fave recipe in the book and why?
JH: That’s a hard one! I love tasty, easy comfort food that makes you feel all cozy inside—and there’s something so warming about the Rasta Dal. The recipe was taught to my meditation teacher by a Rastafarian, and also shows that Ayurveda isn’t just curry, or “Indian food,” it’s part a bigger philosophy. It’s got coconut milk, it’s got French mustard … I don’t know anyone who hasn’t tried this and begged for the recipe! But I have to get a sweet in here too, as I have a sweet tooth—and my buckwheat banana bread is my ultimate crowd pleaser, toasted with butter. It hits all the spots.

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:: MATERIAL GIRL ::

My label
Mother of Pearl dresses and anything vintage!

Wanda dress, $925, Mother of Pearl

My shoes
Barefoot where possible … otherwise I’m loving Veja sneakers, anything with a block heel for going out, and in this weather some snug Sorel walking boots.

Organic cotton Veja sneakers, 120 Euro

My fragrance
At the moment I can’t live without Sequoia Ayurveda Vata Perfrume—it just makes me feel calm and grounded, and everyone comments on it.

Sequoia Ayurveda Vata Perfume, $30

My jewels
My engagement ring from my long term partner Nick—a chrysoberyl (lime green crystal) in a gold setting. And my vintage turquoise eternity ring which he actually gave to me first!

Engagement ring + lentil dahl. Photo: Nick Hopper.

My pampering
Massage all the way! Particularly with oils, deep tissue, and any Ayurvedic massage.

My home
All I need is a comfy (and big!) bed and my three dogs and I’m home.

My food
…is everything! Tasty comfort food, loads of flavour, global inspiration—with a touch of Ayurvedic magic.

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:: MYSTICAL WORLD ::

My awakening
I try to beat the sun and rise at sunrise for maximum energy. I begin with a morning meditation and sun salutations for at least five minutes (which activates 95% of the body!), some tongue scraping, oil pulling and a hot herbal tea, followed by a nourishing hot porridge or stewed apples. Then I wrap up and get walked by my dogs!

My sign
Aquarius

Aquarius and Air ring, $325, Lulu Frost

My mantra
Slow down and breathe! I’m very Vata—airy and ungrounded.

My healer
The philosophy of Ayurveda, which includes food, meditation, mindfulness—it’s all about balance.

My reading
At the moment I’m reading Real Love by Sharon Salzberg. I love a feel-good read that reminds me what life is about.

My transformation
Discovering Ayurveda over 10 years ago.

My mission
To bring the wonderful world of Ayurveda to the mainstream so everyone can discover it.

East By West: Simple Recipes for Ultimate Mind-Body Balace by Jasmine Hemsley is out now.

WHY AYURVEDA IS HAVING A MOMENT: AN INTERVIEW WITH DIVYA ALTER

Ruby Warrington sits down with Divya Alter, chef and author of the brand new What To Eat For How You Feelto discuss why the timeless science behind Ayurveda is the perfect food philosophy for the Now Age…

William & Susan Brinson for Divya’s What to Eat for How You Feel from Rizzoli.

“Eating the right foods in the right way makes the light of our soul shine—you experience a tangible connection with the divine energies.”- Divya Alter 

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RW: First up, what would you like everybody to know about Ayurveda?

Divya Alter: That Ayurveda can work for you today! Although written thousands of years ago by ancient Vedic sages, Ayurveda is a universal manual that helps us integrate and balance ourselves on physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual levels. This timeless science helps us determine what to favor or avoid in terms of diet, routine, and environment by considering our individual needs, and what choices we can make to be healthy.

And if we face health challenges, an authentic Ayurvedic treatment goes much deeper than suppressing the symptoms; it addresses the root cause. An Ayurvedic healer’s goal is to assist in restoring the intelligence of one’s body to heal itself.

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RW: So why is Ayurveda having a moment? What makes this the perfect wellness system for the “Now Age”?

