Hi guys! I know I know, its been a while. I’ll explain.
First, before we get into detail though, I wanted to share an event with you, which I did with WAC: Women About Community last week.
To give you a bit of background—starting this month, I’ve kicked off a monthly lecture series with WAC, rotating between the topics of sexual, mental and physical health.
I have so many exciting and inspiring women who have already signed up to come share their knowledge and experience with our community. Adidas is going to collaborate with us on workshops for the physical health bit, and my therapist here has agreed to come and speak about stress and anxiety.
Our first event was on sexual health, and with us was Dr. Nitu Bajekal, all the way from London, representing her own non-profit women’s health organisation, Women for Women’s Health UK. The topic was sort of anything that anyone wants to talk about, but mainly focused on fertility, hormones and contraception, with a touch of PCOD and menopause.
I had carefully chosen and paid extra for a venue which would allow everyone to speak and ask freely, without worrying about anyone listening in or making anyone feel uncomfortable. Unlike most of Europe and the US, India is not the most forward thinking society when it comes to sexual health (yet). Let’s just say, last time I went to a gynaecologist in Mumbai, I was told that using birth control will make me sterile… Yup. This is also why hosting this event, with someone credible and reliable to answer all the questions of our members, was so crucial. Dr. Bajekal being from India originally, but with 30+ years of living and working abroad, was the perfect bridge between India’s sexual health culture, and the education she provides to women through her work in the UK today.
Have you been to Ministry of New in Fort, Mumbai? If you haven’t, you should go. Its the most wonderful cowering space, and I think they charge around INR 1500 per day for those who want to come and utilise the space to work out of. They also host all kinds of events there, which is why I got in touch with them to host us for this. Marlies from Netherlands runs the space—she is lovely.
I had been contacted by several women from WAC who wanted to donate their products to the attendees of the event. Such a lovely idea, and nothing better than women supporting women, right? We were given gift-bags for everyone who attended the event, with organic tampons, pads and other female hygiene products from amazing Organyc…
Lovely Kajal from eighty20 gifted us yummy granola bars to snack on, along with organic teas from Gardener Street. Rohini, Dr. Bajekal’s daughter and friend of mine, developed these bars with the founder of the brand while she lived and worked in Mumbai… I can’t wait to do more collaborations with each of these amazing, healthy, organic brands.
Some of the ladies arrived while I was still writing down some notes on what to say while introducing myself and my event. Typical me, to have everything in control with everyone else except myself! Haha.
Amazing Lynn, whom I’m by the way working on a super exciting project with, was one of the early birds…
Bahaar and Karishma too showed up as some of the first attendees of the event, which warmed my heart, considering we had just met at the Adidas women’s ambassador retreat I went for the weekend before. Oh and yes, I realise I haven’t told you about that too…yet. Coming soon! Anyhow, I was so happy to see these ladies there…
I had given the ladies in attendance the opportunity to submit questions beforehand, in the event that anyone wanted to be anonymous or ask something private that they wouldn’t be comfortable asking out loud.
When the clock hit 8.30pm, we kicked off Dr. Bajekal’s presentation. And what a presentation! We started off by covering the Circle of Wellness. The circle is all about a holistic approach to your overall health, mind and body. In order to feel good and do good, you got to prioritise your mind, body and soul, but also your nutrition, the people you surround yourself with, as well as get your life purpose in place. I loved the non-medical approach from a medical professional talking about the medical field.
Dr. Bajekal highlighted and spoke about so many important topics, but one of the most discussed themes of the event was contraception. Go figure! Can I smoke while being on the pill? Is it going to give me cancer? Is it bad to drink while on the pill? And is there one alternative better than the other? Oh, and did you know that PCOD didn’t exist 200 years ago? It’s a lifestyle and nutrition related disease. One of the main things to point out here, is that Dr. Bajekal specified several times, the importance of awareness and personal choice. Its not her job to tell us what to do, its her job to inform us about the decisions we are making, and then for us to decide what to do with that information. Where to balance out the negatives… I personally really appreciated this, as I feel most doctors are more keen on lecturing and educating than actually giving patients the knowledge and power to make their own decisions…
Biggest takeaways? We are what we eat. What we put in our bodies turns our genes on and off, like light switches. Contraception is not bad for you if you take them as prescribed. Drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes is bad, though (duh). We don’t need to have our period every month when we’re on the pill (did I mention, Dr. Bajekal is a writer for Huffington Post? Read more about her thoughts on the benefits of the pill here).
Over and above everything, the event with Dr. Bajekal was incredibly informative and inspiring. It left me, and most probably most of us, with a lot of thoughts on the power we have of our own health, as long as we choose to face it, and deal with it. I’m definitely more doubtful to dairy than I ever have been. Oh and, got PCOD? Throw your dairy out entirely. I mean it. Do it, like…now.
A big thank you to everyone who showed up for the event, and most of all, thank you to Dr. Bajekal and Women for Women’s Health UK, for taking the time to do this event with WAC as a part of our new series of lectures. 30% of the ticket sales will be donated to an NGO called SNEHA, an organisation that focuses largely on improving health for women and children living in the slums.
P.S. Most important book tip of the year? How Not To Die by Michael Greger. I just ordered my copy online!