Author: Dr. Vatsala Sperling, MS, PhD, PDHom, CCH, RSHom
Publisher: Healing Arts Press, Rochester, Vermont, USA.
ISBN: 978-1-64411-130-7 (print)
Paper back, 150 pages, black and white.
Dr. Vatsala Sperling, Ph.D moved to the United States in the mid 1990’s but her heart never strayed far from her native India. She literally internalized the timeless lessons of Ayurveda and has distilled them into her new book, The Ayurvedic Reset Diet, Radiant Health Through Fasting, Mon-Diet And Smart Food Combining.
In the pages of this book, Vatsala shares a simple method rooted deep in Ayurveda for restoring proper balance and function to the digestive tract and paving the way for maximum gut health. In my experience, this is the first book to systematically walk readers through an ingenious, easy- to- follow light fasting regimen using eight, six and one-week protocols designed to rest, rejuvenate and recharge your digestive organs.
As a homeopath, Vatsala took very seriously the words of Dr. Samuel Hahnemann, the founder of Homeopathy, about food as a maintaining cause of many illnesses.
“While inquiring into the state of chronic disease, the particular circumstances of the patient with regard to his ordinary occupation, his usual mode of living and diet, his domestic situation and so forth, must be well considered and scrutinized, to ascertain what there is in them that may tend to produce or to maintain disease, in order that by their removal the recovery may be prompted.” Aphorism # 94, The organon of the medical art.
This aphorism became her foundation as she inquired into the diet and life style of her clients and came to realize that the remedies will indeed have a better chance of working favorably, when the maintaining cause related to faulty food intake is removed.
At this point, she drew upon her childhood experience of growing up with Ayurveda at home and tried to find a fitting point where her clients with food-related maintaining causes could be helped by the Ayurvedic Reset Diet, a technique of fasting and eating that aids in resetting the gut.
And this reset couldn’t come soon enough. Here in America, unlike India, we don’t have an established tradition of holistic medicine, going back several millennia. We need guidance from people like Dr. Sperling who are steeped in ancient knowledge drawn from a culture in which there is a reverence for food, which is seen as a form of medicine.
With her unique perspective, Vatsala tells us how both plant and animal-based food became industrialized with the advent of technology. Chemical-laden foods now sat on shelves for prolonged periods of time, destroying prana, nature’s vibration, along with its nutritional value.
With frozen foods, seasonal items became available year-round, sacrificing quality and freshness. She points out that we can eat watermelon in the winter and rutabagas in the summer, and this is obviously a violation of the natural order and seasonality.
According to Dr. Sperling, other violations are related to massive urbanization. Unlike our hunter-gatherer ancestors, we no longer had to walk out in the fields and forests to obtain our food, making us much more sedentary.
Artificial lighting tampered with our circadian rhythms allowing us to break a vitally important law of nature which dictates one should be awake before the sun comes up and asleep when the sun goes down. As a result, insomnia and infertility are rampant as people stay up due to artificial lighting which upsets the normal release of hormones since the glandular system can no longer discern if it is day or night.
We are also plagued with skyrocketing levels of autoimmune diseases, cancer, and heart disease. We have epidemics of health problems unheard of a hundred years ago: SIBO, fibromyalgia, food allergies, autism, Hashimoto’s, speech and motor delays in our children. Almost any person you meet on the street could give you a laundry list of symptoms which plague them from morning until night.
But relief is on the way: In her new book, Dr. Sperling gives us all the recommendations we need to reset our physiologies to get back to the glowing health we crave. By light fasting for two days a week followed by eating a mono diet of only one specific food at a time, she guides us through a process which will help to restore a smooth-functioning digestive tract while cleaning the gut to allow for proper absorption of nutrients and elimination of wastes.
She allays the fears of anyone afraid of the idea of fasting, by explaining how the fasting and mono-diet is different than starvation and how eating a mono-diet of vegetables and fruits allows the gut a period of time to regroup from all the rich foods we dump into it on a daily basis.
As the author notes, Ayurveda stands the test of time, being over 5,000 years old. The ancient healers cognized this system of natural health from a very high state of consciousness.
The basic tenets of Ayurveda are sound and unchanging (unlike our modern research) and we can follow the Ayurvedic principles with confidence. They are unlike some of the questionable diet fads and detox methods that come and go so frequently.
Sperling describes her upbringing in India, where she ate healthy home-cooked meals and enjoyed optimum health. However, on special holidays, deep-fried and heavier treats were allowed, which caused digestive upset, bloating and diarrhea. But undergoing a period of light fasting followed by a mono diet quickly reset the digestive tract so that one no longer had to suffer the consequences of such rich food.
She contrasts her experience growing up in India eating local, seasonal and indigenous home-cooked foods with our highly processed diet, the latter creating our ill health. Like a guide in the wilderness, Dr Sperling leads us out of the thicket of ignorance and into a clearing of knowledge.
At an early age she learned about viruddha ahara, the Ayurvedic science of incompatible foods and how it can upset our delicately balanced digestive tracts. The book brilliantly and effortlessly discusses a better way to mix and combine foods which will result in enhanced digestion and assimilation of nutrients to help the body grow and repair itself.
By the end of the reset period, you will experience improvements in your overall health as your cholesterol and blood sugar normalize. You will even be able to taste food much better and will feel that you have finally taken control over your own health as you are able to do this on your own.
I applaud Dr. Sperling for delivering sometimes dense and heavy information in a truly light and easy to understand way, giving her readers the inspiration that yes, they can do this, it is easy to follow and the rewards will be worth it.
Sperling has written a book whose time has come. It is indeed a pleasure to read a book of such homespun wisdom, beautifully interwoven with modern research. Because of her efforts, I hope that Ayurveda will gain a stronger foothold in America.