Dr Saravanan suffered from recurring health issues all through his childhood and even into adulthood. His self-motivation to find natural ways of healing himself took him through a long journey of exploring, till he learnt about whole plant-based foods. He now lives an illness free life and believes that food is the best medicine. Read his story here.
Dr R Saravanan, BHMS, PGDHSC, CLM
Nutrition and Lifestyle Medicine Consultant,
Since childhood, I had been suffering from several health issues such as allergies, asthma, frequent tonsil infection, weak digestion and skin problem. I had to consume lots of conventional medications continuously and I had missed many happy days of my childhood due to ill health. I was on inhalers and steroidal medications as the asthma attacks were severe.
I had also received alternative medical treatments at various stages apart from conventional medications. It has been a dream since my childhood to find natural ways to be healthy and I very strongly believed that I would become a doctor. When I was in 7th grade, I read the biography of Dr Albert Schweitzer, and the desire to become a doctor got intensified.
Finding the real doctor within
I had to discontinue schooling when I was in the 10th grade, as asthma worsened further. But still, I felt that I would become a doctor in the future! I had some improvement after relocating to my grandma's house in another town and I appeared for the SSLC exam as a private candidate and scored good grades. After completing my higher secondary education in 2002, I decided to study natural medicine, as holistic health fascinated me. Unfortunately, because of ill health, I could not continue the BNYS course which I had joined (BNYS – Bachelor of Naturopathy & Yogic Sciences). But I did not give up. The next year I repeated the medical entrance exam and got the opportunity to study Homeopathic medicine. By this time, I had developed symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and there were episodes of loose stools with severe abdominal cramps. I also had painful and bleeding haemorrhoids. Though I tried to manage these issues consulting my Homeopath, I was still searching for the root cause of these problems. In the meantime, I started learning different natural healing modalities such as Flower essence therapy & Herbology, Nature cure and other Natural therapies, Acupressure and Reflexology, etc and started experimenting many of these on myself. I used to invest my time in books and magazines related to natural and holistic health and wellness, apart from my study in medical school. I also attended yoga/meditation classes and was initiated into Reiki healing during 2005.
Stopping the two whites – milk and sugar
I was also stressed because of these health issues, in fact, I was depressed. But I continued to read voraciously to find a way to free myself of all these troublesome symptoms. I realized that milk was one of the triggering factors for the abdominal cramps and loose stools, andI started avoiding milk and white sugar totally. This reduced the cramps and loose stools. But I was still consuming curds, thinking that the probiotics would help my gut.
Improvement in digestive and respiratory issues
My search for a long-lasting cure was continuing. In 2006, I had a severe attack of Chikungunya fever and I managed that with the help of natural healing methods.
Post the fever, I had developed severe gastritis and my weight dropped. At this point, I made further changes in my diet and stopped meat, egg, fish and milk totally. The haemorrhoid problem vanished and I also started experiencing considerable improvement in the respiratory and digestive problems which I had.
Learning natural healing techniques
During 2007-2008, I experimented with Natural Nutrition, tried a fruit-only diet for dinner to improve the digestive system. Natural nutrition was really fascinating! I practised eating only when hungry and strictly adhered to proper food combinations. I completed training in energy healing too. I also started learning individualized yoga therapy with the help of my Naturopath. I started practising relaxation techniques to address the stress due to my health issues. I started doing healing affirmations sincerely. With the help of an almost dairy free, plant-based diet and relaxation practices, my health improved slowly and steadily. But still, eczema in my foot was troubling me a lot. In 2010, I had an attack of Chicken Pox, which I managed with diet and natural measures. Eczema and residual symptoms were continuing. I realized that after all this healing work, I had to work further to improve my immunity.
Breakthrough in health with wholesome plant-based foods
My search for complete healing continued and in December 2011, after attending the SHARAN Peas vs Pills Seminar in Auroville, I stopped consuming curds completely. I also attended the doctors training program in Auroville. I started following a 100 % plant-based diet and eczema disappeared within a month! I felt a positive change in overall health and started experiencing wellbeing. I could feel that my immune system getting stronger! This was a breakthrough in my health! I started learning more about Plant-based nutrition more enthusiastically. The power of a wholesome plant-based dietary approach in reversing lifestyle diseases astonished me. I have been helping so many people to recover from various health issues using a holistic nutritional approach through my seminars, workshops, wellness programs and consultations since 2012. I am still the process of updating my knowledge in this field every day.
Though my healing journey was long and painful, I am grateful that I got the opportunity to connect with the innate healing potential within me. I am thankful to all the inspiring books, all the natural health experts and therapies and Mother Nature for all the help offered in this journey. I would say that Nutritional therapy has played a major role in my healing process. It is an act of self-love to nourish the body with healing foods. My journey taught me thatfood is the best medicine, though exercise, rest, sleep, relaxation, sunlight exposure are all essential to enhance health. It’s my vision to share what I have learned through my own personal healing experience to inspire others to lead a healthier and happier life! I have a dream to create a Holistic wellness centre in the future!
(About Dr Saravanan: Dr R Saravanan is a Nutrition & Lifestyle Medicine specialist. He is passionate about holistic health. He has a BHMS degree from the Tamilnadu Dr MGR Medical University and a PG Diploma in Health Science in Applied Nutrition from the Annamalai University. He holds a certificate in Lifestyle Medicine from Medvarsity. He has a certificate in Plant-based Nutrition. He is a certified NLP practitioner too. In addition to this, he has contributed a section in the best life changing book ‘Rethink Food: 100 plus doctors can’t be wrong’. He has contributed articles about health and nutrition in various magazines and health blogs. He also facilitates health workshops, seminars and wellness programs. He has helped several people to recover from lifestyle diseases through his workshops and consultations).
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