Q: I suffer from a whole host of ailments, including migraines, Fibromyalgia, myofascial pain syndrome, mild asthma, and depression. I feel like no doctor has helped me and all they do is push pills but I also can’t afford to see a naturopath and know of no ayervedic in this area. My life feels doomed. Where can I even hope to start?
A: You are absolutely not alone in your frustration, nor are you without any possibility of resolving these various symptoms. And you’re certainly not doomed. Given the multifaceted nature of your ailments, it would be unwise for me or anyone else to prescribe any sort of intricate regimen of herbs, treatments, and other methods of healing without having an opportunity to determine what underlying issues may be causing such imbalances. However, Ayurveda teaches us that our health and well being is directly related to the relative health or lack of health of our digestion. If we fill our body with processed foods, eat frequently and in large amounts, and generally encumber our digestive system with unnatural substances, we make ourselves far more susceptible to illness and disease than if we ate a simpler, more natural diet. Though you will ultimately benefit from consuming specific foods with unique medicinal properties in response to a diagnosis tailored to your particular condition, I can provide you with general guidelines that you may follow in your diet. Regardless of the cause of your illness, you will ultimately strengthen your digestion through these behavioral changes.
Here are some tips:
- Replace processed foods with natural foods: Go through your cupboards and your refrigerator. Eliminate any canned foods, pre-made convenience foods like rice mixtures and mac and cheese in a box, bags of chips, packages of cookies, frozen foods like meals and ice cream, processed grains like white bread and crackers, beverages like soda and juices from concentrate, and canned foods. Replace these items with fresh fruits and vegetables from the farmer’s market, grains like rice and oats, dairy products, natural sweeteners like honey and maple syrup, oils like olive oil and ghee, nuts, seeds, and legumes.
- Eat only two or three times a day: We encumber our digestion by eating many meals a day, constantly snacking, and never giving our digestion a break. This requires the digestive system to work overtime, which gives the body fewer resources to maintain the immune system and generally fight off disease. Eat only two or three times a day, and give the body a chance to catch up.
- Refrain from eating at night: When we eat in the last four or five hours before bedtime, we leave food in the stomach that then becomes toxic overnight. Refrain from eating in those last four or five hours, and your body will be better equipped to take advantage of the rejuvenating powers of sleep.
- Refrain from consuming coffee, alcohol, and other stimulants: These substances are toxic, and require your body to constantly detoxify the system when you consume them. Eliminate these from your lifestyle and your body will have far more resources available for resolving the illnesses in your body.
If you follow these guidelines consistently, you will start to experience shifts in your condition right away.