Summer of Ayurveda—Week 1: Food & Diet with Claire Ragozzino
Welcome to Summer of Ayurveda, a 25 day Instagram series offering you an Ayurvedic approach to summer’s biggest topics. Each week we will cover a new theme, hosted by some of the best Ayurvedic Instagramers. Follow us on Instagram @banyanbotanicals for inspired daily posts!
We are thrilled to have Claire Ragozzino of Vidya Cleanse hosting this week of Food and Diet for our Summer of Ayurveda Instagram series!
If there were anyone better to kick off our week of Food & Diet, we wouldn’t know it. Claire is no stranger to spreading Ayurvedic wisdom to her huge social media following and it’s not without reason that so many people love her posts. She specializes in beautiful imagery to convey the power of healthful living, in addition to her incredible applications of Ayurveda and wellness knowledge.
Everyday this week, Claire will be sharing tips, recipes, and ideas on our Instagram account (@banyanbotanicals) to inspire and educate you to live in the Summer of Ayurveda.
We took a few minutes to catch up with Claire, to hear her story, and why she chose to make healthy food and Ayurveda her passion.
How did you first learn of Ayurveda?
In my initial yoga teacher training, we were asked to explore and present on a related topic. Yoga’s sister science offered a whole other world of self-study and practice I was deeply intrigued by. I purchased a handful of Lad’s and Svoboda’s books and dove in head first down the rabbit hole.
When you first heard of Ayurveda, what made you want to learn more?
I wanted to understand and live by this practice that was so intrinsically connected to nature’s pulse. Very few health models tune into this, and I was curious to get to know myself better through the alignment with the principles of nature. Ayurveda seemed to provide a language for understanding this complex and beautiful role.
Was there a moment when the concepts of Ayurveda really “clicked”? When it all made sense to you without having to research every answer to every question? When was it and what was it like?
When I got out of the books and actually started living the practice—that’s when everything started to make sense in a very practical way. I had spent several years following a raw food diet in hopes of healing my digestive disorders, and a few more working in the raw food industry, all the while still intrigued and studying Ayurveda. What a disconnect it was for me, trying to live by the rules of eating raw all year long in a four season urban climate while reading the concepts of Ayurveda but not applying them in my daily life. When I ditched the dogma that came with the endless quest for “raw perfection” and I started honoring my needs, seasonally and cyclically, I really started to observe very powerful changes in my body and mind, and connect in the living practice of Ayurveda in a more tangible way.
How did you first begin to implement ayurvedic practices into your daily life?
From the very beginning of my health journey, it started with food. I’ve been vegetarian, vegan, raw vegan, pescetarian, and flexitarian. You name it—I’ve tried it. But what I started to realize over my years of studies and personal trials, is that health isn’t static. I started to connect in the very personal nature of food, integrating the seasonal tastes and eating to balance the needs of my vikriti. I began to pay attention to how I was eating, turning the act of nourishing myself into a sacred sadhana. It’s through the practice of mindful nourishment that I was able to then go deeper into the more subtle practices of Ayurveda.
What is your favorite daily ayurvedic practice? Why?
Outside of the kitchen…Abhyanga, without question! It helps me stay grounded, connected with how I’m feeling each day and at ease through all seasons.
Tell us about how you practice the Ayurvedic approach to Food & Diet in your daily life.
Cooking is my meditation and sharing the experience of a beautiful meal is the way I give love. After my morning dinacharya, I head to the kitchen to start preparing for the day ahead. This may mean getting a bowl of almonds soaking for a sprouted almond milk, rotating my mung bean sprouts, or prepping veggies for lunch. My kitchen is my sanctuary, a living space I’m breathing life into each day. My mantra is: nourish it and it will nourish you.
Have you studied Ayurveda and Food & Diet in depth? How?
I have worked in kitchens since I was a young girl, both my aunt and mother were restaurants owners while I was growing up. I’ve always had my hand in something involved with food, nutrition and health. I’m a certified holistic nutrition and life coach, plant-based chef and yoga therapy instructor with a strong focus in combining the elements of mindful movement, breathwork, and Ayurvedic principles with plant-based nutrition. I work one-on-one with clients through lifestyle coaching programs, and lead a series of cooking classes and workshops on “The Yoga of Food” that teaches the practice of conscious eating and connection with the seasons. I am so grateful to be influenced by wonderful teachers like Maya Tiwari, Ysha Oakes, Siva Mohan and Terra Rafael who inspire me each day to support women in these beautiful practices.
How has your life changed since you began practicing an Ayurvedic approach to Food & Diet regularly, with focus and intention?
Everything! I have slowed down to listen more and tune into my needs each day. Rather than getting lost in all the noise of information out there on nutrition and what we need, I listen to what my body truly needs and honor that. In this process, I’m able to both physically and emotionally digest life’s experiences better.
If there was one Ayurvedic recommendation you could give to every person about Food & Diet, what would it be?
Establish set meal times. Don’t worry about complicated ideas of food combining, tastes and ideal ingredients, simply sit down and be conscious with the very sacred act of your nourishing yourself 2–3 times a day. Eat enough at each meal so you are satisfied and skip the urge to graze all day. When you can sit down and connect with the experience of eating, you’ll notice big shifts in your digestion, energy and overall health.
How would you like to continue including Ayurveda in your future?
I am currently deepening my practice in women’s health and Ayurveda. I would like to support women in fertility, conscious pregnancy and the sacred window postpartum in nourishing mothers and babies.
Claire Ragozzino is a certified yoga instructor, plant-based chef and holistic wellness coach. Through her company, Vidya Living, Claire works with clients around the globe to inspire transformational changes in their health and wellbeing. Her wellness programs are infused with Ayurvedic principles, plant-based nutrition, and yogic philosophy to cultivate deep inner wisdom for intuitive healing. Work with Claire one-on-one in her lifestyle coaching programs or join the Vidya Cleanse community for a purposeful seasonal detox. Learn about her ecourses, global retreats, and coaching sessions at https://vidyaliving.com/.