Dr Nandita Shah reports from the 21-day Disease Reversal program at SwaSwara, June 2012

May 29, 2014

Dr Nandita Shah will be writing a daily report of activities and developments during SHARAN’s 21-day Disease Reversal Program which is currently underway at SwaSwara resort in Karnataka. During this special program, participants will be served a whole food plant-based diet and observing its effects on their health.

Day 1 – Sunday 3 June 2012

Today was day one, the day everyone arrived. We arrived yesterday and so did one of our participants. The rest came in at different times today from 9.30 am to 6.30 pm. We all had a lovely dinner together, and then had an introduction meeting. All the participants are very inspiring. Some of them have been to our programs before, others, to Nandini’s program in Delhi, or their relatives or friends have been to our programs. Almost everyone has come with a reference, knows someone whose health improved and is willing to make the effort to reach his or her highest potential. The expectations are very high and we are going to fulfil them.

We discussed logistics, and also the tests for tomorrow. We have a laboratory coming to do the blood reports for everyone at 6.30am. It’s going to be a busy day. After that there will be fruit for the participants and then a yoga class. Followed by our session and lunch. Everyone is quite excited. There are a lot of questions. The people at SwaSwara have organised everything very well and we are serving mostly organic foods. We have cooking classes every day, yoga, meditation, nature walks in the lovely surrounding with hills and beaches, and a large swimming pool. There are beauty massages and art classes. We want this to be a very memorable experience for all the participants.

Today one of our participants experienced a hypoglycaemic attack even though he had cut down his insulin intake by two units. We let everyone know that our program is very powerful and we will be cutting medicines as soon as they get better but we want people to be aware that they need to take something sweet as soon as they experience a low, and then we will cut the medications.

Though it rained this morning, the weather has been hot and sultry and even the water in the swimming pool is hot. Some more rain would be great!

Day 2 – Monday 4 June 2012

Today is the second day of our residential program. We started in the morning with all the lab tests. We had the people from the lab doing it from 6.30am. After this there was some fruit (mangoes and watermelon) and then a yoga class followed by breakfast – red rice idlis, sambhar and chutney and amaranth porridge.

This was followed by a session where we set our intentions for the program and then discussed how the body always works to heal itself and how our beliefs can come in the way of real healing. We had a great lunch with several salads, raita, rasam, and vegetables and rice or rotis. There was a rest, Yoga Nidra, a healthy Italian cooking class featuring raw vegan cheese and raw vegan mayonnaise – a lasagna, a coleslaw, and better-than-tune salad. These and a few other dishes were served for dinner. After dinner we had a film about Victoria Boutenko and a short discussion. We close early and start early too because there is a nature walk at 5.30am for those who want it and blood tests at 6.30am.

The highlights of today: One of our participants is checking his progress very scientifically with regular checks with his glucometer. He found that after eating a lot of watermelon and mangoes he checked his blood sugar and it was normal. He was able to cut his insulin intake from 26 units down to 16 within these 2 days and his blood sugar levels which were in the 200′s are now down to 101. Other people also had some improvements but there were also some people who had a difficult day because the tea and coffee was not available. Most people were surprised how well they held up without these beverages but 2 participants did have some trouble because of this.

It has also started raining here which has helped cool down the place quite a bit. That’s nice! Everything is so green and beautiful!

Day 3 – Tuesday 5 June 2012

Today was another eventful day. The monsoons have really started here and it looks like they are washing away a small part of several of our participants’ problems. Some started the day early with a morning walk. Then it was the usual routine of blood sugar and blood pressure checks. Many found their levels lower and as soon as this is established, in a couple of days we will start reducing medications slowly.

This morning I asked how many had experienced changes and started to feel better and we had a good 8 hands up which is wonderful. One thing that we are sure that everyone is enjoying the food. Perhaps because of the cloudy weather or because they have given up the tea and coffee, some people were a bit tired today. We did some energising exercises to shake them up. This is not uncommon. Cleansing is a load on the body but the body feels really good after that. The first moments are always difficult. Today we discussed the logic of whole plant based diets.

Lunch was a lovely Indian meal with plenty of salads. We have a raita everyday made with peanut curds too. The cooking class and dinner was a Gujarti style meal and the highlight was a really healthy raw cake!