Divya: Ayurveda has had many moments through history; it is a divine universal science and its principles are always true. But I think that by experiencing the benefits of practicing yoga, lately many people have begun to explore and embrace its sister science, Ayurveda. It’s also encouraging to see how modern science is doing more research on Ayurvedic herbs, proving the ancient wisdom that was there all along. We know so much about turmeric now!

It is the perfect wellness system because it is highly customized to one’s individual needs. It is the most comprehensive preventative medicine—something we need today especially, as so many of our modern health challenges can be eliminated or minimized through preventative care.

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RW: What has your own journey with Ayurveda taught you about our relationship with plants?

Divya: Ayurveda helped me look at plants—fruits, vegetables, grains, spices, etc.—as my friends. I really want to get to know them! And the more I “hang out” with them, the more I appreciate them and understand when and how to use them in creating delicious, healing meals.

An aspect of every relationship is compatibility. Just like some people really don’t click together, sometimes eating two good foods together may result in them fighting in your stomach. Ayurveda taught me how to enjoy a healthy relationship with food by mixing and matching it properly. This goes beyond matching ingredients to layer friendly flavors and create stunning presentation; my goal is to make delicious food that can always be digested without any problem.

Another fascinating lesson I received from Ayurveda is that herbs and spices, like humans, are composed of the five elements (space, air, fire, water, earth). Dr. David Frawley explains in The Yoga of Herbs that each of the plant’s tissues affects a corresponding tissue in the human body: the watery liquid of the plant works on liquid plasma; the sap works on blood; the soft part of the wood on muscle; the gum of the tree on fat; the bark on bone; the leaves on nerve tissue and bone marrow; and the flowers and fruits on the reproductive fluids. Seeds, which contain all parts of the plant in an un-manifest form, work on the body as a whole.

William & Susan Brinson for Divya’s What to Eat for How You Feel from Rizzoli.

RW: How can eating this way heal the mind and soul, as well as the body?

Divya: Ayurveda recommends that we eat invigorating, “intelligent” foods—the way God or nature designed it in the first place. Fresh, locally grown, seasonal, organic, wholesome (unprocessed), energizing—properly combining such quality ingredients will support your body in doing all the intelligent things it is designed to do.

Eating Ayurvedic clears the body and mind from blockages and helps us feel happiness and bliss. You experience a clear communication between your body, mind, and senses, and you can easily control them. On a soul level, eating the right foods in the right way makes the light of our soul shine—you experience a tangible connection with the divine energies.

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RW: Are any foods “banned” in Ayurveda? Why?

Divya: According to Ayurveda, there is no good or bad food in and of itself. A food or herb can be good for someone or bad for someone—it depends on one’s individual needs at that time.

However nowadays, for the sake of convenience, manufacturers have created a lot of corrupted foods that make our cells act less intelligently (for example foods that are canned, homogenized, or genetically modified). These are bad for everyone. Why let such denatured foods clutter your pantry, and then your body and your mind?

Additionally, the Shaka Vansiya (SV) Ayurveda lineage that I am trained in recommends that we limit or avoid foods that are predominantly clogging, inflammatory, or overly heating to the liver: leftovers, soy, nightshades, onions and garlic, and flax seeds.

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RW: When would be a good time in life to experience Panchakarma?

Divya: Panchakarma is the traditional Ayurvedic practice of purification and nourishment. It is a practice of being open to letting go of physical, mental, energetic sludge, and to receiving nourishment and rejuvenation. It is a time-tested and efficient way to address imbalances resulting from daily wear and tear, as well as seasonal changes and energetic accumulations.

To really experience the benefits of Panchakarma, you have to give yourself the full 30 days for the practice and to do it at an Ayurvedic clinic located in a natural setting. I’ve seen quite a few victims of modern day Panchakarma that is practiced without a personalized protocol. That’s why I have to caution you: don’t do it unless your body is ready and unless an experienced Ayurvedic doctor is on hand to constantly supervise you.

A good time in life would be when you are in relatively strong health, you’re able to afford taking a month (or more) off, when the channels of your body are open to release toxins, and you are at a good clinic under close supervision. The weather should be not too hot or cold (spring temperatures). Such a Panchakarma experience can be truly life changing!

