I recently met with Jackson Hole native Ariel Mann, gold medal-winner of the JH Weekly’s “Best of Jackson Hole” Best Yoga Instructor award and owner of Jackson Hole Wellness. Ariel is an athlete of all seasons, a nutritionist, and a fabulous person.
My goal in meeting with her was to score some power-food recipes and information on the how-to’s of eating as a ski bum athlete. I had questions about what to eat, when to eat and why.
I was searching for answers, and Ariel was ready. Only … her advice was not what I was expecting to hear. I kept asking Ariel for hard and fast rules, and she kept dodging my questions — and repeating her answer until finally, I stopped to listen: “Everyone’s body is different,” she said, “and everyone should be feeding themselves in a different way.”
Ariel is a nutritionist schooled in the 5,000-year-old school of Ayurvedic medicine, and according to this practice, there are no eating “rules” set into Diet Commandment Stone; the rules are different for every individual person. The idea behind Ayurveda is that there are three basic body/energy types (or doshas): vata, pitta, and kapha. The dosha that a person will primarily fall into is based on their body shape, personality (personal energy) and ancestral heritage. For example, people who fall in the vata dosha tend to be slim, and they usually have a kind of “hummingbird” quality, always moving about. Vatas usually have drier skin and hair, and they often find themselves feeling cold. So if you happen to be fall into the vata dosha, you’ll do well to feed yourself a warming diet: heavy, oily, rich and seasoned foods (think: avocados instead of apples, olive-oil braised beef versus light and grilled fish).
The ideal strived for in the practice of Ayurveda is to find balance in life, and that is achieved when you, as a person, take responsibility for your own body. Trust your own instincts and cravings, and feed yourself in line with those items.
“People need to learn how to read their own bodies,” Ariel explained. “Eat with consciousness; notice the way that you feel after you eat a carb-loaded breakfast as opposed to a protein-heavy meal, and go with the one that literally makes you feel better.” It’s a lifelong try-this-try-that process, really, of getting to know yourself.
Use it as such, and then make it your own: if you’re trying to avoid sugar, go for pretzels in the recipe instead of chocolate chips. If you want more protein, add the suggested protein power. Make a batch of your custom bars, divide them up into power pack portions, and freeze or refrigerate them for quick grab-and-go future use. Fuel yourself well, and enjoy your outdoor adventures in this gorgeous Jackson spring!
Total cost of power bar ingredients: $18. Yield: 12 large power bars. Cost per nutrition-packed bar: $1.50. This is a no-brainer deal for the Ski Bum Kitchen budget.