In the evening we saw a film about Dr Lorraine Day’s story of her own breast cancer reversal. We also had a fun interactive session. Everyone is waiting in anticipation of changes as they see others improving and experiencing the results of their body’s healing power.

Day 4 – Wednesday 6 June 2012

Today was another eventful day. We started with checkups and found that we could reduce the medicines of some of our participants. One of them has now reduced his insulin intake from 26 units to 10 units since the start of the program (in 3 days) and still has normal blood sugar. Another participant’s sugar levels are going down too and her insulin intake is going down everyday. Most people who are on insulin will see the changes very quickly. Those on medications take a little longer but we have an amazing group who are determined to get off their medications and are willing to work on themselves. They are inspiring each other every day. Many are feeling tired – they had been working hard in their regular lives and now their body is in a resting mood. Rest is a great way to detox.

We also had 2 new participants who were late in making the decision but joined anyway and who are now adjusting into our program. One of our participants who had severe caffeine withdrawal symptoms now started feeling better.

We continued our discussion on why we need a whole, plant based diet. And on protein, calcium, vitamin B12 and vitamin D, how to get enough and how to be healthy on a plant based diet. We discussed fats and why we avoid refined fats. We had another cooking class  – we made some Mexican food with delicious vegan sour cream. Many people are resistant to raw foods and also their bodies do not support raw. In the evening we saw the beginning of Victoria Boutenko’s ‘12 Steps to Raw’ which talks about why its difficult to maintain the change and how to do it so that you don’t fall back on old habits.

It’s raining and some of our nature walks are getting cancelled but there is the yoga class and the swimming pool which is still a way to exercise! Its just amazingly beautiful here – nature in all her glory.

Day 5 – Thursday 7 June 2012

Today was less eventful. Most people were good and some really good. We were able to reduce the medications of one more of our participants. Most people were steady. In the morning we talked about diabetes and heart disease and hypertension and in the afternoon many of them went for a village and temple tour. We got the lab reports and analysed them. We saw that many people’s vitamin B12 levels were reasonable since many here have been supplementing but there were lots of low and very low vitamin D2 levels. Also some people had poor liver functions and poor kidney functions – a result of processed food and diabetes respectively.

The cooking class and dinner was Punjabi food – chole, alu tikkis and more. We have amazing salads at every meal and people are not short of choices. After dinner we saw Supersize Me – the true story of someone who went on a 30-day McDonald’s challenge after checkups from a number of doctors testifying his perfect health. Within just 10 days all his lab values were compromised and in 30 days he was a real mess. He wanted to prove that eating from Mc Donald’s is even worse for health than smoking and he did it.

Day 6 – Friday 8 June 2012

Today we discussed all the results of the tests with our participants. While checking them we have noticed that many of them have put on a little weight. Very little, 1/2 – 1 kg, but it seems universal almost. Why this? This has never happened before with our programs, in fact the opposite has happened. There could be many reasons – it has just started raining and there is some water retention? Or the food is too good and everyone is eating too much? Most of our participants lead very hectic and busy lives and after coming here they just took some time to relax and so are not burning much? We are going to discuss the causes tomorrow so that we can rectify this, especially in the case of people who do not want to lose weight.

Some of our participants are checking themselves scientifically and seeing which foods make their blood sugars go up and which do not. One of our participants, a diabetic who is checking his blood sugar levels regularly found that eating fruit does not raise his blood sugars. Some of our participants now realise that they are not feeling that hungry and have started reducing what they are eating. Perhaps it took them some time to get in touch with their needs. Some of them are eating mainly raw and fruits.

Once of our participants who is very health conscious is now off all his medications and still has normal or almost normal blood sugars. Another participant has cut down all her pain medications. Another participant has her medications cut down to half – just today. We will see how she does tomorrow.

This morning we discussed about some of the other diseases in which our participants are interested – obesity, cancer, arthritis, allergies, sinusitis, eczema, and why these are linked to what we eat. We will discuss more diseases of interest tomorrow.

This evening we continued watching Victoria Boutenko’s ‘12 Steps to Raw’. It’s an amazing film that I would very highly recommended whether you want to eat raw or not. Its not about raw only, its about our conditioning, our thought processes, our society’s thinking about health, the way commercial interests are exploiting our gullibility. Very, very profound. I find that many many of us Indians hardly eat raw, and many of our participants feel that they cannot even digest raw. But we have amazing salads every day and some participants are beginning to enjoy raw more and more.

