The Gifts India Gave Me
Today I’m kicking off our series of Wellbeing Stories by sharing some of my own journey with you.
I believe the desire to know something, feeling curious and approaching the world with a sense of wonder, fuels your wellbeing journey. All the learning along the way cultivates inner wisdom and positively impacts your overall health.
At the age of 22, l travelled to India for the first time. I instantly fell in love with its crazy, colourful, frenetic lifestyle, not to mention the heat, the smells and the smiles. Over the years, my experiences in this country have taught me so much and it will always have a special place in my heart.
Discovering Yoga and Meditation
India changed my perspective on the world, humanity and the power of love and kindness. Travelling there on my own helped me develop and trust my gut instinct. Varanasi, a holy city on the banks of the Ganges was my first destination and where I discovered yoga.
I then travelled North to Dharamsala at the foothills of the Himalayas where I experienced the benefits of Buddhist meditation. Both techniques worked well for me and my sensitive system, giving me a set of tools to deal with my emotions and the subtle inner world.
A Hidden Gift
India gave me another gift, one I didn’t discover for a while, but ultimately had a profound effect on my health – a tropical round worm.
My immune system was really struggling. I became allergic to everything, especially gluten and dairy. My stomach bloated to the size of a balloon and I constantly felt tired and foggy headed.
Naturally, I went to a doctor for help, but this led to endless frustration. After multiple tests apparently failed to confirm a diagnosis, the doctors blamed my symptoms on stress. They made me feel stupid, so I decided to seek help elsewhere.
However, the worm did exist and was wreaking havoc on my gut. A year later, I went back to the doctor and the receptionist asked if I had taken my prescription for the tropical roundworm. I was shocked and confused.
‘What tropical round worm?!’ I asked.
The doctor had failed to tell me tests had diagnosed a worm. This explained all my symptoms. I was hosting a parasite. No wonder I was feeling tired!
A Holistic Approach
During this time, I was lucky to be living with a very inspiring lady, Yvonne Morris, a homeopath, nutritionist, kinesiologist, amazing cook and a very dear friend. Her positive, holistic approach to wellbeing restored my health and inspired a huge shift in my thinking and encouraged me to study Natural Nutrition.
I was concerned about the powerful drugs prescribed to kill the worm and worried they would make my symptoms worse.
A change in the gut microbiota caused by parasites, drugs/antibiotics or an infection can trigger genetically predisposed autoimmune conditions such as coeliac disease, crohns disease, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis etc, so you can understand why I was hesitant to take the medication and add further stress to my already overloaded system.
Eventually, the doctor confirmed the drugs would strip my gut of all the healthy bacteria, so I decided to take a holistic route and zap the worm naturally with herbs. At the same time, I took probiotics to heal my gut and support my immune system.
I knew I needed to get to the bottom of what was going on, so I also insisted I be referred to the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine. They tested me for everything under the sun and finally confirmed the worm was gone. Hallelujah!
I now enjoy a happy, healthy body. I can eat everything, but I still avoid gluten. The specialist suggested I eat wheat / gluten for 6 weeks, so they could test me for coeliac disease. I chose not to do this because I feel awful if I eat anything that contains gluten, it makes me feel disconnected, sleepy and is very debilitating.
Coeliac disease is a condition where the villi on the small intestines are damaged by gluten. The small intestine’s main job is to absorb nutrients from the food you eat and the villi are vital for this process, so you can understand why I choose not to eat gluten for 6 weeks; I want to protect my gut health, not stress my body out more.
It is an ongoing process of healing and self discovery, a healthy diet rich in good bacteria and essential fatty acids help to regulate and calm my over-active immune system and support my digestive system and gut health.
Through the ups and downs of this experience I’ve learnt the importance of being in the driving seat of your own health. We are all unique and have different needs to consider. It’s important to spend time sussing out what feels right for you.
Retreats and My Return to India
I’ve been very fortunate to travel the world, gaining valuable knowledge and experience supporting people during their own wellbeing journies.
After my nutrition studies, I returned to India, living and working there for another 5 years as a holistic chef and nutritionist on yoga retreats. This eventually culminated in the opening of my own natural food cafe where I served yogis after their morning practice.
This yoga lifestyle allowed me to practise every day and benefit from a wide range of experienced teachers.
Home is now Bristol where I’ve been living for the past 7 years. I have another business, Wedding Yurts, and we host celebrations all over the UK in our beautiful handcrafted travelling wedding venue.
Life is busy! I have learnt to look after and support myself by eating well, drinking lots of water, regularly practising yoga, meditating and getting plenty of sleep. It helps me feel calmer and more focused when I do this every day. If I don’t, I quickly become overwhelmed, stressed and tired.
It’s not always easy. It’s vital that I structure my day to prioritise and include self-care. If things go a bit crazy or life throws me a curve ball, it feels good to know I have a toolkit to support myself and my family.
Find Your State of Liberty
Lokah samastash sukhino bhavantu
May all beings be happy and free, and may the thoughts, words and actions of my own life contribute in some way to happiness and freedom for all.
This beautiful Sanskrit mantra perfectly captures my vision for State of Liberty.
My personal journey has been a rich tapestry of learning and inspiring influences. I’ve had the freedom to follow my intuition and explore myriad wellbeing practices. My curious nature and my adventurous spirit has allowed me to discover different cultures and naturopathic practices which empower and enhance our sense of wellbeing.
We are all unique and we all have our own stories to tell. Understanding your story empowers you to discover true health. You are the only person who can heal yourself because you are the only person holding the knowledge of who you really are.
Together with the rest of the SOL team, I want to share these things with you. I feel happy, healthy and more confident than ever before. With the right tools and support, I believe everyone can achieve this. You can improve your health and wellbeing in a natural and holistic manner.
Love Lizzie xx