By Vijaya Venkat March 2008 Fifty years back, after graduation, I did not know about nutrition or natural health. Forty-five years back, I could not have anticipated my health odyssey. The Health Awareness Centre had no set model. I had courage, some intuition, and the overwhelming desire to apply in practice what was clear in my mind. That gave me the strength of conviction to start. By then, years of experience had shown that all institutional knowledge was limited, creating a wider gap between ecology and ethics. It soon became apparent to me what was wrong and what was not working, not just for my family or me, but also for society as a whole. Being in touch with the Narmada movement, and participating in the initial efforts of the NBA put the whole issue centre-stage. It was clear that the environment was being destroyed, mainly under the pretext of the needs of the people, mostly in terms of food. I realised that if the development model is for the individual, then it made sense to start with the individual by emphasising how health is easy and inevitable. The choice before me was not lobbying, protesting or attending rallies and seminars, but instead attempting to change the food habits of people. Showing the connection between food and disease, relating that to food and personal health, and thereby the health of the Earth, provided the overall perspective. Natural wealth is dependent on individual health, and thus “Self-Care is Health-Care is Earth-Care” was born – which led to life awareness. Thus started the process of sharing with friends and family the ills of sugar, salt, oil, chemical and refined foods. Along the way came the eagerness to create tasty food, to make food that avoided using these ‘5 white poisons’ and substituting them with wholesome and natural ingredients. Through food, I wanted to show the connection between diet and disease, salt and hypertension, chemicals and cancer, sugar and diabetes. It dawned on me that an orderly society can come into being only by perfecting and bringing order at the individual level. In discovering the path to health, I was made to realise that this perfection already exists within the body, within nature and, within us. All we need to do is to stay open to it. I took the opportunities that came along, more as an occasion to share. What mattered were the effectiveness of understanding and providing economical, nutritious food. My primary concerns were the perfection of the individual, and the protection of all energy, moral, environmental, physical and ethical. Starting the Centre has made a great difference in me and to my family life. Passionately caring about good health has opened up so many different avenues of growth. The Centre has enabled me to interact with people with the information and beliefs that have been there for the last 25 years. I believe now, that health can never reach through industry; it will only come by respecting natural laws. I know today, that we cannot be healthy without being ethical. Health is not so much about prevention, but about preservation of an age-old parampara or culture. The oldest parampara is that of Nature itself! My journey has been one of gradually rejecting the so-called modern-rational-information-based ‘knowledge’ – and moving towards the more experience-based intuitive-feeling sensations of knowing. Generally, until 11am, I eat only seasonal fresh fruits – eating always for pleasure! All my commitments and routine are flexible – be it personal, professional or community! No action is based on ‘duty’. Lunch is always with two-three salads, after a vegetable juice. Cooked food is all vegetables and sprouts. Grains are limited, and are purely vegan. There is nothing refined or processed. Taste is created through herbs/spices. No oil, sugar or salt is used. Milk and its products are not used. There is no religious influence in my choice of food. No water is included, other than a few sips. As a snack, I have vegetable juice. In the evening, there is fruit before dinner. Dinner is flexible – depending on my family and social commitments. The main feature of my choices is that they are not based on therapeutic values, or religious benefit or social acceptance! They are based instead on a genetic pattern – knowing the connection between nature and our lifestyle. My choices are based on care and not cure! Vijaya Venkat is the founder of Health Awareness Centre, through which she has guided thousands to better health and life by teaching them the principles of natural nutrition. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
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