Day 7 – Saturday 9 June 2012

Today was the last day of the first week and tomorrow one of our participants will leave as she came only for a week. Others came only for a week too but they have extended their stay by another week. We had the usual routine of tests and yoga, yoga nidra and walks and all the rest. We found that many of our participants had lost weight (we are relieved) and since they were missing desserts we served them ice cream as a snack. It was made from coconut milk and jackfruit with dried fruits on top. Everyone loved it and some had two helpings. Blood sugars are still in the normal range for all except one. One of our participants who joined us 2 days late has already lost more than 4 kg and her clothes are getting loose now.

Dr Rupa taught an amazing cooking class with sandwiches and spreads, salads and a mushroom soup. Everyone loves this kind of food, and some could not help overeating!

We saw more of ’12 Steps to Raw’ (once again highly recommended to anyone who is interested in holistic thinking and philosophy) and we got ready to say goodbye to the participant who was leaving.

Day 8 – Sunday 10 June 2012

Today was the beginning of a new week and we also had some new participants come in. The day was more relaxed – no class in the morning and no cooking class in the evening. It was a chance to go for walks and get some exercise and what a beautiful sunny day it was. After breakfast we broke up into 2 groups. One group went for a shorter walk to and on the beach and another went on a long walk (8 km with stunning views of the beaches from the hills). When the people who went on the long walk got back, the others were in the pool. After lunch and yoga nidra we had a film – Moses Code which was a lovely film about making the connection with the divine.

After meditation and dinner we had a lovely introductory session with all of us. Now we have 2 more facilitators here, Nandini, who is going to be conducting most of the second week, and Kajal, who is a nutritionist. Both are SHARAN advisors. Participants who had already been here introduced themselves and told the others what they had seen and achieved in the first week. They also shared what they had learnt. New participants shared what they had come hoping to get. We told them about our routine and welcomed them.

The second week will be about how to reach where we want to be by working with our emotions. Its all about self awareness and motivation.

Day 9 – Monday 11 June 2012

The last week was about understanding why we want to be on a whole food plant based diet and how the food that we eat causes disease and this week will be about tackling the emotional component. We get sick not just because of the food we eat but because of stress, our relationships with others and with our food. We often use food as an emotional crutch, a comfort and that makes it very difficult to change. Habits are difficult to change too. This week will be all about this. Today was the first session by Nandini and it was awesome. The first day was about loving your body, the body which supports us and tries to do the best for us, and is often taken for granted by us. Many of us take more care of our cars than of our bodies. The car can be replaced but not the body. Our body is worth much more than we sometimes acknowledge. Towards the end of this session we all wrote a love letter to our body. Not surprisingly this was a very emotional session with many people connecting with their bodies again for the first time in a long time. It was very moving.

In the afternoon, Dr Rupa taught everyone EFT to help them release their emotional problems in a very quick way. She will be giving individual sessions to those who wish later, as needed. This session was also well appreciated and people are looking forward to the individual sessions.

The cooking class was on meat and dairy alternatives. And after dinner Nandini started showing Hungry for Change, a highly recommended film about addiction to processed foods. We are all charged up for tomorrow.

Meanwhile many participants are getting better on the physical level too. One of our participants has been off all medications now since a few days. Another of our participants has released about 5 kg. Some of our participants who were on more medications are still struggling and we are bringing down the medications slowly. Everyday someone is able to let go of some of his or her meds. We keep checking people for improvement and only then cut the medications.

Day 10 – Tuesday 12 June 2012

Today we started with a breakfast of red rice idlis, sambhar and chutney and banana pancakes. It was a very motivating day. Nandini started with a session on Hunger and Mindful Eating. It made us realise in how many ways we eat without thinking because there is food always available. By eating mindfully we will automatically eat at the right time, the right food. Just the knowledge about what to eat does not help us change our habits, but the awareness of how our mind functions can help us get there. We also saw the way stress prompts us to eat the wrong things. We will be working on stress release in the next week too. Exercise will help reduce stress and get healthy, so we encourage all the participants to go on walks or for a swim in these beautiful surroundings.

