Dr. Nandita Shah’s blog from the 21 day program September 2014

September 29, 2014

The final results are out! Summary of Data from our 21 day program

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For a week I have been writing reports and analysing each one’s progress. Now its time to get the results out! Here they are –
Of the total 32 people there, including the new facilitators –

DIABETES
15 had diabetes.  By the end of the program 4 were completely off medications, 4 were able to reduce their medications  or insulin by more than 70% and 7 were able to reduce medications more than 50%
People who have had diabetes for many years and who are older and on many medications take a bit longer but all will succeed if they follow what they have learnt and most of them are doing it now.

HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE
11 had high blood pressure. Of these 6 were off all medications, 3 had medications reduced by 70% and 2 less than 70%

HYPOTHYROID
8 people had hypothyroid. All noticed a drop in their TSH levels and a few will be able to reduce their thyroxin dosage already.

ACHES AND PAINS
9 participants had aches and pains. Only one person took a medicine for it once. Most people reported their pains to have considerably reduced, and some pains were gone altogether. 2 pains were not much improved by the end of the program. (The same participants had other pains which were gone)

CONSTIPATION
2 people had chronic constipation. Both were able to reduce their medications, one was completely off medications

ACIDITY
4 people had acidity. All were able to stop their medications.

LOW ENERGY LEVELS
4 people had low energy levels. The energy levels, stamina and endurance of the whole group improved during the program. 2 people could hardly walk when they came and were walking A LOT before they left. Once could not climb stairs.

ASTHMA
2 people had asthma. Neither of them were off all the medications and since they were not taking them regularly its difficult to say how much less the medications were

2 people had anemia (they are not completely out of it yet). 3 people had sleep problems – 2 are much better. 1 person had repeated infections problems but they had no problems there. In-fact colds and such problems were almost non existent.

WEIGHT LOSS
The highest weight loss was 7 kg. Others achieved 6, 5 and less kg weight loss. Some people who did not want to lose weight also lost it. This is a natural process because of cleansing. They will put it back on later.

Everyone was able to stop cholesterol medications and blood thinners. Most people had a drop in cholesterol levels. Only 2 had slightly higher cholesterol levels as a result of their medicines being reduced.  All but one had lower triglyceride levels. Cholesterol and triglyceride levels came down significantly in almost everyone.

Most people who were not taking supplements had low vitamin B12 and D levels. I had to advise almost everyone how to take these supplements.

There were 5 participants who hardly had any complaints. They just came to learn how to lead a healthier lifestyle and prevent diseases. Kudos to them! On the whole everyone achieved significant improvement, endurance levels and better health in these 21 days. And besides that we all had a great time! 3 participants that I know of, have made life changing decisions after the retreat in their professional or personal life. This happens every time but sometimes I am so involved with their physical health that I forget to report this. Sometimes I get to know about the decisions later. This retreat is about transforming at the level of mind, body and spirit. It takes 21 days to change a habit, and its not always easy. But if  persisted, its always life changing.

Day 22: 19.10.2014

Today everyone is leaving. We are all saying our goodbyes and hoping to meet again! Stay tuned for a synopsis of the results from this 21 day program. I am soon compiling them.

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Day 21, 18.10.2014

Today is the very last day and we have some things to complete. In the morning session after answering some questions and doing some quick revision we did the Sphere of Silence exercise to help us focus on what we really want in the future.

After a delicious lunch, I spent all day doing the final consultations one by one. And participants did all their very final favourite activities. Daksha completed a marathon of 21 km and was not even tired after it!

After dinner where SwaSwara staff had done amazing intricate natural decorations, we had an awards ceremony where participants received certificates for the Swimathon and Walkathon and other achievements. We have lots of photos of this night. Here are just a few

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Day 20, 17.10.2014

These are our very last days and we are savouring the different morning classes.

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In the morning session we all looked at our reports together and learnt how to read reports and how to understand them. We also talked about vitamin B12 and D – the vitamins that are low all too often. Many of us had low values when we came. We discussed what is the best way to get all our values to normal. We also discussed what to do if certain values deteriorate when we are back home. We ended with a session on stress and how to reverse it. It takes consistant practice to reverse stress. We also discussed how we can get support and support others on this journey.

