Sasha Bayat is a co-founder and operating owner of The Bodhi as well as a nutritionist. Sasha saw a need for healthy and affordable food, which resulted in her opening The Bodhi in Tempe, a place where she can serve food with purpose and educate others on how food can be medicine. Read more about Sasha…
Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA
First job: Oh my gosh, Panera like 13 years ago! My dad made me get it. I was initially so mad that I had to work, but it taught me how to work hard in the food industry from a young age.
Favorite AZ restaurant: Olive and Ivy, without a doubt. Arizona boasts an exponential birth in new eateries, but Olive and Ivy remains my anchor of perfection. I love their take on Mediterranean food in combination with a beautiful and inviting atmosphere. You can go there for brunch to catch up with friends or for a celebratory dinner. It is perfect for any occasion.
Person who has impacted your life the most: My partner. I had a minor stroke 3 years ago and it was a roller coaster of emotions in the attempts of re-learning myself and the world. He extended patience, compassion, and the utmost understanding through everything. There were so many times that I was inherently fearful of the world [in the healing process], and he held my hand as I walked through the storm to the light. The beautiful thing is that he shares these qualities with every single human being that he crosses paths with. He is a light of motivation, relentless drive, unconditional love, and compassion. He works side by side with every human being to lift them up.
Your biggest accomplishment in your eyes: Stepping out of what I thought I had to be in order to become who I was. Some people grow up with a sense of who they should be imprinted into their brain. I toyed with medical school for so long, despite my passion for nutrition. I tried everything to make medical school happen, but every new street that I took ended up being a dead end. After my stroke, I focused on food as medicine, and the moment that I shifted my path from medicine to nutrition, so many doors opened up. I became a health coach immediately, I opened Bodhi (with the help of my partners) – a fast casual nutrition focused concept-, and I started my own nutrition consulting practice. I am so much happier now that I honored who I really was inside.
The biggest obstacle you have overcome: Healing from my stroke naturally. There were a lot of doctors that prescribed me different remedies after my stroke, none of which aligned with who I was. I suffered from PTSD (thinking that I would wake up with another stroke), anxiety (which I never had before), and high blood pressure; I didn’t want to take any medications. My vision was that I would be able to run again and that I would help individuals in destitute countries who had little or no access to health care and nothing was going to stop me from getting there. It was the hardest road I’ve ever taken. Every day was a challenge, from getting out of my bed to interacting with others. I had a constant fear in the back of my mind that I was just going to collapse over again and see the world slip away from me at any moment.
I knew that in order to get to the other side of the storm, I had to get through it. How was I going to get stronger without knowing where my weaknesses were? After 3 years, I can definitely say that I am in that place. You can do anything that you set your mind to.
Someone who inspires you: So many! My mother inspires me. She has always worked double and triple time to ensure that my sister and I could go to school and enjoy life. She carries the weight of the world on her shoulders and still offers unconditional love and care to every single human. She just radiates beauty. Mothers are amazing human beings. Albert Einstein is one of my favorite human beings and very inspirational. He observed the world and shared his reflections through the medium of love. I think that every single human being can offer us something to learn about ourselves in order to grow. Every human being is inspiring.
Favorite quote: “Everything you want is on the other side of fear.”
Advice to someone pursuing a career path in what you do: Learn everything. There is so much conflicting evidence in the field of nutrition (and medicine). Research everything. Keep pushing. Sometimes things get challenging, but at the end of the day, that is all it is: a challenge. You are human and you can get through anything. Just follow what you want to do.
What makes someone fabulous: Having love for yourself and everyone around you; they are a reflection of you. Honoring what you really want to do. When you do, your light shines out naturally.