James Cusati-Moyer, Slave Play Actor, Travels with a Suitcase of Tinctures and Herb Powders


Has that been a difficult adjustment after what was surely a rigorous schedule during Slave Play’s run?

I was on a strict eight-show-a-week schedule that was intense cardio, intense physical combat. So when I went to the gym, it was about cardio conditioning so I could keep up during the show, as well as flexibility and mobility to protect my knees and my joints, which have years of wear and tear. During a performance schedule, all of my energy had to be devoted to that performance, whether that was the gym prior to stretch and open up my body or the performance itself.

How do you eat to balance that out?

A typical day of eating is some sort of smoothie or shake in the morning. I’m not a big breakfast person, but I’m a big coffee person. I’m a very sensitive creature, so I have to be really careful about what I put into my body. I eat very clean. I try to stay away from any processed or already prepared foods. They make me pretty sick. I really mean it when I say that if I have a slice of pizza I will be very ill. It’s not just for vanity.

I follow essentially an anti-inflammatory diet. When I was in grad school, based on recommendations from the natural doctor that I was seeing, she recommended I follow the Blood Type Diet. I’ve followed that loosely—sometimes religiously—for the past couple years, and it’s transformed the way I eat. I limit inflammatory food like dairy, certain grains, gluten, processed sugars.

What else do you do to fight inflammation?

My body has a lot of different injuries I struggle with, so I require maintenance for my joints, which includes anti-inflammatory herbs like turmeric and probiotics for gut health. I’m a nerd when it comes to supplements and nutrition. Ask any of my friends, they call me the witch. All that I have to my name right now is three suitcases, and the third suitcase is filled with my supplements and herbs and tinctures that keep me healthy and sane. Some of it’s Chinese medicine, some is homeopathic. I turn to natural medicine and nutrition before anything else. I’m always giving friends recommendations about what to eat, how to feel good, what supplements to take to replenish the body. If I wasn’t an artist, I would definitely be a healer of some sort or go into nutrition.

Supplements are really just maintenance to combat the wear and tear of daily life. Choosing some sort of healthy fat, a B-complex, things that combat stress but also give your body fuel and brain power. A healthy probiotic to keep your gut healthy—which, as we’re learning, is sometimes the main culprit behind our mental health. Western medicine’s approach is, let’s treat the symptom and fix it, as opposed to getting to the root cause of the problem. That’s been my mission for my own body in the past couple years: let’s look at preventative medicine and health and nutrition and wellness as opposed to just treating a symptom that I may be having.

How did you discover natural medicine?

I was always fascinated with different herbs that my mom grew in the garden. She was very health conscious and was quite the fitness queen. I was incredibly unhealthy and overweight as a kid. So I fell into it by learning what my mom was doing in the garden. When I got into my late teens and twenties, I struggled a lot to maintain balance in my life. I was drinking and partying like a normal 20-something, but I always felt like shit and I knew it wasn’t for me. I started becoming curious about natural ways I could rejuvenate and replenish my system. It was just spending time in natural food stores, asking questions, doing my own research. I finally felt well again.



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