We are all set for SHARAN’s 21 day disease reversal program at SwaSwara starting 9th June 2013. We had 25 participants registered but unfortunately two had to cancel due to last minute health problems. So now we are 23 and we are all set to have a great time and achieve amazing results. All the preparations are done, the course materials, including the recipe booklets, journals, patients files and handouts from all three of us are ready. We will be arriving there a day in advance in order to welcome all the guests on the afternoon and evening of June 9th and also some early birds on the 8th.
You will get a day-by-day report on the highlights of the program here.
Today 24 eager participants gathered at SwaSwara for our adventure of health and healing. After a delicious evening meal we sat together and had a round of introductions. Each shared their background and reasons for coming. Many of them are seriously ill and look forward to getting well in these 21 days and almost as many of them have come to learn how to heal others with these methods. A beautiful feeling of friendship and family has begun to emerge.
Day 2 – Monday 10 June 2013
This morning we began with lab tests and health check ups for all participants followed by an invigorating yoga session. During the morning session all three facilitators shared their stories and gave an overview of their work.
Nandita shared inspiring examples about doctors and patients all over the world who had reversed diseases with plant based diets. Nandini shared her personal story of transformation and healing. Nithya shared his story of life as a monk and some of his essential learnings with humour.
Everyone set an intention for the 21 days. Nandita shared a cooking class about everyday oil free cooking. We ended with an evening of sharing stories and experiences of the day.
Day 3 – Tuesday 11 June 2013
We have already seen blood sugars coming down. Seven participants have reduced their insulin intake, a few by even more than half. And two people have been able to reduce blood pressure medications already. Many participants are going through detox. Headaches, fever, nasal discharges, diarrhoea, but they all know that this is going to make them better and so they are cheerful and enjoying thr process. Its amazing how fast peoples blood sugars and blood pressures are dropping.
Dr Nandita did a session on what health is, how the body is always working to heal itself, and how we can assist it by learning to listen to the body. Nandini did an amazing Thai cooking class that left everyone waiting for dinnertime.
Nitty did an evening session to introduce meditation. We ended with a small after dinner session with a group discussion about our best learnings on relationships
Day 4 – Wednesday 12 June 2013
Today was another wonderful day. Participants were explained why whole plant based diet is so important in preventing and reversing diseases. It was a clear day so many went for walks and swims. In the afternoon there was a beach meditation and everyone who went for it found it amazing.The cooking class was about dairy alternatives, we me made nut based milk, butter, curds, cream, and cheese. We had a group session where we spoke about the changes that we are experiencing – both good and bad. While its very creditable that medicines have dropped such a lot in the first three days a few are also suffering from withdrawal symptoms due to stopping tea and coffee and changes in the food. It takes time to change habits! All in all we are all having a great time
Day 5 – Thursday 13 June 2013
The participants began the morning with their usual consultations, yoga / walk. After fruit they had almond shakes and stuffed parathas for breakfast. This morning we talked about how we can get proteins, calcium and other nutrients through a whole plant based diet and what supplements, if any, we need. Nandini did an exercise about eating mindfully, which was followed by a silent lunch. After lunch more consultations, yoga nidra, popcorn and cooking class on Healthy Snacks. We ended the day with an inspiring film called May I be Frank, about a man who had been overweight and on drugs and how he was reborn through a mostly raw vegan diet.
All the reports have finally come so tomorrow we will be discussing them
Day 6 – Friday 14 June 2013
Today was a day filled with celebration, service and laughter. In the morning we celebrated the birthday of one of the participants with a mouthwatering vegan cake made by Chef Verghese. Later in the day many of us voluntarily gathered on the beach for a “beach cleaning” drive. We were surprised to see that even as we kept cleaning the beach, each new wave brought another lot of plastic bags and other waste. It was a revelation to us how polluted our oceans have become! The evening was time for swimming lessons in which people participated enthusuastically, many in the pool with the rest cheering from the sides. The day concluded with a hilarious and inspiring joke and story telling session.
Day 7 – Saturday 15 June 2013
Today we learnt why other issues like memory loss, joint pains and cancer reverse with whole plant based diets. We also expressed gratitude to all parts of our body which moved some participants to tears of joy. The cooking class featured North Indian dishes like rajma and palak “paneer”. The afternoon saw a strong turnout for the swimming lessons led by Laurie. Mala who is one of our key facilitators arrived today and led the group in a laughter session which ended the day on a blissful note. On the health front, one of our participants experienced low blood sugar today and for other participants blood pressure, blood sugar levels, and weights are slowly but steadily coming down as is their medications.
Day 8 – Sunday 16 June 2013
Today was a bright and sunny Sunday, and the program was relaxed and free. After yoga, there was a group that went to Gokarna to see the temples and the beautiful old town. Others had massages. In the afternoon there was a short session on cooking techniques. A lot of people joined the swimming classes in the evening and the pool was filled with activity and laughter. We had a cooking class on healthy breads and pizza which was served for dinner. Everyone loved the pizza, and one participant even said it was the best pizza she had ever had. After dinner we watched an inspirational film about Dr Lorraine Day’s personal story of cancer reversal followed a lively discussion.