One of our new participants, a young girl with high blood sugar who just started on Sunday has seen her sugar levels drop dramatically. What we see is that those who are younger are seeing changes much faster than those who are older, and those on many medications are taking longer to get better. But the breakthroughs come. Today someone who had been off many painkillers and was in a lot of pain found herself 40% better for the first day. She had been very courageous to keep off all the meds so far. Another woman who recently found out she had diabetes now needs very little insulin. One of our elder patients is seeing her blood pressure levels fall and we have cut down medications for her too today. We are making records of all our participants and will share all the details later after analysing them.

In the evening we continued watching Hungry For Change – a film which should be seen by anyone who would like to release weight or get healthy.

Day 11 – Wednesday 13 June 2012

I am so excited that 1 of our participants is off all his medications and 2 of our diabetic participants are now in a race to get off all their medications. We will see who gets there first but one of them has had the problem for 14 years and the other just 3 months. Other medications are coming down more slowly. Some participants have not lost much weight but they have become more shapely, their clothes are looser. This could mean the fat is being replaced by stronger muscles and bones. In the morning we had a session on handling our emotions. We motivated everyone to get moving and decided to have an afternoon meeting to do some movement.

Everyone wanted to learn how to make bread and so right after lunch the chefs showed them how they make it here. The breads here are great and they are always made in house but unfortunately they do contain some jaggery and oil. Since we have people who are reversing their diseases rather than just preventing, we are cutting out most of the breads now. What’s very important to learn from this is that when we buy bread they are even more unhealthy because they contain more sugar, sometimes hydrogenated fats and white flour. It’s really hard to get bread soft without some white flour and the brown breads we find in shops contain caramel for colour and are not necessarily all whole wheat.

In the afternoon it was raining so we started with a dancing session in the library. But then the sun came out and we all went to the beach and had a walk there. Almost all the group went which made it much more fun.

The cooking class was about snack foods, where Dr Rupa showed how to make delicious oil free Frankies and Wraps and Tapas. After dinner we saw a film about ‘The Work’ by Byron Katie. We are often unhappy or stressed because we hold on to our thoughts which in turn make our belief systems. But if we were to question these belief systems and let them go it can change who we are. In the last 2 days we have had several people making emotional breakthroughs as well, and this has been very touching. We hope that all our participants reach this by the end of the program.

Day 12 – Thursday 14 June 2012

Today we had an amazing meditation on the beach in the morning. It was conducted by the hotel yoga teacher who is a doctor. Everyone who went loved it. After this were the usual health checks, fruits, yoga classes. Since a few days we have 2 kinds of yoga classes in the morning, beginners and advanced.

After breakfast we had another session by Nandini Gulati on movement. It was about the importance of movement for our body and how to motivate ourselves to move more. She spoke about her own personal experiences and we had interactive sessions. We talked about our blocks to exercise and what we can do to reduce them or eliminate them. We had a short dance session too so that we could directly feel the effect that exercise has on our body. We also each wrote a list of 20 things that we like about ourselves. Sometimes we forget to appreciate ourselves and we focus on the bad rather than the good, so we want to look at the other side more.

After lunch we had some consultations and yoga nidra and then those who wanted went on the visit to Gokarna. Gokarna is known for its Mahabaleshwar Shiva temple, and the town is very beautiful too with its tank. Every house has a temple.

In the evening was a cooking class – South Indian food. Then meditation – this time it was pranayama meditation. In the post dinner session we read some love notes to each other and we saw a part of a film on understanding more about our shadow side and how we can use this to our advantage by understanding it more.

Day 13 – Friday 15 June 2012

Today we are heading towards the end of the second week. Medications have been dropped today too. One man is on 1/3 of the insulin intake that he came on. Another woman who was taking 18 units in the morning and 16 in the evening when she came is now down to 2 in the morning and 2 in the evening.

This morning after breakfast Nandini spoke about what we could do to motivate ourselves to exercise and each of us thought about what we could use to motivate us. We then discussed processed foods and how we could keep away from the temptations when we are back in our regular lives. We read the labels off some packages – Maggi Noodles and Lays, Kurkure and Perk, Parle Glucose Biscuits and Frooti etc and saw what we sometimes never think about – what is in it. We read about what some of these ingredients do to our bodies and how corpses in graves these days are taking longer to disintegrate because of all the preservatives.