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Lunch was a Sadhya, a traditional Kerela meal on a banana leaf

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Post lunch, Nandini offered a weight watcher’s class. Rohini too offered a session. Since our 2nd lab reports came, I started doing the final consultations. At 4 pm, one of our participants, Bharti, did a cooking demo.

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From 5 pm – 7 pm we had our swimathon and walkathon organised by one of our participants, Daksha. We collectively swam 12 km and walked 95 km! We were all surprised at how much we could do with just a little motivation. Some
participants had recently learnt to swim and even they were doing breadths and adding them up. Everyone was supposed to do their own personal best.

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After a dinner with Bharti’s and other delicacies, we ended with a participant talent show.

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Day 19, 16.10.2014

This morning started at 6 am with lab tests for everyone, followed by yoga and other activities as usual.

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The morning session was about kitchen replacements, cleaning up the kitchen and preparing recipes and menus,  followed with how to keep a check on health once back and how to further reduce medications. Nandini talked about exercise and staying motivated staying.

We are trying to eat more salads, vegetables and raw every day but we are being tempted by all the delicious food too. Yet most of us remember to eat a rainbow every day.

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In the afternoon we had a meeting with all the people who wanted to help spread the message.

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Today was Varun’s birthday and so we celebrated with yet another cake and some dessert. Its a wonder that with all the celebrations people are still improving!

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The last group of participants cooked and we had yet another feast with Dhansak and kebabs and all kinds of other delicacies. Its a wonder that most of us are still doing reasonably well!

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We ended the day with a short film Vegan Video followed by dumb shards

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Day 18, 15.10.2014

Well we are inching towards the end of this program! We have a few things planned before we go – swimathons, walkathons, meetings, another talent show, a farewell dinner.

This morning I shared about how to go back into society, how to say no to the things that we loved. How to embrace health and find the new things that we have learnt to love. How to find the food we need when travelling, when at a restaurant. How to tell friends and family about our new lifestyle. We practiced saying no while acknowledging the person who is offering us the food we no longer wish to eat.

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After a lunch of our favourite Khow Suey, Rohini took a session on The Work by Byron Katie. Nandini as usual took a session in Hindi so that our Hindi speaking participants understood, I did consultations.

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After snacks, Millie did a Mexican cooking class. We all chose our favourite sessions for these last days – yoga nidra, yoga, meditation, swimming, running. We are all working to achieve our personal best. We are exchanging recipes, shopping for beach dresses…

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After a delcious Mexican dinner, we saw Vegan video – a 10 minute film summarising all that we had done. We then discussed all the films that we had watched and what we learnt from them.

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Day 17, 14.10.2014

Almost everyone found yesterday’s juice feasting experiment good. Even those who did not want to do it found it was fine and they were not hungry. In fact many are better after it.

In the morning Nandini spoke about processed foods and discussed the importance of reading the ingredients before putting it in our mouths. We also discussed why it is better not to eat packaged foods at all. And we discussed about the foot print of packaged foods. We learnt more about junk foods and how to avoid them. In the end we all waved good bye to our favourite junk foods.

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After lunch Rohini took an optional session

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The fourth team had their cooking class – a favourite of the North Indians because it was a homely rajma, roti and ‘malai kofta’ foods that they have been missing. These were topped with Kheer and Paan. Everyone enjoyed this and we are all getting the confidence that we can cook this way once we are back home.

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In the evening we ended with the film ‘Hungry for Change’.

Day 16, 13.10.2014

Today was a juice day and almost everyone did it. We got delicious juices all day long. Most people were quite full and many felt more energetic. The best part is that we had much more time because we had no cooking class and we did not need much time to eat

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The morning session by Rohini was about our thoughts and how to watch them and not let them control us. I followed this with how the food we eat affects our emotions as well. In the afternoon Rohini held another session about restfulness, chanting, deep healing and exploring the question, “Who am I?”

After this there were consultations, pranayam and yoga and meditation and swimming and volleyball. A group of people went shopping to Gokarna. In the evening some of us had fruit and others a light dinner, and still others stuck to juices. We are all getting ready to go back as this is the last week. We are collecting recipes. This week is about preparing to go back. In the evening we watched Forks over Knives – a film about food as a medicine.

Day 15, 12.10.2014

Today is our second holiday. We had various activities in the morning – different walks and also a trip to Gokarna. Gokarna is very famous for its temples and many people want to visit these. After breakfast and a rest we saw the rest of the film about The Work by Byron Katie.

