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Here’s Why You Should Give Ayurvedic Eating A Try

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+ recipes to get you started

If you're not one to jump on food-related bandwagons like Dry January and Whole30, join the club. But it's my belief in balance over deprivation that has led me to instead start my year off by following an Ayurvedic diet, which is not only the ultimate detox, but also a nutritional balancing act. "An Ayurvedic diet is a lifestyle that is both intricate and simple at the same time," says Raj Barker, a certified holistic nutritionist, yoga teacher, and The Class by Taryn Toomey instructor. "It sees food as energy. Everything you eat will either build or deplete your energy." 

With the balancing of our core energies (doshas) and digestive well-being at the forefront of the practice, an Ayurvedic diet consists of six tastes (rasas)—sweet (pumpkin, rice), sour (fermented foods, tamarind), salty (sea and Himalayan salt), pungent (ginger, hot peppers), bitter (collard greens, turmeric), and astringent (cranberries, lentils)—each of which plays an essential function in our physical and mental health. When all are combined together, this nutrient-rich diet can not only improve the digestive function of the body and leave you satisfied (no late-night munchies), but create an overall balance, repair ailments, and even prevent serious diseases. 

It's that repairing power of the foods that leads many to follow Ayurveda, especially after the gluttonous holidays. Add to that seasonal eating, the other major component of the food plan, and it's easy to see how people are attracted to the practice as a means to restore their bodies and minds without seriously restricting themselves. "If you follow an Ayurvedic lifestyle, you naturally work more closely with the seasons and therefore with the cycle of nature," Barker says. "By doing this, you bring yourself into a balanced state. Side effects include but aren't limited to a deeper connection to self, clarity, better sleep cycles, stabilized moods, and feeling grounded and supported." 

While the appeal is there, cooking following Ayurvedic practices is not as straight-forward as one might think, though, given the endless possibilities of ingredient combinations (a fact I can attest to given my own experience in giving up the practice a few weeks in). But never fear, because this challenging aspect of the practice is why Cook Space, our favorite culinary studio in Brooklyn, teamed up with Barker to offer an Ayurvedic cooking class. And good thing—the first class was so popular it quickly sold out, prompting the cooking studio to add another one to this month's lineup (and proving my point that people want to know more).

"One of the intentions behind Cook Space is about cooking as a mindful activity as well as helping our students to develop and create their own relationship with food and cooking," says Michelle Mannix, who founded Cook Space as a non-traditional, hands-on cooking school. Having met Barker when she was her instructor at The Class, Mannix, blown away by both the practice and Barker's way of bringing it to life, wanted her to teach a cooking class at Cook Space before construction of the space had even begun. "It was always my desire to offer a wide range of classes and to also have classes for cuisines and styles of cooking that lean 'healthier' and more holistic," she says. In addition to the Ayurvedic sessions with Barker, Cook Space also offers "Whole30: A Week's Worth of Meals" and "Healing with Tea" classes this month. 

If you're familiar with Ayurvedic beauty practices, you'll recognize some ingredients like rosewater, which enhances digestive fire, balances hormones, and improves the glow and complexion of the skin, and sesame (seeds and oil), which supports a healthy digestive tract and contributes to a better nervous system. Some others include honey (fosters lung health), chili (fights free radicals and supports respiratory system), and apple cider vinegar (boosts immune system). For kitchari, the dish that Barker and Cook Space culinary director, Nini Nguyen, will be making during their January 31 class and that we show how to create below, Barker lists the following benefits:

  • Ghee (clarified butter): Helps sustain healthy microbes in the gastrointestinal tract to promote effective digestion and toxin elimination. It nourishes all the tissues of the body, including the nervous system, translating into calm energy throughout the day. 
  • Garlic: Antibacterial and immunity-boosting, garlic is an ancient remedy used to aid the body's natural defenses and build strength.
  • Onion: Often used on a more medicinal level in the Ayurvedic lifestyle, onion can help purify the blood.
  • Spice mix (cardamom, cumin, asafetida, mustard seeds, turmeric, curry leaf, coriander, ginger, nutmeg, fenugreek, salt): This combination can be altered to serve your particular needs. All the spices offer different benefits and flavors. This particular profile delivers a nourishing, grounding overall effect. The spices are anti-inflammatory and soothing to digestion.
  • Rice mix (rice, mung beans, lentils): This combination provides your body with a complete protein, meaning you have all nine of the essential amino acids you need from food in one meal. Eating a full protein benefits blood sugar levels and sustains an equilibrium in the body promoting a sense of balance and satiety.

