Friday, October 22, 2010

Dassera Fasting Fun

You might find the title ‘Dassera Fasting Fun’ little awkward in this health related blog post ‘Natural Way of Living’. As mentioned in my previous blog post, we (me and my wife) have been fasting once a week for a few months now. We initially began our fasting on Saturdays and after 7 weeks we have decided to fast on Sundays. This was our fifth Sunday on fasting. We might move on to Monday fasting after finishing another 2 Sundays. In this way we have planned our fasting cycle, though we are not sure how many weeks, months or years we go. As of now we are having fun and enjoying the benefits of fasting. Every Indian understands the prominence of fasting as it is deeply embedded in our culture. Fasting is usually associated with religious customs in Hindu tradition of India. We have been following a practice of fasting on certain auspicious days from ages. Indians believe, fasting on certain festivals and auspicious days of the month gives them the ‘punya – the fruits of good deeds’.

There are many misconceptions regarding the fasting in certain community of people especially the educated community. People feel that fasting means a foolish effort to make one weak. It is a superstition that fasting gives you ‘Punya’. Many people write-off the benefits of the age old custom of fasting as a mere superstition of our illiterate ancestors without any knowledge.

Dr. Mantena Satyanarayana Raju has done a great job over the years in promoting the benefits of fasting and equally raising the curtains over misconceptions of fasting.

According to Dr. Raju, our ancestors who embedded the custom of fasting in our culture were not the fools. They were in fact, the power houses of knowledge and wisdom. Millions of years ago, there were no comforts of science and technology that we are enjoying today. Every individual has to work real hard, dawn to desk to earn his bread for the day. In such a situation, if anybody asks a person to follow a weekly fasting for the betterment of his health, would he suppose to fast? Definitely not! They hadn’t suggested weekly fasting for such people. They were asked to fast until they recover, only when they feel sick which is popularly known as Lankanam. For all those, whose work involves less or no physical effort, are asked to keep on fast every weekend or every ‘eka dasi - every 11th day of the month’. Making a few people follow this practice was not a big deal but to make every individual in the country to follow this practice of good health is a daunting task. If you ask anybody to follow any practice for a good health; he is definitely not going to follow you. With a great vision and wisdom of knowledge they embedded this practice of fasting in our culture adding sanctity towards God. It is because of their foresight we are still following those healthy practices in the name of Punya. Millions of years had gone and another million might go, but let me tell you these practices of good health are going to stay. That is the power of their wisdom and foresight. It is not sure whether this practice of fasting is going to guarantee any Punya but it surely guarantees a good health.

For those who think fasting makes one weak. Here is the answer of Dr. Raju. According to Dr. Raju fasting means giving a complete break to the inner organs of the body especially the digestive organs like stomach, small intestine, large intestine, pancreas, gall bladder and the Liver. “How do you feel the next morning when you go to the office after enjoying a holiday on Sunday? Do you feel energetic or you feel weak?” You definitely feel energetic because you had a rest yesterday. The similar thing happens with your body when you give rest for the day. Fast one day on honey-lemon water as per the instructions of natural living and experience the difference or find the experiences of a person fasting regularly. You are going to have the feeling of rebirth the next morning after fast. Such will be the level of energy during the next day of your fasting, even though you hadn’t consumed any food for the last 24 hours. All your cells are charged up enjoying a rest during your fast. Such is the effect of fasting. Fasting doesn’t make you weak. It instead makes you strong by saving the energy that would have used for digesting all the junk food you consumed. Our body uses energy for digesting all kinds of junk we put in throughout the day. It also uses the energy to excrete the unwanted junk deposited through food. Fasting is a boon to our liver because it is the most functioning organ of our body. It has tons of other functions without our intervention. When we fast, it works on its self repair and maintenance program. Repair and maintenance of the liver means; increase in the span of our life and overall health condition. For more on fasting, please refer my earlier blog post “Fasting – A Super Medicine”.

One must always remember that every tasty food is a burden to your body. Nothing in this creation is going to last long if loaded with more capacity than required. This is the very reason that the life span of modern man is declining at a rapid pace. The average life span of a man has reduced from 100 years to 70 years. There is no surprise if it further goes down by 50 years in the generations to come. Our forefathers used to eat all those tasty food occasionally on festivals and marriage ceremonies. Today the lifestyle especially in the metro cities has totally changed. Every day is a festival here, thanks to the increasing number of eatery chains in the city. This lifestyle in major cities is resulting in the increasing number of lifestyle disorders at an early age. This is where Dr. Raju has declared his battle against the odd eating habits of city people. Of late, he has been seen promoting a fasting practice on Sundays and other festive holidays, as people tend to eat more junk during these days.

As told earlier we have been fasting for quite some time now and having great fun. Though we are not intended to follow fasting on Sundays and holidays for ever, we firmly decided to stay on fast even on festivals if they fall in our schedule. We did that before on Vinayaka Chaviti, the festival of Lord Ganesha and also happened to be the festival of Ramadan for Muslim friends and brothers. But staying on fast on Dassera day was a kind of challenge. Dassera is one of the Grand festivals of India. It is celebrated over a period of 10 days and 10th day being Dassera is celebrated all over by sacrificing goats to the Goddess Durga. Dassera means joy and happiness. We usually visit every elder of our relatives on the Dassera day and seek their blessings. People from all works of life and places gather at the eldest member of the family for seeking his blessings. After a series of blessings, meetings and gup-shups, they end up with a feast of non-vegetarian dishes, alcohol, songs, dances and fun.