After an afternoon of rest one participants group was cooking and many of the others went to clean up the area outside SwaSwara. SwaSwara is at Om beach and is a very touristic place. Since last weekend was a long weekend there were lots and lots of visitors who threw there garbage everywhere. So we decided to clean up. It was a strenuous but good exercise. We were so involved that we forgot to take photographs but its not something that anyone who is from India cannot imagine. We left the place looking clean and green and bags and bags of garbage in a spot for the municipality to pick up. The nearby café kindly offered us tea and juices (which we did not accept) but the hotel staff who were with us did.

The participants cooking this year is just amazing. They are so innovative and making items that they love with confidence. Yesterday we had a meal like a wedding feast. There were all kinds of arabic salads and an amazing Hyderabadi Biriyani with mirchi ka salan and a special daal and gatta ki subji. And stuffed potatoes! Every dish was amazing!

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We finished the evening with an informative film called ‘The Silence of the Bees’ about the colony collapse disorder of bees all over the world.

Day 14, 11.10.2014

Today some people are doing juice feasting again and we are all going to do it on Monday. One by one people are dropping medications. They are also getting more enthusiastic about exercise. Its only natural, as we get better we can do more and more. We are also observing nature more closely thanks to the nature walks

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There are so many things to do, there is just not enough time. We have to choose. We made plans for tomorrow (Sunday) which is a day when we do things different from our routine. There will be several groups for walks according to capacities and also yoga, swimming etc. The bonding amongst the group is also growing everyday.

This morning Rohini took a very interesting session about energy fields and how we can increase our own energy fields and how negative emotions drain our energy. Its really important to notice how we give control of our happiness to others. I spoke about how we have disconnected to our instincts and why we need to be aware of this.

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Rohini also took an optional session in the afternoon on reiki and energy fields. Nandini followed with the optional weight watcher’s class. Both Nandini and I did the cooking class that followed. We made mayonnaise and eggless egg salad and a tuna free tuna salad, and sprout burgers and jowar and oat crackers with guacamole.

After dinner we had the first talent show. We have some amazing singers and dancers amongst us and also someone who plays the harmonica. The finale was Joshna’s belly dances and after that we broke into a party with everyone learning belly dancing!

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Day 13, 10.10.2014

Now several people are completely off medications. I keep checking them though just to make sure that they are doing well. Others are slowly getting there. Even the ones who thought that their medications would not reduce, are now reducing medications quickly. One man has lost 5 kgs now. Others have lost 2 – 3 kilos and still others have not lost at all but even they have lost inches and sizes are fast changing. Several are going now for long walks every day.Staminas have increased.

This morning Nandini and Rohini did a session on how what we think affects are energy. We broke into small groups and discussed.

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We also cut Rohini’s cake which we had not cut before because we didn’t want to eat too much dessert in one day.

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We ended with a gratitude circle.

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Today’s lunch had amazing salads and many of us are taking less cooked foods than before. Some people say that the food is getting better and better each day. I think also that their palates are changing and they are beginning to love real food.

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Today we had the second participants cooking class and what a meal they whipped up! There was a sprout bhel and pav bhajji and dahi bhalla and papdi chaat amongst other things, all topped with the second dessert of the day, gajjar halwa! All our participants have turned out to be great chefs. Looks like we did a good job of teaching them!

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We ended the day with a dance session

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Day 12, 09.10.2014

One of our participants wakes up every morning at 4 am and goes walking. Another participant woke at 5 and saw him walking with a flashlight and shared this. This motivated a lot more people to walk more. People are also finding more energy than they had before. Some say that they had problems moving but now walk a lot. A lady who could not walk at all when she first came is now doing 15 rounds of the poolside in the morning and 17 rounds in the evening. Even I am impressed. The swimmers continue as usual. Yoga classes, meditation classes, pranayama is full and now participants would like to have the cooking classes early so that they can go for the second yoga class too!

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This morning Nandini showed the trailer of a film called Bird Island, a distant island where only birds reside but they are dying of plastic. There is plastic everywhere and this is a hormone disruptor that causes diseases, kills animals and destroys our environment. She also talked about the chemicals that we use in our lives and how we can reduce them. I spoke about unnatural ways that we live and the result of that on our health.

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We had Chef’s chutney cooking class.

