Friday, December 12, 2014

The Journey Begins – My Story

Modern life has become a fast paced superhighway, where time is short and there is much ground to cover. The need for speed and the desire to stay on the road longer and longer makes for a dangerous journey that does not usually end well.

When I consider how much puerh tea has become integrated into my life now, it amazes me that this remarkable and yet challenging tea was invisible to me for so long. It was only through sickness that I would discover puerh tea which in a way I suppose is quite fitting as it is aka China’s medicinal tea.

For many years I faced problems with my digestion. However the problems really started going downhill in around the year 2000 when I was working for the United Nations (UN). At the time I found the work to be highly fulfilling but the schedule was demanding in terms of regularly needing to be prepared to undertake short noticed missions abroad. My life was a classic example of a fast paced modern life that was constantly on the move. It was good times but there is always a toll to be paid.

I did not know it at the time, call it the ignorance of youth but I was trading short term convenience for long term problems with a mentally that was always looking for the “Quick Fix” when it came to my health issues. When you are young with the desire to live life to the fullest and having grand thoughts of being invincible and saving the world, you think about today and worry about tomorrow later. Superman doesn’t age and tomorrow never comes is a blissful mindset to have until you fall sick and then you realize you are a mere mortal who may not see tomorrow.

The day I dropped my Superman mentality was my day of reckoning. Prolonged for years, the accumulative effects of an unhealthy lifestyle that consisted of untimely meals, a terrible diet, alcohol, smoking, combined with the overuse of antibiotics* had caught up with Superman (I mean me). Bloating, heartburn and acid reflux have intensely discomforting and painful symptoms. I can honestly say that the time you will value your health the most is at the time when you are in pain. I came to see the “Quick Fix” medically speaking for what it is a “Cover Up”. By overdoing and abusing in the activities of popping pain numbing pills and receiving shots to treat symptoms that are the results of something gone wrong with your body, you are essentially using medication to cover up what your body is screaming at you to fix. There is cause and effect to the behavior and reactions of our bodies. If you do not tackle the root cause that is negatively effecting your body, your body will continue to worsen and further weaken in silence whilst being medically dosed up until one day it will simply crash.

Memories that seems a world away; conducting training at a centre in Kunming; enjoying tea in a teahouse; a street lined with teashops.

I had experienced a small crash and I had no intention of waiting around for the big one. At the time I was in pain and as a result valuing my health a lot. I opted to explore options for change and I was immensely fortunate to undertake a mission to Kunming, China that year for the UN. In Kunming I got my first experience with the typical Chinese teashop and I loved it. Teashops are a thing of beauty. They are like peaceful sanctuaries that you can go to temporary switch off from the world. Along the streets and avenues of the city, teashops were everywhere. It was wonderful. I was charmed and fell in love with the tea culture instantly. I remembered my first taste of ripe puerh tea in Kunming. It was earthy and a little funky but I liked it. I remembered it settled my stomach noticeably and it appeared to help with my digestion after a particularly heavy meal. The puerh tea gave me a warm sense of comfort and made me feel calm and relaxed.

The special and endearing memory of making a connection is something that stays with you. It propelled me on a journey of contentment, peace and healthy living.

This is my story.

Antibiotics* - Use with Caution
After doing research on antibiotics I believe that my action of overusing antibiotics is likely to be the main cause of my digestive problems. Antibiotics weaken the gut flora that helps with our food digestion and this is central to our well being. I am not against antibiotics use but after becoming a little smarter I now use antibiotics very sparingly and often as a last resort.

To my dear readers who are interested in this topic I encourage you to conduct your own research. Below are some suggestions for getting started. 
  1. Google Search: antibiotics kills gut flora 
  2. TED Talk: The gut flora You and your 100 trillion friends by Jeroen Raes 
  3. The Trouble With Antibiotics 2014, by PBS Frontline S32E15

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