The Brave Bear Show would not be complete without my dear friend and Ayurvedic mentor, Dr. Shivani Gupta, returning to talk to us about gut health, self-care, and how to live a vibrant immune system–especially during this global pandemic.
Since she appeared on Season 1 of the show, Shivani has completed a Master’s and PhD in Ayurvedic Sciences, she is an expert on gut health and turmeric, and is also an energy grid specialist. I’ll warn you, I geek out quite a bit in this segment because I am currently pursuing a masters in Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine, so I can vouch for the work Dr. Shivani does today. Not only has she taught me how to live and eat more consciously for the past several years, she continues to transform lives by serving busy, entrepreneurial, professional women who strive to make an impact but experience burnout or exhaustion or gut health issues or pain.
In this conversation, we delve deep into the root of our health issues and Dr. Shivani gives us a lesson on inflammation (the cause of dis-ease) and how we can use simple and natural healing remedies and resources to build a vibrant immune system.
(If you missed Shivani on Season 1, you can replay it here.)
Listen on Apple Podcasts (Coming Soon)
“In high school, I would get these sinus infections. I’d get these high dose antibiotics thrown at my gut, and I would get better. But then I’d have these stomach aches after. How can fixing the problem cause a new problem? When I learned about this other system of medicine, Ayurveda, they give you stuff that doesn’t give you side effects; it’s just healing.” – Dr. Shivani Gupta
“I no longer allow people to kill my gut lining or kill my immune system.” – Dr. Shivani Gupta
“I’m married to a surgeon, and I often say ‘Non-believers are just believers in the making; one day you will prescribe turmeric to every patient and you will not prescribe the drugs.” – Dr. Shivani Gupta
“As a caretaker, you have to be so grounded and solid because you’re holding everyone up. So if you’re in one of those years where you’re going to hold everybody up, you can’t be thin as a rail or thin as a reed and just fly with the wind. You have to be solid.” – Dr. Shivani Gupta
“The biggest lesson is balance comes first. Where are you going to find a balance? For me, the word is recalibrate. When I’m recalibrating, I always ask my intuition, What do you need next? The messages just come right up and I do just that thing. Then, I will not go forward without checking in and knowing that I’m centered again.” Dr. Shivani Gupta
“Once people understand Ayurveda, intuitively, you’re going to crave it more. All of a sudden, everything is clearing out. The gut can clear, the immune system can clear, the body will innately and automatically become lighter and cleaner. And, thus, all that guidance we’re seeking is easier to come by.” – Dr. Shivani Gupta
“We also have energy medicine as a piece of Ayurveda. Sometimes you can’t heal every disease in a person. Sometimes they came here with that karma. You tried your best, and now it is what it is. I found that fascinating; talk about acceptance!” – Dr. Shivani Gupta
“I’m kind of like a grid specialist. I can dive into people’s energy grids and come back out and tell you elementally what’s off balance. When someone sits with me, I just know what’s up. I know what to tell them. And the answer comes out of me from the inside.” – Dr. Shivani Gupta
“If we reduce inflammation, we prevent disease.” – Dr. Shivani Gupta
“Ayurveda has great wisdom. Let me just keep, bite by bite, picking up the habits and then seeing my whole life transform.” – Dr. Shivani Gupta
We could have discussed self-care rituals or gut health for this mini lesson. However, Dr. Shivani felt that if there’s one thing to walk away with today to build vibrant immunity, it’s to understand inflammation and how to we can naturally heal it. To watch the mini lesson, go to timestamp 32:01 on the video or click here.
DR. SHIVANI ON INFLAMMATION
If we just reduced our inflammation, our whole lives would change. It’s as simple as that. I learned that lesson as a young girl. My mother was diabetic and on insulin. I remember my father sitting us down and saying, “Listen, if you want to stick yourself with a needle four times a day for the rest of your life, become diabetic. And, if not, you need to cut the sugar, the salt, the fat and the junk food out of your life right now.”
