11374Self care to earth care
- Jan 10, 2011Dear all,
When we cook we destroy nutrients and denature enzymes.
I was introduced to natural diet by one Dr. Vijaya Venkat of Mumbai in Jan last year.
My 20 year cholesterol which was attributed as genetic is now under control for the first time without any medication.
Food is indeed medicine.
She has turned my life into care from cure.
I reproduce one of her interviews here for the benefit of all:
What I basically do is to encourage people to understand health in terms of care and not cure. It has become a trend to run to doctors for every small thing. But it is this reliance on medical systems, which is keeping us from good health. Here I include not just allopathy, but even the so-called alternatives, such as homoeopathy and ayurveda. In fact, I question the 6000-year-old perception of human health only in terms of interventional therapy to cure diseases.
We have to wake up from this attitude of neglecting the body’s existence with the belief that someone else will take care of it. This way we undermine the body’s tremendous capacity to take care of itself. Our approach has to change from one arising out of fear to one based on faith.
Health is not the absence of disease; rather absence of health is disease. Also, understand that death and disease are not connected. In fact, I say, celebrate disease because it is the living body’s way of correcting imbalance.
On a macro level, the basics of health care also translate into community care and earth care. We have to see all of life as a whole, because we are all integrated and connected and there is absolutely no scientific legitimacy to look at things in fragmentation.
So where does food fit into this?
Health and life are synonymous and nutrition is the process by which these are maintained. But besides food, nutrition includes certain other fundamentals such as fresh air, nature, sleep, rest, mental poise and involvement in socially productive and protective activities. As they say, it all depends on aahar (diet), vihar (environment) and vichaar (thinking).
Thus nutrition is our capacity to integrate energy through food, the environment and our thoughts. But food is also a good example for me to drive home the point of self-care as being synonymous with earth care.
Could you elaborate?
An area of land used for growing fruit trees will be far more productive in terms of output, than the same area used for any other food crops, tea, coffee, sugar, etc. Moreover, growing fruit is a sustainable venture for the farmer, as once the trees grow they are less susceptible to the vagaries of nature. It is an example of a socially productive and protective enterprise.
Fruits also cause the least drain on the soil, and thus are an ecologically sound proposition. Other foods draw energy from the earth and similarly deplete our body’s energy when we consume them. Thus fruits are the only crop that releases good energy at the macro and micro level.
Instead, wrong choices and priorities in food production, as well as harmful processing techniques are draining our resources. Immunisation, iodisation and irradiation are wreaking havoc on us, depleting the vital energy of the body and earth. If peace is what we want to gift our children, how can it happen when we are sowing violence in our own bodies and in the earth?
Then, what kind of food is healthy?
Food is a genetically designed pattern in nature. It is always species specific, meaning that each organism has its own food. Physically and anatomically, humans are fruitarians, ideally meant to live on a diet of fruits. Besides fruits, vegetables, nuts and sprouts fulfill our dietary needs. Forget animal products such as meat, eggs and milk, even cereals, being acid-forming, are as far as possible, avoided. Wheat, especially, should be completely given up.
An unnatural diet comprising these also induces us to drink more water. Medical opinion recommending unrestrained drinking water is highly misguided, and by doing so we end up diluting the natural metabolism of the body and overloading the kidneys. A right diet, rich in fruits and vegetables, fulfills the body’s need for fluids so that, to counter thirst, we just need to sip a little water.
Even generally, one should always have cooked meals with plenty of salads and lemon. Have fruit separately, keeping a gap of half an hour before and three hours after eating anything else. And finish your meals before sunset.
The right kind of food, by preserving the energy of the body, pushes the body towards right actions.
Is it possible to maintain good health while caught up in today’s hectic life?
Of course it is. I myself live by the precepts I propagate and there are many others who are beginning to accept them. But you have to see life as a composite whole. You can’t meditate for 20 minutes twice a day and live in the ‘now’ any more than you can bring up a child or manage your business by investing only that much time to it. Life is flowing and interconnected and it has to be a continuous endeavour. The best meditation is watching the sea, the trees and enjoying the gifts of nature, and the best yoga is healing Mother Earth.