Some people have not lost weight on the scale but they are looking slimmer. And to prove it, some of them have brought clothes here which did not fit them before. Now they are wearing those clothes again. Isn’t that a great idea?

After lunch Rupa and Kajal continued with consultations. Rupa gave private EFT sessions and Kajal gave personalised nutrition sessions. We then sat together and discussed each patient and what they had achieved in these 2 weeks. We will be sharing these soon tomorrow. A number of people will be leaving this weekend and more will be joining us this weekend, so we will get ready for this.

We had raw fudge for snacks – everyone loved it.

There was an excellent meditation this evening and more people were active in the pool or went for walks. Nandini did a spectacular cooking class with a drumstick soup, beetroot salad and a bean salad. And lentil bread and ragi bread sandwiches with spreads. The food finished fast and one young man ate 12 open sandwiches! (He has lost a kilo in this week that he has been here so it was hard to deny him this pleasure.)

After dinner we had another interactive session – some more love notes and then Dr Rupa gave everyone a new name from her perception of them. Some participants had wanted a dance session but everyone was too full after the meal to dance!

Day 14 – Saturday 16 June 2012

Today is Saturday. One of our participants left this morning and many are leaving tomorrow. We will have a new set of one-week participants joining tomorrow so today is a kind of party day. In the morning we briefed everyone about how they would continue the practices learnt here and get support once they were back home, into their usual life. We also showed them what animals go through when we choose to use their secretions (eggs or milk) or their bodies as food.

There was a traditional South Indian banana leaf lunch which was splendid, not just to the taste buds but also to the eyes. Everything was, of course whole and plant based. After lunch we met all the participants who were leaving and shared with them their achievements and gave them personalised tips for continuing, including guidance for how they could alter their usual home food with new, whole ingredients to make it as delicious as the food they are eating here. Dr Rupa has been giving personalised EFT consultations and Kajal has been giving personalised nutrition consultations to anyone who needed and desired it. Pramod also gave some personal sessions.

Here is a overview of what we saw when we took stock:

A young man with heart problems came for a week, and has given up smoking for the whole week, did not suffer from withdrawal and committed to eating healthy 90% of the time.

A man who’s had diabetes for 16 years was on 50 units of insulin per day plus medication. His insulin intake is down to 16 units a day and his blood sugars are falling despite eating well. He is experimenting to learn more and checks his blood sugars, both fasting and post meals, several times a day.

A lady with diabetes, high BP, thyroid and weight problems is looking and feeling lighter and has discontinued BP meds and continues to have normal values.

A young woman with diabetes, hypothyroid and weight issues looks slimmer and has cut off diabetic and other medications all together and her blood sugar values are normal.

A lady who was on 14 – 18 tablets a day for a range of ailments has stopped all but 1 of her medications. Her blood sugars and blood pressure are under control and though she is not completely well she feels 30% better.

A lady who had been on insulin for many years has reduced her insulin intake from 26 units a day to 8. She has had several hypo-glycaemic attacks but also some spikes.

A young woman who has just been detected with diabetes is seeing her sugar levels drop and is learning a lot about her diet and how despite eating plenty of fruit including bananas and mangoes, her sugar levels are really good.

A young woman who was overweight lost 5 kg, became enthusiastic about her life, art, and regained confidence. She also found her nails started growing back.

A lady who came with her daughter experienced increases in energy levels.

A man who has had diabetes for 10 years is off all supplements and medications and shows normal blood sugar levels.

A lady who was on 34 units of insulin is now down to 4 units per day and has normal blood sugars. Her diabetes was detected just 3 months ago.

A woman with high BP now has normal levels of blood pressure and has lost weight.

There are other participants who have lost weight and some on whom we cannot comment until they get more lab reports done. We have one participant who has not yet seen the results that we had hoped for.

The cooking class was by the chefs of the resort. Our participants made a list of the recipes they wanted to learn from them. Dinner was a candlelit one with live classical music.

In the post dinner session Dr Rupa Shah introduced some simple but great games and brought in the spirit of fun to our program. We ended with an excerpt from the film The Secret and Mangal Maitri sung by Nitya Shanti.

