Case Study: India And Other Westernized Cultures
Like many other colonized cultures, Indians are sick and dying from the aftermath of Western dietary standards. But they also face a healthy alternative, if they tap into their old traditions. I didn’t discover this fact until 2017, after a decade-long journey that brought me to India to learn the principle of self-healing… a principle that can help a few us here in the West too.
I was in my early 40s when I began to battle a legion of demons. They came in various forms, from microbial attacks, infections and gut disorders to cyclical fatigue and mood shifts that undermined my overall mojo and wellbeing. Every year, the symptoms got just a little bit worse. I surmised it was all part of a natural aging process.
I was dead wrong.
One day, a doctor gave me 72 hours to live, if I didn’t opt for an experimental antibiotic dripper. The infection levels in my blood were off the chart. I survived, but the subsequent infections became even more chronic, a common aftermath of antibiotics.
As an investigative journalist and co-owner of a health and wellness site HoneyColony in Los Angeles, I went guinea pig on myself, trying to figure out what the problem really was. I experimented with dozens of different approaches. Western. Tibetan. Chinese. Holistic. Alternative. Shamanistic. I tried all the miracle cures, supplements, drugs and diets that promised vitality and resistance. And every year I kept getting just a little bit worse.
My healing didn’t begin until I was struck by an insight.
The insight was this. There is no expert, doctor, shaman, drug, pill, or other miracle, that can heal the human body. Only the body can heal itself, if it has enough energy. “Vis medicatrix natural,” a.k.a. “the body heals itself naturally,” wrote Hippocrates, two and a half millennia ago.
The realization contained a catch.
If we assume that we heal naturally with sufficient energy, the next question is how do we measure and manage natural energy in our body? Our metabolism, or the way we process energy, is as unique as our fingerprint, remarkably different from person to person. Lab tests, MRIs, X-rays or stethoscopes don’t measure energy. Most doctors don’t even recognize energy as a medical concept. Yet cellular energy (ATP) produced by mitochondria covers over 90 percent of our functions, and impairment of mitochondrial energy is increasingly identified as a root causative factor of chronic disease and aging-related decrepitation.
Even when we recognize the importance of energy, the challenge is that the way in which we digest and produce energy through foods, air, water, electromagnetic radiation, even our relationships and sense of purpose, is highly individual. Ergo, a functional healing protocol must be equally bio-individual.
The scientific concept of metabolic individuality, or bio-individuality, was established by Linus Pauling, a quantum chemist, biochemist and one of the founders of molecular biology, half a century ago. Bio-individuality is the reason whymost healing protocols are unpredictable, why one medicine or diet that works for one person, can be poison for another. Pauling understood Hippocrates’ insight, but he didn’t have the tools to measure bio-individuality.
The good news is that humans have an innate, evolutionary ability to sense what type of energy our bio-individuality needs in order to prosper and heal. But the ultimate catch-22 of the 21stcentury is that most people also don’t have the requisite energy to tap into this sense. It’s like having a nose, without the sense of smell. Modern lifestyle has desensitized us with toxins and nutrition-poor diets, and then enslaved us to a healthcare model that is obsessed with symptoms, not root causes.
Yes, hospitals and allopathic doctors are great for broken legs, surgery, acute care, but when it comes to a chronic disease, it’s better to hedge your bets.
The catch-22 is particularly true in USA and Europe, but also other Westernized countries like India, where symptomatic medicine has overtaken millennia of natural, functional healing methods. Today, Indians are literally crashing from inadequate energy levels, blithely unaware of their root problem. High performing executives in their 40s or 50s are running on adrenaline and dopamine, imagining that their energy levels are just fine, whereas what’s really happening is that their system is speeding on first gear, with tremendous wear and tear that will ultimately crash the engine.
The final key to my own healing was Pauling’s wet dream, the ability to measure bio-individuality accurately and objectively, without having to rely on biased judgement. Molecular blood tests known as metabolomics track so-called metabolites, the traces of over 5,000 energy processes in the human biochemistry, to identify specific blockades and deficiencies in e.g. the Krebs cycle. Metabolomics is less than a decade old science, but it’s catching on fast (you can do a free survey here to see if the method applies to you). Based on metabolomic information, a metabolomically certified doctor can recommend a precise nutritional, supplementation and lifestyle protocol to restart the human engine.
