Monday, April 14, 2014

The Rocky Road to Healthy Living

This article is brought to you by guest poster Matthew Morales. <3

The best pizza we've ever had, and it was completely vegan! Sadhana Forest, March 2014

"The greatest injustice done to man, was to teach that health is relative to age."- Unknown

"The key is not to take all the unhealthy foods out of your diet. It's to start adding healthy foods into your diet, and the more often you do so the less you will crave the unhealthy ones." This is a phrase my Herbology/ Nutrition teacher John Finch would say almost religiously. When I first started going to school for massage the last thing I ever expected to learn about was Nutrition and food. I just wanted to learn how to help people heal with my hands. I mean, what else would I learn going to a school for massage? I couldn't have been more wrong. Massage school focuses more on the internal part of your health then external. Through food, excercise, intellectual stimulation, and the development of spirituality, this school has put me on a truly unexpected journey to fix my body temple. After all, how could I expect to help others heal, when I myself live in a body under constant stress?
While in school I loved to learn and decided to take every single class that was offered. I sat in every class with an open heart and open ears, taking in information like a vacuum. I sat in awe as I heard about things that I never learned anywhere else. About food being the only true medicine, the magic of plants, using elements to find symptoms and cures, and every dis-ease being curable by our Mother Earth. Why am I 26 years old and just learning about this for the first time? Why did I not ever learn this in elementary school where it seems logical that I should have been taught these things? Even so, in school there were some things I vowed I would never do. An example being, I vowed I would never become vegetarian, but I am a scientist at heart and experimentation is a must.

My first experiment came through using the elements in relation to my body's element to make a meal. This is the way of the oldest two forms of medicine, Ayurveda from India and Traditional Chinese Medicine. My roommate and I made an Indian soup that tasted amazing, and made us feel good after. This wasn't really a life changing experience as we immediately ate burgers the following day. It was a long time before we got back into trying to eat healthy again. We began traveling all over India where a majority of the population was vegetarian. During my travels, I had the most epiphanies and revelations about my health. Constantly being bombarded with memories of school as I'm forced into eating like the locals. One week into our travels we'd been vegetarian, and had not drank any alcohol, and had almost no processed foods.

Health Lesson 1: you are what you eat. Whatever you eat goes into your blood and nourishes every cell in your body. Essentially your pinky toe is that cheeseburger you ate for lunch. Oh what a dreadful way to be reminded of this lesson. After a week of our travels with no junk food I decide to go and buy some potato chips and Oreos. This was a serious mistake as for the next day I had severe pain and diarrhea. My body decided to purge me of these snacks, and purge it did. Then one week later we leave our first location of India to head to the next. So Nicole decides to have a beer, obviously just to remind us of lesson 1. Which she learned well while having to travel 25 hours on an over sold train with no seats.

Health Lesson 2: Every dis-ease is curable through Mother Earth by the consumption of foods and plants. One of my classes were herbology, in which we learned the amazing properties of plants. While here in India i found essential oils are 1$ compared to America which is 25$ for the same thing. Naturally I decided to stock up and build an apothecary. During our travels we received a number of ailments from urinary tract infections to food poisoning. We also came across countless travelers who had everything from herpes to parasites. Well, what a better time to try out the magic of plants? In six months of travel using only my essential oils I helped to cure a multitude of symptoms, almost immediately with no side effects. Two drops of Bergamot on the stomach completely got rid of a UTI, one drop of tea tree for an immediate fix to ring worm. Herpes with citronella, parasites with bergamot, cinnamon and clove for food poisoning, and wintergreen and peppermint for menstrual cramps. To this day the best experience was when Nicole got burned red like a tomato in the sun while relaxing on the beaches of Goa. I put just a couple drops of lavender in lotion and rubbed her down. The next day she woke up with a beautiful tan and no pain, and has become a believer in plant medicine ever since.

Health Lesson 3: Dis-ease goes through seven stages in which the body tries to fight it off and warn you that something is going on. Fatigue, pain, cleansing, accumulations, multiple accumulations, inflammation, and isolation. Our body does everything it possibly can to show us there is something wrong with us. There are signals that we live with so often we think they are normal occurrences rather than signs. Some of these warnings that we confuse for being normal are gas, lethargy, heart burn, sneezing and very importantly but often missed is acne. After several months of traveling India we decided to volunteer at a reforestation project. During this project you pay for your food and everything else is completely free. The only catch is, you must abide by their rules. Veganism is the biggest principle you live by in this community. This means no animal products such as cheese, milk, and even honey! Another strict rule is drugs, which they define as anything that takes you out of a normal conscious state. Their list of drugs contains nicotine, alcohol, refined sugars, processed foods, and caffeine. We couldn't even fry our foods, or eat garlic or peppers for dinner because they are stimulants and cause nightmares. At first living with all this can be hard but the food is so great after a while you hardly notice. After one month of living in an all vegan, all organic, drug free environment, our whole idea of healthy living changed. (Let's pretend for my sake that I never made a vow). After just one meal we had a natural energy that made us feel like we could take on the world. Little by little, things we lived with so often went away and were long forgotten about. Heartburn, gas, acne, pain, and being tired were all things of the past. Our skin became clearer with a beautiful glowing sheen. Our hair and nails grew stronger and faster, scars started to disappear, our heads felt like a fog lifted, and even our eyesight was getting better. The thing is, we didn't realize all of this until we left. Right after we left we traveled to Kolkata, a food and sweets Zion in India. Food is cheap and there are over 10,000 food carts and vendors in the streets. With our stomachs being treated by all these goodies, so were our symptoms. For our heads began to feel cloudy, we felt dull, our skin lost it's shine, we got gas and heart burn again, and started getting sick with small colds and illnesses.

Health Lesson 4: The order in which you eat your foods is just as important as the foods you choose to eat. Keeping things simple to understand, we basically have two stomachs. The upper stomach which turns our foods soft and into liquid, and our bottom stomach which liquifies it more and puts the liquid into our blood. Every food takes a different length of time for us to break down. Fruits (especially melons) being the fastest, and proteins with fats (like meat) taking the longest. When we mix certain foods together our body has a hard time digesting the foods. It may get confused and send solid foods to our lower stomach or keeping liquid foods in our upper stomach. When this happens fruit becomes rotten in our stomach, or meat putrefies so we don't receive any of the nutrients. A big example of this would be eating a burger in which your stomach gets confused on what to do when it needs to digest the white bread (simple carb) with the meat (complete protein). Now you have rotten meat sitting in your stomach ready to be digested; this is what gas is. During our travels even though we were eating healthy we would mix our fruit and our veggies, have mixed fruit with muesli, or eat bread with eggs and even though we thought we were doing better, we still felt sluggish and tired, or mentally foggy.

Health Lesson 5: The key is not to take all the unhealthy foods out of your diet. It's to start adding healthy foods into your diet, and the more often you do so the less you will crave the unhealthy ones. After our experiences of the frequent changes in our diet there was one constant. The more in tuned we were to the needs of our body the better we felt, and the better we looked. When we went from eating unconsciously to consciously our body chemistry changed. We saw our bodies in its optimal state and loved it. Then we let our eyes get the best of us and used those to eat instead of our stomachs. We learned rather quickly our preference in health. Slowly we are beginning to crave healthier foods. Although we still eat something unhealthy at least once a day, our desire to do so lessens everyday. We want our bodies to feel the natural high it felt before, and now that our body has experienced it, our internal cravings are changing. We are not quite there just yet, but the road is getting easier to walk on, and even more enjoyable. We look forward to always eating consciously and feeling the high of health once again.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for ur experience. It will help others