I remember thinking that’s so weird. I love Coca Cola and I love my nachos. I love my cookies and cake. I loved everything as a kid. But, each time we went to India, another grandparent would pass away of complications due to diabetes. So that became my research journey. By the time I was in 10th grade, I worked in a lab at MD Anderson Cancer Center under Dr. Aggarwal, who is a researcher of turmeric the spice. I just remember him saying, “Here’s the science, we must reduce inflammation to prevent metabolic diseases.” And I was like, “Oh, what are metabolic diseases?” Diabetes and a lot of the diseases we deal with are metabolic diseases. So I just remember reading the science and watching what all the fellows were doing. They were adding black pepper to turmeric to show the impact it had on cells. So this informed me: if we reduce inflammation, we prevent disease.
About Agni (Digestive Fire) and Ojas (Immunity, Vitality)
A couple years ago, when I was ready to launch my supplement company, I went back to Dr. Aggarwal and asked for a refresher on the science. He showed me how basically there are good fires and bad fires. Think of a good fire like a candle or a beautiful fire in your fireplace or gas stove. Then there’s also these other types of fires out there like when your house burns down, or a fire that goes out of control. A controlled healthy fire is what we call Agni.
Agni (in Sanskrit) means fire. When you have that Agni or fire go way out of control, it causes extreme damage. The same is true for the body. So if I have one healthy digestive fire like a healthy little bonfire in there, all the food that goes in my system gets digested and transformed and turned into something called Ojas, which gives us that nutrition and that fortitude to do everything we need to do in life. Now, if it’s a tiny little fire barely making it, that’s a weak digestive fire. You’re going to be throwing all this food in there, and your system won’t be able to take it. A lot of times that’s IBS, constipation, and gut issues. We can try to throw superfoods and supplements and stuff down this gullet of ours, but it’s just all coming out. It’s not processed. There’s no Ojas, no nectar, no goodness coming out of it that makes us healthy.
Chronic Low-Grade Persistent Inflammation
Let’s talk about the chronic fires. So let’s say you have an injury or an issue, and some inflammation goes to heal it in the body. If that process doesn’t shut down, you’re going to have chronic low-grade persistent inflammation. That’s like a fire brewing and going everywhere and causing damage. Most of the time, we don’t know we have chronic low-grade persistent inflammation because we don’t have any symptoms. We’re just running around drinking our soda, eating our junk food, eating our processed food, experiencing our distress, and caretaking for elders. Some of us can be super stressed out with children, or have a stressful career, are dealing with a virus, affected by environmental toxins that can cause damage, alcohol, and poor sleep. So you’re causing all this damage, you’re allowing this persistent inflammation to happen. And until you get symptom after symptom after symptom after symptom, you might not add up that there’s even an issue.
When I talk to people, I ask about sleep, about how you eat, and about stress levels. They tell me “I’m fine, everything’s fine. I just have this problem.” What they’re not connecting, the whole thing has to work for that Agni, that digestive fire, to be strong and on point, and able to transform everything you consume. You need inflammation to be reduced in the system for your gut health to be good, for your immune system to work properly.
One thing I’m teaching a lot about this year is vibrant immunity, because I feel–out of all the years–we need our immune system to be up more than ever right now. And what people don’t realize is over 80% of the immune system resides alongside or inside the gut. So if your gut digestion is off, and the immune system is right there, it’s almost like there’s a traffic jam. And so you’ve got this chronic inflammation already causing a traffic jam. Then you’ve got an immune system that’s trying to detox and clear all the stuff out. But the jam won’t let it go anywhere. So everything just sits there.
What starts happening: toxic burden, auto immunity, and inflammation in the body is an -itis (for example: arthritis, bursitis, colitis). When you go to the doctor finally with your symptom, they’re like “You have this -itis.” They’ll also give you a treatment plan for that -itis. It’ll be drugs A, B, C, or D. You’ll go home with your prescription, take it, and you might feel a little better. You’re gonna deal with the side effects of it. But did you actually heal the baseline issue that caused the -itis? No. That baseline inflammation is still there. You just tried to shut it down a little bit. You didn’t change the behaviors.
