"We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us"
FROM SICKNESS TO STRENGTH...My journey to WELLNESS
Born and Raised in Mumbai- India, I was always intrigued by the field of Nutrition, Health and Wellness but never considered it to be a career possibility. Being fairly good in academics, taking up Management (Finance) was considered the most suitable choice and then entering the corporate world was the way to go. In short I lived my life by what society set out to be IDEAL. After graduation in the year 2003, I was placed at American Express Bank and subsequently worked at Ernst & Young in the Mergers & Acquisitions team. Despite, this seemingly ‘perfect’ career launch, I was unhappy with the long work hours, office politics, having no time for myself and realized that, this was not my calling. I always had a creative side so I gave Interior Designing a shot, wanted to be an entrepreneur so tried working in the family business, but all this only led me to be internally unhappy and dissatisfied. This manifested externally for me in the form of severe PCOD, ACNE, FALLING and SCANTY HAIR, constant HEADACHES, LOW ENERGY and internally in ways that my body did not realise at that point.
Anyone who has struggled with skin issues would probably relate to and understand how socially, mentally, emotionally and physically traumatic that experience can be. Consulting dermatologists meant prescriptions after prescriptions with OTC and prescription drugs that had serious long-lasting side effects. These drugs suppressed my issues temporarily and then once again I would be waiting for something stronger to do the trick but all in vain.
Meanwhile, I also kept educating myself in the field of nutrition by taking various courses in Nutrition and Dietetics as I had a deep interest in understanding how the body works and what causes illness and imbalance.
Fast forward to the year 2010 when MY BODY SUCCUMBED TO MY LIFESTYLE (unhealthy eating habits, crazy work hours, lack of job satisfaction, late nights, overall sedentary lifestyle) and I spent over a year lying in bed, being caught in a vicious circle of treatments and cures. I had a persistent rib pain which was diagnosed as FIBROMYALGIA /RICKETS and once again ‘suppressed’ with medication. However, with compromised immune system (due to all the medications over the years as well as not fuelling the body and mind according to its inherent needs) I ended up in the hospital with MALARIA wherein I was being infused with antibiotics in doses beyond which my body could handle. Even though the infection was taken care of with the medication, the side effects led to OVARIAN CYSTS, BLOOD SUGAR IRREGULARITIES, SPONDYLOSIS, DIGESTIVE DISORDERS, LOSS OF APPETITE, BRAIN FOG, SLEEPLESSNESS etc. All this led to multiple visits to some of the best Medical Doctors, Specialists- Gastroenterologist, Gynaecologist, Urologists etc. and multiple opinions in the hope of feeling normal again. Everyone would only advise various blood tests sending me off with words like ‘it could be Cancer’ or some unheard of serious ailments and when the reports were normal, they would say that ‘it’s all in your head’ only leading to further depression, insecurity and helplessness. They prescribed sleeping pills, antacids, painkillers, stimulants, antibiotics, supplements etc. and some even sent me for expensive tests in the hope of earning commissions.
Getting frustrated with western medicine, I took to alternate healing therapies such as Reiki sessions, consulted some of the best Homeopaths in the city, tried Acupuncture and Acupressure therapies and visited many Ayurvedic doctors. I literally tried anything anybody told me that could make me feel better including Dr. Google and various permutations and combinations of different diets prescribed either by nutritionists or things I read. An Ayurveda clinic, in Mumbai advised me a 12 day intensive cleansing treatment which was literally one of the ‘worst experiences’ of my life but I undertook that too but only to have no respite and increased hopelessness.
After this traumatic one year, I started having breathlessness and finally when one doctor asked me to do a lung x-ray, it showed up as a massive PLEURAL EFFUSION in one of my lungs. The lung specialist scared my family and me, doubting it to be TUBERCOLOSIS and put me on a vigorous six month treatment with very strong antibiotics even without waiting for my test results which eventually were negative.