My wife was getting nervous a day before, to face them on fasting. She was worried because people never let an opportunity to insult you. We were already infamous as grass eaters in the circle. She was actually planning the ways to face them and explain their queries way before one week. She looked quite frustrated and was getting irritated over me for being so calm and negligent. I very well knew that future plans are not going to work when you are to engage with many people around. Therefore, I asked her to hold her nerves and be calm and take things as they come. The dawn of Dassera finally arrived. It was the Pranayama and Meditation time as we don’t practice asanas on the day of fasting. I asked my wife to focus on the moment and concentrate on the present practice of Pranayama and Meditation and leave the rest on time. We had a wonderful session of Pranayama and Meditation which lasted for 2 hours. The mind was still, calm and focused. Now it was time to visit my parents first for seeking their blessings.

We had our first glass of honey-lemon juice and began our journey to my parents. All our brothers and sister gathered and sought blessings from parents and elders. We then moved to my in-law’s house and sought their blessings. Surprisingly, none of our parents had offered to eat. I actually expected some sort of lecture from my father and father-in-law for fasting on a festival like Dassera. But none of them had their complaints. We were happy that they have now realized the importance of fasting which is a vital part of natural living. So far it all ended well. The real challenge was to come here on. We were to visit one of our Uncle who is the eldest member of our family and lot of people from different places are supposed to gather at him.

On reaching him, we realized his house is full of visitors as expected. People thronged in from different parts of the city to seek his blessings. Virtually the house was so crowded that we didn’t find a seat. Most of the faces in the crowd were known ones but believe me they couldn’t recognize me for some time. One of them even asked my wife, “Your husband hasn’t come?’, where as I was standing by her side. She pointed me with a big smile on her face. I was the center of attraction in the crowd out there. All those who knew me or had seen me last Dassera began to glare at me. I looked around and said to myself, “come on Ram! You are going to be flooded with questions. Get ready!”

A lady came close to me and asked, “Are you alright?, I mean, I know you are following natural way of living since you told me last Dassera and you have lost some kilos of weight by then. But you look too slim and weak this time. Seriously, is everything OK with your health? This is too much and it’s unbelievable that a man can reduce this much and be healthy. She had been repeatedly asking whether I am seriously healthy? For a moment, I was short of words for her doubts on my health. I know, I have to answer her convincingly and at the same time I need not try to prove that I am healthy. By the time I began my reply, a person in the group shouted, “these dieting and all sort of things are rubbish; which are meant to spoil the health. Look at him; how healthy was he last time and how weak he is now? Stop this nonsense thing immediately and eat healthy”. Another voice raised asking, “brother you were fine with big and healthy personality before, what was the need to do all this?” I can understand about dieting but you are doing too much. Don’t spoil your health. Start eating immediately.” This way everyone in the crowd began to give their opinions and suggestions. Everyone was talking as if I am not at all eating and fasting all the 365 days. During all the conversation, I remained a mere spectator listening to their program. Most of them were drunk and against my lifestyle. I realized, none of them are going to listen my version and any effort to explain them will fall in deaf ears.

After all the discussion, we took the blessings of our uncle and all other elders of the family. He then offered me a plate of snacks. I actually wanted to tell him that I was on fast but again I thought that might spark another debate, which I didn’t wanted at that time and therefore, I picked up the plate quietly. Looked here and there for a while and smartly passed on the snacks to a kid by my side. The kid was happy with my gesture and I was happy for his rescue act. We then got back to our home bidding adieu to a memorable Dassera Fun.

The good thing was that in spite of so many questions and people making fun of my lifestyle I hadn’t lost my cool. Moreover, it boosted my moral. We felt happy that we deserved to be true disciples of Dr. Raju at least for one day.

When we got back home, I got a doubt and asked my wife. Tulsi, How do you think Dr. Raju is going to arrange his son’s wedding ceremony? He is so health conscious that he designed a new form of cooking called healthy cooking without using oil, ghee, masala, salt, spices etc. for the benefit of society. What type of food u think is he going to offer his relatives and visitors? Will he provide the natural healthy food he is been teaching all the time? Or will he provide the usual food that is cooked in the community? Or will he provide both types of foods? My wife started scratching her head and said, ‘both’.

Great people always has to face such tough things in life as Mahatma Gandhi did with his son. Well… let us leave the question on time and Dr. Raju himself.

This is it for now. Keep watching the space for more updates.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Dr. Mantena's Natural Remedy for Lifestyle Disorders

Of late I have been coming across people, regularly seeking remedies for lifestyle disorders like Diabetes, Constipation, Piles, Hemorrhoids, obesity and other gastric, digestive and intestinal problems. In my observation these diseases are not just life threatening but also very expensive. People across the world are spending lots and lots of money on these disorders. Unable to bear the increasing medical bills people have begun to live with these disorders suffering throughout their life. I am not sure whether it is true; but I observed people in the west are more prone to these disorders.