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RW: What is the overall philosophy of Divya’s Kitchen? What’s your message for the world?

Divya: At Divya’s Kitchen we believe that food can heal. That’s why we are devoted to serving you delicious food that your body and mind say YES to!

Our fresh, balanced meals are prepared with love, and deeply rooted in the authentic tradition of Shaka Vansiya Ayurveda that meets us where we are today. Ayurveda teaches us how food can restore the natural healing intelligence of the body.

Divya’s brand new book, What To Eat for How You Feel: The New Ayurvedic Kitchen- 100 Seasonal Recipes, is now available from Rizzoli! 

Divya Alter is a certified nutritional consultant and educator in the Shaka Vansiya Ayurveda tradition. She is the co-founder of Bhagavat Life, the only Ayurvedic culinary school in New York. She and her husband launched North America’s first Ayurvedic chef certification program and Divya’s Kitchen, an authentic Ayurvedic restaurant in Manhattan’s East Village.

GASTROLOGY: A RECIPE FOR VIRGO SEASON

A unconventional lentil soup is the perfect recipe for Virgo season…Concept and styling: Georgia Ashdown, Dish Pig; Words: Mojave Rising; Recipe: Alex Watts, Dish Pig; Image: Chris Chen

Virgo season conjures careful concoctions, herbaceous blends, process-based cooking, and the delicious sensation of detoxification. The zodiac’s most meticulous minx invites us to break out our measuring cups and to revel in acts of sorting, discerning, and finely chopping.

It’s a month to celebrate how singular flavors contribute to the integrity of the whole, hearty stew of being human, and how complex proportions demonstrate that in doing the difficult work we are sumptuously rewarded for our care.

We’ve chosen a spicy, delightfully intricate yet simple, sweet and sour soup for Virgo season—perfect for channeling the earthy goodness inside masked by outer complexity. There’s also the collisions between perfectly proportioned piles and the glorious moment of blending, where we let distinction merge with the world as it is and serve it on up.

Astrology’s so-called “virgin” is actually a wild, witchy woman who lives by her own code and gathers provisions for a proprietary brew befitting a self-contained queen of everyday alchemy. Her soup is for celebrating each piece of ourselves: from the tangy lime cheeks, to the sweet, sweet coconut cream on top!

RECIPE FOR VIRGO SEASON :: SWEET AND SOUR LENTIL SOUP

serves 4-6

Chefs notes ~ with the addition of some a dollop of coconut cream and harissa this soup can really come to life.

1 red onion diced
1 red capsicum, charred and peeled
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground tumeric
1 tsp ground coriander
100ml grapeseed oil
600g Kumera diced approx. 1cm
4 ripe tomatoes diced
2 garlic cloves sliced
1 long red chilli, de-seeded and sliced
1tbs tamarind pulp
100 ml boiling water
1 tbs vegan fish sauce
½ tsp tumeric
1 cup Red Lentils, soaked
1.5litres veg stock
1 handful chopped coriander
1 handful shallot (scallion) rounds
2 Lime cheeks

Wash the lentils under cold water, and repeat three times then strain off the water.

Soak the tamarind pulp in boiling water and pass through a sieve to remove seeds.

In a heavy based saucepan, fry the onions and garlic in grape seed oil until, soft but not coloured. Add the chilli & spices and cook for a further 5 mins stirring constantly. Add the kumera, red lentils, tomato, tamarind, red capsicum and veg stock. Cook until the Kumera just begins to soften and remove from heat.

Season with fish sauce, chopped herbs and serve with a grilled lime cheek.

THE MAGIC INGREDIENT: A SUPER HEALTHY SUNDAY BRUNCH (IN BED)

Two high vibe and super healthy Sunday brunch recipes we’re currently crushing on…DIY Faux-coa Puffs & Chia Chickpea Pancakes w/ Coconut-Cinnamon Whipped Cream. By Raquel Griffin. Photo: Ashley E. Davidson

DIY Cocoa Faux Puffs (V,GF)
Filling, healthy, and party in your mouth!