This is what self-healing is about, after all: to give the human body enough energy to fix itself. The method is relevant for all chronic disease conditions.
Metabolomic data shows that the most fundamental blockades we have in our biological combustion engine are based usually on nutritional deficiencies and/or excessive toxins. When I began to address both areas, I not only healed but transformed. Within six months of starting the protocol, I was flying mentally and physically. No more recurring doctor visits. No more prescriptions. No more shifting energy and motivation levels. No more excess weight. Just a pure flow in a state of perfect health and energy.
It was a gift that I couldn’t just keep to myself. I shifted my priorities to start helping others.
Coming To India
I came to India in June 2017 to help a friend lose weight and regain his health. I had just spent two years deep in the Peloponnesian mountains of Greece on a bio-individually adjusted nutrition and lifestyle protocol, eager to share my newly found zest.
Pankaj, 54, my friend, was a smart and thriving businessman, but he was also severely overweight, with pre-diabetes, deteriorating energy levels, general inflammation, mood shifts, chronic pain in his torso and lower back. To my shock, as I would discover, his condition was not an exception in India, it was pretty much the default in his age class.
After Western nutritional habits became the norm during the colonial years, India began its tailspin. The low-fat regimens introduced in the 1980s made matters worse. Excessive carbs, sugar, grains, vegetable oils, compromised air and water combined with scant exercise and a stressful, metropolitan lifestyle, has caused a massive toll on the Indian population. India is about a decade behind the US in terms of its chronic health disaster. The effects are visibly apparent in the shape and composure of Indian bodies, but also in their increasingly stressed and depressed mindsets.
Today, over half of the deaths in India are due to a chronic disease, with cardiovascular, respiratory and digestive issues as the leading causes. Diabetes is rampant in at least one-in-five, but pre-diabetes is becoming as common as obesity. And these complications are for the first time also apparent in children.
India is on fast track to becoming another America, where half of the men and 40 percent of women get cancer, two-thirds are overweight, 70 million have one or more autoimmune conditions, up to 88 percent of deaths involve a chronic disease… and rising.
In the case of Pankaj, I integrated an approach that combined a metabolomic nutrition and supplementation protocol with additional lifestyle tweaks that I had picked up over years of experimentation.
Some of the lifestyle tweaks include getting at least 20 minutes of sun on the skin per day, to jack up vitamin D levels. To get a sweat going with a simple exercise, 3-4 times a week. To detox with heat once or twice a week. To drink at least three liters of water per day, spiced with a pinch of Himalayan salt for better hydration (filtered water doesn’t hydrate as well) or molecular hydrogen. To give up antibiotics by using natural antimicrobials, like colloidal silver. And other simple tweaks.
The big change always begins with the diet, which needs to be bio-individualized. But even before that, it’s necessary to address the most glaring mistakes in the general Indian diet. Sugar and grains are probably the biggest killers in India. They spike up insulin levels, which in turn convert carbs into excessive fat, cause wear and tear on cellular and vascular levels, and over time manifests as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, hypertension, overweight, food addiction, cognitive issues, and rapidly fluctuating energy levels that have to be compensated with constant snacking of carbs.
Western standards also suppressed some of the healthiest aspects of the Indian traditional diet, which used to be rich in fermented foods and fats like ghee and coconut oil. Today modern Indians cook with vegetable oils that are high in trans fats, essentially an industrial poison that causes oxidative damage.
Like most Westerners, Indians think that low-fat foods help shed fat, whereas the opposite is true. It’s the excess sugar that accumulates into fat. By relearning to eat healthy fats, Indians can transform from sugar burners to fat burners and change the vitality in months.
Another dietary custom that was buried with colonialism is fermented foods. Rich and diverse in bacteria, fermented foods like canned vegetables help the gut function with proper metabolism and manufacture of brain chemicals. Over 90 percent of serotonin, the neurotransmitter that is associated with the feeling of wellbeing, for example, is manufactured in the gut. Yet most Indians are bombarded with antibiotics that nuke the gut’s ability to produce brain and body fuels, exacerbated further by a sugar-rich diet that feeds pathogenic bacteria. Gut dysfunction is a major source of chronic inflammation and mood disorders in India.
