Natural foods have immense power to not only prevent but also heal us of chronic and difficult diseases, says Jamuna Rangachari
Hippocrates said ages ago, “Let food be our medicine and medicine our food.” The way we eat food can either rejuvenate and revive, or destroy us completely. Our food gives our body ‘information’ and the materials it needs to function properly. If we don’t get the right information, our metabolic processes suffer and our health declines. Humans and other species live very symbiotically with nature. Natural foods such as fruits, leaves, juices, seeds, and nuts contain all the elements necessary for our health, rejuvenation, and survival. Naturally available food and water are strong enough to heal us of most diseases; yet, these days, we have to depend on medicines and injectables to treat problems caused by eating or overeating.
Consequently, the question arises, “Where are we going wrong?” Dr Nandita Shah, a holistic healer, says, “One of the biggest causes of disease today is our unnatural diet. Although we’ve been taught by our society that we are omnivores, the truth is that we are not. A true omnivore can attack its prey, tear it apart, and eat it raw and whole. Since we can do none of this with the animals that we eat, we must realise that this is not our natural food. Our mouths water when we see fruits and vegetables on a farm. These are therefore the most suitable foods for our species. Eating foods that are not suitable for our species is like fuelling a car that runs on petrol, with diesel. The results will not be good, even if it’s only a small amount.”
She speaks about eating natural foods and not refining them, as maximum nutrition of any fruit lies just under its skin. She also tells us how pesticides destroy the human body. They disrupt the hormones, which is why many are suffering from hormonal problems such as diabetes, PCOD, hypothyroidism, menstrual and menopausal disorders, infertility, and breast, prostate, and ovarian cancers. And her claim is not false.
Many a chronically ill patient have been healed of their diseases by eating foods high in medicinal value, as recommended by their therapists and doctors, and avoiding those laden with chemicals. Foods that grow naturally in a region are rich in elements that buttress the immune system, supply essential nutrients, and fight off diseases. And the more we rely upon indigenous foods and eating habits, the more we are likely to stay fit and healthy. Local spices and herbs are a storehouse of healing properties. Our grandmothers used to prepare plenty of herbal concoctions at home to heal stomach pain, fever, bee stings, headaches, and what not.
If we learn to listen to our body, it would tell us what it wants us to do to help it heal. Once I had come down with stomach pain which was caused by infection. I naturally eschewed all foods and sustained myself on hot vegetable soup and khichdi. When the doctor heard about my food intake he was very pleased because he was going to suggest the same foods to me.
When a friend’s mother had come down with dengue fever, giving her the juice of raw papaya leaves had restored her back to health and normalcy. However, there is a whole world of healing chronic and difficult diseases by simply relying on the healing properties of natural food. Just read these inspiring stories and your life will never be the same again.
Success stories of Dr Salila Tiwari
Delhi-based Dr Salila Tiwari has many success stories to her credit with regard to healing people through diet change. Dr Tiwari, author of Sau Saal Swasth Kaise Rahen, is the vice president of International Naturopathy Organisation. She has received many awards like Delhi Ratan and Pride of Country and also runs a naturopathy hospital at a beautiful Himalayan resort at Champawat, Uttarakhand, where treatment and certified naturopathy education is provided. Years ago, while helping a poor child get treatment, she found it very difficult to find a cure through allopathy, as his parents were not willing to allow a brain-tumour operation. Desperate to help him, she then learnt homoeopathy and was soon carrying her little box of medicines to slums and helping many get healed. After that, she came across naturopathy, studied it thoroughly, and was convinced that it was the best form of not just medicine but life itself.
Today, she is an internationally renowned naturopathy, yoga, and other alternative therapy expert who has been a doctor to the late former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and several Bollywood actors too, having cured many incurable diseases. Below is an account of a few of her success stories.
Mr Parveen Nagpal, working as a software and business consultant in the United States, had been suffering from inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) for more than a year and was given plenty of drugs including prednisolone and mesalamine. They stopped making him feel better after some time, and he hated putting so many drugs in his body. A friend told him about the natural way of healing and strongly recommended that he get in touch with Dr Salila Tiwari. He immediately did so and got amazing results from the therapies advised by her. Dr Tiwari recommended pomegranate juice, bael (wood apple) juice, buttermilk, and coconut water as they ease the digestive system and do not put pressure on it. Very soon, he was healed of his disease.
