rē•spin your supplement regimens to suit your dosha type
It's Time to Meet the Creator of Chill the F* Out
Meet Shizu Okusa, founder and Wellth Advisor of Apothékary, a popular line of Ayurvedic supplements whose cheeky branding is capturing wellness-loving hearts across the States. (With blends like Chill the F* Out and You Dew You, need we say more?) The Wall Street-turned-wellness executive’s backstory entails a gradual professional shift that took place as she learned to prioritize wellness first. “After years in the fast-paced and inherently unhealthy world of Wall Street, I left to pursue a more centered lifestyle, one that focused more on balance, mindfulness, wellness, and self-care,” Okusa says. This journey inspired her to earn certifications in Ayurvedic Medicine and Yoga Teacher Training while in Bali, Indonesia, eventually taking the leap into wellness entrepreneurship.
Apothékary is her second successful wellness venture, through which she seeks to “modernize the apothecary experience and create a Farmacy of the Future, one that uses food as medicine, while bridging Eastern and Western wellness practices.” This indie gem was an organic development in her own pursuit of wellness; it was after giving her own life a rē-spin to make everyday wellness her reality that she founded Apothékary to make this pro-wellness shift possible for the rest of us.
What Makes Up These Supplements?
“Apothékary products use a combination of roots, herbs, and superfoods — some of which are adaptogens — that have known benefits in both traditional Asian medicine and are also backed by clinical research and food science,” Okusa says. She goes on to explain that adaptogens are plants that have been used for centuries in Chinese and Ayurvedic healing traditions as mother nature’s medicine. “They are typically herbs or roots that help us ‘adapt’ to all kinds of stressors and bring us back to homeostasis,” she notes of their ability to help ‘buffer’ the body from the myriad sources of stress that take the mind, body, and spirit out of alignment. With each product, a Daily Dose™ of food-as-medicine can be added to your coffee or smoothies scoop-by-scoop.
As mentioned, the blends are rooted in Ayurveda, what she calls the “sister science” to yoga. “In its simplest form, Ayurveda is an ancient form of personalized wellness and is the ‘nutrition’ counterpart to the ‘movement’ component, AKA yoga,” she tells rē•spin. “Ayurveda helps us understand our unique needs and create sustainable habits to address them.”
One of the things she was initially drawn to about Ayurveda is the way it tailors “medicine” to the individual’s needs, as opposed to the “one size, fits all” solution that can feel limiting and alienating. “When I first read about the Ayurvedic archetypes, the Doshas, I was literally brought to tears,” she says. “On a personal level, the interplay of Vata and Pitta Dosha so accurately articulated my health, my strengths, my weaknesses. I felt like I was talking to a trusted friend, not reading about a 5,000-year-old system of medicine.”
Although she admittedly loves numbers, she found herself increasingly turned-off by Western medicine’s occasional tendency to depersonalize the experience of wellness and medicine through statistics-driven studies that can override the personal experience of, well, feeling like an outlier. By contrast, she felt that Ayurveda celebrated and validated personal differences through a classification system called the Doshas.
“The three Doshas — Kapha (earth/water), Pitta (fire/water), and Vata (air/ether) — represent three general archetypes that can be used to describe people, seasons, weather, situations, and relationships,” Okusa explains. The word itself translates to mean constitution and helps provide individuals with clues as to what their specific body types, dispositions, and even eye shape can indicate in terms of wellness needs. We all contain each of the Doshas in different ratios, with one or two predominating over the other(s).
Figuring out which ones predominate in you provides clues as to how to address and prevent imbalances that we are predisposed to in the face of external (and internal) stressors. “Once we understand which Dosha is most present in our general constitution, we can understand which aspects of our personality or routine are most likely to get out of balance, and we can take action to keep our three Doshas in balance.” If you’re curious about which of the traditional Ayurvedic Dosha types are predominant in you, you can take their Fix Finder Quiz to find out.
When Food Is Medicine, Sourcing Matters
Whenever selecting your supplements, it is important to vet your suppliers and put meticulous effort into sourcing; hence the appeal of shopping from a brand you can trust. In fact, Okusa went through an extensive, yearlong process to find the best quality ingredients for the line. “I flew to Asia for some vendor meetings, quality checks, and lots of sampling, studies, and research around the efficacy and Certificates Of Analyses on the potency of adaptogens,” she explains.
Mushrooms, for example, are extremely popular right now, from Reishi to Chaga to Lion’s Mane. But how they are sourced and preserved is what determines their medicinal potency. Okusa points out that they must be high quality, organic, and freeze-dried — not cooked, distilled, or overly processed — to ensure their efficacy when added to liquid. Secondly, she goes for extracts, and not simply dried herb powders, which makes for a much more powerful sample. Finally, the part of the mushroom used is relevant. “Functional mushroom benefits are derived from their active compounds AKA beta-glucans, which are found in abundance in the mushroom fruiting body itself, and less so in the mycelium,” she explains. “This is super critical!” Hence she went to great lengths to source the “fruit” of the mushroom (as opposed to the spores or mycelium).
Which to Try First?
Now that you know more about what you’re getting when you try out a blend from Apothékary, here are some tips on which blends to consider. If you want recommendations according to your Dosha Type, simply take the quiz above. But as a general rule, simply seek balance. “Herbal wellness, grounded in Ayurveda, Traditional Chinese Medicine, and Kampo, is all about balance and finding a routine, or Daily Dose™, unique to your personal lifestyle and wellness needs,” she says. Accordingly, seek a calming blend that includes an herb like Ashwagandha or Reishi if you’re feeling wired or stressed, or something more stimulating — like Mind Over Matter — if you need an energizing pick-me-up. But they even have blends for skin clearing, creativity, sleep, and mood improvement! Simply tune-in to yourself, and take your pick from there…