31: Jovanka Ciares: Reclaiming Wellness in Living Your Best Life

by neeta bhushan


Hey fam, welcome back for another episode of The Brave Table! Today’s guest is Jovanka Ciares, a best-selling author, wellness expert, integrative herbalist, nutrition educator, and coach. Jovanka’s here to talk about optimizing your health through your ancestry and Mother Nature, how you can be brave in making better choices for yourself or when speaking to loved ones about improving their health, and to give us the scoop on her latest book, Reclaiming Wellness: Ancient Wisdom for Your Healthy, Happy, and Beautiful Life

What you’ll get out of this episode… 

– What is herbalism and why it’s the easiest thing you can do to reclaim your health

– How to find balance in your health instead of taking an all or nothing approach

– What herbs, fungi, and adaptogens you can take to have more energy 

– What do when you feel defeated by your diagnosis and when Western medicine has failed you 

– What it means to reclaim your ancestry and what your elders can teach you about your health and diet

– How to have tough conversations with family members and loved ones when you’re concerned about their health and what steps you can take to help them 

– What is the “Reduce and Replace” method, and how to use it to foster better habits

I met Jovanka at Burning Man right after I sold my practice, and she was exiting a big-time career as an exec in the entertainment industry. We realized we had so much in common: we were both ending our first marriages, we were total type A queens learning how to loosen the reigns on our perfectionism, and we were both on the path of searching for something that felt more aligned with this next stage of our evolution. 

For Jovanka, that journey started with completely burning out. Born in Puerto Rico, she moved to New York for work, where she quickly climbed the corporate ladder. However, the long days and fast pace had her body falling apart, and she experienced a host of unpleasant and “incurable” conditions like IBS, fibroids, and ulcers. Refusing to believe there was no way to feel better, she traveled around the world to learn about ancient medicines and healing practices—like Ayurveda, Traditional Chinese Medicine, and Western herbalism—and used them to heal herself of all her disorders. 

Jovanka realized the healing modalities she was discovering were nothing new; they were passed down from our ancestors and became lost in our hyper externalized, materialized, and medicalized society. As a woman of color, she felt she needed to be a voice for these medicines (many of which originated among communities of color) and encourage people to reclaim their ancestry and their birthright to good health. 

Her latest book, Reclaiming Wellness: Ancient Wisdom for Your Healthy, Happy, and Beautiful Life, explores today’s most effective wellness practices—and their multicultural sources—in a way that makes health accessible to all. It includes practical ways to incorporate plant-based whole foods into even the most hectic routines, gentle movements you can make that are centered around self-love rather than exercise, mindfulness techniques, and more. Jovanka gives us a taste of some of the most successful tips from her book in this episode, so tune in!

While you listen, I’d love for you to contemplate how you can incorporate healthy changes into your own life to optimize your wellbeing. Can you be brave enough to challenge some of our ideas and beliefs about health in Western medicine and try another way? Even if it’s as simple as trying a new herb or meditation. Or, if you feel like you’ve got your health on lock, maybe you can muster up the courage to share this information with a loved one whose health has you concerned and spread some new knowledge into their life that could help them out? 

If you liked this episode, then be sure to check out… 

– Check out her website https://www.jovankaciares.com/ and on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/jovankaciares 

– Grab a copy of her book Reclaiming Wellness: Ancient Wisdom for Your Healthy, Happy, and Beautiful Life on Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Reclaiming-Wellness-Ancient-Healthy-Beautiful/dp/1608687848 

– Learn about animal medicine with Alyson Charles https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/alyson-charles-awakening-your-inner-wisdom-as-the/id1608226580?i=1000552682079

– Using your passion to build a career as a woman of color https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/payal-kadakia-being-brave-in-building-your-lifepass/id1608226580?i=1000553155461 

Before you go, I want to make sure you know about my new Burnout Kit. So many of you have told me you’re feeling run down and need something to help you get out of your slump. Well, I have just the tool for you!

These journal prompts are FREE and will help you get to the root cause of your burnout so you can start to take the action steps to get back to your usual, energized, and vibrant self! Grab your free copy today at https://globalgrit.co/burnoutkit. Thanks for being here, and see you next time!


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