I'm a Pharmacist of Indian heritage and when I was a child I pretty much rejected my background. I hated being Indian in school, I kept saying to my grandmother (Ba) that I wanted to be white. She said you can paint your face white and walk down the street but you will still be Indian. She grew up in a time where there was an incredible amount of unrest in the world.
Her and my grandfather moved to Kenya soon after they married and although Indians had been living in the East African countries for generations the expelling of them from Uganda in the 1970's made all Indians in the region feel threatened. They were worried that at any time they might be sent back to India. Ba lived with the fear that even though my father and she had the right to come to the UK as Kenya was under British Rule, that they too might at any moment be asked to leave. And were this to happen, where would they go? They couldn't go back to Kenya, so they would be forced to go back to India. With this in mind, we were always Indian and that was always where our roots were.
My feeling on all this was that I was firmly British, I was born here and although my father was born and raised in Kenya, my mother from India, I was born in Britain and as such I was British. There was little that interested me about my heritage, I used to watch my grandmother perform an all manner of rituals on a daily basis and I found it to be strange. I asked questions about what she was doing but I rarely received any satisfactory answers.
And then, of course, there were the herbal home remedies, conjured up at the first hint of a cough or cold. Turmeric in all manner of forms. Honestly, I hated eating them. I rejected that they had any benefit to me. So, fast forward a few years I decided to become a pharmacist as I felt that science had all the answers. And I guess you could say for a while they did. All along I toyed with spirituality on some level, be it practising yoga, or meditating. I guess you could say that there was always some sort of connection there. I always felt an innate sense of belonging when I travelled to India, something that I simply couldn’t explain but that felt very real to me.
Sowing the seeds for Amala Pure Health
So fast forward a few years, married with children and reassessing my life and my health I started to explore my heritage again. Having read all the research papers I started taking turmeric again which led me to create Amala Pure Health. In doing so, my journey has really led to me view my life with a very different pair of eyes. Ba lived until she was almost 90 years old as did practically all her siblings. In fact, her sister passed away at the age of 96 but purely by accident having had a fall whilst in the bathroom! All this has ignited the fire to explore the reasons as to why they lived such long and healthy lives. In doing so, I’ve come full circle to realise that it’s actually Ayurvedic practices which have been so instrumental in their long life and that many of these I’ve been doing my whole life without realising their significance.
All those rituals which Ba performed were, in fact, different facets of an Ayurvedic lifestyle.
- Praying – A form of meditation. I’ve heard the sacred Gayatri Mantra all my life and it’s not until now that I’ve realised the true significance of its words. That’s for a later post.
- Fasting – A way of detoxing your body which has now been proven to show incredible health benefits cited in many scientific studies and epitomised in the now famous 5:2 diet. Something I explored before children and which I found to have incredible health benefits to me, but one which isn’t sustainable.
- Eating small portions – For as long as I can remember Ba never ever overate. For her eating a set amount was habitual and whilst she thoroughly enjoyed her food, she would never eat more than she had committed herself to.
- Tongue scrapping – My husband always laughs when pulling my tongue scrapper out, he says he’s only ever seen Gujarati's (I’m Gujarati by heritage) using a tongue scraper! Which quite frankly cannot be true, as he’s of Keralan background where Ayurveda originates from! This practice has been part of my daily routine ever since I learnt to brush my teeth and I never truly appreciated the health benefits of providing your tongue with a daily mini cleanse allowing new cells to form and improve your eating experience.
Freshly cooked food – In our house food was cooked fresh every day and if there were leftovers it would be eaten the very next day, nothing beyond two days was eaten. My grandmother never ate out, ok, tell this to someone who loves eating and you’ll be met with vehement opposition! But, wherever possible eat freshly cooked food an easy way of doing this is pre-planning!
My Ayurvedic Journey
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A huge shukria (thank you) for taking the time to read my story have a wonderful day and if things get too much just breathe Aaaahhhh!