Natural Healing Remedies and Resources
That’s where I like to really invite people to take a minute and say, “Thank you for the diagnosis. I’m going to go look at my options.” I love that I got a diagnosis for whatever behavior or life circumstances caused in my body. I have an answer. Now I get to go look at my Rolodex. I have a dream team who I go to at all times: an amazing chiropractor, acupuncturist, physician, homeopathy doctor, I have you for Reiki and intuitive, yoga teacher, I go to myself for Ayurveda or I can go to one of my teachers if I really wanted a double check. Sometimes you want the verification so you can then have the opportunity to treat in the way you know is best for you.
Everyone’s body is different. We are all from different geography, backgrounds, and ethnicities. For my body, things from India work the best. For your body, it might be different. It’s good to look at your own remedies that exist, but also to look at natural ones. My intention is always, “How can I show you how to have the toolkit ready in your kitchen at all times?”
A lot of times, people who love to cook will visit me and I will just make them a replica of my spice box. So when they have a problem, they can call me. Because this spice box actually contains half the remedies I would use to fix somebody. I can fix most people with turmeric and some teas. It’s not that hard. You need to know what to reach for, and it’s also about intuitively knowing much earlier on when there’s an issue. Don’t wait till you have brain fog, are exhausted, your stomach’s upset, you’ve only poop three times a week, or have headaches every day and they’ve now become migraines. People often have come to me when they’re at their wit’s end. Stop and listen to your own body much earlier than that and ask it, What do I need right now?
That’s why I teach something called “Tea Time is Me Time.” Tea time is when you get to sit with your tea and ask yourself, How do I feel right now? What do I need right now? What do I need to eat today to feel better? Have I structured my day in a way that makes sense? Do I need to cancel them? What do I need to do to be fed for the rest of the day in a way that makes sense.
I literally structure my day like that every time. If I knew I had to be somewhere at 3 o’clock, then by 2:30 I’ll have made my tea and packed my supplements. When that finishes, where do we get to do Tea Time and prepare for the next phase? I find that if you do those checkpoints, you will know for yourself–inside of yourself–your answers. And if you have the tools (between the teas and the superfoods and what makes your body happy based on your Dosha and based on circadian rhythm), then you’re living this life of true balance that it doesn’t matter how much you want to do.
Right now, I’m trying to do 10 things at once. In the craziest moment of my life, I am still pushing each beautiful thing forward. Why? Because each is a service that I must do in the world. Before, each one would throw me off balance, right at the end as you’re about to publish (everything has to go to hell in a handbasket in your life at the same time). Nowadays, when that happens, I accept what I need to do to stay centered and keep going down that path.
Bringing it full circle, inflammation is something I wanted to share because whether it’s stress, poor sleep, poor gut health, poor digestion, lack of a strong and healthy digestive fire, you choose to eat GMOs, toxins, poor water, poor air–what are we actively doing to reduce inflammation?
For me, it’s a turmeric supplement. That’s why I built my supplement company because I know I don’t want the diseases my family had. I built something I could take everyday to safeguard and also do the Ayurvedic practices. And so the combination of all that–great sleep, turmeric and healthy practices–has kept me on my track. Thankfully, I get to do this with so many people now. I have tons of people who are practicing and so many women have taken this to heart and have realized:
“Ayurveda has great wisdom. Let me just keep, bite by bite, picking up the habits and then seeing my whole life transform.”
To join Dr. Shivani’s FREE 4-Day Masterclass “Unlock The Keys To Vibrant Immunity” and to learn about her new program The Fusionary Method, visit FusionarySchool.com.
To learn more about Dr. Shivani and the supplements mentioned in this episode, visit FusionaryFormulas.com.
Shivani’s book, The Conscious Pregnancy can be found at Amazon.
Fusionary Formulas community on Facebook at Facebook.com/FusionaryFormulas
Dr. Shivani Gupta on Instagram