As you may already know I am running an apprenticeship programme which begins in May. It is called Sacred Ecology: A Rewilding Apprenticeship. To help me deliver the most amazing material on this journey I have gathered a wonderful and inspiring group of experts to join me. Over the coming weeks and months I am intending to introduce you to each of them with a guest post. The first of which appears below and was written by Kamaldeep Sidhu who will be sharing about the magical, amazing and influential world of bacteria, or more specifically gut health, during the course of the apprenticeship. She is a great friend with an immense depth of knowledge, and this is what inspires her…
I’m a Medical Herbalist currently working at the Urban Fringe Dispensary in Bristol, and am developing my practice in Stroud. I met a Herbalist in Bristol 7 years ago while I was doing a Permaculture course. At the time, I was also applying to do Medicine. This Herbalist, called Max Drake, convinced me to do his herb course over the summer. I did it, and found it fascinating. I completely changed my mind about doing medicine. I wanted to help people but I didn’t want to be a slave to the pharmaceutical industry. Learning about the power of plants completely changed the way I thought about health and disease. So I did a BSc in Herbal Medicine at the University of East London.
After a six year slog, I finally graduated and realised I knew nothing! I had a foundation upon which to build my knowledge of human and plant physiology, and since then, I have become passionate about the role of nutrition in health, and how we can use plants to enhance our performance and recovery.
I am interested in the role of the gut microbiome and how we can manipulate it through the foods we eat. This is a relatively new area of research, but its impact will be huge. We are understanding more and more about the importance of having a healthy gut – it affects our physical and mental wellbeing. I have been treating patients in the clinic with many different health conditions, and a lot of them seem to respond favourably to a change in diet. I use herbal medicine to enhance health or to complement a treatment strategy. Ultimately, the most powerful tool we have to look after our bodies is our diet. Yet, it’s the hardest thing to change. Our diet here in the West, which is based on the laughable food pyramid, is directly contributing to the diseases that are reaching epidemic proportions – hypertension, diabetes, obesity, infertility, cardiovascular disease to name but a few.
What’s going on? We have been given prescriptive nutritional guidelines that do not reflect the individual. We have been taught that when you get sick, you go and see your doctor and they will give you some medicine to make you feel better. We are disempowered when it comes to our health. Every day there are more and more conflicting ideas about what we should eat, what we shouldn’t eat, what gives you cancer and how much alcohol you should drink.
The fact is that nobody really knows. We are all acting on the information we receive. Think about major nutritional advisory boards being funded by sugar manufacturing companies. Think about the truth about statins and their relative inefficacy. Think about the diet-heart hypothesis and how saturated fat might not be so bad for you. Think about pharmaceutical companies pushing through drug trials without any evidence for long term effects.
The world of medicine in the West is a marketplace and disease is the currency. By keeping us sick, pharmaceutical companies make money.
So why not take control of your health? My priority is to work hard to research clinical evidence and continuously learn so that I can give my patients the best information to help them make informed decisions about their health. I practice Herbal Medicine from an evolutionary perspective. We function best when we eat foods that we are adapted to eat. Plants have evolved beautifully alongside us and provide powerful healing properties but also highly potent toxins. By understanding adaptation and genetic variation, we can prevent disease by nourishing our bodies with the appropriate food and medicine that is right for us as individuals. That is my vision
I am so looking forward to what Kamaldeep will bring to the apprenticeship, my tummy is rumbling at the thought!
If you would like to book a consultation with Kamaldeep she is available in both Stroud and Bristol. To see her in Stroud please contact her directly firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are more Bristol based you can make an appointment to see her at the Urban Fringe Dispensary 01179 276527.