In 2006, I had an amazing opportunity to go on a solo expedition to live with some “Indians” – more correctly – Native Americans – of the Warao tribe in the Amazon River’s Orinoco delta. This tribe does not believe in currency, and rarely use numbers in their daily lives. They literally live on the Amazon river in homes that stand on stilts, amidst swampland where barely anything edible grows. Since I preferred to be respectful of their culture, I ate what they ate. It is a menu so short that I can list it in its entirety here- swamp melons, doughy bread (made from moriche palm buds), tarantulas, some types of grubs (worms from inside the moriche palm) and raw piranha. Their lifestyle is the complete opposite of ours- no salt, no oil, no sugar, nothing out of a plastic bag. I mention this tribe, because these people have never been diagnosed with high blood pressure, depression, arthritis, etc!
Similarly, up until the arrival of Americans in Okinawa, Japan, heart disease was unknown. Okinawans used to eat mostly root vegetables, and occasionally during festivals, some small portions of meat. Speaking of the Japanese, repeated studies have shown that their people have moved from rural Japan into a Western country, within 2 generations, their progeny develop the same diseases as their neighbors. I am sure you can anecdotally relate to this, if you’ve seen folks moving from rural India into cities.
The fact is, we have made more changes to our diet and lifestyle in the past 200 years than the last 100,000 years of human evolution! Therefore, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that our body is maladapted to the new “urban” lifestyle that it finds itself in. We are sedentary, we eat processed foods, we smoke, we rarely socialize, we don’t often think about charity or participating in social causes unlike generations before us. Circee Health is changing this landscape of medication-for-disease-treatment model to a lifestyle-change as a prescription to help terminate today’s common diseases.
According to Healthdata.org, there has been a huge rise in the number of non-communicable diseases in India – diabetes has risen by 70% over the last 10 years, cardiovascular disease (CVD) has risen by about 50%. Today, we emphasize treating diseases. Unfortunately, this model will always ensure that we will never eradicate disease. Don’t get me wrong, we absolutely need high-tech interventional treatments, else many of us would be sick or dead. What is missing, therefore, is an emphasis on preventing disease which is what Circee Health tries to add to the equation.
The sad truth is that most common diseases in India are entirely preventable and in some cases, reversible. The problem until now has been a dearth of practical information to follow. Due to this, people tend to cling to unsubstantiated claims.
The leading cause of many chronic diseases has been attributed to hectic urban lifestyles. Therefore, shouldn’t the solution also revolve around changing the way we live? Over the past 30-40 years, there has been strong evidence that by changing your lifestyle for the better, you not only reverse chronic disease, but also keep it away. Think back to your great-grandparents, or even grandparents. While they may have had other severe illnesses (usually infections), they did not have diabetes, arthritis, BP – the diseases that are now endemic in India. Circee Health addresses these at the root level to eliminate it once and for all.
Covid has brought some more thinking home; and literally so! During these multiple lockdowns, people started educating themselves about Covid and in doing that, have come across many strategies that are geared towards prevention. Once this concept of keeping a healthy body-weight and thus avoiding lifestyle diseases has sunk in, they are having a second look at this cost-effective method. For it is much cheaper to prevent than to treat a disease. At Circee Health, we have noticed an uptick in the kind of questions that are being asked – typically, revolving around disease prevention (not just Covid- but other diseases as well).
Circee Health improves the health of the clients by first identifying what is their particular underlying condition that is causing disease. We then monitor their progress through a closed-loop continuation of care model that tracks several individually-selected parameters. Our program offers a comprehensive, 360 degree wellness – through nutrition, exercise, mindfulness and physician guidance using a well-established, Evidence Based Practice (EBP) – four unique ingredients to help clients feel better, and stay that way.
Dr. Denis Burkitt once said, “If people are constantly falling off a cliff, you could place ambulances under the cliff or build a fence on the top of the cliff. We are placing all too many ambulances under the cliff.”
We at Circee Health are building fences.
Ajoy Prabhu, Co-Founder & CTO, Circee Health Pvt. Ltd. DCA, MS (Pathology), MBA
Ajoy is a medical scientist, innovator, and a serial entrepreneur.