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Dinner was Khow Suey – a Burmese Bhel, and one of our favourites – we have it every year. After dinner we had a film about a woman who could talk to animals. It gave us an insight into the emotions of animals.

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Day 11, 08.10.2014

Yesterday one participant’s blood sugar levels dropped quite low and I had to reduce her insulin intake. Today I found that many people were able to drop medications even further. Some people were surprised that they managed very well on juices the whole day! More of us have become medicine free.

This morning we sang Happy Birthday to Sunil and Rohini. Sunil and Rohini had a quick dance together and Sunil distributed some dates from Dubai. He says he feels 21 years younger!

I completed causes of diseases – excess proteins and lack of fibre. This was followed by a session on the effects of our eating habits on the environment and animals. We ended with the film Glass Walls by Peta. This can be found on You Tube.

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At 4.30 we celebrated the birthdays with cakes and ice cream (whole vegan of course). The first of participants cooking class was today and everyone was excited! They are practicing to cook the healthy way

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Other participants went for a long walk and yet others converged in and around the pool.

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The dinner was absolutely stunning! Even the people who regularly had only fruit for dinner could not resist. There were Falafels and whole wheat Pita’s with salads and tahini and hummus and Ragda Pattice with all the toppings and Biriyani (Somali style) and Katchi Kadhi. Delicious!

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After dinner we saw a shorter version of Cowspiracy which was very thought provoking. A full moon meditation followed at the poolside.

Although I write an update daily, today I am writing one more. While on this lifestyle, its important to peel off medications wherever possible. Its also important to keep checking to make sure that levels are within range when the medications have been removed. Sometimes the medicines themselves have side effects for which another medicine is given and so the list of medications just piles up.

The amazing Mazie was one such example. She came from Quatar and was on many medications and  upto 100 units of insulin a day. Now her intake of insulin is just 48 units in the whole day and even then the blood sugar drops to levels that are too low every day. 3 of her 4 blood pressure medications have been reduced. Her other diabetic medications have been stopped. Blood thinners, cholesterol medications, supplements, pain killers have all been stopped and she is feeling so much better. Her blood pressure when she came was 160/90 despite all the medications, now it is 130/ 64 to 140/ 60. Her blood sugars used to go up to 450 (25). Now the highest is 240 (13) and this too is very rare. Usually its too low. She was taking medications for neuropathy which she does not need any more. With all these  medicines she had acidity and was taking medicines for that as well. She was even scared of eating tomatoes and lime. Now there is no acidity. She used to have extreme gall bladder pains and vomitting and medicines for this too. But now she is off all of these. She says she has stopped taking 36 tablets. She had to spend a fair amount of time to take all the medications that she was taking. Whatever it is the most important thing is that she is feeling much better, more relaxed. Her hair, which was falling a fair amount has stopped falling. All this in just 8 days with supervision.

Today she is on 1 thyroid medication, 1 tablet for blood pressure which will be stopped soon, and insulin, the dosage of which is dropping every day. She is so excited and feels so much freer.
Here is a photo of Mazie with a small case of all the medications that she no longer needs. And a picture of all the medications that were in that case. Mazie is amazed more than I am. I have learnt that almost everyone can choose food as a medicine

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Day 10, 07.10.2014

Today is a special optional juice feasting day. Almost all the participants have opted for only vegetable juices during the day. For dinner there is the option of having juice or fruit. This means we have much more time because we are not spending time eating now! Participants have to reduce their medications on this day, especially for blood pressure and diabetes and they will be monitored.

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Rohini spent the morning introducing people to EFT and then she lead them through a process of stress release.

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Since we did not have a cooking class, since most of us cannot eat, we had a session from 4 – 5 in the afternoon. Many participants continued activities as usual – yoga, running, swimming but many were more relaxed in anticipation that the juice would not give them enough energy. However for some, the contrary was true. The juice gave them even more energy.

In the evening we saw a thought provoking film about Byron Katie’s “The Work”.

Credits to Nandini Gulati for most of the photos on this blog. She is also working on photographs for recipes on our website.

