Dr Nandita Shah’s Blog from the 21 Day Program, June 2017.
June 5, 2017
Day 21: 24.6.2017
Our final day was marked with final consultations, a special dinner and an award ceremony at night. We feel like we are one big family and its difficult to say goodbye. Well, we all say hello to a new beginning.
Day 20: 23.6.2017
Towards the end of the 21 day Health Retreat we always have a talent show. There we discover many hidden talents. We have heard some beautiful singing and seen some great dancing, art and other talents. This time the group broke up into 2 main groups and did 2 skits. The first was called Vegan Ke Sharan Me and depicted a social scenario once participants returned home. The other was a Hindi Musical with a few surprises. Jasvanti, who was walking with her stick when she first came, was dancing! It was a delight to see her and all the other dancers.
Day 19: 22.6.2017
Despite all the salads that we serve during our 21 day Health Retreat, in the past many participants did not get used to making salads and these featured less on their menus. So this time we decided to have only a lavish salad bar for one meal. In the cooking class the participants were taught how to make different types of dressings and how to convert any dressing recipe into a healthy one. We also learnt that cutting veggies in different ways makes them taste different. We talked about how salads could include not just raw vegetables, but also some steamed veggies, seeds, and beans to make them a complete meal. But no one could have imagined the lavish salad bar that the chefs put on for dinner.
Day 18: 21.6.2017
Another one of the highlights of each 21 day Health Retreat is the Sadya or festive Kerala meal which we all take together at lunch. This is served on banana leaves and all the chefs and the restaurant staff take part in the service. It’s an absolute treat. Of course all of this food is made according to our guidelines – whole, plant based and organic. Isn’t it a wonder that despite all these feasts we still lose weight, enjoy our food and get healthier?
Day 17: 20.6.2017
One of the highlights of our program has been the cooking evenings by the participants groups. No matter what, the food made by the participants is always amazing! And participants get to see first hand how to convert their favourite recipes into healthy vegan, how easy it is to cook healthy and how much their food is appreciated by everyone else. This time our first group did street foods like pau bhaji and chat. The second group was a group of only men, and they did an extensive ‘killer’ Indian menu. The next group consisted of special delicacies like Churma and Dal Batti and Gatta as well as corn on the cob in a delicious sauce. Every group also made starters and a dessert. We still have one.
Day 16: 19.6.2017
We are beginning the last week of our 21-Day Health Retreat. Today was a juice feasting day – a day when we have only vegetable juices throughout the day as a means of flooding our body with nutrients so as to enable to healing process to progress further. Many of us were surprised that not only could they easily do it, but they enjoyed it.
Here are some of the results of the week that was.
Much higher levels of endurance – 13
More enthusiastic about exercise. – 8
More energetic – 6
Swimming better – 5
Looked after my body much more – 5
More flexible – 4
Calmer – 3
More alert – 3
Sleep better – 3
Greater appreciation and love of nature – 3
Feel confident of cooking though had never done it – 3
More confidence – 3
Fears are less – 2
Cravings are less – 1
Affection towards animals has increased – 1
Day 15: 18.6.2017
This week we had several short walks in the property. One morning we had a bird watching walk. Another day we were taken to see all the environmental features of this 26 acre property.
Sundays are very special. We start the day a bit later and usually start with a walk to Gokarna for anyone who is able. It’s also possible to walk only part of the way. This time we walked the long way which is 6 km, and a couple of us walked back too! We had a glorious sunny day so we came back and had swims, breakfast, massages, a light lunch. Afternoon naps were followed by a snack of samosas and ‘chai’ at the beachside restaurant on the property. We ended the day with the film Super Juice Me to get ready for the juice feasting day tomorrow.
Day 14: 17.6.2017
Everyday at 5pm, after the cooking class, we have a swimming class. We have many participants in this group who are just learning to swim so this is very exciting – a class that many prefer not to miss. The pool in SwaSwara is full length and the water is clean yet not over chlorinated. The surroundings are beautiful. And its always nice to learn together. Also swimming is a great exercise. Although many participants are hesitant in the beginning, its so exciting when you actually learn to swim! Even those with fear of the water could not resist getting in.