Another bonus of this dish? It can change weekly, depending on the ingredients you use on top of the above base."The beauty of this dish is you can tailor it seasonally and just the way you like. Not a fan of broccoli? Use cauliflower instead. Love potatoes? Throw them in there," says Barker. "It creates variety, too, so every time you make this meal, it can be a little different to the last. The more fresh, seasonal vegetables, the better."

While versatile and diverse in its options, this diet's variety of ingredients and the need to integrate all six tastes into one dish is what also makes some people hesitant to try it. "Dishes generally include an array of spices, flavors, and textures. This can seem complex to many and maybe a little intimidating to recreate, but the dishes are hard to get wrong as the ingredients are flavorful and often simpler than they appear," Barker says. "It's not meant to be overwhelming but rather a way to cultivate mindfulness and connection to our meals. This lifestyle has a strong affinity with rituals, so you will find that after a few practices, preparing the meals is quite ritualistic and meditative. Like all things, it's about taking the first step and just trusting the process."To take that first step, watch Barker and Nguyen prepare the kitchari in the video, below.

Now that you're done, get the recipe for it, plus two more Ayurvedic dishes, in the gallery below.

Sesame Roasted Carrots

Ingredients (serves three to four):

  • 3 lb. of carrots, whole or cut (can leave the skin on carrots as long as you wash them well)
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger (or fresh)
  • ½ tbsp tamari
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 tbsp ghee, melted
  • Sesame seeds, enough for a sprinkle at the end

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  • On a sheet tray, mix carrots, ginger, tamari, salt, and ghee together. Toss to make sure there is an even coat.
  • Place carrots in oven and roast for 20 minutes, stirring once about halfway through. Remove from oven when carrots are tender and crisp with golden edges.
  • Sprinkle on sesame seeds.
Screenshot via YouTube

And I need to see the rest ASAP

As excited as we already are for Olivia Wilde's directorial debut, Booksmart, to hit theaters next week, we just got even more desperate to see it. Why? Well, the first six minutes of the film were just released, and every minute is incredible.

The film opens on Molly (Beanie Feldstein) meditating and listening to a motivational tape telling her she's better than everyone else, and to "fuck those losers." Her room is decorated with pictures of Michelle Obama and RBG, so we know her head is in the right place. We learn she's the class president when she arrives at school with her best friend, Amy (Kaitlyn Dever).

It's there that we get a glimpse of the social hierarchy in which Molly and Amy exist—but somewhere down near the bottom, way below the popular kids, the theater nerds, the stoners, and even the annoying class clown.

The film officially hits theaters on May 23, but Annapurna Pictures is holding advanced screenings across the country today, May 17—we're actually holding two of them! So, if you're in L.A. or New York, check them out.

But also, you can watch the first six minutes of the film, below, and prepare yourself to watch the whole movie in a week.

BOOKSMART | Uncut First 6 Minutes www.youtube.com

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Photo by Rich Polk/ Getty

Her hypocrisy would be mind-blowing if it weren't so predictable

It's been just over two years since Tomi Lahren appeared on ABC's The View to assert that, despite her ultra-conservative bona fides, she holds one position more normally associated with the left wing: She's pro-choice. In that talk show appearance, Lahren made clear then that her pro-choice views were consonant with her self-identification as a "constitutionalist," further explaining:

I am someone that's for limited government. So I can't sit here and be a hypocrite and say I'm for limited government but I think the government should decide what women should do with their bodies." I can sit here and say that as a Republican, and I can say, "You know what? I'm for limited government, so stay out of my guns, and you can stay out of my body as well."

Back then, we noted the hypocrisy inherent to that position, since Lahren was an ardent supporter of President Trump—who made no secret of his desire to appoint anti-abortion judges to the Supreme Court and other judicial benches—and Vice-President Pence, whose anti-abortion views are even more ardent.