WHAT YOU’LL NEED
1/4c raw amaranth
1c unsweetened fresh (or store bought) almond milk
2T maple syrup [or honey, brown rice syrup, etc..]
2-3t unsweetened cocoa powder
1t vanilla extract
1/4t cinnamon
2T dried unsweetened coconut

DIRECTIONS
Pop amaranth, 1-2T at a time. Popping instructions. In a bowl mix together amaranth, cocoa powder, cinnamon, dried fruit + coconut. Pour 1c milk in a bowl and whisk maple syrup + vanilla in until combined. Pour milk over your new favorite Saturday morning treat and dig in!

***Optional additions for the adventurous or… not so much ***
Add in chopped nuts to up the crunch factor (almonds, walnuts and pecans could all be major). Add in dried fruit like raisins, cherries or goji berries to give your faux puffs a little haute healthy flavor. Not a fan of dried fruit or coconut? Leave ’em out – it’ll still be a party in your mouth.

Chia Chickpea Pancakes w/ Coconut-Cinnamon Whipped Cream (V,GF)
This recipe has been my go-to for the last month. I cannot seem to get enough pancakes, but then again can you really ever have enough pancakes when they’re gluten-free, vegan, AND crazy high protein? I think not.

So before we jump right in let me give you the stats on these beauties. Two medium pancakes have about 20-22 grams of protein, 19 grams of fiber – plus you could easily hit 25+ grams of protein by adding a smattering of nuts into the mix. And did I mention they taste great and not like chickpeas at all? So buckle your seat belts because this recipe is about to become a mainstay in your Sunday morning repertoire.

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:
1T Chia (soaked for 10 min in 3T water)*
1T flax seed
1/2c chickpea flour
1/4t baking soda
1 capful of white vinegar
1/3c water
1 1/2t stevia
sprinkle of sea salt
Coconut oil (enough for frying pancakes)

For Coconut-cinnamon whipped cream
1 can full fat coconut milk *(stored in the fridge overnight)
1 1/2t ground cinnamon
1 capful vanilla extract
Sweetner to taste

DIRECTIONS
For the Pancakes
Combine all ingredients in large bowl and mix until lump free. Heat your lightly oiled pan over low-med heat. Next, pour or scoop the batter into the pan, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Cook on both sides till golden brown, serve hot and topped with coconut-cinnamon whipped cream.

For the coconut-cinnamon whipped cream (v,g)
Take your chilled coconut milk and empty the entire contents into a bowl and add your sweetener of choice, plus 1 1/2t of cinnamon and a capful of vanilla extract. Finally, whip on high using an electric mixer for 5-7 minutes until the whipped cream is soft, fluffy. Et voilà!
*Sealed in an airtight container the whipped cream will hold for approx. 4-5 days in the fridge.

***Optional additions for the adventurous or… not so much ***
Top with jam (I’m currently obsessed with fig, but orange marmalade, ginger, and of course any berry could all equally rock your world!) And of course, one can never go wrong with the classic pairing of nuts + fresh fruit + maple syrup.

THE MAGIC INGREDIENT: HAVE A HIGH-VIBE THANKSGIVING

Blindside your folks with these tasty vegan, gluten-free dishes, for a totally high-vibe Thanksgiving y’all! Recipes by Raquel Griffin. Photos: Oliver English

:: CHIA CORNBREAD WITH CARROT MAPLE MISO “BUTTER” ::
This is the perfect crowd pleasing vegan, gluten free Thanksgiving comfort food that even your SAD (Standard American Diet) loving relatives will enjoy. And it’s also easy-peasy to make. Vegan, Gluten Free Chia Cornbread with Carrot Maple Miso “Butter”. It’s a recipe. Make this.