Day 9 – Monday 17 June 2013
After the usual morning yoga and walks we had a delicious breakfast of masala dosas and porridge. Nithya led the morning session where we learnt about one minute meditation and then we had small group discussions on various inspiring themes. This was followed by Nandita teaching all of us how to read and interpret our lab reports. There was an enthusiastic discussion after lunch as we formed cooking groups to discuss which participants will lead the cooking classes every week. Each participant has a chance to share the vegan version of their favourite recipe. In the evening despite the rain there were lots of people in the pool. Meanwhile Mala did an Italian cooking class and dinner. The highlight was the wheat free lasagna and a cucumber boat salad. We are beginning to worry about whether any of us would lose weight if the food is this good everyday!
Day 10 – Tuesday 18 June 2013
This morning we had a session with Nandini on writing a love letter to our body. People wrote very heartfelt, creative and humorous letters which we all shared with each other. We also discussed the issues that come in the way of connecting to our instincts and how to overcome some of these so that we can stick to our healing path. This afternoon we had a cooking class on “Quick Packed Meals” good for snacking, picnics and travel. These included different kinds of dips, millet crackers and salads. Most participants have results that are improving steadily and some are now down to only 50% or less of the insulin intake that they had at the start of the program. Some have also begun to see the change and improvement in their energy levels and flexibility since they have stopped animal products.
Day 11 – Wednesday 19 June 2013
This morning Nithya Shanti shared a session on levels of consciousness and how a few of us who raise our consciousness can have a wider impact in the world. Nandita shared some heartwarming videos about making a connection with animals. In the afternoon, Nithya also shared some tools and practices for accessing the power of our mind. We had delicious cheesecake for our afternoon snack. This was followed by the participants conducting the cooking class. Today was a gloriously sunny day so several people went on a long nature walk. After dinner we watched an informative documentary titled Plastic Cow. Weight watchers have been steadily loosing weight. Some have lost over 2 kg in these 10 days and its showing already.
Day 12 – Thursday 20 June 2013
Nithya began the day with early morning meditation. We had a group discussion based on the documentary “Plastic Cow” and our collective impact on all the other living beings on the planet. This was followed by a Ho’oponopono healing practice. Nandini shared a practical session on eating awareness and getting in touch with our body’s hunger signals. Nandita shared some startling facts on the environmental impact of our food choices. In the afternoon we had a session on the power of our mind and on miracles. Many took a long evening walk in the hills adjoining Swaswara. There was a delicious Khao Suey for dinner which everyone enjoyed. At night we shared inspiring stories and offered prayers for those affected by the natural disaster in North India.
Day 13 – Friday 21 June 2013
After morning meditation and yoga we had a session on how food affects our emotions. This was followed by the practice of the four brahmaviharas – loving friendliness, compassion, appreciative joy and equanimity of mind. We had a session learning the value of gratitude and several tools to practice it. Many participants saw some of their medications reducing today since their values were so much better. We are all getting into the rhythm of this lifestyle now. Participants were very enthusiastic in their cooking class today as they themselves chose the menu and created an eclectic of Gujarati, South Indian and American dishes meal. At night we had some games which had everyone laughing together. It was a joyful day.
Day 14 – Saturday 22 June 2013
Another wonderful sunny day. While some people are beginning to make the breakthroughs in their health readings, others have reached or almost reached the destination of being off all medications. Some people have lost upto 3 kg and many inches. Some are off all their insulin while blood sugars are normal or near normal. What is very important to note is that usually one disease heals at a time. Many people are routinely given medicines by their doctors these days. Statins, blood thinners are examples of this. But a whole plant based is free from cholesterol and fat (which thickens the blood). This is better than medicines which can be a double edged sword. One of the participants had a little blood stained sputum. She was immediately asked by her doctor to stop the ecosprin which is a blood thinner since it could be the cause. Medicines have side effects so why not substitute them with whole vegan foods which have a myriad of health benefits? People have been expressing their desire to spread their newly gained knowledge and some have also expressed that their friends have started following them. We are coming towards the end of the second week.
In the morning session, Nandita shared an informative video about how adopting a vegan lifestyle helps us regain health and live a more connected life. She also discussed unnatural behaviours that we humans adopt compared to animals like using chemicals in our food and cosmetics and its effects on health. The goal was to get people to start questioning every aspect of their lives. Nandini shared the power of affirmations to bring positive changes in our life. Mala shared a deep and moving process called “Inner Child Healing”. In the evening, there cooking class and people went for long walks and many jumped into the pool. We also showed a film about weight loss and processed foods titled “Hungry for Change”. We ended the day by sharing our experiences.
Day 15 – Sunday 23 June 2013
Today being Sunday was a relaxed day. A group went to Gokarna town for a visit to the temple and for some sight-seeing. Others took long walks in nature. We had a treat of jackfruit ice-cream topped with pistachios for our afternoon snack. An impressive and dramatic chutney class was held by the chef preparing 6 different kinds of chutneys including some made from vegetables like okra (bhindi) and ridge gourd (turai). A film, “Forks over Knives”, about health through a whole food plant based diet was screened in the evening.