Since Lahren's appearance on The View, she has appeared in the anti-abortion film Roe v. WadeRoe v. Wade, which co-starred fellow execrable conservative troll, Milo Yiannopoulos, and, um, Joey Lawrence. Though the film has not yet been released, it is alleged to contain "several graphic scenes depicting aborted fetuses," and also the acting styles of Jamie Kennedy, so we're not sure for whom it will really be appropriate.

But while Lahren's role in that film would be enough to make anyone question just how committed she is to her alleged pro-choice stance, the recent news about de facto abortion bans in Alabama and Georgia has incited Lahren to speak out about her views once again.

On Twitter, Lahren opened herself up to "attack[s] by [her] fellow conservatives" and spoke out against the Alabama abortion ban as being "too restrictive." And, indeed, her "fellow conservatives" did quickly attack Lahren for not actually caring about human life, and for having too liberal a position on whether or not a woman should be forced to continue a pregnancy that resulted from rape. But then also, as Lahren must have known would happen, other people supported her for... not having one irredeemably monstrous position amongst her arsenal of irredeemably monstrous positions.

But, let's be clear: Tomi Lahren is not—no matter what she tweets—pro-choice, and neither is any supporter of the Republican Party. There is no doubt that there are Republicans who are in favor of safe access to abortion—particularly when it comes to themselves and their family members having said access. But by supporting the Republican Party, they are showing how little it actually matters to them, and showing what it is that they really prioritize over women's safety and freedom: namely, access to guns, bigoted immigration policies, the continued disenfranchisement of voters across the country. I could go on, but there's no need.

Lahren's tweet doesn't reveal in any way that she's an advocate for women's rights, all it reveals is her hypocrisy and that of anyone (Meghan McCain, hi), who would love to have a world created specifically for their needs, and who is willing to sacrifice the rights of the less privileged in order to secure their own. It is despicable and dangerous and incredibly predictable. But, at least, it might give Lahren something to talk about on the red carpet with her fellow anti-abortion movie costars, if that film ever gets more than a straight-to-video release.

If you want to find out how to help women have access to abortion, please visit here for information about donating and volunteering.

Diplo, Vince Staples, and Rico Nasty also appear

Lil Nas X went all out with the visuals for his hit "Old Town Road," tapping all of his newfound collaborators and friends, like Billy Ray Cyrus, Diplo, Vince Staples, and Rico Nasty, to star. The movie travels from 1889 Wild Wild West to the modern-day city outskirts, so saddle up and come along for the ride.

As the visuals start, Nas and Cyrus gallop away with a bag of loot, obviously having pulled off a heist. The trio of men on horseback that were in pursuit of them come to a halt, unable to catch up, and Chris Rock—the leader of the group—states, "When you see a Black man on a horse going that fast, you just gotta let him fly." Just as Nas and Cyrus think they're able to relax in stranger's home, it turns out the homeowner isn't so friendly. Nas jumps into a hole to escape, only to end up hundreds of years in the future on the other side.

Forget trying to figure out the logistics of time travel, and just embrace the hilarity of Nas' horse also having wound up there, and in peak racing condition. He impresses the locals not only in the race (with Vince Staples losing money in a bet against him) but with his sweet square dancing skills. Once he and Cyrus (yes, he time traveled too) trade out their old-timey duds for some fresh, rhinestone-adorned outfits, they enter a room playing bingo with Rico Nasty in it. Diplo is playing the washboard, I feel like I'm losing my mind, and this is probably the best music video I've watched this year.

Watch the movie for "Old Town Road" again and again, below.

Lil Nas X - Old Town Road (Official Movie) ft. Billy Ray Cyrus www.youtube.com

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Screenshot via YouTube

They really "don't care" about how this was edited, do they?

Ed Sheeran and Justin Bieber used the name of their song as inspiration for the "I Don't Care" music video, and have presented what is essentially a long blooper reel of the pair messing around with a green screen.

The visuals show how dedicated the two are to proving just how much they don't care, because I'm pretty sure they did the editing on this video as well. They dance around in costumes, as an ice cream cone, a panda, a teddy bear, and more. I have a clear vision of Bieber and Sheeran raiding a costume shop just an hour before setting up a tripod and going to town on this one. They also juxtapose their faces on top of a ballerina, a skydiver, and a corn inside the husk.