Few days ago, I have come across a NRI from Boston, MA, USA on social networking site facebook; according whom getting an appointment of a doctor in the US is a daunting task as they are quite busy with large number of patients. If anyone in India or any other parts of the world is asked, “which country is well sophisticated in medical science?” You get the answer “America” without a second thought. Despite the advancement of medical science in America, it has failed to regulate the increasing number of patients. The scenario is no different in India. If you look at the number of hospitals and clinics in India in the recent past; it has grown up to a great extent. You have big corporate hospitals and clinics in every nook and corner of the cities in India. They are prospering at a very rapid pace. No matter how sophisticated is the medical science today; it can neither prevent nor eradicate the disease from its roots. It can only assist or help you in your cause. As already mentioned in my previous blogs that Medicines and Doctors do not cure diseases, they just assist or help our body to cure diseases. It is our body that fights and cures the diseases. According to Andreas Moritz – an internationally famous medical intuitive and practitioner of Naturopathy and Ayurveda, bacteria and viruses are not the one to be blamed for infections and diseases; it is the environment that is created within our body is to be blamed. These bacteria and viruses are unavoidable. They are everywhere and in everybody. The same virus might be in someone else' body at the same time but it troubles you and not him. The reason is quite simple, his environment within the body is clean and healthy which enables his active cells to kill those bacteria immediately on intrusion.

I often notice, people compare their state of health with others. For example, a friend of mine Mr. Srinivas has approached me to teach asanas and diet routine to get rid of his disorders. He was suffering from belching stomach, obesity and constipation. When I told him to follow some of the natural diet routines he asked me a question. He has a friend called Raja Lingam who usually eats large quantity of food especially non-vegetarian. Why is he still slim and problem free; whereas he is suffering from all sorts of disorders in his early 30s? Another of my friend Mr. Naseer feels that there are other people who eat plenty of non-vegetarian food and still they are healthy without any issues; whereas he is suffering from the lifestyle disorders, though he is eating moderately. Many people like these, don’t realize that when you have a problem, it is within you. Instead of comparing your status with others you should take your own initiative to get rid of these issue. There might be many factors that differentiate you from others. The major three factors are: (1) Genes (2) Lifestyle and (3) Environment. You can do nothing with genes that are inherited to you with certain disorders. But you can do a lot with lifestyle changes. Majority of diseases or disorders in humans are lifestyle disorders.

Irrespective of the geographical boundaries the mankind is suffering from the common issue of lifestyle disorders. Unless a person realizes the strength of a human body and try to eradicate the diseases or disorders from their roots, they are not going to get relieved. Unless we collectively make an effort to bring a change in our lifestyles, the mankind cannot get away with these sorrows. No matter another million hospitals come into existence; the root cause cannot be eradicated. This is where Dr. M.S. Raju is working so hard for the past 20 years in the state of Andhra Pradesh. He is like a messenger of God for those who relieved from suffering. It is really less whatever is written or talked about this great man. He took up the mission to change the lifestyle of people so deep rooted in the culture for so many years. As Gandhiji said, every great movement has to begin with a single step and this true karma yogi Dr. Raju has singly begun his journey of educating people to change their lifestyles 20 years ago. Today the seeds sown by Dr Raju have grown into a chain of Mega Trees giving fruits to the entire society. Dr. Raju all through these years tried to take us back to the roots where we belong. Our ancestors especially the Indian ancestors were quite intelligent and wise. They spent many years on study of human body and remember without these modern technology. They gifted us every possible thing to live healthy and happy. They inserted those healthy habits deep into the roots of our culture. Today with the development of science and technology we have learned that vegetables have plenty of nutrition in them. We often discuss everyday about the healthiest foods in the world. Today in every news paper, you find column analyzing the nutritional values of different fruits and vegetables. They say eating so and so vegetable will give you so and so nutrition and so and so fruit or vegetable is good for so and so organ of your body and blah…blah…blah…! Just imagine what technology our ancestors might have used to find the nutritional value of a food? How they might have picked which vegetable is good for the heart, liver, kidneys, blood etc. etc. Out of millions of fruits, plants and vegetables, how those few plants, fruits and vegetables were picked up by our ancestors and included in our kitchen? Every one of us, including all those doctors and scientists who analyze the nutrition of these plants, vegetables and fruits are eating the same thing suggested by ancestors.

With the change of time and working environment, the lifestyle in India especially after the Liberation of market in mid 90’s has changed. The whole junk food centers opened up creating all sorts of health hazards. When I say junk food it is to the body and not to the tongue. Always remember that a Tongue’s delight is body’s demise. We are addicted to these attractive eateries which delight the tongue but disrupt the other major organs of the body. Better late than never, I was enlightened by the teachings of Dr. Mantena Satyanarayana Raju and changed my entire lifestyle. I realized that I must eat only the food that is liked by each and every 100 trillion cells of my body and not just the taste buds of my tongue. It is not easy to follow Dr. Raju’s Natural Way of Living if you are perfectly healthy. It is not because you can’t follow but because people around you cannot let you follow. I had a real hard time with my parents, friends, relatives and everyone who knows me. When I began eating all these sprouts, half boiled vegetables, fruits, and juices avoiding the usual food, they termed me either crazy or sick.

