A Visit to the East
I realized recently, when my girlfriend’s father was in the hospital with a very serious brain hemorrhage, how much we rely on western medicine, and how much trust we are asked to put into what seem to be “guesses” than diagnoses. I won’t blame the Doctors, the Nurses or the system, it is what it is here. The congestion, the traffic, the in and out appearances of a couple of medical professionals compared to the throes of patients waiting for some attention. Western medicine seems like a bandaid approach to sickness which, despite my rant, was deeply appreciated by me and my family when they were able to remove the start of lung cancer in my Dad’s body back in 2009.
I’ve always been amazed at the knowledge and expertise of my medical Doctor, Dr. Carol Lee. Instantaneously she has always been able to successfully assess my ailments. Recently after my last physical Dr. Lee was able to tell me that all of my levels were normal; cholesterol, thyroid, blood pressure etc. But outside of my seemingly normal physical, what of my regular fatigue, my intermittment sleeps, my occasional bloating? What of this 20lbs gain? Is it just age? Is it just lifestyle? I always wondered if there was more than our western cultural and scientific approach to medicine….and then I met Geha, and in a quick hour and a half she introduced me to new world of possibility and insight I’d never explored before.
I went to the Wellness on Whyte clinic on the recommendation of my friends Blessie and Dan who spoke volumes of the clinic. Walking into my appointment yesterday, I didn’t even know what to expect. I was going in for an initial acupuncture assessment. The clinic was warm and inviting to walk into, it had a serene spa like atmosphere, with a calm lavender like fragrance. I was nervous at first anticipating the discomfort of needles puncturing my skin and how much I’d freak out seeing them in my body (gag). But to my surprise the assessment felt more like a warm comforting embrace than an appointment. I left feeling loved and understood, not just by Geha, but by myself. She introduced me to parts of myself I have forgotten, denied and quite frankly abandoned. Her words resonated so deep within me, I was immediately impacted by her words as evidenced by the tears I sheepishly tried to hold back.
The appointment started with an in depth questionnaire about my health, my history, my family’s medical history and my present complaints. Recently I had gone on the 17 Day Diet by Dr. Mike Moreno, as recommended to me by my hairdresser Sheri and my beautiful friend Mona, and had successfully lost 6lbs. The diet too had helped alleviate some of the symptoms I complained about above in such a short period of time. The first cycle of the 17 Day Diet focuses on the elimination of complex carbs (breads, pasta, rice, starchy vegetables etc), I was able to eat two portions of low sugar fruits, two portions of yogurt and unlimited veggies and lean proteins. The following cycles speak to the reintroduction of carbs back into my diet in a way that doesn’t interrupt my weightloss. I would highly recommend this diet to anyone. It was a good introduction in my own exploration of what works for me and what doesn’t work for me. This Diet provided the right amount of food that I didn’t feel like I was really deprived. My energy levels were great, I was sleeping well, I was shedding pounds and I was satisfied.
It was a no brainer when Geha told me that I obviously had a wheat sensitivity which was wreaking havoc on my system. She attributed the excess sugar and starches in my body as the cause of what she called “sticky plegm” in my body. The glue that keeps the fat sticking to my body, the glue that makes me feel foggy, lethargic and heavy. She told me to let “food be my medicine”. Simple but powerful. She asked me to put my two fists together and told me that was the size of my stomach and asked me to compare my past portion sizes to my two fists, of course I’ve been eating probably 3-4 times a day what I should be eating. She told me to maintain the 17 Day Diet as more of a lifestyle than a diet. To nourish my body with fruits and vegetables and to not necessarily feel the need to have protein each day. She told me to snack on nuts, seaweed and dark chocolate. She asked me to look at organic produce and meats, despite the higher cost of them. She asked me to consider what I was eating in processed meats (the steroids, hormones and antibiotics I was ingesting) from the mass produced cows and chickens. She put to me, why people who harvested corn had to wear full body suits with gas masks? To protect themselves from the chemicals they spray on the corn which we seemingly take no issue eating? It was an eye opener! She explained how processed food is so foreign to our systems that our bodies either reject it or hold on to it until it is able to figure out how to process it. How heavily processed foods and sugar triggers a hibernation state in our bodies, and how our bodies respond by storing and hording these that we take in.
I shared with her how inconsistent my lifestyle has been for the past couple of years. I told her how I went through bouts of craving salty, sugary or greasy food, and how a moment of weakness to a craving turned into a full fledged binge. I told her how my energy levels affected my workouts, and how my intermittent sleeps left me feeling unrested. I realized long ago that I have not been running optimally, but I didn’t know where to go with that, until Geha provided the map. She explained to me that a craving is actually a sign of it leaving your body, my body craves more sugar when it’s own sugar stores are depleted. A craving is actually a positive thing! She asked me to look at the times that I am “hungry” and determine, if I am in fact hungry, or if I’m feeling light and if that light feeling is just foreign to my lifestyle and my socialized way of being. She also told me that cravings could be a lack of minerals in my body. I do take multivitamins (apparently not enough though) but I hadn’t ever considered taking mineral supplements. But she told me how sufficient levels of vitamins and minerals in my system would lend to a proper functioning of my body as a whole, and how my body could then really use, take in and process the nutrients I would feed it. She made everything relate, from my body to my diet – even to my mind , body and spirit. And this is where it all hit home:
She measured my heart rate, and checked my tongue and listened patiently to my complaints and shared all of the information above and told me it all culminated to me being really tight and small inside (which she said was a paradox to what I look like from the outside). She used metaphors and descriptive examples when she spoke. She said I was a picture that didn’t quite make sense. She said the tightness inside of me was also extremely fragile, and somehow the mystery of her words hit home and I started to cry. She told me that I’m really good at holding it all together, but that something happened a couple of years ago that made me start to feel unsafe, and I stopped trusting, and in response to this mistrust and lack of safety I began creating my own barrier to protect myself, and how even the weight is an extension and example of this – She said even the ways that I physically overheat is an example of the tightness inside of me imploding – and again her words, moved me and I cried harder. She told me when I trust again, when my body trusts again it’ll open and all of the tightness inside of me and the tightness of my muscles will relax and be whole and connected again.
She’s right. I haven’t felt whole or complete in some time. I have felt fragmented and disconnected. She was right, I do hold it together well, I do manage things as I feel that I have to, but inside a pressure and tightness has been building. She was right, the transitions that I’ve experienced, the searching for love, aging of my parents, the ups and downs that Jason and I have been through, the friendships that have disintegrated, the negative experiences that some of my family and friends have been through indeed have deeply impacted me and made me mistrustful in a way I wasn’t able to identify because sure enough, I’ve been too busy managing and holding everything together as I always have; and sure enough I do believe and agree I’ve created a disconnect within myself that a diet or a new workout program would not have fixed. It goes much deeper than that.
I am not familiar with eastern medicine. I’ve heard about ayurvedic treatments, but I’ve never really looked into it. But in a short hour and a half, Geha opened my eyes to things I would never have considered or looked at on my own. It was powerful, inspiring and scary. I felt vulnerable but relieved and almost free. I would highly recommend her service. My Eastern visit yesterday didn’t take too much time, travel costs, packing or planning – but it instantly transformed me and my western perspective in ways I can’t wait to explore and integrate. I feel rejuvenated and inspired in a way like only a memorable and moving trip could provide! It is all connected, my mind, my body, my soul, my diet, my energy, my emotions, my stress – I’m grateful to now be seeing it more wholly; even just this change in perspective makes me already begin to feel less fragmented – how very eastern of me