By Kristin Lehar –
I have recently come to Williams Lake not knowing what to expect from the community and not really intending to get involved in anyway. Coming here to live was initially a temporary plan that would allow me to save some money and finish my studies in holistic nutrition. Upon getting a job that allows for interaction with all kinds of lovely people everyday, I began to get a feel for the diverse communities of interests and after a while felt the urge to become a part of the ones that resonate with me and contribute to them the knowledge and experience I have to offer.
I chose to study holistic nutrition to discover more about that which I was drawn to, and to create and support the lifestyle that stems from it. Though I know this is only the beginning – the tip of the iceberg in terms of learning about body health on all levels – I am learning the potential to thrive in life is wildly infinite and everyone has access to it. Our society has taken an unfortunate turn or two somewhere down the road and has led us into an inefficient and destructive way of life for ourselves and for the entire planet. This is obvious and it is why I intend to discover alternate ways of living and experiencing life—in awareness, balance, and peace of mind, thereby inspiring others to do the same, because only by recreating yourself can you recreate the world around you. Choosing to study holistic nutrition is one of my steps towards this discovery.
What is holistic nutrition, exactly? Unlike the conventional reductionist approach to food, holistic nutrition is based on the idea of holism. The essence of holism is that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. It is defined by Oxford dictionary as, “characterized by comprehension of the parts of something as intimately interconnected and explicable only by reference to the whole.”
Thus holistic nutrition is more than just food, though that is obviously a huge part, as food is what connects us with every aspect of our physical world and symbolizes our connection with it. When we begin to look at food and nutrition from a holistic perspective, we begin to see connections between the food we eat and the way it makes us feel physically, mentally, and emotionally. We also see what kinds of environments are created by the food choices we make and how those environments support life on the planet. We begin to see everything as a whole.
To apply the idea of holism to our health it is important to understand that the body is not exclusively a physical entity but rather a complex interconnected system of parts, some of which we are aware of and others not so much. What I am learning more and more as every minute of life passes by, is that when it comes to a physical disease or illness, to look exclusively at the physical threats to the body as culprits and only treat our physical symptoms, we may never fully heal. The body’s expression is more than a sum of its visible symptoms. Holistically, the expression of the body is established from the physical environment it is exposed to, its mental state, behavioural patterns, beliefs, past experiences, and the interrelationships and connections between all these factors.
When all this is considered, it is easy to understand that no two human bodies will ever be the same in their expression. This is where the conventional approach to healthcare fails because it more or less sees the human body as a sum of its parts rather than as an interconnected whole. With this perspective comes a one-size-fits-all treatment that, as we can see, seldom succeeds.
My intention as a nutritionist and a human in this life is not to tell people what to do to get well nor is it to diagnose or cure any disease (definitely beyond my scope of practice!) Rather, my goal is to empower people to make the choices they know deep inside are right for them. Today, too many people go through the day without consciously experiencing themselves. Mindless eating is all too common as is putting energy into what is on the outside rather than what is on the inside.
If a physical symptom shows up somewhere in the body we are quick to brush it off until it gets worse. When it has reached a point where it becomes too bothersome to ignore, we rush to see a doctor who will give us minutes of his time during which he recommends substances to suppress the physical discomfort, whether or not he knows the cause. My intention is to help people realize that nobody, including educated medical professionals (though their knowledge can be valuable), knows one’s own body better than the individual. Why would you hand your power over to someone who knows less?
If individuals begin to take full responsibility for their own health and take a physical symptom as a sign of communication from the body, they will begin to live life more consciously, also knowing every choice they make will have an impact on their personal health and the health of the community and the environment around them. This is what the world needs the most today—a recreation of our relationship with our bodies, with food, and with the environment, and a perfect way to begin is to vote with our forks!
Kristin is a holistic nutritionist in training whose main goal is to live a simple and awesome life. She loves to inspire others to realize the power of the body and its amazing capabilities to restore and maintain flourishing health, to realize that nobody knows their body better than themselves, and to understand only they hold the power to bring it to wellbeing. Having love for and being connected to the body and the language of the body is the first step on the path to a thriving life and thriving planet.