Day 9, 06.10.2014

Today is the beginning of the second week and its time to take stock. Most people have recovered from the withdrawal of tea, coffee, sugar, dairy, junk food or other addictions and are feeling better. Everyone is enthusiastic. What are the achievements and results so far?
A few people are off all their medications and many people have reduced their medications by half or more. Yet others are have been able to reduce only by 25% or less. But we are not in a hurry and only reduce medications as our health improves.
13 people say that they are exercising more than before. Some of them who had not exercised for a long time walked on Sunday all the way to Gokarna and back – 11 km. Its all about going upto our own limits. There is no hurry as long as we are improving. Some said that they are swimming again, swimming more lengths at a stretch than ever before, walking again.
10 people said that they felt more energetic.
9 people stated that they were less stressed and had learnt to relax.
3 people said that their constipation was better. Some said they feel lighter.
Several people saw weight loss – upto 2.5 kgs but others saw a loss in inches even though their weight has not changed much.
Some people stated that their sickness, headaches, stomach aches, muscle pains due to withdrawal and cleansing has gone. Others have stopped getting headaches and pains for which they were routinely taking pain killers.
Some people said that they are no longer tempted by junk food and are no longer craving tea/ coffee. They are over their addiction or cravings. Others said that they had learnt to eat and like more raw. Some are eating more raw and salads than ever before. Some are eating more fruit than they have ever eaten. Some notice that they need to eat much less than they thought that they did.
Some people said that they are becoming more regular in their daily life and also checking their blood sugar levels or blood pressure more regularly.
Other changes – no headaches, no vertigo, no sinus, no bloating, no aches and pains.
Some say that they find they need less sleep and others are sleeping better.

This morning I spoke about food combining, planning menus, cooking techniques. We are soon beginning the participants cooking classes so we are preparing for that! Nandini spoke about millets, and did some exercises with the class including mirror dancing which was great fun.

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Millie and Nandini did an Italian cooking class and so we had an Italian meal. After the class many were in the pool and others were taking walks around. After dinner we had the very first session with Rohini on EFT. We are all set for juice feasting tomorrow and have reduced some medications in anticipation.

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Day 8, 05.10.2014

Today is Sunday and on Sunday we have a change. This morning at 6.30 we have 2 walks to Gokarna – 1 by the long beach and hill route and the other by the 4 km new road. Several of us decided to take the walk even after the late night dance session yesterday.

At 10.30 there was volley ball and beach activities which some people went for. Others stayed back and relaxed after the long walk.

Just before lunch we showed a film, The Last Heart Attack which was a CNN documentary by Dr Sanjay Gupta. Although heart disease is the biggest killer in the US, no one should suffer this disease and it can be reversed just by eating healthy. We should be taught how to eat. This film is available on You Tube too. Please do watch and share it.

At lunch we had chef Joy’s famous rainbow salad. We are learning to eat rainbows every day!

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After Chef Girish’s cooking class on how to make breads, we had a swimming and water exercise class by Daksha which was amazing. Daksha is not just an accomplished swimmer but an accomplished teacher and she has helped many of us improve our strokes.

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After a dinner of Pizzas and more we watched a film, Super Juice Me about the incredible nutritional benefit of juices. Many of us will be joining the optional juice feasting on Tuesday.

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Day 7, 04.10.2014

Today is Saturday. We are coming to the end of a week and time has flown. Everyone has gotten to know each other and are enjoying the company more. Sometimes we break into a chatter even during the class. Breakthroughs are continuing as usual.

In the morning I spoke about the main nutritional causes of diseases – excess fat, excess protein, and lack of fibre and why any fat whether olive oil, or pure cow ghee acts as a blood thickener making the blood flow sluggish, and affects every system in our body. We talked about reversal of hypertension and diabetes. Nandini spoke about how to get motivated to exercise regularly and showed some inspiring videos.

Today was Vallari’s birthday and Vallari is eating 2 fruit meals a day so she had a fruit cake! This was followed by a delicious chickoo ice cream made by chef Joy and his team. We all enjoyed it. Some people commented that they could easily be vegan if they had desserts like this.

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The cooking class was shared by Chef Joy who showed various chutneys and bajra and jowar rotis and dosas and chillas without oil and Nandini who showed Palak ‘Paneer’ and Rajma – North Indian dishes.

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Rohini arrived today and after the initial hugs and a brief introductory session we had a ras garba session in the evening. The dancing went on until past 10.

