By Trupti S
In today’s fast-paced era, modern lifestyle combined with bad eating habits and physical inactivity pose a serious risk to human health. Especially, a modern woman's life has become multi-dimensional and more complex. From puberty to womanhood, from motherhood to menopause, a woman’s body experiences a series of changes as do her roles and responsibilities. Either due to lack of knowledge and / or unhealthy lifestyle, many women often suffer from common diseases and disorders. If these conditions are not resolved or managed in timely fashion, they turn into chronic ailments. The purpose of this article is to describe how women can lead a youthful, productive, and physically efficient life while managing chronic ailments by following naturopathy remedies to heal themselves.
I am a tech worker living in Silicon Valley with my family. I have suffered from chronic eczema and pre-obesity (overweight) conditions throughout my adult life. This article provides insights on how Sattv journey helped me overcome these health challenges by adapting a healthier natural diet.
Pitfalls of modern lifestyle and rise of chronic diseases
Before I discuss my Sattv journey, let’s look at what modern lifestyle is doing to mankind. According to the World Health Organization 71% of all deaths worldwide happen due to chronic diseases such as health attack, stroke, cancer, respiratory ailments, and diabetes. These diseases affect people of all age groups, regions, and countries. Many people think having chronic diseases is a part of human life and the aging process. People often fail to retrospect and analyze the common patterns of unhealthy lifestyle responsible for the rise of chronic diseases.
I observed a prominent pattern that over the last couple of centuries across the globe, the human population went from consuming mainly fresh agricultural produce to a more processed, calorie-dense and long-lasting packaged food. As a result, many people eat too much and eat improperly. Most of us are not even aware that the root cause of all these ailments lies not only in our genes and environmental exposure but also mainly in our lifestyle and eating habits. Modern healthcare practices do educate us about preventive methods a little bit but mainly rely on combative methods of treatment using a plethora of pharmaceutical drugs and surgical operations to fight diseases. Often the symptoms are treated temporarily, and diseases return because patients fail to make healthy lifestyle changes. Unfortunately, the cycle of disease, treatment and recurrence becomes a vicious cycle that often people find hard to break.
Role of microbiome in human health
Understanding that microbiomes are our friends and not foes when it comes to the human gut health was the first step in the Sattv journey. One of the guest speakers at Sattv educated all participants about how healthy and unhealthy gut microbiomes can affect our overall health and how to restore the balance. Most importantly I understood the connection between food that I ate, microbiome, and their imbalance leading to chronic inflammatory conditions such as eczema and pre-obesity. I highly recommend watching the presentation “Microbes, Our Friends” by Microbiologist: Dr Rashmi Kulkarni (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ewkwZMp4quI) to understand the scientific details. Unfortunately, symbiosis between microbes and health is a less explored area in modern healthcare research.
Benefits of raw veganism
The next step was to start incorporating vegan raw food in my diet slowly. Special emphasis was given to food that was made readily available by nature in the form of fruits, fruit-vegetables like avocado, cucumbers, pumpkin etc.
In the early weeks, due to the consumption of raw spinach and beet roots, I experienced diarrhea like symptoms as my body was not used to raw vegetables. As per the advice by Sattv mentors, I learnt to gently sauté these vegetables in coconut oil and consumed them within an hour of cooking. I relished all fruits such as apple, berries, papaya, oranges, melons, and certain vegetables and roots such as cucumber, carrots, avocado, coconuts in their natural state. I either steamed or sautéed gently in coconut oil vegetables such as asparagus, green beans, sweet potato, okra, brussels sprouts, kale, beetroot, and spinach.
I was advised to make my own rainbow plate by adding fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds of various colors. Nuts, dried fruits, and seeds provided healthy fats and made me feel fuller.
As a caution, I was asked to avoid all nightshade vegetables as they contain small quantities of neurotoxin. Lentils and beans soaked for several hours and cooked in an open pot were allowed.
Throughout my Sattv journey I didn’t miss dairy, gluten, meat, and eggs at all. I kept craving for fresh fruits and vegetables. Many people who are used to cooked food may think raw salads are tasteless but honestly speaking if one learns the art of including raw vegetable salads, seasonal fruits, nuts, and sprouts, then one can experience a nourishing, flavorful, and joyful meal. Cooked and processed food used to make me lethargic after meals. We commonly know that state as a food coma. But after eating fresh natural diet, my lethargy disappeared. Natural foods have high levels of micronutrients and digestive enzymes. They are easy to digest compared with cooked food and help remove toxins from our body. I observed that with a natural diet, even if I wanted, I could not overeat. The dietary fiber in natural food provided a sense of fulfillment without overeating. As a result, I lost almost 20 lb in 8-10 weeks. To get relief from the eczema breakouts, I applied neem and coconut oil on my skin on alternate days and aloe vera occasionally. I consumed raw coconut flesh; mint-cucumber juice as advised by Sattv mentors to initiate the healing of my cracked skin. In the 10th week, finally I got relief from dry and itchy skin and my chronic condition became manageable. Raw food helped me achieve a healthy acid-alkaline balance.
Mindfulness and yoga practice
All participants were encouraged to participate in daily hour-long yoga and mindfulness
sessions conducted almost thrice a day to accommodate Sattv family members in all time zones. Each day’s yoga session brought a unique rejuvenating yet peaceful experience. I especially enjoyed practicing the following twisting poses:
· Half lord of the fishes- Ardha matsyendrasana
· Supine spinal twist- Supta matsyendrasana
· Revolved triangle- Parivrtta trikonasana
· Cow face pose- Gomukhasana
· Eye of the needle- Sucirandhrasana
· Belly twist- Jathara Parivartanasana
· Seated twisted forward bend- Paschimottanasana
Yogic twists are good for detoxification of the body. I found it useful while my dry and itchy skin was getting healed.
My key learnings during Sattv journey
By following the natural diet, I learned drug-free strategies to manage eczema, I experienced effortless weight loss, freedom from lethargy, and deep serenity within me. I believe this pandemic has given us a unique opportunity to reflect on our unhealthy habits and lifestyle that are not in sync with mother nature. By adopting an environmentally friendly natural diet, we can become our best version as well as each one of us can take a step towards saving our planet from the rapidly happening climate change.
Please keep in mind, there is no silver bullet. Any change is hard, and it takes time to act on it. Be patient with yourself and the program. I would urge all participants to be open minded, ask questions and do your own scientific research to verify the facts. Let a happy gut lead you to a sharper brain, calmer mind, and energetic body!