“Let food be thy medicine, and let thy medicine be food.” Hippocrates The majority of modern day diseases are nothing but ‘food borne’ diseases. Hence proper diet and exercise can make profound changes in one’s health.

A vegan diet and exercise like walking for 30 minutes daily can bring in major changes in our health. Whatever we eat , we become. This is the truth. Meat, eggs & even dairy products are the major source of cholesterol. When we choose plant- based, whole foods, we tend to eliminate all the dietary cholesterol from our diet as there is no cholesterol in plant kingdom.

Recently, Hiren, aged 42, a senior executive of a very large corporation came to my clinic. He leads a very busy life, travels a lot and has to eat out often He was suffering from tiredness and discolouration of skin. He was a bit over weight, but had no other complaints. The skin discolouration was visible and he was very concerned about it.

Since I prefer to check all my patients ‘health parameters’ after I have finished checking weight, blood pressure etc, I asked him to get all his blood tests done including vitamins B12 and D3, which are generally forgotten by many doctors. And as expected, his vitamin B12 was low, so also vitamin D3. His lipid profile was bad, with the cholesterol levels much higher than normal and other lipid readings and the HDL/ LDL ratio also abnormal.

These are indicators of the beginning of modern day diseases related to diet and lifestyle. Now there are two options now for Hiren. The first option is to take ‘statins’ for rest of his life to lower cholesterol along with the supplements for vitamin B12 and D3. And the second option is to change his diet and lifestyle in such a way that his cholesterol level normalises and he does not need to take ‘statins’ and in turn suffer their side effects. He may also improve his vitamin D3 levels by increasing his exposure to sunshine. And take vitamin B12 supplements as needed.

Hiren was a bit overweight. He was concerned about the condition of his heart. He was definitely interested in preventive step, rather than relying on medications for rest of his life. He decided to give my suggestions a try. He decided to change his lifestyle and dietary habits.Hiren was advised to try a vegan diet and add some exercise like walking for 30 minutes daily. Given his busy life, he could not follow the exercise advice that well. However, he did follow the diet advice 100 per cent.

He eliminated all the animal products from his diet. This included all the dairy products, milk, cheese, butter, paneer, ghee, curds and anything that contained them etc. He chose to eat from only the following four groups of food : fruits, vegetables, legumes and grains.

Within just three months, the tests were repeated with encouraging results. There was a comfortable weight loss. Hiren’s energy levels were good. His skin had improved gradually. He had a very satisfied look in his eyes, as he saw how his blood reports were reflecting his efforts.

If this is the diet that helps him to stay healthy, he is happy to take it on for rest of his life, said Hiren.

Similar is the case of Manish is a 40 year old, fitness freak, but a diabetic and a high blood pressure patient for more than 10 years. Though he tried hard to drive away his illness by exercising heavily, his disease just worsened as the years passed by. He was depressed as he had seen his near ones suffer from the same diseases, and die early.
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