These were really strong medications and my body was so weakened with all that I had been through in the last year that it could not tolerate the medicine at all. I was miserable taking them and was constantly losing more weight (normally people gain weight on these drugs but they were clearly not working for me), having reactions such as severe unimaginable body aches and pains, nausea, joint pains, sleeplessness, dizziness etc. I remember that I could barely get up from the bed because of severe stiffness which increased to the point that any movement was unbearably painful. But I kept going with the strength and assurance given by my beloved mother- the only person who truly understood what I was going through, that things would get better with time. Running some more tests showed elevated uric acid levels suggesting borderline ARTHRITIS for which my specialist suggested more medicines to bring the levels back to normal and eating more protein rich food even though I barely had an appetite.
This was the point when something inside me shifted as it made no sense to first increase dietary protein which directly causes uric acid levels in the body to rise (had studied this in one of my short courses) and then suppress the same with medicines. Finally fed up of popping pills and going round in circles, I realised that I needed to take charge. I met an old mentor who brought back my confidence in my body as she explained my situation with a lot of positivity and removed the fear element associated with ILLNESS. She made me understand WHAT SICKNESS REALLY IS, WHAT CAUSES IT and HOW I NEED TO REMOVE IT FROM THE ROOT. This made me realize how little we knew and understood OUR BODY and how suppressing the body’s voice (i.e. symptoms) by popping pills, chemical fixes and cosmetic cures only continue to complicate things further.
In a few days of fuelling my body with nourishing food and nurturing it with faith, positivity and a better understanding, I started to feel better and the uric acid levels came down pretty rapidly. I went back to my Lung Specialist and even she was amazed at the improved reports without having taken any medicine. However, it had been five and a half months of taking the medicine and she was concerned that I had not increased weight so she advised me to continue the same for three and a half months as she feared water will fill up again. This time I was unsettled with her bizarre reasoning and I decided to just leave the medicines (without even waiting to complete the course) as I felt no need for the same. Fortunately, since then there has been NO LOOKING BACK and with every passing day from thereon, I feel healthier, happier and fulfilled by listening to my body and mind, understanding its needs and giving it the TIME, SPACE and ENERGY to HEAL!
Once I was back on my feet, I decided to conquer my fears which I believe is the root cause for all SICKNESS. I learned swimming which had been a childhood phobia and also decided to pursue my true passion- to inspire, motivate and educate people to gain a better understanding of their bodies, listen to and take care of its needs, trust the body’s ability for healing and fuel the body with nourishment, love and respect to bring it back to OPTIMAL HEALTH and WELLNESS.
I feel that the medical system is a fear based and fragmented approach that can only suppress symptoms by doing a patch up job. If the root cause i.e. OUR LIFESTYLE is not taken care of then the body’s symptoms keep manifesting in different forms until it ends up in a full blown diagnosis. I do have a lot of respect for Medical doctors and for all the hard work they put in to reach where they are, but unfortunately, I do feel that the system (there are always exceptions) is flawed and very commercial these days and the industry is driven by profit rather than truly helping and understanding people. I believe that along with medication, doctors also need to place emphasis on lifestyle and make patients understand the importance of the same.
"It's going to take doctors becoming informed, rising up, banding together, and, in the spirit of the Hippocratic Oath, demanding change of the current system. Physicians are trained to treat symptoms and diseases, rather than addressing the underlying imbalances that perpetuate illness. As physicians begin to change, the system will begin to change, ushering in real healthcare reform and a sustainable system. This will require a grassroots effort on the part of physicians."
I decided to pursue a Holistic Nutrition course in Vancouver, Canada as all the Nutrition courses I had undertaken in India were more focussed on calorie counting, weight loss and Dietetics. I truly believe that Vibrant Health begins when we take a ‘whole body approach’ understanding how all systems work in harmony with one another and once the body is internally strengthened and healthy, all goals can be met.
When you join the dots- life forms a beautiful pattern in hindsight and everything that happens can be reasoned and understood. Every experience of mine (be it corporate life, Interior designing stint, entrepreneurship, skin trouble and most of all the life transforming year and a half) has led me to my true calling and has shaped me into what I am today. I am truly grateful for all the people I encountered and all those that stood by me especially the unconditional, undying and unimaginable strength, faith and conviction of MY MOTHER.
"Let food be thy medicine and
medicine be thy food"
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