Photo by Diana Polekhina on Unsplash
The year 2020 may turn out to be a turning point in human history.
It has affected us at two levels – as a society and as individuals. It has disrupted economies, social interactions, travel, and changed the way we live and conduct our lives. As a society, it should force us to rethink how and why it has happened and how to prevent such occurrences in the future. On an individual level, some of us lost our dear and near ones, and many of us have lost our means of livelihood.
Can there be anything good about this year? Yes, every cloud has a silver lining. My attitude towards life is to accept what is in the past because it cannot be changed and look for the lessons to be learnt. Since there is a cloud, then let us find the silver lining. Let me share what I have been trying to do at my individual level to make us better equipped to fight such and other threats to our health.
The silver lining I find is the change in thinking about health. The realisation that people with obesity and co-morbidities like diabetes have far more risk of succumbing to the virus has made people more conscious about their physical health and the quality of their immune system. People have realised that taking medicines lifelong to manage symptoms of these diseases is not an optimal strategy because the root cause does not get treated. There are no medicines that can improve these parameters and also the quality and strength of our immune system. This realisation has made people willing to take responsibility for their health into their own hands. People have also realised the value of a good diet and non-sedentary lifestyles. This is a very welcome change.
I had been trying to spread this message for the last five years without much success. People were content to take medicines because treating the root cause puts onus on them to make changes in their lifestyles. We must realise that the nature of killer diseases has completely changed over the last three centuries. Previously diseases like smallpox, malaria and the plague were the killer diseases. Today the killer diseases are cancer, heart attack, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, etc. These diseases were not even heard of just two hundred years back. They are fundamentally different from the contagious diseases described earlier. The cause is not external but internal (chronic inflammation and insulin resistance). Medicine only manages the symptoms but does not even attempt to cure them. If one understands the biochemistry of these diseases and makes changes in diet to be in tune with our genetics and evolutionary make up, then these diseases can be reversed or their risk can be reduced substantially.
My own metabolic health was not good till fifteen years back. I was not happy with the dogma of the medical fraternity that these are progressive diseases and there is no cure. Being a chemical engineer and having worked as a research scientist, I had all the basic knowledge. I decided to add to this knowledge and studied and received diploma-level degrees from many reputed global universities. These were in the field of Genetics, Evolution, Biochemistry, Brain Science, Diabetes, Nutrition and Exercise. What I found was a shocking revelation for me. I saw that a proper diet and lifestyle can reverse all these Metabolic Syndrome Diseases like Diabetes, Blood Pressure, Cardiovascular disease, Cancer, Alzheimer’s. I was happy to try out this science myself and benefited tremendously. Today my health is far better than what it was 12 years ago when I retired.
Encouraged by my own results, I started forming small groups of 20 to 25 people to share this insight with them three years back. My philosophy was not to just give a list of what to do and what not to do, but to explain the underlying biochemistry to the group. Most people started with total skepticism. As time passed, everyone started getting convinced because the science was very clear and convincing. People started following the protocol and started getting fantastic results. Everyone lost weight, many people were able to stop their medicines for diabetes and became metabolically healthy. The knowledge was spreading but it had a problem of scalability. Personal interaction has its limitations. I started exploring if I could use other methods using social media platforms.
During the coronavirus epidemic, I floated the idea of forming a group called “Metabolic Health Science” for IIT alumni. The idea was to explain, through recorded audios, all aspects of health with a focus on metabolic diseases. Participants could listen at their own convenience – this solved the limitation of geography and having to attend at a particular time. Monthly Zoom meetings provided some face-to-face interaction.
We were hoping that 50 IITians would join. This is where awareness and interest about health created by coronavirus helped. We were overwhelmed by the response. To keep the group manageable, we decided to close the group at 80 participants. But we kept on getting more and more requests to join. Finally we had a group of 180 very interested IITians. We started two months ago and so far 45 audio lessons have been shared. We will soon start following a protocol. People are already making small but important changes in their diet and have already started deriving significant health benefits. In another three months, many would have lost up to ten kg of weight, stopped most medicines and considerably reduced their risk of metabolic diseases. What is more, they will have a much better immune system to fight off the virus in case they get infected.
We are focusing not only on physical health but also on psychological health, on how to eliminate stress from our lives and become happy no matter what.
I am glad to share this experience with the broader IIT community and thank the Fundamatics editors for giving me this opportunity. I hope that the readers will feel motivated to take responsibility for their own health in their own hands.
Being healthy is your right and you must exercise it. It can be done and you should do it. All the best.
Yes, you are right, Arvind, this pandemic has not only changed the way people think about health but also their behaviour in adapting good health practices. Thanks for a very well written article on looking for the silver lining in the cloud. Let’s hope things change for the better soon and everyone gets serious about continuing to lead a healthy lifestyle.