Nandini was overweight, she had high BP & rheumatoid arthritis, she was diagnosed as pre-diabetic. She was taking her medicines, but still felt miserable & sapped of energy. She began researching on the net, reading books, attending health workshops & talking to natural health experts around. She learnt about the body’s self-healing powers. She began eating mindfully & shifted to a whole plant based diet. She discovered how fasting is linked to healing, she learnt about Nature Cure. Today, she has gotten rid of her 3.5 problems & lives a pain-free, medicine-free life. Here is her story.
Nandini Gulati 50 years, Health Coach
Three and a half problems
I was suffering from three and a half problems.
First was that I was overweight, I had started putting on weight in my mid to late twenties.
Somewhere around 2008 , when I was in my mid thirties, I was diagnosed with high blood pressure. I was put on life-long medication. My mother had high BP, so the doctors said nothing can be done, you are stuck with this for life.
My father had diabetes, so the doctors checked me for that as well. I was diagnosed with pre-diabetes. I was told that if I am not careful, they will have to put me on medication for that too. I asked them what did being careful mean? I didn’t get any specific response, I got generic advice like walk every day, eat less fried, eat less rice, etc. I asked what about non-veg? They said non-veg was ok, I could eat eggs, chicken, etc.
In 2007, my younger sister died, she had complications from rheumatoid arthritis. Two months after her passing, I developed pains which could not be diagnosed. They seemed like rheumatoid pains but nothing was coming in the blood work. I suffered for about 9-10 months. I tried lots of different therapies including acupuncture, ayurveda, acupressure, but I didn’t get relief. I went to many allopathic doctors also, they gave me anti-inflammatories. Eventually, a rheumatologist diagnosed that I had sero negative rheumatoid arthritis, a type of arthritis which doesn’t show in the blood. However, within a month, it started showing in the blood also. So, he put me on a lot of medicines, including steroids, immuno-suppressants and pain killers.
Medicines & misery
I didn’t feel good about my body. I had pains which were controlled by arthritis medicines and I was taking medicines for high BP too. For the first year of BP, I took one medicine, second year I took two and by the third year, I was taking three medicines per day.
I felt a complete lack of energy. I felt like a really old person every morning. When I woke up, I had to move my hands and feet to check the level of pain. When I kept my feet on the ground, it was very painful for the first one hour or so. It did improve after I started taking medicine, but it wasn’t completely gone.
I thought there must be a better way. For god’s sake this can’t be the only way to live, I am just in my thirties!!
Healing powers of the body
I started doing my own research, read books and listened to lectures. I read a book by Deepak Chopra called - “Reinventing the Body, Resurrecting the Soul”. I realized there is so much more to know about body and healing that is not taught in schools nor told to us by doctors. The body is not a machine, it’s a living thriving being and has miraculous healing powers. That was the first time I had some hope that perhaps things could improve.
I realized one can communicate with the body through the signals it sends. I started listening to my body a bit more. I became aware of how I am feeling, how different foods feel in my body, or am I even hungry? Also, after eating a particular food, how do I feel - do I feel energetic or tired. I realized I was feeling better eating lighter food like fruits, salads and vegetables, I started eating more of these. This helped me reduce 15 kilos, though I was still another 15 – 20 kilos overweight.
I started practicing mindful eating, which is taught by Thich Nhat Hanh in a book called Savor. Before I started eating food, I would think about where it came from. I realised this had an impact on my body. I went further than just the shop from where food was bought, I thought about the farmer or the dairy farm or the chicken shop and so on.
During my mindfulness practice, I started realizing that non-vegetarian food has a lot of negative vibration. I wasn’t feeling good, eating non-veg was not aligning with my new consciousness. I knew I had to leave it, but I couldn’t because I had been eating it since childhood and was addicted to its taste. After about a year or so, the thought came to my mind that I should apologize to the chicken. I started apologizing whenever I ate non- veg. After a few months, i said to myself this is so ridiculous, how can you say sorry and then eat it?? One day I was eating rotisserie chicken made by my best friend and something in me said this is the last time I am eating this. That really was the last chicken I ever ate, it was 31st July 2011.
Six days later, on 6th August 2011, a friend gave me a book, The China Study. It was a very scientific-western-modern way of saying that our bodies are not designed for eating animal food. It referred not just to meat, but also to eggs, milk and dairy products. It spoke about eating more whole foods that had their fiber intact.
I finished reading the book in two weeks and decided to give up dairy & dairy products. So, I was vegetarian for 15 days, and then from 15th August 2011, I became vegan.
Implementation challenges of going vegan
I didn’t know how to do vegan. I didn’t know how to substitute animal milk with almond milk or make curd out of peanuts, etc. I just kept eliminating food as that’s the best i knew. This really reduced my choices, I was feeling quite miserable by the time it was Nov / Dec 2011. I was dying to eat curd and ice cream which I hadn’t had in such a long time. I was eating biscuits because at that time I didn’t realise they had dairy (ghee, butter) in them.