Day 15 – Sunday 17 June 2012

Today is Sunday, a kind of holiday. Many of our one and two week participants left in the morning and a new batch of people came in at different times during the day. We are lucky to have Pramod, our lifestyle advisor from Pune here. Pramod regularly does corporate trainings on Vibrant Health and he did a session with our participants on how to check with your body if there is stress and how we can make it dissipate. This was a lovely session.

Lunch was kind of strange because there were only 14 of us here and the dining room looked a bit empty, but at dinner we were full again. In the evening Dr Rupa did a cooking class with healthy Pau Bhaji and other fast foods. The day was filled with the usual sessions of yoga, yoga nidra and meditations with the choice for walks and swims etc.

And after dinner, we had another introductory session so that everyone could get to know the new people.

Day 16 – Monday 18 June 2012

This morning after the usual health checks and yoga we had a meditation session with Mala who has come especially to facilitate during the last week. Mala gave a talk on meditation and then we had a short meditation session which was very beautiful. After breakfast, we had separate sessions for older participants and a catch up session for the new participants. For the older participants we had some exercises to look at their stresses and let them go.

Today was one of our participant’s 42nd wedding anniversary so there was special vegan date squares and vegan ice cream as a snack. Everyone enjoyed it and many of us found it quite sweet even though it was made of only dates, nuts and oats and the ice cream, bananas. It’s just because we have lowered our threshold for sweets now thanks to not eating them so much. Diabetic participants have now learnt that if they eat natural sweets with all the fibre in moderation and if they eat fruit their blood sugars are not going to soar. It’s the fats and refined foods that they have to avoid so they enjoyed this special meal too.

In the evening we watched The Slow Poisoning of India – a film on the dangers of pesticides and what it does to our bodies and the environment and future generations. It was an eye opener for some. One of our participants will leave tomorrow morning so we bade him farewell.

Day 17 – Tuesday 19 June 2012

Today started as a terribly rainy day but we had our schedules as usual. We noticed that no one’s blood sugar levels shot up despite the wonderful treat we had yesterday in celebration of the anniversary. Blood sugar levels continued to fall. Some of our participants hope to be free before they leave and it looks like they may get there! Everyone is cheering them on.

Our new schedule for the week includes meditations by Mala every morning from 8.30 – 9.15 am, and we had one today as well. It was very beautiful. Some of those to whom meditation is something new are still exploring. One of our new participants, a young man, was non-vegetarian and had a few addictions but it is incredibly touching to see his willingness to learn as much as he can. He is really willing to try a real lifestyle change. He commented today that even though it’s only the third day for him he can see such a change in his body and that he already feels lighter.

Our morning session was by Dr Rupa about what to eat and how to manage the kitchen when participants get back home. Her goal was to show them the huge abundance of food in the vegan kitchen, contrary to the common perception that it’s deprivation or extreme. She did a great job. Dr Rupa has been handling the kitchen, menus and explanations to the chefs every single day that we have been here, and thanks to her work everyone has been enjoying the food so much.

Today’s cooking class was held by Mala who made an amazing pizza which actually tasted far better than any pizza we have ever eaten and it was made completely of whole ingredients!

After dinner we saw the film The Plastic Cow. It’s highly recommended to anyone who lives on planet Earth, and even more so if you live in India. If you have not seen it, do not miss it. And if you find it good, don’t forget to share it. You can find it here – The Plastic Cow: http://youtu.be/SifRIYqHfcY

Day 18 – Wednesday 20 June 2012

We are in the middle of the last week and lots of things are happening. A couple of participants were feeling a bit left out as others kept improving and it seemed that they did not improve at the same rate. In order to get better we need to peel off layers of medications. When medicines have been taken over a long period of time, true reversal takes some time. Now it is happening and they are really happy! Our participants are getting better and better and more excited about going back and putting all that they learnt into practice. Many of them want to help spread this information too.

Our daily schedule this week has been almost the same. This morning we discussed animals and nature and making the connection. Almost everyone has been connected to or has loved animals and people shared their animal stories. We talked about our ill treatment of animals, especially those used for food and their staggering numbers. We did a process to connect to nature with Nandini and one of our participants led us in a prayer. It’s always difficult, for almost everyone to know what the animals endure thanks to human arrogance and greed. These are things that our society hides from us.