Very recently, one of my friends Mr. Arif told me that I am torturing my body by eating those stuff. He feels that my eating of phulkas (Indian whole grain bread), vegetables, fruits and dry nuts by eliminating the oil, ghee, spices, sugar etc. is a kind of torture to my body. I really pray for my friend to realize the fact before his body cracks down internally. I want him to realize that it is not me but he is torturing his own body with all those kind of food that is not meant for his body. Before you eat anything just remember that your body is not a garbage bin to throw every dirty object in it. It is your responsibility to keep it neat and clean. People spend hours in cleaning and decorating the external body but none is concerned about the cleanliness of inner body. Inner cleanliness reflects your personality. Inner body is the shelter of our soul. A cleaner soul gives mental peace and happiness and happy and peaceful mind always keep you fit and healthy.

And when it comes to my parents and in-laws they feel that they have spent their life time eating meat, ghee and all that stuff and still they are healthy. In fact, they are healthy because of that kind of food. I totally agree that consuming meat and ghee gives you energy and strength because of the high fat content in it. That was okay for them because in those days they used to work really hard to earn their livelihood. Whatever they consumed is to burn out without any scope for fat deposits in their body. Where is the effort now? We need fats for the maintenance of bones and generating extra energy but how often we move our limbs?

According to Dr. Raju, Fat deposits are like money in the bank. The more you transact, the better is your progress. Stagnant money is useless; in fact a burden. Similarly, the more you work that fast the fats burn and provide energy making you stronger. Where were the motor cycles, cars and buses in those days? They used to walk many a mile everyday in search of their livelihood. We are no match in their comparison. We cannot be like them no matter how hard we try.

The success mantra of healthy living of our ancestors is to work hard and eat healthy in the available circumstances. Dr. Mantena Satyanarayana Raju has designed a wonderful routine of things to be done in order to get rid of almost all sorts of disorders and diseases naturally and prevent any sort of such disorders in future if you don’t have any right now. This routine is studied and designed by Dr. Raju based on the knowledge and experiences of ancestors and molded for the people living in the modern society. Try to include these practices into your daily routine in order to stay fit and healthy.

(1) Rise around 5 A.M. in the morning. Lot of importance is given in Indian culture to wake up early. 4-30 A.M. to 5-30 A.M is considered as “divya samay - the divine timing” as the entire Gods move around you in the morning at this hour. The Idea is to make you wake up that early and have the wonderful breeze of pranic energy or life energy during these hours. Lots of prana flow during these hours of the time. Robin Sharma in one of his books mentioned that joining the 5 ‘O’ Clock club will change your life. Therefore wake up and see the difference. Seriously include this in your lifestyle and see the difference.

(2) As soon as you wake up fill your mouth with water and sprinkle water on your eyes for 10-15 times. This is a wonderful practice taught by Baba Ramdev-the yoga guru. It does wonders to your eyes. Practicing this will relieve you from frequent headaches, migraine and issues related to your sight. It is practically proven as boon for students and people who work on computers for hours.

(3) Drink 1 – 1 ½ liters of water in one go or two. Initially some people find it difficult to drink this much of water. Their body is not used to it. To begin with drink ½ liter of water and after one week you can go for one liter. Some people even feel a vomiting sensation in the beginning. Don’t panic if you vomit. Gently make your body get used to it. Water at this hour is to flush your intestines. It is a natural enema. Many of us use buckets of water to cleanse our outer body but never bothered to clean our inner body by drinking some liters of water. Drinking 1 to 1 ½ liters of water puts pressure on intestines and help in the free bowel movement.

(4) After drinking water concentrate on the intestines and walk around for a while and then visit the toilet. Concentration on intestines does wonders. We often see people spending lot of time in the toilet reading newspapers and smoking cigars. They take time to ablate because their concentration is on some other thing. For people with constipation, walking around with concentration on intestines help their cause to a great extent. The result won’t be immediate but as you follow this practice for a week or two you are going to see the difference.

(5) Half an hour later, start any exercise, yoga, walking, jogging etc. for at least 20 minutes. I recommend 1 hour of intense workout of any form for healthy people and 20-30 minutes of moderate workout for people of old ages and suffering from diseases. Asana and Pranayama are very desirable for people suffering from diseases. Remember the golden rule of ancestors no workout no food. If you want to eat well then move your limbs and sweat it out. Unless you workout you are not going to have a healthy life, no matter how nutritious food you eat. According to the great maestro of yoga Dr. BKS Iyengar, “the modern man had stuck to his sofa. He wakes up from bed and lands on sofa for tea, from sofa to dining chair for breakfast, dining chair to car or motor cycle seat to office, again from car seat to the office chair and vice versa. Where is the physical exerting? How is he going to gain health if such is the lifestyle?” If not all but many of us are like what Dr. Iyengar had mentioned. Many of the people living in metro cities say, they are so busy that they do not have time to do exercises. They have time for everything and everybody but have no time for the self. There is nothing ridiculous than this. You must remember one thing “If you don’t take your time for physical exercises now then you won’t have much time for the future.” Therefore be late than never. Realize this mantra and start moving your limbs.

