In need of some inspiration and guidance? Meet Sahara Rose Ketabi, author, humanitarian, wellness expert, and founder of eatfeelfresh.com. AKA your mind-body healer, life guru, and go-to girl for becoming the best you possible. Sahara is described as the fresh young voice for the modern spiritual movement and even spoke at Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move Campaign. Sahara is not your typical nutritionist; she is all about mind-body balance and combines Western nutritional science with ancient Eastern healing wisdom. We are pretty certain the world would be a better place with more souls like Sahara. Check out IAmSaharaRose.com for more inspiration and wisdom from Sahara and don’t forget to follow her on Instagram at @IAmSaharaRose. Here’s a fun and enlightening Q&A with Sahara below!
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Boston, MA but spent a lot of my time traveling! I began volunteering in orphanages in developing countries on my own when I was 15.
Where did you go to college and what did you study?
I graduated from Boston University with a BA in International Relations while simultaneously graduating from Institute of Integrative Nutrition for Holistic Health Coaching.
What inspired you to get into the health & wellness field?
After interning at various NGO’s, I realized that I wanted to be one-on-one helping people, not spending my time raising money for another fundraiser. I decided I would join the Peace Corps after graduating since that seemed to be the best way to help people in a meaningful way.
At this time, I was suffering from digestive issues that began interfering with my everyday life. I started spending all of my free time researching the digestive system, medicinal foods and all facets of nutritional science and decided to start a blog about my experience healing myself through food. After a few months of consistent blogging, I started receiving dozens of emails from people asking me for help from all walks of life. I wanted to be of service but wasn’t sure how, so decided to begin studying Holistic Health Coaching while in my undergrad so I can help heal those with digestive issues like me.
In my health coaching training, I learned about Ayurveda, which appealed to me because it infused my interest in health and digestion with psychology and culture, but I wasn’t quite sold on it yet. While traveling to India, I decided to visit an Ayurvedic Practitioner to see what it was all about. I was so marveled by her accuracy of my health and digestive issues that I spent the next two years studying Ayurveda, traveling back-and-forth to India. The rest is history!
What advice do you have on achieving mind & body balance? Especially, with a busy schedule!
It depends on what your mind and body type is! I have a quiz on my website,eatfeelfresh.com, which will help you determine yours.
If you’re a Vata (easily anxious, cold body temperature, cracking joints, dry skin, bloating, gas, constipation,) then try sticking to a schedule as much as possible (I know it’s hard!), apply sesame oil on your body and consume cooked, root vegetables which will make you feel more grounded, as they’re grown under the Earth. Remember- we take on the energy of everything we eat!
If you’re a Pitta (easily agitated, hot body temperature, oily skin, heartburn, hyperacidity, loose stool), then try taking cooling, cleansing breathes, avoid intense exercise/ hot yoga and consume light, hydrating foods like greens and fresh fruit which will cool your system down!
If you’re a Kapha (easily exhausted, cool body temperature, tendency to gain weight easily, sluggish metabolism, carb/ sugar/ dairy cravings) then try to practice a fast-moving yoga flow in the morning when you wake up, just drink tea for breakfast, add spices into your diet to stimulate metabolism, avoid snacking and consume more bitter foods to avoid those sweet cravings!
You’re an expert on Ayurveda, can you explain what Ayurveda is for those who have never heard of it?
Ayurveda is the world’s oldest health system, originating in ancient India 5000 years ago and the sister science of yoga. In fact, the two ALWAYS must be practiced together. While yoga is for spiritual purposes, Ayurveda is for balancing the mind and body.. because you can’t really reach enlightenment when your digestion is out of wack!
Ayurveda literally means “the knowledge of life” in Sanskrit because in order to have health you must have full knowledge of your life. I make it super easy to understand in my book The Idiot’s Guide to Ayurveda so anyone can benefit from its healing wisdom! It’s seriously changed my life, skin, digestion and even personality for the better! I know so much more about myself and am easily able to tell when my body is going out of balance with some simple cues, which I explain in the book! I love being able to teach people the tools they need to become their own healers!
What’s a day in the life of Sahara Rose Ketabi like?
My morning routine is super sacred to me because I believe the way you start your day is how you’ll feel for the rest of the day and I actually have an entire chapter in my book about morning routines. I drink hot water, scrape my tongue, oil-pull and practice either yoga or pilates first thing in the morning. After, I’ll have an easy-to-digest blended smoothie with plenty of healthy fats like avocado, fresh greens and warming ingredients like ginger to stimulate the digestive fire. Then I’m working for the rest of the day, which may involve writing or editing chapters for one of the books I am working on (two currently!), recording podcast episodes for my Highest Self Podcast, making videos for my YouTube Channel or creating content for my 12 Week Eat Right For Your Mind-Body Type Guided Program! I always make time in the afternoon to take a walk outside by the ocean with my adorable pup, Chubby. It makes both of our days and so important to connect back with nature when you spend the day in the cyber webz!