In the evening 2 of our participants conducted the cooking class and the dinner was amazing. We had pumpkin fenugreek soup, stuffed tomatoes, zucchini salad, khow suey and chole. After this everyone was too stuffed and tired so we had just a short program with videos about animals and their love for their own kind or another species including humans. It was uplifting. Animals love unconditionally. In the words of Laura Moretti, animals have the best of what makes us human with none of our vices.

The end of a gloriously sunny and cool day. On my walk in the evening I thought that this was nature at her very best. Nature is so abundant.

Day 19 – Thursday 21 June 2012

Today was another nice day. Our morning meditation session was followed by our usual session. Dr Rupa continued her talk on reorganising the kitchen and getting ready for the new lifestyle. We then talked a bit about the impact of our food choices on the environment.

In the afternoon there were the usual choices or the weekly visit to Gokarna town. Dinner was Mexican – quesadillas, enchiladas and Mexican rice and beans.

Tomorrow some participants will leave so we had a talent show this evening. It was an amazing display of participants’ talents. Singing, jokes and riddles, poetry and dancing filled the room. It was very nicely planned and compered by Mala. The participants wanted to give back to SHARAN and so they organised a brainstorming session of what they would do to spread the message.

Tomorrow morning there will be the lab tests, so we are all getting ready for the final verdict. I am happy to say that we have received messages from participants who have left earlier to tell us how they are faring, and they are doing very well. Here too people are doing well – we have 3 more people off all medicines and many others who are almost there. Now comes the real challenge – going home and keeping what they learnt here in their daily lives. But we think all our participants will live up to this challenge.

Day 20 – Friday 22 June 2012

We had someone come to do our lab tests this morning. This was followed by the usual yoga class. Then Mala’s meditation was on letting go – of diseases that have been with us, of our old patterns, of emotions and anything bogging us down. Then two of our participants left. Both of them were completely off their insulin and showing normal results.

Our morning session was on eating mindfully. It’s all very well to realise it in the session but we often forget this when we go back to the table so today at lunch we had a silent meal and consciously ate slowly to taste the food, feel it in our bodies and to remember the whole process of how we get the food. We remembered to be grateful for the beautiful food that we got and the amount of work that was put into it by nature to grow it and to nurture it. We remembered everyone who had laboured on it – right from the farmers to the chefs and it put us in touch with how unconsciously we eat. Most people learnt a fair bit. Others found eating that slowly a bit frustrating but it was a learning experience anyway.

We had a vegan jackfruit ice cream for a snack which everyone loved.

Mala and her sister cooked an Assamese meal (sans mustard oil of course) and this gave her sister a lot of confidence that she could eat the food that she was used to, without oil, and that it would still taste wonderful.

In the evening we watched a film about health called Eating.

Day 21 – Saturday 23 June 2012

Today was a fantastic day! In the morning we had the tests and the meditation followed by a session on how to handle the challenges that we will face once we go home. It was interactive and fun. After lunch we got the results of the lab tests we did yesterday and they were FANTASTIC!!! All the HbA1C’s of the diabetics had dropped considerably – a very, very good sign. All those with bad liver function tests showed improvement. Cholesterol and triglyceride levels were better in almost everyone. And most impressive of all – we had several people who were hypothyroid and all their levels improved considerably. Many people lost weight, and although some who wanted to may not have shown loss on the scales, their clothes have loosened up so they know they have lost inches. Most of all, people started enjoying natural foods cooked without oil and even diabetics saw that despite eating fruit, sometimes several times a day, they had better sugar levels than before.

Our participants are getting more interested in cooking oil free and today Mala made 2 types of ravioli with the help of the chefs and some beautiful salads, a French onion soup, and ratatouille.

There was plenty of reason for celebration and we had mango ice cream and fruit chocolate cake to celebrate. Of course we used no sugar or oil here either but we all thought it tasted even better than the regular ice creams and cakes. All the hotel staff had been so warm and caring and had gone out of their way to fulfill our every need. We invited them and thanked them. We ended by holding hands and singing Hum Hoge Kamayab, that one of the participants suggested.

All in all an amazing 21 days. The older participants are sad to leave. We will all be leaving here tomorrow.