Why I love Ayurveda?
5000 years ago, ancient seers of India figured leaky gut as the root cause for all diseases. How? I have no idea. But ancient texts talk about observation of nature around us and self awareness. Their intuition was that we are not different from the plants, animals and insects around us. That, what happens to nature will affect us and vice versa. That “micro-cosm reflects the macro-cosm.”
This intuition and the knowledge/wisdom that came from it coalesced into Ayurveda – science of life. It is a treatise on how to live a healthy life, a life of joy and happiness, a life in balance within and without. Ayurveda also became the main medical science in ancient India. Many textbooks of Ayurvedic medicine exist from that era, which are still taught, followed and practiced in modern India. Although vilified, ridiculed and persecuted (by the British during their 200 year rule of India), Ayurveda not only survived but is also experiencing a resurgence in India and worldwide. This is because its science and principles have withstood the test of time.
One of the basic tenets in Ayurveda is that all disease begins in the gut and hence all healing must begin in the gut. They described the disease process known as leaky gut, the resulting inflammation which then spreads to various tissues and causes disease far from its origin in the gut. So, it follows that healing the gut is a core component of intervention for any illness. In my practice as a holistic psychiatrist, I see this tenet play out in every single patient I work with, irrespective of their psychiatric diagnosis. Thus, this age old wisdom bears true in my current practice of psychiatry and medicine.
What causes leaky gut? There are many causes for it. I like to group them in 3 broad categories – diet (what we eat), stress – especially early life trauma and toxins. Here I want to share what we know now about GMO (genetically modified organisms) foods.
A few years ago, I read about the effects of Bt toxin (corn) on the insects – it kills the insects that eat the (GMO) corn by literally exploding their guts. Having learned the philosophy of Ayurveda, especially that we are the same as the nature around us, I hypothesized that the same gut disruption could happen in us humans. Not big enough disruption to kill us instantly as with the insects; but enough to cause leaky gut. As mentioned above, I was observing leaky gut in all of my patients based on their symptoms and surmised that consumption of GMO foods could be one piece of this puzzle.
Based on this intuition and hypothesis, I decided to not consume GMO foods and I also educated my patients. I shared my views as it was at that time – a hypothesis and urged caution.
Now, we have evidence to prove this hypothesis correct. Although this evidence is in animals, rats to be specific. However, this is an example of a toxin intended for one species (an insect – that belongs to a whole different phylum – arthropoda) is also toxic to another species (rats who belong to a completely different phylum – chordata. Rats and humans belong to the same phylum and class – mammalia. It’s closer home than you think).
In general, when we apply the laws of nature to our own physiology, I find that we can make good decisions for ourselves. One does not have to be a scientist, environmentalist, doctor or such. We can all use our powers of observation, intuition, gut instinct – no pun intended ?, to separate the wheat from the chaff. I must say I see that women, especially mothers are really good at this skill.
For instance, I cannot tell you how many women who are put on birth control pills or hormonal IUDs for their acne or menstrual problems had to suppress their intuition to go along with such “treatments.” Many women have told me they would ask their gynecologists, “how is taking this pill healing me?” or “how is not getting my period healthy for me?” They are told, “don’t worry, there is no harm from stopping your period, in fact it’s good for you, you will not become anemic” or even,”don’t you want to be rid of of your periods for a few months or years, live free?”
These women acknowledged it felt wrong to not get a period. They experienced more mood swings, reduction in desire, weight gain, migraines, and many side effects. But did not feel they could talk about it with their doctors.
Now, I encourage everyone to develop this self awareness and intuition, I call it our very own, “Peter tingle” inspired by Spiderman or should I say, “MJ tingle.” ?
Getting back to GMOs and leaky gut…leaky gut is responsible for all diseases affecting us and our children. From rising rates of asthma, allergies to autism, depression, anxiety, cancer and so on…if one looks, we will find leaky gut. Good news is that healing it is not only possible but actually easy and cheap. Firstly, it involves a relationship with your local organic “farmacy” and not your local Walgreens pharmacy. At Trinergy Health, one of the main things we do is heal leaky gut and then teach our patients how to maintain it.
I will end with a couple studies that demonstrate the relationship between leaky gut and depression on the one hand, and GMO foods and leaky gut on the other.
Please read and share this post with your loved ones. Let’s create a healthier planet by taking our health back into our hands and our kitchens!