Original interview published in Well+Good NYC, January 30, 2012.
Yogi-psychologist Ashley Turner is used to helping people deal with their issues while they’re flowing through sequences on a yoga mat or while they’re reclined on a chaise lounge. (Okay, actual chaise lounge in her office unconfirmed. But don’t all therapists have them?)
Turner also just released her first book, Aroma Yoga, which outlines why (and how) you should accompany your yoga with essential oils. Hint: the powerful oils have a positive effect on mood and emotions.
Speaking of mood-regulation, the friendly Californian says food can help with that, too. So Turner let us psychoanalyze her fridge. We noted an obsession with greens in all forms and a proclivity for probiotics. Here’s what else we uncovered:
You’re a yogi and a psychologist—is your diet impacted by those roles at all?
Oh, yeah. I’m just so aware of the effect of nutrition on the thoughts that we think. Not eating well-balanced meals can make you feel terrible, as can eating unprocessed and organic and fresh. Not just physically, but mentally and emotionally. Alcohol and certain foods—mostly the highly processed ones—can literally give you depressive thoughts.
Is there anything in your fridge you eat every day for mental health or health in general?
Avocado is a staple, and probiotic supplements. I also always start the morning with a tonic. It has apple cider vinegar, raw honey, half a lemon squeezed, and warm water. Then, I put 10-15 drops of trace minerals in, and food-grade hydrogen peroxide. It helps clear out any bacteria or viruses. It’s just really good for digestion and elimination.
You sound incredibly health conscious. Is that why your fridge has an insane amount of greens in it? How do you eat them all before they go bad?
Unfortunately, I don’t always eat them before they go bad! But greens are definitely always my go-to. When I’m cooking for myself at home, the first thing I do is steam or lightly saute some kind of green, whether its kale, spinach, collards, etc. I also do a green smoothie a lot that I love. And, salads! Whatever’s in my fridge, I’ll just make a salad out of that.
What’s in the beige bottle next to the Perrier on the top shelf?
That’s coconut Kefir water—we’re big on the probiotics!
How about the bottle in the middle of the top shelf? Is that a green juice?
It’s actually a chlorophyll-based drink with agave. It’s made by Gorilla Life. Along with all the greens, it looks like you stock up on eggs. I just like to have them on hand because they’re such a clean source of protein. I’ll put one or two in a smoothie to get my protein and fat, or I’ll scramble them for a quick lunch. Often, I’ll hard boil a half-dozen and just have them in there all week. So if I’m on the go, I’ll just grab one.
What do you do with the coconuts? Drink the water? Eat the meat?
We use the whole thing. Honestly, my boyfriend is obsessed with coconut. Every morning we’ll have a smoothie, and if he makes it, he puts all the meat in. I don’t always use all of the meat because of the fat. Then we just add whatever we have—acai, banana, blueberries, greens—it’s just a quick, easy meal.
What’s your general food philosophy?
In yoga, we use the term “sattvic” for foods that have the most possible life force—and benefit. Those that are the least processed and are clean and pure. I aim for those. I’m not perfect: I have wine once or twice a week, but I can certainly see the effect when I do. I don’t have judgement around it—the aim is to understand your biology and live optimally.
—Lisa Elaine Held