Manoj Misran suffered from chronic psoriasis for more than 20 years. He had consulted multiple doctors and different types of therapies viz allopathy, homoeopathy, ayurveda, acupuncture, and so on. He had also spent seven years in the United States and consulted the world’s best doctors. Yet, nothing worked. Some of the top doctors told him point blank that there was no permanent cure for psoriasis in medical science. All he could do was take medicines to treat the symptoms. Three years ago, he applied for term insurance for himself, but the insurance company rejected his application on medical grounds. It was then that he came to know he had failed his LFT (liver function test). After consulting a doctor, he came to know that his liver had gotten severely impacted due to long-term use of the medicines he was taking. Manoj was in a fix now and hugely depressed because if he stopped taking the medicines, his skin would be damaged, and if he continued with them, his liver would take a beating.
While he was in this deep dilemma, grace presented itself, and a colleague asked him to contact Dr Tiwari and take her guidance. She suggested that he attend a course of eight classes that explains complete naturopathy. She also asked him to stop all medicines. Though he was afraid that his psoriasis might resurface, he decided to follow her advice and stopped the medicines. In the first month, the symptoms did show up, but the intensity was quite low. This excited him, and he became much more disciplined in following the course suggested by Dr Tiwari.
According to her, we need to take Vitamin C from natural sources like amla, lemons, or oranges, depending on an individual’s liking or system. She recommends having juices since they are easily absorbed and asks people to have only fruits, salads, or juices in the morning and two meals between 12 noon and eight in the evening to strengthen our system.
Manoj is now completely cured without medicines and he is the only one in his office who has not taken a single sick leave in the past three years.
Similarly, Munish Sehgal from Delhi had been taking medicines for a thyroid problem for four to five years. Dr Tiwari asked him to have lotus stem in any form. He has been having lotus stem soup at least four to five times a day and has improved so much that all his medication has been stopped.
Listen to your body
Dr Rakhi Mehra, who has trained in various disciplines and has served as a consultant/ specialist/ surgeon in various tertiary hospitals including Safdarjung Hospital and Military Hospital in India, firmly believes in listening to our body. For example, in fever, light khichdi allows rest to the digestive system while enhancing our taste along with igniting the body’s metabolism. Similarly, intake of simple haldi (turmeric) powder with normal water proves to be very effective in summer for the usual bouts of colds, coughs, and throat infections. Black pepper, ginger, cloves, and holy basil are very effective during winter in cases of common cold or flu. Despite knowing these facts, we prefer to take antihistamine drugs, which further exacerbates our sore throat.
She says, “I am personally aware of several individuals who stay fit and healthy during winter months by eating an amla (Indian gooseberry) or two oranges a day. Those who eat plenty of fruit and vegetables enjoy better immunity, thanks to the hundreds of beneficial compounds they imbibe through the vast variety of delightful fruits and vegetables supplied by nature.
Curing cancer through food
She remembers how Rama Patnayak, a retired principal, consulted her for breast cancer that she had been tackling with chemotherapy. She also had diabetes and high blood pressure and wanted to strengthen her immune system. On Dr Mehra’s advice, she added vegetables, dry fruits, buttermilk, turmeric (immunity booster), methi (fenugreek—a proven anti-diabetic) and dalchini (cinnamon—good for metabolism) in her diet, in addition to her regular medicines. After seven days of following this regimen, she began to feel lighter and more energetic along with getting sound sleep at night.
Satish Sharma, a bureaucrat from Delhi, had barely recovered from the shock and trauma of his mother’s death from cancer in 2003 when, in April 2005, at the age of 50, he was diagnosed with stage II breast cancer, though rare in men. He was operated upon and underwent chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Meanwhile, his quest for the reason of disease and its solutions, as an affected layperson, carried on. He found many websites and books that made him much wiser, making him his own doctor and health guide. During the treatment in 2005, he used to have wheatgrass juice and aloe vera to help his body fight off the ill effects of radiation. His blood count went up and his operation, chemo, and radiotherapy went relatively smooth. He also started having raw foods though he does say that caution has to be exercised as during chemo, one’s immune system is compromised, and raw foods can cause infection if not washed or disinfected properly.
