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Five pillars of health: A blueprint for wellbeing

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Five pillars of health: A blueprint for wellbeing

January 8, 2024, 12:09 AM IST 


I am a diet and lifestyle coach and not a medical doctor. Any insight shared in this blog is intended for informational and educational purposes only and should not be considered as a substitute for professional medical advice.


Science has known for some time that the root cause of most, if not all, lifestyle diseases is our diet and lifestyle. Correcting these aspects lead to healing and the reversal of these diseases.

The human body is a self-healing organism. Symptoms serve as messengers nudging us to change but our focus on suppressing them through medications can be akin to killing the messenger. Shifting our focus to the message itself and changing our diet and lifestyle allows the body to heal. All lifestyle diseases exist on a continuum and begin with the transition from mother’s milk to table food. Markers for prescribing medications are somewhat arbitrary and keep changing with time as more data becomes available and also with lobbying pressures. Understanding what constitutes a healthy diet and lifestyle is crucial. No matter how conscientious we are, if our knowledge is wrong our actions are likely to be wrong.

Fifty seven years ago, I was a skinny boy starting at IIT Kanpur and decided to join a gym. My roommate was a state ranked tennis and table tennis player. We were both very health conscious and decided to subscribe to double breakfast which  consisted of two glasses of milk, two eggs, four slices of white bread and two sticks of butter. Later in the day we would take protein powder. My roommate had cows at his home and always brought homemade desi ghee to our dorm which we would use for tadka on our daal and rotis. We also hired a milk man to deliver 1/2 liters of fresh milk which we shared. All this seemed to make sense at the time but in hindsight we did everything wrong. By the age of 32 I developed second stage cancer (Lymphoma) and underwent surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. Both my parents, also dairy lovers, developed cancer as well. The point I am emphasizing is that no matter how conscientious you are flawed information leads to flawed actions.

Ever evolving science

The state of science, whether advanced or rudimentary, is a matter of perception. What we know today is minimal compared to what is yet to be known. Shakespeare’s famous quotation comes to mind.

This applies even more so to the nutrition science considering that our body has 37 trillion cells and 38 trillion microbes as guests residing inside our colon and each one has multiple chemical reactions at the same time. We must always keep in mind that things “Not-Yet-Known (from now on referred to as NYKnowns)” affect our health a lot more than things we know today.” In this blog I will discuss the knowns of nutrition we have come to accept and how the latest knowledge is shifting the paradigm.

Personal awakening

On January 1, 2013, after watching the documentary “Forks Over Knives,” I transformed my diet and lifestyle. Within weeks I started losing weight and my health markers improved. As they say, nothing succeeds like success and I started trying even harder. Within 18 months I lost 50 pounds and was able to get off all medications for hypertension, diabetes, hypothyroidism, gout, osteoarthritis and sleep apnea. Even my seasonal allergies went away and I haven’t caught even a flu since.

My endocrinologist at the time wouldn’t let me get off Metformin (medication for diabetes) so I decided to study the subject of nutrition and health and spent 5 years studying giants in this field like Dr. Colin Campbell, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Dr. John McDougall, Dr. Dean Ornish and Dr. Robert Lustig along with others. The changes in my health were apparent to others around me and my IITK batch mates suggested I start a WhatsApp health group. Some joined and were successful in shedding excess weight and getting off some or all the medications they were taking for chronic conditions. They referred more people and other IIT alumni joined. One thing led to another and since then I have created over 450 different health groups and coached over 160,00 people.

Based on that experience and new research findings in the field of nutrition and health, like the Nobel prize winning work by Nobel laureates Dr Yoshinori Ohsumi on autophagy (2016), Dr Jeffery Hall on circadian rhythm (2017) and Dr Tasuko Honzo on immunotherapy (2018), I have further fine tuned my recommendations. Many new members are now getting off their medications in as little as two weeks. How long it takes you is a function of your medical history and your compliance to the diet and lifestyle recommendations. I made my changes at the age of 63 but have found that others have benefitted even at the late age of 85.

In this blog I will guide you to the latest thinking on diet and lifestyle that has evolved based on the latest science and my experience over the last 6 years with over 160,000 people who have gone through my program. The giants in the field do not always agree and sometimes I have to pick one over the other and that is where I choose, partly relying on our Indian cultural heritage and partly on my experience with many followers.

Blog’s structure

The initial focus of this blog will be on debunking common myths shaping unhealthy behaviors, influenced by powerful industries distorting information. 

Subsequent posts will delve into what I call the Five Pillars of Health—Food, Detoxification, Circadian Rhythm, Physical Activity and Emotional & Spiritual Health—and how they aid in reversing lifestyle diseases.

The blog will also address the distortion of information, known as the Politics of Food & Health, revealing the true picture. Finally, it will explore the causes of lifestyle diseases and how changes in diet and lifestyle improve health and alleviate symptoms, often leading individuals to discontinue medication usage. 

The blog will specifically focus on lifestyle diseases, excluding Congenital Issues, Infectious diseases, posture or repetitive movement-related disorders, and Acute Conditions. Please note that as a Diet & Lifestyle Coach, I will not provide advice on specific medications but will share links to some videos and articles by experts which will help explain the subject under discussion. These links will also include some documentaries worth watching. The first of these documentaries is Forks Over Knives which is available on YouTube and linked below.

To read this article on Times Of India click here

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