What's a gourmand to do? In an attempt to locate the answer, a bright sunny morning takes me to Dr. Vijaya Venkat, health activist and pioneering founder of the Health Awareness Centre in Mumbai. A simple little cottage in a downbeat Parel compound houses her office and kitchen that supplies healthy lunch tiffins to converts who abide by her iconoclastic food ideology.
In a rustling sari, accessorised by a big bindi and an enigmatic aura, she settles down to share her philosophy: "Don't separate food from life - use it for adding life to life. This happens when you eat 'living' food. Only raw food can be best absorbed by the body. All other organisms, apart from humans, do so. We have separated ethics, ecology and the environment because of food. We're no longer in tune with the natural needs of the body and discard bodily intelligence. An ailment is disharmony in the body. I refuse to call it an 'illness' - it is an energy fluctuation."
She asserts that what really nourishes us is not just food but an attitude of gratitude. "Get up with awareness and focus on all the blessings you have. I never use the terms - if, but, sorry, trying and procrastination. I use - thank you, so what, trust, faith. Tension is misplaced attention. Bring your focus back to your breath and thank God the body is alive! Take the journey from fear to faith. The saddest part of my life is having to prove something so clear."
Her dietary 'don'ts' encompass all things bottled, tinned and packed, including medicines. "I have been living in awareness for 40 years," she explains. "I am a biochemist and a nutritionist and I thought I'd be flourishing with all my knowledge as a mother. But my heart faltered when I had my first child, because microbiology made me fearful of a whole world full of germs that would kill my baby."
So she began her odyssey into the natural world instead, and has integrated it into her lifestyle. Till eleven in the morning she eats only fruit. Then gives a gap of an hour before she has her pre-lunch vegetable juice with fresh herbs. At 12.30 she eats lunch comprising a big salad, sprouts and some veggies cooked without oil. And pretty much the same for dinner. No milk or milk products.
And no indulgences? She smiles, "I do have some wine or chocolate cake or ice cream occasionally. But my fundamentals are strong: sleep when you feel sleepy, chew when you are thirsty (there is no need to drink water - when you drink water, prana goes out of the body), eat lots of fruit when you are hungry. Eat a cooked meal an hour later, but make sure three-fourths of it is a salad with lots of lemon. The balance one-fourth can be anything you like!"
She is big on lemons, consuming six to eight on an average day, and going up to 22 lemons on days when she feels the need. She is a great proponent for managing ones own health. "How many more hospitals are you going to build?" she asks, adding, "Celebrate when you are unwell. It's the body's signal that it is still alive - let the body do what it's doing without trying to suppress it with medicines. If you try to prevent disease you will end up preventing health. The root causes of disease are lack of mental poise, not enough sleep or rest, and poisonous foods."
"Your quality of life," she asserts, "depends upon what you think, eat and feel. The toughest path to traverse is from the head to the heart, from institution to intuition. Live with love and in love. You are the product of nature and nurture. Go within and heal your inner conflict. That is the best check-up you can give yourself."
In conclusion, the good Dr. (the College of Life Sciences, Texas, conferred on her a Doctorate of Philosophy in Nutritional Science after she completed a prescribed course in 1991) stresses on her mantras for 'life awareness through health awareness':
• Push yourself to live in gratitude.
• Dissolve all dissatisfaction by thanking God for your life.
• Live to preserve Mother Nature by eating fruits, vegetables and sprouts, as they energise you while causing minimal environmental damage.
• Eat raw as far as possible.
• Be humble and accept very naturally that you are part of nature.
• Fundamentally question the role of the medical community in your health. Are they helping you to live healthfully or in constant fear and dread of disease?
A chat with her is like a mental detox, but can one walk her talk? Scores of people do, and testify it greatly enhances their health. Dr. Venkat could well lead us into the age of the green gourmet!
Sent from my iPad
On Jan 10, 2011, at 12:55 AM, Pietro Speroni di Fenizio <2009@...> wrote:
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
- Next post in topic >>