When I started studying naturopathy I quickly became full to over-flowing with inspiration that everyone could achieve wellness simply by making better choices with their diet, their lifestyle, activity levels and perhaps some slippery elm thrown in.  As a senior student and then later again as lecturer, I played ‘spot the first year student’ – they were always the ones biting into a whole capsicum like an apple at lunch time or drinking copious amounts of green pond scum, obviously infected with the same fervor that I’d experienced.  During my studies, I certainly didn’t foresee myself prescribing the amount of supplements I do in my practice today.  So what happened to my grass root ideals? Did I go wrong somewhere to end up being so prescription heavy now?

Aside from valid  arguments such as increasing genetic issues and crappy digestion,  I have also come to understand what people (including myself!) are prepared and are not prepared to do in the name of their health.   Take 2 weeks off for a health retreat yes, but reduce the pace overall of the other 50 weeks of the year so the solution doesn’t need to be so radical…no.  Essentially it’s about our great inability to slow down, to ask the simple question, ‘what do I need now?’ and more importantly to listen & respond and prioritise our own health above all else on a daily basis.  I am reminded of a great quote, although misattributed to the Dalai Lama (apparently he never said this), the gist of it remains poignant:

“When asked what surprised him most about humanity, he answered, ‘Man. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.’”

Woh…not trying to get heavy on you man!….It’s just that right now I am on annual leave – my equivalent of the 2 week health retreat – but with more mud and kids and adventure along the Mekong and I notice that all of my family, grown-ups and kids included, have significantly reduced needs for the supplements that normally are imperative to keeping us ticking back in our regular world.  It’s an important reminder that whatever we allow to be taken out must be put back in and hence in our busy lives back home the reliance on the supplements and what a panacea rest, relaxation, long leisurely meals with loved ones and plenty of laughter (and mud) can be. Less is….well, really less.