Day 13: 16.6.2017
We have been having regular cooking classes and they have been alot of fun. Since we have buffets for breakfast, lunch and snacks, and since the food is so delicious and also satisfying, participants want to learn everything to take home to their families. Some participants take videos of the whole class too. Participants also take part in the cooking demos whenever they have a chance.
In the second and third week we also have participant cooking sessions where the participants are divided into groups. Each group plans a menu and executes it, presenting a dinner for the rest of us.
Day 12: 15.6.2017
We also learnt how to grow microgreens – the fabulous super foods. We all planted a cup of different seeds.
We usually have film screenings in the evenings and so far we have seen films like May I Be Frank, Cancer Cure with Dr Lorraine Day, Hungry for Change, Forks Over Knives etc but sometimes instead of the film we have dancing or interactive sessions in the evenings. Here is a glimpse of one of our dance nights.
Day 11: 14.6.2017
Because packaged foods are sold everywhere and it’s so common to eat them, we don’t really think about how they are for our body. We often think they are good, just because they are packaged. It’s better than having something which is sold on the streets, isn’t it?
So we looked at various packages during our learning session in groups of 4. We looked closely at the ingredients – something that we do not often do. We learnt that external appearances can be quite deceptive and that many packaged things have an awful lot of ingredients – some that we cannot even pronounce or that we have never heard of before. Then each group did an internet search on any one of those ingredients to see the harmful effects of it on our body. That was a surprise. Just one ingredient has all those effects! What about the rest? One of the best ways to stop consuming your favourite packaged foods can be learning what really goes inside them!
Day 10: 13.6.2017
Everyday we have yoga classes in the morning and advanced yoga in the evening. These are optional but very popular. Once we stop animal products and are completely on a healthy plant based diet, both flexibility and stamina increase and this is obvious in our yoga classes and also in the hikes.
This morning was nice and sunny and Capt Joseph Pinto arranged a walk to one tree hill. There are beautiful views of the sea and the forest and those who went were rewarded with views of the dolphins too. Here are some pictures of these 2 activities.
So we have many options – yoga, walks or even staying in bed. Sometimes its needed – rest also heals and is as important as exercise.
Day 9: 12.6.2017
This is the beginning of the second week. One week flew by, and its time to take stock. Here are the changes that participants described
Energy Levels are more – 8
Blood Pressure has dropped- 6
Blood Sugar has dropped – 5
Sleeping early and getting up early – 4
Aches and pains are less – 3
More flexible – 3
Skin / face glowing – 3
Stamin increased – 5
Healing quicker than usual
Walked / exercise more than expected –14
Learnt many things – 12
Swimming for the first time / swimming better – 6
Found out that walking in the rains is fun / enjoy exercise 6
Realised Plant based foods are very tasty – 6
Love being outdoors – 5
Eating according to hunger – 4
Positive / happy / more confidence – 4
Listening to my body – 4
Clarity of thoughts – 2
Feel Peace and serenity – 2
Feel great without tea and coffee – 2
Everyone is getting better and we have 5 people who have been able to drop a considerable amount of medicines. 2 of them were on a large number of medicines – 8 and 12 doses per day!
Here is a video of the week that was
Day 8: 11.6.2017
Sundays are always special. On this day we don’t have a learning session, but instead we make a trip to Gokarna, the nearby town which is less than 5 km away. The walk involves uphill and down hill stretches and also can be done along the beach. Views are spectacular. Gokarna is a temple temple town, a pilgrimage place. Every house has a temple in it. And of course there are the bigger temples and the artificial lake where pilgrims take a dip. This walk has become a tradition for Sundays during our 21-day Health Retreat. Those who cannot walk all the way there can come in a vehicle if they wish. And those who can walk more can also walk there and back giving them a good 10 km walk!
Day 7: 10.6.2017
Every morning rain or shine, we have aqua aerobics or nature walks led by Capt Joseph Pinto who the knack of inspiring even those who hate exercise. Each walk is an opportunity to connect with nature and others in the group, explore this beautiful area and improve our stamina. Its a great way to start the day and even those who said they would never get up before 6 for a walk did this walk and surprised themselves! This morning the group did a short walk and landed up at a nearby temple.