Vegan Gluten Free Chia Cornbread
Makes 16 servings
1 – 20 oz. package gluten Ffee cornbread mix (like Bob’s Red Mill)
1 ½ cups fresh almond milk
2 tablespoons chia seeds soaked in 6 tablespoons water
½ cup coconut oil

DIRECTIONS
Have all the ingredients at room temperature. Preheat oven to 375°F. Generously grease a 9 x 9-inch pan. Place cornbread mix in large bowl. Add milk, chia and water mixture, and oil. Mix until blended, then mix vigorously for 30 seconds more.Pour into prepared baking pan. Bake until golden-brown, about 25 minutes.

Carrot Maple Miso Butter
Makes 1⅓ Cups
2 cups carrots, peeled and chopped into 1-inch pieces (about 6 medium sized carrots)
2 tablespoons chickpea miso (like South River Organic Chickpea Miso)
1 tablespoon maple syrup
2 tablespoons melted coconut oil

DIRECTIONS
Place the carrots into a pot of simmering, salted water. Simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until the carrots are very easily pierced with a fork. Drain the carrots. Place all of the ingredients into a high-powered blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Add water as needed to get a light, spreadable texture. Store the butter in an airtight container in the fridge. It will keep for up to five days. Serve with cornbread.

(Butter recipe adapted from The Full Helping)

:: COZY GREEN SOUP WITH SPICED PUMPKIN SEEDS AND HORSERADISH CREAM ::
This is the perfect winter soup when it’s cold and blustery outside and all you’re looking to do is cozy up under the covers. It also helps that this recipe is pretty flexible and can be whipped up with virtually whatever green items you’ve got on hand – that wilted kale, failing broccoli and any other sad sack green veggies taking up residence in the back of your fridge. Cozy Green Soup with Spiced Pumpkin Seeds & Vegan Horseradish Cream. It’s a recipe. Make this.

Makes 6-8 servings
3 tablespoons coconut oil
1/3 cup chopped leeks (or onions if you haven’t got leeks)
6 cloves garlic, minced
6 cups fresh almond milk (or store bought…if you must)
5-6 cups of whatever green veggies you’ve got on hand, roughly chopped
(Escarole, Spinach, kale, purslane, celery, broccoli, even cauliflower will do.)
2.5-3 cups cooked quinoa
1 avocado
2-3 tablespoons Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
2 teaspoons each of sage, basil & rosemary
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

For the fresh almond milk
6-8 tablespoons of raw almonds (soaked overnight)
6 cups of filtered water

For the spiced pumpkin seeds
1 cup raw green pumpkin seeds (pepitas) or any nut except peanuts
2-3 tablespoons coconut oil
1 teaspoon smoked salt (garlic salt will also work)
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon coriander

For the vegan horseradish cream (optional)
½ cup plain Almond Milk Yogurt (like So Delicious Plain Almond Milk Yogurt)
3-4 tablespoons Vegenaise (or any non-dairy style “mayonnaise”)
1 tablespoon horseradish
Sea salt & fresh black pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS
To make the cozy green soup: Begin by sautéing the leeks and garlic in a pot until the leeks are translucent. Then add all the chopped vegetables along with the fresh almond milk, basil, sage and rosemary and simmer for 8-10 minute or until veggies are soft. From there, transfer the contents of the pot into your blender or food processor, then add the avocado, Bragg’s Liquid Aminos, nutritional yeast and quinoa and blend until mostly smooth (about 2-3 minutes on high). Serve topped with a dollop of horseradish cream and a sprinkling of spiced pumpkin seeds.

To make the fresh almond milk: Combine soaked almonds and water in any high-powered blender and blend on high until the consistency is smooth, frothy and light about 2-3 minutes.

To make the pumpkin seeds: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Toss the seeds with coconut oil and spices. Spread onto a sheet pan and bake until toasted, about 10 minutes. Cooled pumpkin seeds can be stored in an airtight container for up to 4 weeks.

To make the horseradish cream: Combine almond milk yogurt, Vegenaise, horseradish, salt and pepper in bowl. Whisk ingredients together until smooth.

 

What’s your favorite high-vibe Thanksgiving dish? Please (really, please) share in the comments below, or show us on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.