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on 28 September 2012
I stumbled across this book in a health food shop that stocks 'Pukka' products in February 2012. I have purposely waited some time before reviewing it 'just to be sure' that it really worked long term.
I was diagnosed with ME in 2008, (and therefore lost my NHS nursing career). I had tried many things in attempting to get better with no permanent improvement, so I decided it was worth a read. A lot of it, though a bit 'weird' to a registered nurse, actually tied in completely with the way my health had gradually deteriorated over a number of years and then suddenly went completely pear-shaped!
Admittedly I have gone above and beyond just reading the book and consulted the author privately, but the book gives good sound information and advice on how to help yourself.
I stick to the dietary advice he gave me, which is all in the book, the only problem would be if you don't clearly fall into one specific category in which case it may take a bit of trial and error to see what works for you. I also have herbal tonics that Sebastian makes according to how my symptoms are and see an acupuncturist locally, but hope to stop both these things soon. As a result, I have reduced my tablet intake from 17 a day to just 2x half tablets and also stopped both my inhalers.
Following the dietary recommendations makes a massive difference and my symptoms often recur in a fairly dramatic way when I get fed up and eat some of the things I used to love, (bread and red meat are really not my friends however much I might love them!). I am not miraculously 'cured', and an attempt to return to work backfired quite spectacularly in the Summer, but as long as I pace myself sensibly, eat what I should and follow the other advice about lifestyle, stress reduction, etc. I feel SO much better in myself that finally life feels ok again.
My case is a bit extreme so I think that, for most people, just eating according to their 'type' could be all they need to do to really improve any troubling symptoms. My previous medication was designed to mask rather than treat them but now I can usually keep them at bay myself. Sometimes we need to be a bit more open-minded and the advice in this book has done more to improve my quality of life than anything my GP (who is stunned by my improvement) could give me. The book lives by my bed so I can dip in and out when my 'brain fog' gets the better of me, but even that is much improved...the days of being stuck in the garage unable to remember how to unlock the door are long gone.
A lot of information for the cost of a couple prescription fees. Thank you Sebastian!
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on 1 January 2012
It's taken me a while to read this book because it's one of those that takes you off in different directions that then require some quiet time reflecting. I have enjoyed it immensely.

Sebastian Pole is the co-founder of Pukka Herbs which sells organic teas, herbal and ayurvedic remedies and massage oils. He is also a trained practioner in Ayurveda, Chinese Medicine and Yoga and runs a clinic in Bath.

Though you will find recipes on the Pukka website and a few within some chapters, this is not a cookbook. It is however a must read for those who want to cook and bake and eat in a way that is balanced for their lifestyle and natural constitution.

"The three constitutions are wind (vata), fire (pitta) and water (kapha). They destroy or maintain the body according to whether they are sick or healthy" Ashtanga Hridaya Samhitha

The first chapter helps you to determine and understand your Ayurvedic constitution or Dosha. You can also do this online but without much of the detail described in the book.

I spent the longest time reading the second chapter on Nourishment. The first few words made so much sense to me. They sum up this book and the outlook it provides on what you should eat, why and when.

"The life of all living beings is based on food, and all the world seeks food. complexion, clarity, good voice, long life, understanding, happiness, satisfaction, strength and intelligence all come from food."

Growing up in an Indian family I have subconsciously learned to consume food to suit the way my body is feeling at different times of the month and also eat food that works together or for a specific reason. For example, I never mix milk and naturally sour foods such as citrus or yoghurt. I know this will lead to tummy upsets or a headache. I never eat eggs when I am due to get my period because I know I'll get cramps. My Mum repeated many "rules" like this. This book helps you to understand WHY these rules are so.

Nourishment is about striking a balance that is right for your constitution. A balance that takes into account the food you eat but also how it is digested and the impact it has on your body. Firstly understanding that food can be healing but also poisonous (in the sense of harmful and damaging). Secondly understanding the six different tastes and what each of them are associated with and good for. Finally outlining the ingredients for a healthy diet and their specific properties in the The Pukka Larder. This is a fantastic library of botanicals which will help you build a list of foods you could be eating more of for your natural constitution.

The remaining chapters in this book address the different aspects of ayurvedic teaching and are fascinating insights into this way of living. I'm proud that it stems from my Indian heritage and thankful to Sebastian Pole for condensing it into one book written in simple language. It's almost as if he wrote this book to address the questions I have been asking the elders and priests in my community for years! For them, it's been a way of life. Rituals and routines they have grown up with without being able to explain the reasons why. Conversely I had constant moments of "Oh THAT'S why!" when I read this book. It's helped me to review many of my own beliefs about the association of botanical ingredients with nutrition and gain some great insights on some changes I want to make to rebalance myself.
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on 25 May 2012
If you want to live an Ayurvedic lifestyle and only want to buy one book, preferably without the mysterious sanskrit terms, then this is the one for you. I love how Sebastian manages to get a lifetime of considerable knowledge and experience into a book that is totally accessible to everyone without dumbing down. As an Ayurvedic practitioner I ask all my new patients to read the first 100 pages before they come to see and they turn up pretty well briefed! The book itself is a thing of beauty with sumptuous photography, high quality pages and sublime layout - all of which would be totally lost on a kindle version. In short I feel this is the best book on Ayurveda currently in print.
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on 12 April 2012
Excellent book, starting with the basics, but going into quite a bit of detail, so it is suitable for anyone with a basic interest and some knowledge of Ayurveda. Really clearly written and easy to read, not too "textbooky" but very interesting and informative.
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on 16 April 2012
I have read many books on Ayurveda but this is the best so-far. The information is detailed enough for comprehension but does not overwhelm. There is a good information on the specifics of constitution and how to determine type. This is supported by information on how to keep the Doshas balanced and healthy. There is a lot of information on diet, herbs and health and all presented in an attractive, readable book that also serves as a good reference source. I highly recommend it.
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on 24 October 2013
for anyone interested in Ayurveda, or just general health, this book is fantastic. It is so easy to digest, and poll explains the ayurvedic principals so well that regardless of your knowledge you will learn lots and be able to see these constitutions and traits in yourself, your friends and your family. i think this allows you be much more compassionate towards others, and understanding of the rule that every constitution is unique. there is no medicine for all, and it teaches you to listen to your body and how it is affected by the seasons, food, and the environment.
An excellent read.
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on 13 February 2012
This is full of really useful information, I've been looking for this book for years. It is informative,well laid out and all worth knowing to implement even a little in to our lives produces huge benefits. Great a must have.
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on 21 May 2012
The book arrived in perfect condition. It is beautifully written and very easy to understand.It is also very informative and is a true and exciting experience for those who wish to chose this lifestyle.
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on 1 February 2015
It is a very well writen book, the kindle copy is hard to read and for some reason it won't let me change the font though and so I would buy a paper copy unless they fix it.

I am a pitta dosha and the advice is pretty solid. I would also advise going to an Ayurvedic doctor and letting them diagnose you. I am dreaming of a panchakarma holiday in Kerala already!
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on 3 February 2014
The quality of the book is amazing, lovely look and feel. The content is easy to follow, with so much information packed in. For me as a newbie its perfect and helping me to coach myself through an Ayurveda approach.

Its a no nonsense book, simply presented. I delve into it daily as a resource, you can read from cover to cover, but also use it to jump into areas. LOVE!
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