Following are the extracts from Mugdha Pradhan’s book – Health, Inc.: 10 Real life stories that will make you question the entire healthcare system:
Life back home was tougher than before. My daughter was used to a life of comfort. This time around in India, we did not have a chauffeur or enough money to go to the mall or the movies. It was hard, especially since I got no support from my family. Turns out that was contingent upon being the ideal wife and daughter. We lived in a very basic flat and worried about money every month.
In another blow, I made the decision to stop selling kefir and kombucha months after introducing it to India. A subscriber with IBS bought them for their probiotic content but was also lactose intolerant. I realised the drinks were once again only treating a symptom instead of the root cause.
Meanwhile, I had come across Dr. Rangan Chatterjee’s TEDx Talk on functional medicine. My ears perked up when he said he could “make diseases disappear”. According to him, the answers were all in the blood test. You could figure out the very source of the sickness just by looking at someone’s blood work. That was my moment of truth. I was taken in by the possibility. I thought, “Wow! If I can do that for myself, I will have no health issues left.” Up until I watched that video, my own record was pretty spotty. My report card showed a long list of symptoms marked up against many erratic efforts to lose weight to cure me of depression. Those methods looked even more flimsy in comparison to what the good doctor promised. This was the first time I had seen someone objectively examine what was happening inside the body and look for ways to fix it. I thought I might as well try.
The TEDx Talk led me to Google functional medicine. I found a group of doctors–Amy Myers, Terry Wahls and Mark Hyman–who had gotten together to set up the Institute for Functional Medicine. I hunted down and devoured their books. The Institute trained others to become functional medicine practitioners, who would then publish their own work in the field. I developed a fiendish need for the knowledge I could collect from their research papers, articles and textbooks.
Blood tests were the very first step to diagnosis in functional medicine. I approached local doctors with my blood tests with little success. None of them were equipped to interpret it in the way I needed them to. Google led me to local functional medicine practitioners. I spent a small fortune only to realise they hadn’t developed the skills or resources to help me.
Interactions with doctors in India bore no fruit. My increasing frustration with the healthcare system led me to decide to interpret my own blood work. Keeping up with research coming out of the Institute and its alumni had already given me a fairly strong background in functional medicine. I ordered Dicken Weatherby and Scott Ferguson’s Blood Chemistry And CBC Analysis from America so that I had a comprehensive guideline for what I was about to do.
I began interpreting my own blood work. It was a surprising process. I discovered that I had an autoimmune thyroid condition. My weight gain and fatigue ended up being because of insulin resistance which had made me prediabetic. Once I was done interpreting, I got to working on my three issues at once: thyroid autoimmune conditions, insulin resistance and vitamin deficiencies. Dairy and gluten were cut entirely from my diet to address the thyroid autoimmune condition. The insulin resistance I managed by changing my food intake. Vitamin deficiencies were treated very straightforwardly with supplements. Eventually, all the deficiencies were treated and I now only take B-complex, magnesium and vitamin D supplements. All remaining nutritional requirements are met organically through food.
The changes were very quick to come. I found myself very surprised by their speed and magnitude. After years of trying a number of things, my body was suddenly responding to something positively. Because I was eating food based on what was going on in my body and what it required, my energy levels rose dramatically. My mood stabilised in only a week. By the end of the month, I had already dropped a considerable amount of weight. I felt energy surge through my body. I looked better than I had in years and my digestive issues had seemingly sorted themselves out. Eventually, I dropped 37 kg from my highest weight, and the majority of that loss can be attributed to functional medicine. Till I figured out the root cause of my weight gain, I was shooting in the dark. It became retrospectively easy to see why that was the case. My ability to keep the weight off was a novel experience. I had never experienced such a stable loss.
The author is CEO & Founder of iThrive is a TedX speaker, serial entrepreneur, author, and orator with a Master’s Degree in Nutrition. Views expressed are personal.
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