(6) Drink 1 or 1 ½ liters of water again 10 minutes after your exercises. You might get another nature call to attend. I mean the bowel movement. This liter of water is good for people suffering from constipation. This soothes the intestines and improves its condition.

(7) Have your bath and freshen up for your vegetable juice if people suffering from constipation, hemorrhoids, piles, diabetes, high cholesterol etc. Healthy people can have their breakfast now.

(8)Have your vegetable juice with Tomato, Carrot, Beetroot, Kheera (cucumber), Bottle Gourd, Snake Gourd, Bitter Gourd etc. You can combine any one or two of the first 4 vegetables but never make the juices by combining vegetables of gourd family. Please make sure you wash all the vegetables very well and also taste a piece of snake and bottle gourd before you make the juice. Because some of these gourds (1 in a million) tastes bitter and when you notice that please avoid such gourds. These gourds (1 in a million) releases some kind of toxins due to various germinating factors like infertile soil, lack of water, sunlight and air etc. Keep these precautions in mind every time you make the vegetable juice. Remember and make sure you drink each sip gently and slowly before gulping in order to mix your saliva in every sip. Drink pleasantly as you drink your fruit juice.

(9) Have a gap of at least half an hour for breakfast.

(a) Make a habit of taking breakfast of sprouted moong beans or green grams, cow pea, chickpea etc. and soaked nuts like groundnut, almonds, cashew etc. No need to soak the nuts till they sprout. Just soak in the night and use it in the morning. Soak green grams, cow pea and chickpea for 6 – 8 hours and sprout it in a sprout maker or cloth till they sprout to 1 or 1 ½ inches. The longer the sprout, the better the nutrition and lesser the gas trouble. I need to mention one point here, due to high amount of proteins in sprouts; you might feel slight trouble in your stomach with gas. Making larger sprouts and chewing well is the key here. The better you chew the sprouts, the lesser is the gas trouble. You must remember to eat handful of these sprouts and nuts. It won’t be easy to eat sprouts initially because again your body is not used to this kind of food; it has to be made adaptable. It might take 15-20 days to get adaptable. Keep patience and self belief. You are going to love this after a few days because you have already begun reaping the benefits of this superstar food by then.

Do not drink water till 2 hours after breakfast. This is because our food is digested by the most powerful concentrated hydrochloric acid and other gastric juices in our stomach. When you drink water the concentration of these acids and juices weakens and hinders our digestion process. Our body needs to produce further acids to digest the food. These excess acids and gases results in belching and other gastric disorders. Some people doubt that we need water to digest. They need not worry because we get enough water from the food we cooked, or even raw fruits and vegetables have enough water in them to help digestion apart from the digestive gases and acids which are again in liquid form.

(c) 2 hours after your breakfast have a glass or two of water. In this way drink 1 or 1 ½ liters of water before your lunch. Remember again drink water 30 minutes before lunch and 2 hours after lunch.

(d) Have 2-3 Phulkas made of whole wheat or ragi and lots of vegetable curry or salad, or 2 servings of Rice (Brown Rice or Pounded Rice or unpolished rice) with curry (salad or boiled vegetables). You may use onions, lime juice, green chilly etc. for taste. You may have curd if required. The mantra is to eat more vegetable salad and curry and less phulka or rice. You need to fill your stomach more than 60% in order to quench your hunger. If you eat more vegetables curry than rice or phulka, you never suffer from constipation or any other intestinal disorders. All the vegetables are rich in fiber source. Fiber acts as a mop or broom stick in our body which cleanses the intestines and blood vessels. Eating more vegetables also cleanses the blockages in arteries and veins. People suffering from digestive and intestinal disorders should strictly avoid animal food because they contain zero fiber. Please note all the animal foods like goat, fish, chicken, milk, chocolates, creams etc. contains cholesterol which we need not take externally. Our liver looks after the production of cholesterol that is required for the body. Therefore don’t bother to take them in. Excess cholesterol reaches the bloodstream and clogs the arteries and veins resulting in high blood pressure, paralysis and heart attacks.

Drink again 1 or 2 liters of water 2 hours after the lunch in small installments of a glass or two. Many people give a skip to drink this installment of water here as they pay no attention to it. It is very essential to maintain enough fluids in our body for proper functioning of nervous system.

(f) You must stop drinking water by 6 P.M. or 6-30 P.M. This is because if you drink water in the late evening or night you need to attend the urinal during the late nights disturbing your sleep. Your body doesn’t need any more water at nights because the temperature of your body cools down with the weather. More importantly we have supplemented enough amount water in the day when the weather is hot.

(g) Dr. Raju is intensively promoting the practice of having the dinner by sunset. This practice is usually followed in rural areas of India from millions of years. This practice has lot to do with good health. We often see people in rural areas of India, Nepal and China are quite healthier than those in urban areas. If you eat early by 7 P.M. the food gets digested by 9 P.M. and you get a sound sleep throughout the night. This again gives rest to your entire body and mind. There are lots of other benefits of eating early in the evening which I will try to bring in my further updates.

