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Let’s say we have a health niggle, a fairly common one like poor sleep. It usually doesn’t warrant a visit to the doctor, but it needs a solution all the same – ideally, not a sedative. So we look at the alternative health space for a supplement that could help.
A bit of research tells us that broadly, there are two types of supplements that could help with sleep: nutritional ones like magnesium and melatonin (the sleep hormone) and balancing ones like valerian root and passion flower.
Even a few decades earlier, we might have all nodded together and unanimously voiced a resounding yes to this question. Not any longer.
There’s no denying that some of us who are on a very restricted diet or in the advanced stages of deficiency diseases definitely need nutritional supplements like vitamins, minerals, or the amazing antioxidants.
But most of us don’t.
That’s hard to believe when we have also been told for years that the need is real.
We tend to see ourselves as introverts, ambiverts, or extroverts based on how comfortable we are around people. We typecast our bodies as endomorphs, mesomorphs, or ectomorphs based on how easily we gain or lose weight. We even add adjectives like creative, intelligent, and active based on what we enjoy or what others say we are.
We are familiar with these labels. They help us zoom in on specific aspects of ourselves, blurring out all other aspects.
Now that you know exactly what rocks your boat and gets your goat (thanks to your prakruti or innate metabolic personality), you’d want to know what it feels like to be perfectly balanced. Haven’t figured out your metabolic personality yet? Head here.
Imagine, on a perfectly sunny, breezy day, you are trekking down a hilly path with a friend and without a care in the world. Suddenly, you stumble on a piece of rock.
We take everything personally. Even when we say we are not. From the seasoning on our pizza to the fragrance in our scented candles, every choice we make carries a trace of our personality.
Personalizing, or choosing according to our body’s needs, is almost second nature for us. With food, at least. For the most part, what we include in our diet (or don’t) reflects our body’s relationship with specific foods.
Food creates an experience: the appetizing fragrance tickling your nose, the inviting appearance delighting your eyes, the textures felt as you make your way through your meal, the flavors unleashed as you chew, and that fundamental feeling of satiety. This experience is lost when you “pop” a supplement pill.
But is that all that is lost? We’re afraid not.
Supplements Were Never Meant to Replace Food Supplements emerged in the last century or so to fill gaps in nutrition.
Ever worn a sweater in the peak of summer? Added more salt to a salty soup? Ridden a Ferris wheel when you were dizzy?
Nope. You did just the opposite, didn’t you? Common sense. You don’t do things that aggravate an existing problem. You do things that balance it.
Now, how can your health stay in balance? By staying as close as possible to your innate metabolic personality or prakruti – your “no problem” zone.
How good are you at playing Sherlock when you have a health problem, something like a headache, an upset stomach, or a fever? Can you usually tell what the trigger is? Do you care about the root cause at all or are you a more “Put out the fire for now” kind of person and go straight for the symptoms?
Pinpointing the Cause On some level, we are all closely in tune with our bodies.
At first, there was food. Mostly seasonal fruits, roots and tubers, leaves, flowers, and tree bark. Then scampered in meat. The veggies came later, when our nomadic foremothers and forefathers dug their roots in.
Then came supplements. The first ones were the vitamin pills. They emerged as the scourge for scurvy, and other deficiency diseases. So far so good. Dare we deny a pill in the face of a dire want and no time to lose?