Satish comes from a family where all his uncles and father died of heart attack or heart disease. He never had a robust constitution. He suffered from angina pain in his left arm upon exertion, that began around age 48. He had been prone to asthma and digestive problems too. After he started having raw foods in 2005, his sinusitis, puffing, panting, asthma, and digestive issues vanished. His skin is much better with no rashes or eczema, and the quality of his sleep too has improved. Even the hair on his head, face, and chest that was greying, started becoming black, so much so that his children’s friends told them that their father doesn’t look his age. Now, Satish regularly conducts workshops to help others take charge of their own health.
As far as superfoods are concerned, he says there are many and cautions against aping the West that has suddenly discovered superfoods like turmeric, cinnamon, ginger, holy basil, mint, coriander, and cumin. The fact is that spices, various fruits and berries, green leafy vegetables as well as other coloured ones, nuts and seeds, apricots, and kernels, all have different enzymes, phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals, trace minerals, biophotons, macro-and micronutrients—all beneficial for health. He says, “The more we limit ourselves to only a few superfoods, the less we give to our body, which requires a lot of variety for great health and healing.” According to him, what is important is that fruits should be seasonal and fresh, and preferably non-GMO and organic.
Another person who has defied the predictions of allopaths is Ramneek Wig, a lawyer from Delhi. He was diagnosed with cancer (Hodgkin’s lymphoma) in the year 1998 at the age of 25. Soon after the chemotherapy was over, the cancer relapsed within the next six months. According to the doctors, the only cure was a bone marrow transplant for which he went to the US. The transplant was followed by 25 sittings of radiotherapy, and he was told that it was unlikely to return.
Fortunately, he had done a course in yoga and pranayama earlier and decided to get wholeheartedly involved in pranayama, food therapy, and meditation. He ate a lot of berries and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, kale, cauliflower, cabbage, brussels sprout, beet greens, turnip greens, radish greens, mustard greens and watercress, besides garlic, turmeric, and wheatgrass.
He started feeling better, and even the doctor was extremely surprised to see him after a year. Having recovered, he has now authored many books, helped many people heal, and conducts personalised courses in Delhi and on Skype.
How people discover the magic of food therapy
It is not just our own sickness but also that of our loved ones too which makes us look for solutions. My uncle in Bangalore, who had a chronic cough, was told by K Girish, a healer, to have carrot soup combined with pepper, green chilli, and turmeric, which cured cold, cough, and asthma. He followed the instructions and became much better in just a few days. He is now truly grateful to Girish who himself became a healer when faced with a personal challenge.
As a 28-year-old electrical engineer, he was blessed with a bonny boy. Before he could even celebrate the event, he came down with anxiety as the baby kept crying continuously. The doctors hospitalised the baby for one month and in a warm chamber for one week. After this, he was discharged. Just when Girish felt the boy would remain healthy, he began having a constantly runny nose and fever till the age of thirteen. Girish went to several doctors and gave him many types of medicines, but the problem persisted, with his son being admitted to hospital three times.
Exasperated, he began working on various alternative cures himself and found that a combination of ginger, garlic, turmeric and giloy, crushed and mixed with honey every day, improved his son’s immunity tremendously, and his attacks reduced dramatically.
Now a healer himself, he has also discovered many other healing foods like cardamom that is extremely beneficial for diabetes, cholesterol, and the heart, and the carrot soup that I mentioned earlier.
Something similar happened in Shailaja Agarwal’s father’s case. Her father, at the age of 40, developed type 2 diabetes and hypertension (high blood pressure). Promptly, the doctors put him on allopathic medication for both of these lifestyle diseases. Twenty years later, despite being on medication, he developed heart disease with 90 per cent blockage in one of the arteries of the heart, and the doctor suggested surgery. Fortunately, an open-minded allopath advised a lifestyle change instead, which would open the blockage gradually. He opted to drastically change his diet to a very low-fat diet and incorporated yoga and regular walks in his daily routine.