(h) If you are a worker who is engaged in heavy physical work then you can have your quota of rice and vegetables without oil, ghee, masala, spices, salt etc. For people working in offices who needs less physical effort and more mental effort have to eat phulkas again with more amount of vegetable curry as mentioned above. People who work late or those with diabetes, arthritis or any digestive problems can have stomach full of seasonal fruits available in the market as dinner.

(i) Those who feel thirsty can have ½ glass of water before sleeping that is at 9 P.M. or 9-30 P.M.

Note: People who are overweight or having arthritis/joint pains should replace rice with phulkas, or Still Better, Have Fruit Dinner (say 2-3 bananas + 2 guavas, or 2-3 mangoes, etc. - up to 1/2 kg fruits OK for dinner). If overweight, take less soaked groundnuts and fresh coconut pieces in breakfast. But they need not starve to become lean. Eat more vegetables and fruits, less rice/wheat, Avoid MOSS - Spices, Oil, Salt and Sugar completely in their food.

I would like to conclude with the slogan of Dr. M.S. Raju: We are humans and every human commits a mistake. Let’s forget about the past and change our present to make a memorable future. I hope this article inspires many to join Dr. Mantena’s Natural Way of Living which is for the better, healthy and happy future. Those who follow this never get prone to lifestyle disorders and those who were already suffering from any of these diseases or disorders can get rid of their problems by following this lifestyle. Follow and let others follow. Keep watching the space for more updates.

Friday, October 1, 2010

I am Proud to be in The Elite Club of Grass Eaters

Believe it or not one session of a TV show by Dr. Mantena Satyanarayana Raju has totally changed my lifestyle. As already mentioned earlier in the previous blogs, I began to follow Dr. Raju’s Natural Way of Living with only motto of reducing my weight. When I began eating sprouts in my breakfast replacing the regular breakfast of Idli, Puri, Dosa and Vada etc. everyone (including my family members) used to make fun of me. They thought it was not possible for me to reduce weight. I took it as a challenge and followed the instructions of Dr. Raju honestly. There wasn’t a great change in my physical appearance in the beginning four months of my practice but I was feeling lighter and healthier. Two months later I took everybody by surprise. I lost around 10 Kilos of weight in a month and 8 Kilos in another month of time. My weight was 73 kilos then. All those who made fun of me were in disbelief on my achievement. Some appreciated my dedication while others believed that I destroyed my health on my own hands. Here I began to practice Yoga Asanas to tone my sagging skin. In the process I fell in love with Yoga and began practicing it passionately. It has become a part and parcel of my life. I might not feel sad if I skip meals for a day but it makes me sad if I miss the practice of Asanas and other yamas and niyamas associated with yoga. Getting on to Yoga mat adds me pleasure and Joy. Practice of asanas had not only toned my body but also made me stronger.

Another major change that occurred in my life was the sacrifice of animal food. I had been an animal eater since my childhood. After following Dr. Raju’s Natural Way of Living, I gradually reduced the intake of animal food. I used to eat occasionally on festivals and wedding ceremonies of friends and relatives. I never thought of giving it up completely. It just happened. One day, Mohan (my brother-in-law) demonstrated an ancient form of healing called ‘Pranic Healing’. Impressed by the art of healing I got a book on Pranic Healing written by its founder Master Choa Kok Sui. Since he spent 30 years of his life with yogis in Himalayas studying this ancient art, he realized and experienced the importance of vegetarian food for spirituality and good health. Lot of impetus is given by him on vegetarian food and its relationship with spirituality and cosmic energy.

One day, I saw the Legendary Yoga guru BKS Iyengar speaking on TV about his past. When he had been to the West to teach yoga in early 70’s, the Americans used to make fun of him by calling him a grass eater. After a few months of relationship with Iyengar they realized the importance of vegetarian food. The Americans were amused at the stamina and energy displayed by Dr. Iyengar during the practice of Asanas. Guys with hugely built body used to get tired in a session of an hour or two; whereas Dr. Iyengar used to practice and teach them throughout the day with same vigor and enthusiasm. According to Iyenger once they got used to yoga many of them gave up animal food and joined the grass eating club. Dr. Iyengar is still going strong at 94 eating his usual grass. I was really curious to know about the food some of the great Yogis like Tiruamalai Krishnamacharya, BKS Iyengar, Pattabhi Jois and others have had throughout their life. When I googled on internet about the type of food taken by yogis, I came across the diet recommended by Indira Devi the first foreign lady to have learned yoga. It was followed and recommended by none other than her guru Sri. Tirumalai Krishnamacharya – the father of modern yoga who happened to be the guru of Iyengar and Jois as well. Let me remind you that Sri. Tirumalai Krishnamacharya lived for 102 years and his disciples Indira Devi lived for 103 years, Pattabhi Jois lived for 94 years and BKS Iyengar is still living past 94 years by eating the so called grass. I got surprised and happy to learn what these great yogis have had all through their life been nothing but the food Dr. M.S. Raju is recommending so rigorously through his campaigns all over the state of Andhra Pradesh, India. They used to have Sprouts in the breakfast, whole grains like wheat or brown rice with vegetables especially greens at lunch and soaked dry nuts and fruits at dinner. All these findings have made a greater impact on my mind. I was virtually thinking to stop eating the non-vegetarian food but couldn’t really put an end to it due to the pressure applied by my parents.