Blink, and you'll miss the funniest moment of all in the video: Ed Sheeran gets married to a cardboard cutout of a young Bieber with swoopy hair.

Watch the visuals for "I Don't Care" below.

Ed Sheeran & Justin Bieber - I Don't Care [Official Video] youtu.be

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Photo by Jena Cumbo

Her new LP, 'Take Me to the Disco,' is her most personal work yet

Meg Myers isn't afraid to admit she's still figuring out who she wants to be. Originally from Tennessee, Myers moved to Los Angeles at the age of 19 to dedicate her life to her music career. In 2012, she released her first EP, Daughter in the Choir, which set the groundwork for the releases of Sorry (2015) and Take Me to the Disco (2018). Well-known for her poetic lyrics, crude vocals, and cover of Kate Bush's "Running Up That Hill," the honest singer-songwriter makes a point to tell me that self-acceptance is a process. After listening to her deeply personal LP, Take Me to the Disco, I know she's not wrong.

In the middle of producing her new forthcoming music, the star opens up to NYLON: "I've always been able to channel [more painful moments in life] into my art. Music always stood out to me as the easiest way to capture all the emotions at once in one piece. Music for me is wild and free." It's clear that it is this fearlessness to self-reflect that not only makes her body of work so authentic but also what motivates her to continue to grow.

Below, we speak with Myers about her new music, self-love, and her ever-evolving relationship with creativity.

The Great Eros Pants, Chae New York top, Schutz shoes, and Via Saviene rings. Photos by Jena Cumbo

How did moving to Los Angeles influence the artist you are today?
I feel more safe here. I've been tapping more into my truth and expressing myself on a deeper level here. Growing up, my family was very chaotic, and I never knew what was about to happen. I have four brothers and a sister, and we grew up basically as best friends, making fun out of the chaos and always creating some type of art from it. I've always been able to channel [more painful moments in life] into my art.

Music always stood out to me as the easiest way to capture all the emotions at once in one piece. Music for me is wild and free.

What are some of your biggest influences?
I think all the barbecue and shrimp and grits [in Tennessee] really adds a smokiness to my music.

My queerness gives me a lot of material to create with. It's allowing me to be more playful and not take every little thing so seriously.

Silk Laundry jumpsuit, Wild Vertigga T-shirt, and Nakamol earring.Photo by Jena Cumbo

Tell me about your new music. Why is it different than anything you've ever created?
This EP is going to have a lot of similar vibes to my last album, because I wrote it at the same time with the same producer about a lot of the same struggles and self-discoveries as my past music. I'll share more with you on my third album.

I'm such a fan of your cover of Kate Bush's "Running Up That Hill." Why did you gravitate toward that song to cover?
It's such a powerful song! Kate Bush is magic. It's almost like I've been being guided to cover that song for a long time. I don't know how to explain it in words, as they can feel so limiting, and this song is beyond words to me. It's just a deep inner knowing, and it makes my heart flutter.


Chae NewYork blazer; Saku top, The Great Eros bottoms, and Inch2 boots.Photo by Jena Cumbo

Are there any other songs you feel really connected to?
I would love to collaborate with Active Child. The songs "Hanging On" and "Johnny Belinda" are also otherworldly to me. I've been listening to this band called Walk the Moon a lot. I also love Phoebe Bridgers. I have a crush on her. I generally listen to instrumental music and classical. If you look up 432hz music, it's incredibly healing, and solfeggio frequencies have helped me with a lot.

What does self-love mean to you?
It's been a process for me. It's been quite the journey. Right now, I would say [self-love for me] is about accepting myself, and having love for all the experiences that have led me to where I am. It also means being grateful for growth. It's also been about learning to be in the present moment. It's been learning to trust myself and not listening to what others think I need to be doing. As I learn to do this, I also learn how to love others deeper. All this being said, it's a process.

Chae New York blazer and Saku top.Photo by Jena Cumbo

What advice do you have for someone struggling to find happiness right now?
Spend some time in solitude if you can, or with a really safe person who you feel you can express yourself freely with. Find someone who has no expectations of you and is supportive. In that present moment, ask yourself, What feels good to you? What do you feel like doing? Use your imagination. Daydream. Find what it is you enjoy doing. I promise you can unlock magic inside yourself. It just takes patience.

*This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.

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