My Health Story

December 5, 2021

Reflecting upon my health story brings clarity and allows me to envision my future wellbeing.

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One of my early memories is when I was about 5 years old. I remember that I was admitted to the hospital with a jaundiced liver. The army hospital did not allow parents to stay overnight. My mother would drop my older sister to school in the morning before cycling over to me with some home-cooked food. I was supposed to drink a glass of sugarcane juice that she would bring along with her and then she would spend the greater part of her visit encouraging and eventually admonishing me to drink it up.                                        

My mother’s nurturing has been key to my healing.

By the time my father took premature retirement from the army, I was 10 years old. I had lived in 5 different states and stayed in 10 different homes and studied in at least 5 different schools! I would be remiss if I did not share that I was prone to constipation during those years. After a few years of living in the same city, I prided myself on becoming adaptable and resilient as I began to make friends without the fear of losing them to yet another move.

Our frequent moves impacted my nervous and digestive system.

In high school, I was diagnosed with a thyroid condition. I was prescribed medication that would help my thyroid gland regulate the flow of thyroxine in my body. Around that time, I became a vegetarian to protest against inhumane slaughterhouses. This did not mean that I added more vegetables or lentils to my plate. Instead I chose to focus on refined carbohydrates that I qualified as vegetarian, while paying lip-service to all the nourishing home-cooked meals.                      

I needed to rekindle my digestive fire and instead I doused it with refined foods.

I worked hard during my college years and pursued an intense lifestyle, all while ignoring signals of ill-health, most of which surfaced in the form of skin rashes and respiratory allergies. I kept up with my studies but devoted myself to becoming a leader in an organization whose vision involved promoting international peace and cultural understanding. I travelled extensively, organizing projects on education and sustainable development, entrepreneurship and corporate responsibility.  I just never sat still!                                                    

My emerging personality was true to my Ayurvedic constitution.

Post college, I moved to Belgium for a couple of years. I managed to maintain my plant-based diet by sustaining on salads, breads and cheese! I had not bothered to learn how to cook and I longed for a nourishing and aromatically spiced traditional Indian home cooked meal. At the end of my two-year stint in Brussels, I had compromised sleep, food and exercise for my jet-set job. Around this time, I began to read the Gita because friends and colleagues probed me about Hindu philosophy.

I was motivated to follow a new path, thanks to the impressions created in my mind.

I came back home for a few months while I wrote a paper for a UN organization. My parents promptly enrolled me in a 30-day cleansing and rejuvenating program, hoping to bulk me up before my next bout of travel. I only lasted 3 weeks of the rigorous regimen which involved daily yoga and Ayurvedic treatments like oil massages, thyroid fermentation and herbal medications. When I went to Paris to submit my paper, I was amazed at my newly developed appetite! I was able to wean off the thyroid medication over a period of time.

The Ayurvedic treatments had been customized to regulate my metabolism.

Shortly after, I established my optimal weight. I felt energized despite working a high stress job in Hong Kong. I was fascinated as I watched the locals practice Tai Chi in open parks. I had grown up in an era where the colonial impact of demeaning our native Indian medicine had still lingered. I envied the Chinese for their pride in their heritage. Meanwhile, I went back to sleeping normal hours but I struggled to incorporate nourishing foods in my daily regimen. I developed hay fever.

My immunity was further compromised by stress and a poor diet.

I have just recaptured and reflected upon the first 25 years of what I call my health story. I will detail the next 25 years of 'my healing journey' in an upcoming blog post. I will elaborate on my discovery of the ancient healing arts of Yoga and Ayurveda. I will recount how I began to evolve my energy and how I got to know and accept myself. I will share the process that reveals how my health journey became my healing journey or a path to wellbeing!