January 31st, 2007 by Anne
Publication: Frederick News
Author: Katie Leslie
Date: January 30, 2007
FREDERICK — It’s a new, old form of preventive medicine. It’s the belief that food has power to heal disease, the notion that people can use diet to balance their mind and body connection.
It sounds New Age, but it’s 5,000 years old. It’s called ayurvedic medicine, which translated from Sanskrit means “pure knowledge of life.”
Originating in India, the ancient system of medicine has found its way to Frederick by way of Dr. Douglas Beech, a chiropractor and ayurvedic practitioner.
Ayurveda, (pronounced eye-your-vay-da), is about proper diet, proper routine and proper approach to life, Beech said.
“There are many things we can do to prevent things from happening,” said Beech, who began studying ayurveda 20 years ago. “It’s not just an herbal medicine or nutritional thing. It’s deeper than that.”
Donna Gorgol can attest to that. She discovered ayurveda in December at the urging of her massage therapist, Ileana Sutter, who studies with Beech.
“I was interested, because I’ve always believed ‘you are what you eat,’” Gorgol said.
Both she and her son, 16-year-old Michael, have a history of stomach problems, specifically lactose intolerance. They struggled to find foods that didn’t make them feel ill, she said.
They went to see Beech and his mentor, Vaidya R.K. Mishra in December. Mishra is an ayurvedic dermatologist and researcher. He said his family has practiced ayurveda for thousands of years. (Vaidya is a Sanskrit word given to ayurvedic physicians.)
“Both my son and I were very skeptical about it because it’s very foreign to us, with the Indian terms,” Gorgol said. “At first I thought it was very strange, but I feel so much better.”
Gorgol said that in a little more than a month, she’s seen dramatic improvements in her health. Her once oft-grumbling stomach is now calm. Best of all, the formerly lactose-intolerant Gorgol and son Michael can digest milk with no problem.
In addition to changing her diet to follow ayurvedic principles, Beech advised her to prepare milk by mixing it with equal parts water, then boil it with cinnamon, clove, cardamom and ginger. The resulting liquid is lighter and more readily digestible, he said.
Because people who are lactose intolerant lack sufficient amounts of the necessary digestive enzymes, Beech directed Gorgol to gradually reintroduce the liquid into her diet, and it worked.
The ayurvedic diet trains the body to eat and digest “intelligent food” that will restore proper functioning of the intestines. Intelligent food is fresh —-not canned or frozen —-and does not have impurities, he said. Such toxins confuse the body so that it doesn’t know what to absorb or reject. Therefore, fresh, organic foods are best.
“The brain of the brain is here,” said Beech, patting his stomach.
Though many subscribers follow a vegetarian diet, it’s not necessary, he said.
This is good news for Gorgol, who sometimes cooks chicken or fish for her family.
“I also have a husband who isn’t sure about this, but he sees the difference in my son and me,” she said. “It just makes sense. It can seem really complicated, but you don’t have to know it all. Just take what you need.”
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