Lifestyle and diet tweaks can transform the principal sources of biochemical energy, but there is also a bigger picture involved in the healing process.
We expel and accrue energy from multiple inputs and outputs. Relationships can drain or charge us. Prearranged marriages in India wreak havoc in couples, after the initial buzz of romance wears out. Childhood trauma, even if it remains subconscious, can keep us chronically deficient with energy, even if we do everything else right. Our career, hobbies and work activity are massive energy factors… do we feel like we’re part of something meaningful (positive energy) or are we working just to make ends meet (negative energy)? Do we live in primarily urban environment (negative) or do we ground ourselves in nature occasionally (positive)? Do we work primarily in a sedentary position (negative) or do we get to move around frequently (positive)? The list goes on, and the prioritization of these factors is as individual as our dietary requirement. We simply have to learn to sense what we need in terms of energy, in multiple dimensions of our existence.
Empowering the individual to be self-sensing, self-directing and self-healing again, is the main challenge for the average Indian, today. The alternative is the present: a steady biochemical collapse that afflicts the majority of the population, both on a physical and mental (consciousness) level.
When we address the root causes of our energy processes, the results are nothing short of a transformation. Pankaj reversed his pre-diabetes in less than three months. His sensation of energy went up by a factor of three. He lost 15 kilograms naturally within the first 12 weeks, without restricting his calorie intake (the body achieves an optimal weight naturally, when it gets the nutrition it needs). His skin and hair improved visibly, and most importantly the zest and drive got back up to youthful proportions. Not only is he running his family’s enterprise, but two more startups. Today, Pankaj gets up at sunrise, fully rested and ready to rock.
Other clients in India experienced natural weight loss without calorie restriction. Reversal of diabetes. Two to three times higher energy levels. Ability to rest deeply and soundly. Reversal of autoimmune and diabetes symptoms. Cognitive boost, positivity and life zest. Mira, who is a 60-year old textile industry executive, used to have chronic fatigue and cyclical crashes during the day, indigestion, overall body inflammation and pain, hair loss, insomnia, depression and anxiety. Six months later, her friends can barely recognize her. Her skin shines, her hair is growing strong again, she is pain free, sleeps soundly, and kickboxes with energy levels that her trainer calls a “5X phenomenon.” Most importantly, she is positive and driven again, performing with youthful capacity.
The principle of Energy For Living is to measure, understand and identify metabolic individuality with the most advanced metabolomic blood and urine tests, but also to coach the client with nutrition and lifestyle practicalities until they have enough energy to be self-guiding and self-healing. The key is to understand that there are no miracles outside of the body’s self-regulatory ability with energy.
A typical healing process takes between three and six months. It is energy-giving in itself to observe the full-body-and-mind upgrade that happens in clients after they get their first nudge in energy levels. Coaching is an integral part of this process, to make sure clients don’t revert back to their old ways.
According to metabolomic data of over 15,000 patients, most people live at 30 to 40 percent of their natural energy capacity. Someone with a chronic disease may be down to 10-15 percent of their potential, without even realizing it. The body tends to compensate for low energy with hormones, making one feel as if everything is normal, until the inevitable crash needs to be compensated with coffee, drugs, carbs or energy drinks – the vicious cycle that wears and tears our constitution on a cellular level.
Driven and successful people in their late 40s and 50s are often in this predicament, sensing that something is fundamentally wrong, but ignoring the signs… until they face the inevitable crash. With enough knowledge and awareness, this problem can be reversed. Unfortunately, a lot of people need to experience a crash before they understand the severity of their situation.
Understanding the principle of energy and how critical it is to our performance, stability, happiness, and future, needs to become a key consideration again, especially for people living under the Western paradigm of compromised nutrition and lifestyle.
Indians themselves accept too many Western norms as axioms, whereas their own energetic heritage happens to be the oldest, most versatile and rich in human history. Ayurveda, which predates metabolomic science on nutrition by a cool 7,000 years, states the same energetic principle of bio-individuality, just with a slightly different approach that requires decades of training for ayurvedic masters. The Vedas, the ancient Hindu scriptures, the Sanskrit heritage all boil down to the principle and flow of life energy, of self-healing, which begins in our mitochondria.
Founder & Health Counselor