One day, I finally decided to quit non-vegetarian food. Like any other addiction it wasn’t easy to give up either. I developed a craving for non-vegetarian food during one or two months of quitting; but once I crossed that hurdle I never bothered about it. My body doesn’t urge for such things now. I began to love eating less cooked greens and vegetables now. And I am proud to be called a grass eater because I have begun reaping the benefits of it already. Many of my friends and even my parents and in-laws feel that I did a mistake by quitting animal food. But I clearly understand and experience what it is being a vegetarian. Undoubtedly, it is safe for me and for the animals as well.

One evening on 15th of Sep’ 2010, I was sitting along with my friends and a guy approached us and said with a sad tone that his brother Manohar is no more. All of us cried, ‘whaaaaaaaaat?’ And we remained silent for a few minutes in grief. One of my friends gently raised his tone and asked, ‘how?’ He replied, Heart-Attack! All of us began to look into our faces one another in disbelief. Explaining further he said, his brother returned home from office in the afternoon with a complaint of chest pain. While climbing the stairs at home he got a heart-stroke and collapsed on the floor and rolled down the stairs. Family members immediately took him to the nearest hospital for treatment. Since the local hospital refused to admit the patient due to lack of facilities, they tried to take him to the nearest heart care center but Manohar had already taken his last breath on his way to the hospital. Ending his explanation with tearful eyes, requested all of us to attend the ritual for paying homage to his soul and left.

When Manohar’s brother left us, we been discussing throughout the day regarding his sudden demise. What might be the cause of his death? He was just 40, had no financial worries and tensions and as a matter of fact he was one of the most active person among us. We haven’t seen him ever fall sick or having any issues related to health. The only thing that might have cost his life was his habit of smoking cigars and alcohol. But, there are people who are older than him who drink more alcohol and smoke more cigars than him and still they are alive. All these and many more points were discussed during our conversations. I quietly listened to all of them speaking occasionally when it mattered.

As I discussed in my previous blog “Age old secrets of healthy Living”, the condition of health of one person cannot be compared to another. The health of a person primarily depends on 3 factors (1) the gene (2) the life style and (3) the environment. Manohar’s death might be the cause of any one, two or all the three of these factors. I am not sure about his genes but let me tell you that his lifestyle was not really healthy. I don’t know whether it’s a good idea to reveal all these here, I hope it helps others learn from such mistakes. He often used to comment and argue over my new life style of natural living. We argued on health issues couple of times in the past. He used to call me a grass eater, since I used to have sprouts in breakfast and green leafy vegetables at lunch. During one such argument I said that I am a grass eater because I am a human and human body is created to eat plant food. He argued that human body is for animal food because the humans were hunting animals since primitive period. I replied, sorry my dear friend, you are forgetting about the fact of our origin. We are the result of evolution of apes called Orangutans. And apes are always plant eaters. Humans after evolution too ate plants for millions of years. Only after the development of civilization and when they moved away from forests and starved for food, they killed animals to feed their stomach. Primitive men ate animal food out of choice for survival but we made animal food a habit of choice. Moreover, if we were animal eaters by nature then we would have had claws and teeth of Tigers, Lions, Cheetahs, Dogs and Cats etc. to tear off the flesh of animals. Our claws and teeth are made to pluck and eat the fruits and vegetables available in the nature. With this, he finally agreed to my point and ended up the discussion there.

He was always concerned about his increasing belly but never took an initiative to curb it. Many like him were never serious about their health. We all know that death is inevitable and no one knows how and when it comes; but it doesn’t mean we invite death by our own means. We need to maintain our body in order to remain longer, stronger and healthier. Maintenance of our body comes under lifestyle. Dr. Mantena Satyanarayana Raju’s war is against this – the lifestyle change. Our body is like a vehicle – a beautiful vehicle that remains all through the journey of life. It is your vehicle and you should take care of your vehicle. Why anyone else is bothered to take care of your vehicle? It is you who had to look after it. You have to regularly repair and maintain your vehicle of life with regular exercises, you have to provide a good fuel in the form of clean, natural and nutritious vegetarian food, you have to cleanse your body by drinking right amount of clean and natural water etc. and when you do these; the other two factors like genes and environment try to assist you further in the journey of life.

When Dr. Raju was promoting his half boiled food without oil, ghee, salt, spices, sour, sugar etc., I used to think that it is not possible for a human to eat that diet. As it is said, you need to dive into the water to know the depth of the Ocean; I realized the pleasure in eating such food only after following natural way of living. I pledge all the non-vegetarian lovers to give a try at vegetarian food by keeping their favorite non-vegetarian food away for couple of months. Believe me; you are going to find a world of difference in your body. You look healthy as never before.