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Day 6, 03.10.2014

The time is flying and a week is nearly over. Everyone has connected so beautifully and its difficult to keep the chatter down. For those whose medications are reducing, its exciting. There are a few people who have not yet been able to reduce medications. A few things – diseases appear and disappear one at a time. Although in most cases the blood sugars are quick to come down, in some cases blood pressure will reduce first. Until the blood pressure medications are not peeled off the blood sugars may not go down at all. Its really important both not to suddenly reduce medications and at the same time not avoid reducing medications whereever possible. As usual in this retreat there were people on as many as 16 medications in a day.

Most of our participants are very motivated. Some are up at 4 am and go for walks. Long walks, yoga, meditation, swimming, running, everyone is busy, and some are complaining that there is not enough time to do everything. Before coming some feared that they would get bored but not they are complaining that they do not have enough time. I have to tell them sometimes not to compromise on their sleep. Sleep and rest is also essential.

This morning I spoke about protein and calcium, iron and vits B12 and D. Everyone wants to know where you get those on a plant based diet. Nandini spoke about hunger awareness. Hunger is the only good reason to eat. What are the reasons that you eat?

Today was Charul’s birthday and Chef Joy and his team made a raw birthday cake for her. Many participants were happy to have a dessert after several days because that’s what they have been missing. They enjoyed it. But they also realised that it was too sweet now. Imagine! Our taste buds change so fast when we don’t tickle them with sugar or sweeteners everyday!

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This was followed by a cooking class with meat and cheese alternatives. We made Shepherd’s Pie, mushroom soup, a boursin as a dip with vegetable sticks and a Caesar Salad with chickpeas instead of chicken

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Day 5, 02.10.2014

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More breakthroughs today. One lady has been able to discard several pain killers that she had been taking. One man who could only swim a half length at a time is now swimming 10 lengths. One gentleman who has Parkinsons finds that his tremors are less and has been waking up at 4 am to go for long walks. (Disclaimer – I don’t want to claim that we have a cure for Parkinson’s Tremors, and although our plan can help it, its not so quick. I think that our plan really helps people get well and get off medications and perhaps lowering other medications has helped the Parkinsons). Our goal is that everyone does something that they have not done before. Its about breaking habits and changing paradigms.

Some participants are still having pains – back pains and other problems. As far as possible we avoid pain killers because we are learning to listen to our bodies and not avoid pain, but accept pain and slowly get rid of it altogether.

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This morning I spoke about the logic of whole foods. Nandini shared about mindfulness, and how we can learn not just to eat more mindfully but also live more mindfully. This was followed by a silent lunch where we all practised eating more mindfully.

Shannon, who came all the way from Qatar to leave her mother, had to leave. We are all sad to see her go, and made a circle connecting to bid her farewell.

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Nandini conducted a cooking class where she made an amazing lentil bread and a millet salad, a chole chaat, and roasted sweet potato.

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Our participants are all very active, walking, swimming, attending as many classes as possible. They know that the more they do, the more they get. After the cooking class everyone is either in the pool or walking around it, or going for long walks. Congratulations to all of them. Many had not been exercising this much before.

After dinner we had a short film – a inspiring talk by Victoria Boutenko – Is Raw Food for You?

Day 4, 01.10.2014

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Here we have all kinds of people. People who have been very careful about taking their medications and controlling their diseases. They are absolutely regular with doctors visits and medications. They have seen their medications increase over the years but don’t know what to do more. There are others who have been with us and have already seen results and want to just learn more about how to get completely well. Some of them know this works but don’t know how to resist temptations, manage when they are travelling or in social situations. Others still have not looked after their health at all. They have been pushed here by their relatives. Their blood sugar or blood pressure or both are absolutely out of control. They take medicines sometimes and other times forget. We are working at all levels.

This morning we had several breakthroughs. One gentleman who had not gone out of his house for a year due to ill health is now walking 3 – 4 kms a day. His feet used to be swollen so walking was painful but now the swellings have gone and he can walk. Many of the people who suffered from leaving their tea etc are also better now, headaches are gone. Energy levels are slowly rising. People who were constipated or had acidity are feeling much better. Some people recognised that their aches and pains can become better without taking any medicines. The body is always healing!

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My morning session was about the logic of a plant based diet and why we heal when we eat only plants. Nandini talked about gratitude to the body after which everyone wrote a love letter to their bodies. Most of us were deeply moved by this exercise.