Day 16 – Monday 24 June 2013
We began the morning with Chi Gong exercises, Mahasati meditation, yoga and walks. Nandita introduced what we would be doing in this third week and began the process of integrating our learnings so far. Its easy to get the results, improve the readings and reduce medications when we are together but its important to take the learnings home and integrate them in our everyday lives. This is more difficult because the rest of society is doing things quite differently. Sometimes we fall back into our own patterns. This week is about helping to break those patterns. Stress is a major cause of disease and many of our lives is full of it. If we can transform this, its easier to stay healthy.
Nandini shared some of the most significant paradigm shifts she experienced in her own journey of healing. There was a traditional meal served to all on banana leaves today. In the afternoon we practiced an hour long process called the Sphere of Silence. There were evening cooking classes and swimming as usual. At night we saw a documentary on The Work of Byron Katie, a process of questioning our own thinking to uncover our innate wisdom.
Today some blood sugar levels were a bit higher. Because we are checking levels every day, and keeping a chart, participants are learning what the causes of their spikes are. This will help them be aware when they go back. Sharing these learnings with each other helps everyone to gain these insights. Two participants had painful diabetic neuropathy, which were not not relieved despite medications. But now the pains are less. The complications of diabetes can be even more annoying than the disease itself!
Day 17 – Tuesday 25 June 2013
Today, Nandita shared ideas and tips about how to re-integrate into society with our new vegan lifestyle. She showed an inspiring video from Victoria Boutenko about how to say “No” to relatives and temptations which was followed by a role play with the participants. Nithya shared the work by Byron Katie and how our thoughts are what creates our unhappiness. When we change our thinking, we can change our life. In the afternoon, a joyous session of laughter yoga was held where we enacted a story laughing all the way and then laughed away all our stresses. The cooking class was about gluten and soy free food. In the evening, participants shared their experience at the retreat and also what would help them to stay on the healthy vegan path in the future.
Day 18 – Wednesday 26 June 2013
Today we learnt about how to organize our kitchen once we return home to support all our learnings here. We also learnt how to read labels and recognize the real ingredients in processed foods. There was a powerful film called “Glass Walls” about the plight of the animals we eat which moved us all. We practiced compassion and ho’oponopono meditation after seeing it. Later in the day we learnt about a practice called sun gazing had meaningful discussions on the purpose of our life. There was a deep process called “Antara Mauna – Inner Silence Meditation” we all practiced in the evening. At night we saw inspiring short films and ended the day on a pleasant and peaceful note.
Day 19 – Thursday 27 June 2013
Today Nandita shared how we can monitor our own health status and reduce our medicines in a safe way. Nithya shared the practice of Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) which can be applied for resolving both physical and emotional challenges. A small group went for a hike to the Hanuman temple on a hill and another group went to the weekly market at Gokarna town. Mala led the inner silence meditation in the evening which was attended by many in the group. We had a splendid International Fusion meal for dinner. We ended the day with heart touching stories about our connection with animals. Our time together is coming to a close and we are all keen to make the most of what is remaining.
Day 20 – Friday 28 June 2013
Nithya held his early morning meditation session. After breakfast we took a full group photo with all the participants and Swaswara staff as it was bright and sunny. Nandini shared strategies for self-motivation towards exercise. Nandita showed where and how participants could get support in the coming months on their continuing journey towards health. In the evening Mala prepared a fabulous 100% raw meal which ended with a delicious raw cake. We had local musicians playing classical and light classical music after dinner for us. Tomorrow is our last full day and we are all looking forward to the participants talent night!
As we are coming to an end we are also seeing some more health breakthroughs – more weight loss (4 – 5 kg in some in these 21 days!), more understanding about health and food. Some automatic eating patterns have changed so that some participants need and feel like eating less. Many useful lessons.
Day 21 – Saturday 29 June 2013
This was our last formal day. Everyone was excited as well as sad. Our test reports had come and we were comparing them to the first ones. Overall there was improvement in the reports of those who were unwell. There have been several people who came just because they wanted to learn more about vegan lifestyle and how to spread the message or to help their families or loved ones get better. Although their reports may have been ok, some of them wanted to lose weight, and this was achieved during the program. Weight loss has been from 5 to 1 kg in these 21 days. The reports were the result of only 18th days of work and yet there was substantial improvement in the blood sugars and HbA1c, while medications have been reduced. Also many are off a whole range of other medications from sleeping pills, high blood pressure medications, blood thinners, anti cholesterol medications, pain killers, antidepressants, antacids and more. Everyone was glad to have achieved better health in this short time as well as knowledge which will last them a lifetime.
In the morning we had a short closing session where we summarised, appreciated other participants and answered a few questions. There were individual consultations and advice given after that.
In the evening we had a very special dinner, followed by a talent show, where we discovered amazing talents of participants from dancing to playing music, telling jokes and presentations, painting etc. The highlight was a song on SHARAN 21 day participants written and composed by one of the participants.
The gains of this program will be analysed and reported in the next weeks.
Day 22 – Sunday 30 June 2013
Everyone left for home today. We will all remember this experience that we shared together.