As a result, he became completely well. This encouraged Shailaja to qualify as an IAO (International Accreditation Organisation)-certified nutritionist with a Diploma in Dietetics, Health, and Nutrition from the VLCC Institute and promote wellness through diet. Now, she creates a flexible, personalised weight loss chart and has guided many people in improving their health. “It is my passionate endeavour to create vibrant health through using both traditional wisdom and modern knowledge to ascertain the underlying causes of an individual’s current health challenges and make adjustments to their food and lifestyle choices that support health improvement,” she says.
Raj Merchant’s grandmother suffered from severe diabetes, and she was told that her legs would need to be amputated. At that time, he met a wonderful healer who guided him in healing her through just diet. After this, he himself learnt the technique and has guided many people in healing themselves through simple remedies, some of which are given in the box in this article.
Indian homes always have been a treasure trove of ancient wisdom. Mr Dinesh Sahgal, a legal professional from Mumbai, learnt from his own grandmother, the benefits of mulethi or liquorice and has used it to cure himself of mouth ulcers and his daughter of tonsillitis.
The instances may be many, but the fact is that people heal when they listen to their own body and what message it is emitting.
The human body has been designed to stay well and battle against entropy. We are meant to regenerate and revive ourselves. This, of course, can be discovered only if we listen to our physical body, mind, and spirit, and identify our own healing mechanism, for we all are indeed unique. Just like we need to find our own gurus, we need to find and follow our own health regimen by observing and learning from others in the journey of wellness.
Diet tips (from many sources):
• Approx. 150 to 160 leaves of tulsi can be consumed three to four times a day for any kind of fever.
• One spoon of onion juice is good for dandruff and greying of hair. Onion juice even gets rid of spectacles if its juice is put in the eyes.
• 200 to 300 curry leaves a day are good for controlling blood pressure and diabetes.
• Coriander juice consumed on an empty stomach reduces cholesterol.
• 10 to 15 French beans consumed on an empty stomach helps in controlling diabetes.
• A handful of mehendi (henna) leaves are good for jaundice and liver-related problems.
• Carrots are good for increasing haemoglobin and for curing cancer.
• Hibiscus or shoe flower can be consumed for stopping excessive bleeding or piles bleeding. The green leaves of the same plant are very helpful in reducing any kind of infection in the body.
• Research has shown that turmeric, which is used in many Indian curries, when combined with black pepper, improves the bioavailability of this superfood.
• The antioxidant ellagic acid (found in walnuts, raspberries, pomegranates, and cranberries) enhances the ability of quercetin (an antioxidant found in apples, grapes, onions, and buckwheat) to kill cancerous cells.
• Sprinkling half a cup of sunflower seeds into our morning cereal with milk provides more than 100 per cent of our day’s requirement of vitamin E.
• Flaxseeds contain high levels of phytoestrogen. They not only lessen symptoms of menopause but also have positive effects on cholesterol, cognition, and digestion.
• Amla or the Indian gooseberry has high Vitamin C content, enhances food absorption, balances stomach acids, fortifies the liver, nourishes the brain and mental functioning, and supports the heart. It also strengthens the lungs, regulates elimination of free radicals, enhances fertility, helps the urinary system, improves skin quality, and promotes healthier hair.
• Mulethi or liquorice supports liver health and is an antiseptic that helps to calm the stomach. It is also an expectorant and decongestant that can help fight respiratory infections.
• There is some evidence that liquorice in small amounts can be used to decrease sugar cravings. Moreover, it is also known to be beneficial in cases of low blood pressure.
• Aloe vera juice is good for the digestive system, skin, hair, and teeth. It is an antimicrobial, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory and protects us from ultraviolet (UV) radiation.
• In the case of cancer survivors, it provides protection from skin damage after radiation therapy.
• Wheatgrass is packed with a powerful combination of nutrients and has many therapeutic benefits. It is known as complete nourishment.
• The extensive combination of vitamins and nutrients make wheatgrass an exceptional choice to enhance one’s well-being. It has antioxidant, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties.
• Lemons have a high content of Vitamin C, regulate the bowels, are antibacterial and have B-complex vitamins, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and fibre. They balance our body’s chemistry.
Note: These are general guidelines. Everything needs to be customised to suit one’s body.
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