Since our lab reports came today I was very busy with consultations and suggesting how people could reduce their medications. Several people have reduced their medications already and are feeling so much better too. Its amazing how much just our food affects us!

We had a dairy alternatives cooking class in the afternoon, and we ended the evening with an interactive session. Here are some pictures of dishes made in the cooking class.

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Day 3, 30.09.2014

This morning we started with fruits followed by an amazing breakfast of red rice idlis and sambhar and chutney and amaranth porridge. Both were so delicious that it was difficult to choose between them and we had a bit of both.

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During the first session all talked about our breakthroughs. Already insulin levels have started dropping, Someone’s blood pressure medications had been reduced. And elderly man who had not been able to take walks for 6 months has already walked several kms, Someone who spent 2.5 hours in the toilet is now taking only 1 hour. Several diabetics have reduced their medicines. Someone who was not able to climb the stairs the first day was able to climb up three times today. Some people who were used to tea or coffee are now free of tea or coffee and not suffering from withdrawal. Some people who were used to popping pills for pain have stayed away from those pills despite having them in their bags. Some are suffering from the symptoms of detox. The breakthrough session was pretty inspiring.

We then talked about the healing power of our body, how we get in the way of our own healing process and the myths that we believe in. If we can unlearn all those myths and listen to our bodies healing becomes easy. At lunch there was an amazing array of salads and other foods.

Nandini had a Thai cooking class with Pad Thai salad and lettuce rolls with peanut sauce and a kefir lime salad. There was also a delicious Tom Yum soup and Thai curry with Cauliflower rice. All of these are served in the dinner buffet along with some Indian food. After the cooking class half of us were in the pool, some relaxing and some swimming lengths to prepare for our swimathon.

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The film at night was about Dr Lorraine Day’s reversal of breast cancer. This film beautifully summarises our whole program. We left for our rooms inspired.

Day 2, 29.09.2014

Last night ended with a dinner and then a group session where all the participants introduced themselves and spoke a bit about why they were with us. As usual, those who had been past participants of seminars or family members of past participants had already seen some of the results and were able to get the new people, some of whom were skeptical, a bit excited. We welcomed everyone. We ended early since people had travelled from far and may be tired.

Today was really busy. We started at 6 am. The technicians had come from Goa and extensive lab tests were done for everyone. This is so that we know exactly where people are and how they are doing. From today we withdrew the tea and coffee. As usual this is a difficult moment because its hard for people to leave their habits. There were a few people who suffered headaches and one or two with very severe ones. Others were generally fine, though maybe with less energy.

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Our morning session was about our time table and rules and regulations and a briefing of what people could expect out of the 21 days. We have people with all kinds of problems. Although about 1/2 of them have diabetes, the others have hypothyroid, hypertension, joint and back problems, chronic constipation, migraine headaches, menopausal problems, acidity, obesity, anemia and a few other problems as well. We are going to work on all of these. There are also a few with hardly any problems. They are here to prevent problems and get even more healthy.

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We also have some amazingly motivated people who are here to make some personal breakthroughs. Everyone wants to take part in everything – yoga, meditation, walks, art therapy, yoga nidra. And the cooking classes too are always full in the beginning. Today I showed them zero oil cooking – how to make tasty salads, dry Indian vegetables without oil, a daal Makhani without butter, bhajjias and pakoras without oil and we also did some chutneys. Most people thought that the food we serve is delicious – they were not expecting it to be so good.

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It was good to see so many people in the swimming pool after this class. We ended the evening with a film May I be Frank – a true story of transformation.

Day 1: 28.9.2014

Millie and I arrived yesterday to prepare in advance of the other arrivals. We have prepared the bags and charts for all participants and now are excited to welcome 31 participants. We are totally sold out this time. Millie is going to be helping with logistics and food

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Several of our participants are friends and relatives of last time’s group so its a bit nostalgic too. Others are people who have been participants of our programs. Also the SwaSwara team has almost become like family to me. I have been here so many times.

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In the past we have always done this program in June, the beginning of the monsoon. Now, right after the monsoon the artificial lakes are full and its just beautiful. The sun is shining but its not too hot- just right or walks and swimming in the huge pool.

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Some of the participants have come early because they have arrive from overseas. The rest are coming in one by one along with Nandini who is my co facilitator.

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Tonight we will have our first introductory meeting. We have a great group, dancers, marathoners, games lovers. It looks like we will have a great time!