Palisadian’s Ayurvedic Bread Sells at Local Markets

By Jessie Levine
Special to the Palisades News

It should come as no surprise that an ancient Eastern philosophy, based in human connection with natural elements, should find a welcoming home in the environmentally beautiful Pacific Palisades. Surya Spa, based in the Palisades, is as “an authentic, artisan Ayurvedic Clinic offering consultations and traditional treatments, focusing on 3-to-21-day highly-personalized Panchakarma series.”

Palisadian Martha Soffer is an acclaimed 25-year Ayurvedic doctor, as well as therapist, Ayurvedic chef, Panchakarma and Marma specialist, and a herbalized oil and Rasayana artisan.

Soffer, who is originally from Colombia, first learned about Ayurveda 28 years ago, in Fairfield, Iowa, under the tutelage of Maharishi Ayurveda, and teachers such as Deepak Chopra.

After more studies in India, the Palisadian brought the 10,000-year-old system of healing from India to the Palisades with the help of her husband, Roger Soffer, and a small team of Surya Spa associates and Ayurvedic therapists.

Martha Soffer is an Ayurvedic doctor based in Pacific Palisades. Photo: Christian Ford, courtesy of Roger Soffer

Martha Soffer is an Ayurvedic doctor based in Pacific Palisades. Photo: Christian Ford, courtesy of Roger Soffer

In the simplest breakdown, Ayurveda is an ancient science of life, seeking to help people to live in balance with the three elemental substances, or ‘Doshas’: the fire element or ‘Pitta,’ the air element or ‘Vata,’ and the earth/water element or ‘Kapha.’

The ancient science was recently validated by the World Health Organization and popularized by Deepak Choprah. Local celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow, Jennifer Garner, Kourtney Kardashian, and Beck seek out the services of Soffer to live more balanced, healthy lives.

In fact, Beck sought out Martha’s expertise while recording his Grammy-winning album Morning Phase in 2015, perhaps highlighting the importance of Ayurvedic in helping individuals reach their truest selves and highest achievements.

Soffer’s personalized approach includes Ayurvedic consultations and oil treatments—she assesses clients by taking their Ayurvedic pulse and creates customized plans. All treatments are prepared individually, and include daily treatment oils, which are herbalized and cooked every night accord- ing to a client’s needs.

Another vitally important part to an Ayurvedic practice is diet. Roger told the Palisades News: “Food in Ayurveda is medicine, it is what makes us feel good or bad. Martha makes food that heals.”

Soffer originally began baking Ayurvedic breads for her clients who were in treatment. Recently, the breads have been attracting attention at local farmers markets and bakeries, such as the Palisades Farmers Market, the Brentwood Farmers Market and Huckleberry Bakery. Soon, the Ayurvedic bread will also be available at farmers markets in Sherman Oaks, Hollywood, Beverly Hills and Santa Monica.

The three varieties of bread are all gluten-free, grain-free and paleo, and aim to bal- ance the three Doshas.

The apple-date variety encompasses the cooling elements necessary to a person with an imbalance of the Pitta, or fire, Dosha. The almond-banana-walnut variety encompasses the calming elements necessary to those with imbalances of Vata, or air, Dosha. And the gingered-pear-turmeric variety encompasses the energizing elements necessary to those with Kapha, or earth element, imbalances. The different breads sell for $15 a loaf and can also be bought through the Surya Spa website.

The Soffers have two children, Pamela, who graduated from Princeton in May and Chris, who is studying at USC.

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