As discussed earlier, people ate animal food in order to survive. A question always troubled me for quite long time. Okay, it is understandable that humans ate animals for survival; but how it happened to be the main staple food for humans as there is no such scarcity thereafter. After lot of questioning and search I found that when man got civilized he started forming into groups. Some intelligent groups used to cultivate land and store their food for future needs. While other groups used to attack them and loot their stocks. In order to protect their properties each group developed sub-group called guards or soldiers. These soldiers were given animal food in order to make them stronger and aggressive. Later, they formed boundaries and this way the countries came into existence. People then began to conquer the nations to gain their Supremacy. It is believed that 75% of the nations do not know about animal food before 200 years. The rulers from Middle East Asia and South of Europe used to feed their soldiers with lots of animal food and make them strong and cruel so that they can kill their enemies brutally and win their battles. These invaders took the tradition of eating non-vegetarian food everywhere they go. Those tall and heavily built soldiers had inspired the local youths to be like them – Strong and Cruel. People slowly started believing that non-vegetarian food is for those who want to be strong and rock solid. If you look at the military people they were still given non-vegetarian food on daily basis. The idea is to make them strong and cruel. The trend moved further and spread across the sports and entertainment community. People started to follow their idols in sports and movies. This is how it all began in brief.

Nooooooooow! Doesn’t the vegetable food provide enough strength? If it is to believe that human body is made for vegetarian foods then why there is a perception that only non-vegetarian food makes you stronger and healthier? Why so much prominence is given to non-vegetarian food for soldiers across the world? These are certain questions that might strike in your mind. Let us analyze this way:

Vegetarian food definitely provides you strength equal to non-vegetarian food. The only difference is that non-vegetarian food develops the body where as vegetarian food develops both the body and mind. Serving of vegetarian food for long time with hard work not only increases the size of your body but also control your brain. It is because of this quality there is a misconception among people that one with vegetarian food doesn’t grow strong. If you look at some of the yogis, they might appear thin like a stick but they are stronger like any other body builder. Moreover, they live longer than any other counterparts. With regards to the food given to the military people, it is simply because the administrators want to make their soldiers aggressive and cruel in order to kill their enemies and win the battle for them. If the soldiers of entire nations were given vegetable food then there won’t be any wars. Then the soldiers would become the messengers of love and peace. The main characteristic of animal food is that it stimulates your nervous system and makes you aggressive and cruel. You may ask how? The animal food contains lot of fatty material in it. Our body needs 25 milligrams of fat every day in order to perform our activities. We easily get more than this much of fats from vegetables. But when you consume more meat, the excess fat is stored in our body and released into blood. Since the meat contains zero fiber it sticks into our blood stream in the form of cholesterol called triglycerides blocking the free flow of blood. And when that happens, our heart tries to pump more blood in order to supply to the required cells and tissues. This irritates the normal functioning of our body nervous system. The increase in blood flow makes a man agitated, angry and cruel. On the other hand, if you supply a vegetarian food to the body, it gives you equal strength but instead of clogging in your arteries it cleanses it because of the fiber content present in it. The fiber in your body acts as a broom stick or a mop which cleanses your body. It helps your nervous system function properly without any hurdles in a normal condition. This very nature of vegetarian food makes you calm and peaceful. Another simple example is the difference of temperament between the wild animals and domestic animals. See how violent and cruel are the animal predators like Tiger, Lion, Dogs etc. and how cool are the plant predators like cow, goat, buffalos etc. Even the wild and cruel animals can be tamed by providing vegetarian food. This shows how the vegetarian food works in soothing the nervous system of living beings.

Plant food is quite essential for the welfare of modern society. We find violence and hatred all over the world today. We have forgotten the true teachings of love, peace and non-violence taught by our ancestors. Plant food not only increases your health but also relieves you from mental stress enabling your brain to function better. Let’s not get into the scientific details and have a simple example of our Brahmin community in India. Brahmin community in India is considered to be the most intelligent and healthy community from the early days of civilization. They were believed to be the first to have gained knowledge and education. They are considered as the pioneers of education, knowledge and wisdom since the beginning of human era. They have been following the practice of eating vegetarian food uninterruptedly from the early days of civilization. The generations have changed, the world has changed but their practice of eating vegetarian food is unchanged. If you look at the history of criminal offences in the society of India, you hardly find a single person involved from a Brahmin family in the anti-social activities like murders, rapes, robbery, terrorism etc. Vegetarian food has lot to do with spirituality, wisdom and knowledge. India is not simply considered the power house of spirituality, wisdom and knowledge. Millions of enlightened yogis, saints and sages and billions of other intellectuals in India are following the path of spirituality, love, non-violence and sharing their eternal wisdom and knowledge.

According to Dr. M.S. Raju 90% of human diseases is the result of stress on human brain. By nature man is required to utilize his physical and mental capabilities equally. Due to the change in lifestyle and our working environment, we are hardly using our physical body and over using our mental strength. Thus, it creates imbalance in the functioning of our body and mind leading to all sorts of mental and physical disorders.

To Sum up I would like to say that I joined the elite club of grass eaters and proud to be a grass eater because I have realized the essence of vegetarian food. I urge all the health conscious people and the peace lovers to join this club of grass eaters and reap the benefits of being a loving, peaceful and beautiful human being.

This is it for now. Keep watching the space for more updates.

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