Tell us about your website, EatFeelFresh.com, and how it started!
I started it almost seven years ago just as a personal blog and it continued to evolve as a passion, career and life purpose! The ethos of Eat Feel Fresh is that you only feel as fresh as what you eat. Eating healthfully is so much more than about losing weight or looking good- our food choices literally create our thoughts.
When we shift our perspective to think, “How would this food make me feel before, during and after it’s consumption?” we let completely let go of both extremes- binging on junk to feel satisfied or starving ourselves to feel worthy. Both extremes are fueled by the same emotion- emptiness. We eat to ignore an underlying issue because it hurts too much to look at it right in the face. That’s neither eating or feeling fresh.
I believe that food is fuel- it’s the oil we need to get our car to the places that we need to go. We have to eat well so we can achieve the things we were put on this planet to do. However, if all we do is obsess about the quality of our fuel, going from one gas station to another, we may never get anywhere. Eat Feel Fresh is about having a healthy relationship with food, which will be different for each person. Eat the foods that make you feel truly alive and you’ll find your perfect diet.
You have traveled and volunteered in over 30 countries-WOW. Tell us a bit about these experiences.
Traveling has always been more than just an interest to me- more like an unquenchable thirst that I had no choice but to give in! I believe I have past life history in many of the countries where I feel called, which is why I integrate so well with their cultures and easily pick up their languages.
I always travel with the purpose to give back, rather than to take from the country. I opt to live with local families such as Thai rice-farmers or Peruvian Indigenous women, rather than stay in hotels and spend the bulk of my time volunteering where I am needed in the community, whether it’s an orphanage, school or even doing construction work. When I was in high school and college, I would travel with registered NGO’s and as I became older, I would travel on my own and stay with my friends who were locals in that country and volunteer in the places where they personally recommended. I let the community decide how they’d like me to help, rather than oppose what I think is needed and believe this is CRUCIAL for cultural sensitivity.
Some of my most memorable experiences were teaching math to orphans in Zimbabwe (they taught themselves LOGARITHMS.. I had trouble even remembering the equations) and teaching health and sanitation in the slums of India (the most polite little children I’ve ever seen, hands down!)
Any advice for others who want to volunteer in other countries?
Start local! So many people have fantasies about volunteering abroad but never help who’s right in their backyards! I spent years volunteering locally before I ever headed to another country by myself. It’s so important to gain that confidence level as a leader in your own language and culture before going to entering a whole different country, language, and cultural system and trying to establish leadership. Trust me- the kids can pick up right through any nervousness- they’re extremely perceptive beings!
There are plenty of websites like idealist.org or volunteermatch.com where you can find nearby opportunities and build your skills as a leader. I still volunteer in Los Angeles teaching nutrition throughout the year and it’s truly my most meaningful work because I’m able to truly connect with these children, as I grew up eating the same junk food they did and can build connections with them.
What’s your favorite way to stay active?
I love to dance! Movement comes naturally through me so any type of dance class, whether it’s tribal fusion belly dance or Jamaican dance hall is my absolute favorite.
What tips would you give someone who wants to make a change?
Join my 31 Day Mind-Body Transformation Challenge with Deepak Chopra- it’s totally free! This month I’ll be sharing one daily tip for you to integrate Ayurvedic wellness practices into your diet and lifestyle in honor of my upcoming Idiot’s Guide to Ayurveda book launch on August 8th. I’ve made it super easy and gradual so anyone can participate! There are more details on my Instagram, @IAmSaharaRose
What’s your favorite healthy food to eat? What’s your guilty pleasure?
My picture-perfect meal is the I Am Whole Bowl from Café Gratitude—sweet potato, steamed greens, sea vegetables, adzuki beans, quinoa, teriyaki almonds and garlic tahini sauce. It contains the six tastes of Ayurveda- sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent and astringent- so afterward you have NO cravings and feel totally satisfied (I explain the tastes in my book!)
Guilty pleasure would be the vegan peanut-butter pie from Real Food Daily which literally tastes like my childhood dreams—peanut-butter and oreos. But hey at least it’s vegan and relatively healthy so I don’t feel bad about indulging in it every once in a while 😛
Name three things on your bucket list!
- Explore the blue city and markets of Morocco.
- Be on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday.
- Nobel Peace Prize for helping children.
What’s a quote or saying you live by?
Something I always say on my podcast, The Highest Self Podcast is, “Your external world is a reflection of your internal mind.” I truly believe we are co-creating our realities with our thoughts and simply by shifting our thoughts from fear-and-denial-based to joy-and-opportunity based, we change our entire reality. I’ve seen it happen for myself!
What’s next for you?
I just submitted two book proposals: one for a modern Ayurveda-based recipe/self-care book and another spirituality/personal-development book about becoming your highest self, since I am extremely passionate about this topic! I’ve been thoroughly enjoying helping people become their highest self on my Highest Self Podcast and am so excited to develop that into a manual!