Kia ora! It has been awhile since my last post. Admittedly, I have been overwhelmed with school work and not been prioritizing blogging … HOWEVER, another term has passed, spring is here and we are finally on term break! 🥳
Time seems to fly by at an unprecedented pace this year. I still recall coming back to New Zealand in January as if it was yesterday!
So much has happened and I have learnt and grown so much in these past 9 months! So I thought I should find some time to add some updates to the blog.
Perspective: BE an observer
A recent experience led me to think about our perspectives in life – how you view the world.
I realized that we sometimes create our own suffering when we put too much attachment to something, for example:
- when we WANT something too badly
- Or when we want to AVOID something badly
- or in general when we don’t know what we really want
I have found that the best perspective to have is that of an OBSERVER’s perspective.
One that allows you to step back and take a 3rd person’s perspective to look at things.
No matter what happens, good or bad. An observer would not attach too much subjective feelings to it and be able to think more rationally. Often there is good in every bad situation, and vice versa.
To illustrate this, in one of our exams, my examination partner was really dreading being assigned a body system because that was her most uncertain one. And she kept repeating this out loud, telling everyone at every opportunity. Lo and behold, she was assigned that very system and to make things worse, the examiner was also the one she was dreading. Later, she thought she had somehow “attracted” this scenario because of all that desire to avoid it.
In contrast, my perspective going into that physical examination exam was “come what may, I will accept it and just give my all. It would be good if I got a system I was more familiar with but I guess I’m okay even if I got my weakest one.”
So I was pretty neutral about it and had a frame of mind to just OBSERVE what would happen and then roll with it.
Turns out I got my most familiar system!
Luck of the draw? Divine intervention? Personal attachment or attraction? I can’t say but even if the worst case scenario had happened, I would not be too overwhelmed because I was mentally prepared for it.
Nutrition: Carnivore diet
No, I am not following a carnivore diet … yet.
However, since discovering the carnivore diet, I have become fascinated by all the amazing stories of thousands of people with chronic, unresolved health problems.
I have also learnt so much more about nutrition and our physiology. This post would be too long to cover it all and so I will follow up with a separate post.
However, in summary, it turns out that a plant-based diet may not be the best diet for humans to thrive on. Sure, we can survive on it but there are many toxins and anti-nutrients in plants that pose a threat to health and healing – especially for someone who is already in ill health. Animal food on the other hand offers much more nutrient bioavailability with minimal toxins/anti-nutrients – as long as you choose your meat wisely, i.e. pasture-raised, wild-caught, antibiotic free, etc.
There are also so many myths about plant-based eating that have been propagated by mainstream marketing and trends. Many of these have not been proven in intervention trials, mostly just epidemiological (substandard research evidence). Stuff like “meat is bad for you and causes inflammation” or “fiber is necessary for digestion and gut bacteria” or “eating meat is bad for the environment” or the various health benefits of “superfoods” like curcumin in turmeric etc. Often we are spun a one-sided story and too gullible to question the other side of it.
More in the following posts to come!
Fitness: Quality over quantity
My fitness routine is much more simple now and I find it working very well for me. Especially with the time constraints, I have had to prioritize and be much more efficient.
I now realize that we don’t need to work so hard, all the time and feel sore all the time to make gains. I guess this comes with maturity and experience.
Before, I was always feeling insecure about my training. Always questioning if I was doing enough. Always worried I was not training hard enough. Afraid of taking a day off. Unable to go easy on myself.
So these days I push myself just hard enough to the point where I feel, “I think I’m tired and will be sore tomorrow.”
Then I sit back and relax … and watch my muscles grow. ☺ In 2-3 days, I no longer feel sore. Better yet, I feel stronger and energetic and ready to go hard again.
So what I prioritize now is the RECOVERY. And I push just hard enough but not too hard that I can’t function at all the next few days.
These days I am back to the old routine of:
- Running session (day 1) – usually a sprinting/hill run intervals as these are most time efficient
- Strength training (day 2) – bodyweight exercises
- REST (day 3) – with active movement throughout the day for most days
- OR I will repeat Days 1 & 2 for 6 days but go easier, then REST for day 7.
It doesn’t take more than 30 mins on training days and we don’t need any fancy equipment. Just a pullup bar is sufficient to balance the pushing and pulling movements and avoid any muscular imbalances. Also I get more rest and can spend more time on other priorities.
This year the course is really full-on!
In a nutshell, we are learning:
- Pathophysiology – the various diseases and what can go wrong in the human body
- Evidence based Practice – learning how to use proper scientifically validated evidence in practice
- Nutrition 2 – learning how to treat the various pathologies (diseases) with nutrition
- Physical examination – how to conduct a thorough head to toe physical examination for patients
- Health Assessment for Natural Therapies – all about blood tests and functional testing to assess an individual’s health and rule in or rule out various diagnosis
- Herbal medicine – one of my favourite courses yet! About 80 herbs in total! We learn about the pharmacology, herbal energetics, actions, indications, contraindications, herb-drug interactions and more. Most of it scientifically validated but also about their traditional uses.
- Introduction to Clinical Practice – I just completed my first 2 hour full-consultation with a classmate! Some physical examination included. Man, that was tough and I don’t know how Naturopaths do this all day and still come up with wellness plans and all. It sure is a tough job!
It does seem like we are learning everything required to be a good doctor and to treat illness with natural means such as herbs, diet and lifestyle. However, I now feel like 3 years is too short for such a course! If only Naturopathy would be viewed in mainstream medicine as a proper medical degree that warrants a full 3 year residency and a place in our healthcare system (especially in hospitals!).
Well, I am an optimist and look forward to that day. After all, before the advent of drugs and pharmaceuticals, natural medicine and herbs was the medicine that people relied on!
Last year I was so excited to ‘escape’ Singapore and experience life abroad.
This year though, that sense of excitement at travelling and ‘seeing the world’ has since died down and I have been homesick most of the time..
I think I have been so ‘buried in my books’ this year that my social circle (and social times) has significantly decreased.
Most days I actually feel quite lonely. But keeping busy with school stuff does help at times.
I must admit I had been considering migrating to New Zealand when I decided to come here to study. Now though, I realize that there are many more things I value in Singapore that I don’t feel ready to give up – family, friends and that sense of comfort, familiarity and safety when you are in an environment you grew up in and surrounded by those same people.
Starting a new life abroad is really tough! I guess it’s different for everyone and you could argue that one could always make new friends.
A few friends also mentioned it’s probably because I am single. The homesickness goes away when you’ve got a family of your own to look after.
Another thing that really makes me want to go back home is the weather! Cold weather is nice if you are just here for a holiday for a week or two but definitely not for months on end! It can get quite depressing!
On a more positive note, nature here is unbelievable, and something Singapore is lacking. I should really take more time off to for more road trips! The only thing is that it is hard to find the motivation to travel when it is just me alone. Travelling is so much more fun with family or friends!
Well, that’s a wrap for now. I am now committed to blogging more often, especially on content that I think will benefit many people. Especially the stuff that I’ve been learning here in my journey to becoming a Naturopath!
Thus, I am committing at least an hour a day now to do some writing and hope to put up a post a week! So you can look forward to more educational content coming your way.
Blessings as always,