Learning whole-plant based cooking
Around Jan / Feb 2012, a friend told me about Dr. Nandita Shah from SHARAN (Sanctuary for Health and Reconnection to Animals and Nature). Dr Nandita & SHARAN educate people on holistic health. I attended their ‘Peas vs Pills’ workshop and there I had my first vegan ice cream and vegan dahi. I felt relieved that now I can be on this path of veganism.
Soon after, I attended a more detailed programme of SHARAN, which was for health coaches. By this time i was already coaching people on losing weight, managing BP, etc. Hence, i could attend this program. Here I learnt more about whole, plant based foods. I attended their cooking classes where I learnt how to substitute cheese, how to make dahi from plants. This was my first formal training on plant-based cooking and I was very happy.
Dr Nandita invited me to work with her. I worked with her for six years, co-presenting a 21 day health retreat among other things, and learnt a lot from the experience.
Status of ailments
Prior to being introduced to Dr Nandita & Sharan, I had lost another 10 kilos. I was also off BP medicines, I was no longer pre-diabetic. The faith in body’s healing power, mindful eating, giving up non-veg & dairy, eating light food had helped me a lot.
To this, when i started adding the whole, plant based diet, my rheumatoid arthritis medicines also started coming off. After a year, I was on minimal once a week medication.
Strong desire to be completely medicine free
Somewhere I felt that medicine is not the answer because I experienced so much healing through change in my food and lifestyle habits - I had more energy, I was exercising regularly, my mind was more positive. I felt like medicines really didn’t fit in. I tried unsuccessfully four times under the tutelage of different health practitioners to give up medicine. But the pain would always come back. I thought even if I had to be on minimal medicine, at least I can live a normal life, I can run, I can exercise - I ran a 5 km mini marathon!!
Fasting to heal
One of my friends, who also had a few health issues, discovered fasting as a way of healing. We discussed & researched more about it. We decided to try it out & started fasting. Last year, in April 2017, we did a three-day fast. I took only water for three full days and I started feeling so good after that. I felt my energy went up, i felt lighter. My legs were moving on their own, as if they were being powered with something, I didn’t have to put any effort to move them. This was such an unusual and amazing feeling.
I consulted my friend and decided to drop my medicine. First two-three months were good but slowly the pain started coming back. In the winters they became very bad.
In Feb 2018, i came to know about a nature cure retreat in Pune, by Dr Arun Sharma. I flew down to Pune to attend this retreat & here I learnt about nature cure, which Dr Sharma says come from the Vedas. These basically say we are nature and our medicine is nature. Food under nature cure is much simpler than in a whole food, plant based diet. There is a lot of raw food that you eat. You use very little spices or no spices, you eat 2 meals without salt. The diet is more raw, more ascetic, more basic – essentially, a satvic diet. Dr Sharma also taught us how to use the 5 elements of nature as medicine - sun, water, ether/ space, earth and air. I started incorporating these into my lifestyle.
Its May 2018, I am still not taking any medicines. I still have pain and inflammation, but I am able to lead a somewhat normal life without medicines.
I feel that thirty years of abuse that I did to my body, it will take some time to go. The whole foodplant based diet was the first phase of cleaning up and now nature cure is the second phase of cleaning up. And it’s doing some deep cleaning because the abuse was not just wrong eating and wrong living - We live in pollution, we don’t take the sun, nor spend time in nature and our food and skin care products are full of toxins.
Moving ahead with faith
Today, i continue my efforts to stay compliant with nature. My food intake is simple – I eat a lot of fruits and veggies, much of it raw vs. pulses and grains which are cooked. I do not consume any non-veg or dairy. I focus on eating whole foods and source them organically. I take no processed foods, no oil, almost no gluten, no or minimal spices & very little salt
I believe that medicine leads to more medicine, that's what happened in my high blood pressure journey. So, the only way is that we should give our body a chance. My health journey has taught me to take disease as a natural process in the body and not something that has to be fought. One must be compassionate towards his / her body and support it through the right means.
(About Nandini Gulati: Nandini is a health coach, she does private coaching for individuals and health awareness programs & coaching for corporates. Deeply engaged with health, she enjoys public speaking & writes blogs on social media. She has co-authored the book ‘Guilt free vegan cookbook’, which is a collection of oil, sugar, gluten & dairy free vegetarian recipes. Her website is www.healthyhabitsnow.com.)
Disclaimer: The health journeys, blogs, videos and all other content on Wellcure is for educational purposes only and is not to be considered a ‘medical advice’ ‘prescription’ or a ‘cure’ for diseases. Any specific changes by users, in medication, food and lifestyle, must be done under the guidance of licensed health practitioners. Wellcure believes that each human body is unique and hence no Health Journey should be construed as a "cure". The views expressed by the user in the above Health Journey are his/her personal views and Wellcure claims no responsibility for them.