A Holistic Doctor Friend From India
Jairam Vanamala is visiting Colorado, from his home in India, for a time. He is working as a professor at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, which is only a few minutes from where I live. I had the pleasure of meeting him at my church, & we have had several delightful conversations. Jairam is here to do cancer research, something about which he is passionate. But I found his perspective on health care to be very refreshing. I asked him if he would allow me to interview him for this blog, & he kindly obliged.
Jairam, what is the focus of your work here in Colorado?
“The focus of my work is cancer prevention. This is what brought me to Colorado.”
What do you think is important for my readers to know about this subject?
“I believe that for acute conditions, modern medicine can be very appropriate and helpful. However, for chronic conditions, such as cancer, a different approach can be much better. If you are trying to grow plants, and they are unhealthy, you do not try to alter the plants, but the soil. You change the soil to make it more healthy, and the health of the plants improves. So, if someone is unhealthy, you can change your ‘soil’– your food, your beliefs, your relationships.”
What advice would you give about food?
“The main thing I would say is, ‘Eat a rainbow.’ Eat many brightly colored fruits and vegetables, in order to consume a variety of phyto-nutrients. There is so much we could say about food; but of course, food is not the only important consideration.”
“Never let yourself come to a point of helplessness. Be a part of a community, where you can be supported. A community can be empowering and encouraging. People need this to be well.”
Jairam related several stories of interactions he has had with his students here, and with cancer patients. He told me of one, in particular, whose cancer disappeared after a time, a phenomenon he attributes to the power of God in connection with prayer. (I will not relate the details of this story here, since we do not have permission from the ones involved.)
During our conversations, Jairam also expressed that he is excited about what I am doing: holistic health coaching. Many times, he fervently affirmed that treating “the whole person” and loving people is the ideal way to approach health care. And so, he seeks to bring medical care to a new level using many of the same principles I hear from other leaders and innovators– holistic principles. And I am beginning to see myself and my clients as flowers, as together we work to examine and improve our soil.