Day 6: 9.6.2017
Everyday in the afternoon, we have cooking classes so that participants learn how to make almost anything that they like to eat from whole plant based ingredients. We teach them how to fry onions or do a tadka without oil and also how to make pakoras and other dishes oil free. We also teach dairy, cheese, curds, meat and egg alternatives. We make all kinds of salads, and dishes. We have a class for Thai, Mexican, Italian foods, breakfasts, travelling foods etc, so that we are fully prepared once we go home. Both men and women enjoy learning to cook, whether they have cooked in the past or not.
Day 5: 8.6.2017
This morning, despite the downpour 17 of us joined the early morning walk. With Capt Joseph Pinto leading we found ourselves walking quite a bit, all the way to the cave which are about 5 km away! The cave was pretty amazing so we spent a bit of time. Then some of us walked back by road and others along the scenic route along the sea which was supposed to be a short cut. Its shorter and more difficult and we patted ourselves for walking this much! We also saw some labourers carrying a sac of cement each along this route which definitely gave us another perspective about our efforts!
Day 4: 7.6.2017
Despite it being early in our program, people have already started seeing results. This is because of the great atmosphere of SwaSwara. SwaSwara means listening to oneself and we are learning to listen to our body allow it to heal. Here we have wonderful buffets of delicious healing foods and a whole range of activities to choose from. Besides our learning sessions, we have nature walks, hikes, swimming and swimming lessons, aqua aerobics, meditation, yoga, yoga nidra, pranayama cooking classes, films, and art therapy.
Here is a video of Jasvanti. Jasvanti had multiple health issues including chronic kidney disease, which is so common these days as a result of diabetes and high BP. Jasvanti changed her diet after our UK seminar and I had reduced some of her medications before she even got to our program. Despite not having walked much for quite a while, she took the initiative to walk and was surprised at what she could do! She was thrilled.
Day 3: 6.6.2017
Every morning after breakfast between 10 am and 1 pm we have a learning session. The topics are different each day and are covered by lectures, videos, experiential and interactive sessions. This is one of the times when we are all together in one room, thinking and sharing together. All our various programs during the day are optional leaving participants with a lot of choice to learn and do what they like best. Here are some photos from our learning sessions.
Day 2: 5.6.2017
Today we started the day with blood tests. In our 21-day Health Retreat we do all our tests both in the beginning and end so that participants can actually see the changes in just 21 days! The next days we will reduce the medicines one by one. As always I am seeing several patients that are overmedicated. Doing these tests helps them realise this. Although we never stop medicines till the values improve, medicines never cure. But our body is always working to heal. We are going to help it with good food, high quality yoga taught by well trained naturopaths, and assist a bit with a massage.
Here are some pictures of our mini clinics today.
Day 1: 4.6.2017
We kicked off our 21 day program today with a welcome dinner followed by an introductory session and a birthday party. Infact 3! Three of our participants have gifted themselves health on their birthdays. One was celebrating her 50th birthday, another her 70th and yet another turned 55! Imagine celebrating your birthday with health. As always we have amazing participants with us. We have a medical doctor who has turned to organic farming and grows 100s of kilos of delicious fresh fruits and vegetables in the dessert in Sharjah That’s her new farmacy.
We have someone doing her masters in positive social change. We have a woman who is 70 but feels much younger and was able to say all the names of all the participants in the very first day just after the introduction. Many of our participants have already done our program and are already on the path. Many have already seen changes, reduced medications and last upto 13 kgs! We have 2 young women of 15 and 17. What an amazing group.
Day 0: 3.6.2017
I arrived a day early to the beautiful SwaSwara in order that I could do a talk for their staff. Every year we have our 21 -day Health Retreat here and I wanted the staff to understand why we serve whole plant based food and what the results are. We had translations into Kannada so that everyone could understand, and later served a delicious whole plant based meal made to perfection by Chef Joy and his team. The meal comprised of vegan buttermilk, 2 salads and a vegan raita whole red rice, millet vegetable rice, a daal and a mixed vegetable. There was a dessert too. Everyone absolutely loved this food.
Today everyone will arrive and I will be writing a short day by day account of our program. Please join me if you like.
You can also join our 21-day Online Diabetes Reversal Program and do it with us. You will find there 3 facilitators who have been facilitators of our 21 day Health Retreat at SwaSwara. The videos have all been shot here too. So you too can do it along with us now!
If this interests you, here is the link https://sharan-india.org/sharan-21-day-online-diabetes…/ We are also giving a 50% discount through June. So join us!