By Michelle S. Fielding, WHE
As a Whole Health Educator and Coach, and certified Nutrition Educator, the basis of my studies was to recognize each individual as a whole person, for addressing the uniqueness of each of our individual health needs is a critical missing piece in today’s health care services.
Furthermore, my consciousness is in service to others, embracing “The Square of Common Good” which consists of—justice, compassion, respect, and integrity, for this is the over-arching theme of Whole Health training.
During my course of studies, it became increasingly evident to me that a common phrase was repeated in nearly every class, that being, “everything is related to everything,” and I have a few statistics to demonstrate that thinking:
- Many people go all day without drinking fresh, plain water, yet nearly 80% of our cells are made up of water, and we perspire, eat excess salt, and drink dehydrating drinks, and often don’t adequately replenish our water needs with clean, unpolluted, pure water. Doing so will help to build our stamina and to detox our bodies.
- Cancer is largely a self-inflicted disease, with approximately 80% of that infliction caused by our lifestyle choices and our environment— we must let nature take its course and realize we are each responsible to respect our world.
- Obesity is widespread and continues to be a leading public health problem in the United States with well over 2 of 3 of adults being overweight or obese, and over 1 of 3 children. Obesity contributes to diabetes, heart disease and stroke, high blood pressure, cancer, and a host of other health problems.
- Currently, over 8.3% of American’s are diabetic and 1.9 Million new cases were diagnosed last year alone, and it’s expected that 50% of American’s will be diabetic by 2050.
- Diabetics who are not overweight often have more health consequences than diabetics who are overweight. In either case, however, a diabetes diagnosis can be the tipping point for a myriad of other chronic diseases.
- Type II Diabetes is reversible when a person is taught to manage their diet, nutrition, and lifestyle.
In 2007, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concluded that “warming of the climate system is unequivocal, as is now evident from observations of increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, widespread melting of snow and ice, and rising global mean sea level.” Representing a consensus of hundreds of scientists, the report went noted that human activity is “very likely” the cause. Then, just this summer, over 27,000 heat records have been broken in the United States. Scientific evidence seems to demonstrate that our planet is warming and to address this growing problem, each of us individually must support science and realize we must address the problems we have created, for the benefit our health and future generations.
- Half-way through the 2012 crop year almost 80% of agricultural land has experienced the drought, which makes the 2012 drought more extensive than any drought since the 1950’s. The USDA has confirmed the rapid deterioration of this year’s agriculture, as heat and drought devastate crops and contribute to mounting losses to livestock. This hit Pennsylvania strongly, as it did so many other states. Thus, the cost and availability of essential nutrition for many will not be affordable by next summer.
- So it is time that we start being concerned with the litter that covers many of our roads, expressways, and rivers, and think about the emissions each of us is distributing to our environment. Then what else is heating our planet that we could address; could it be all the electrical devices we run, such as dryers and furnaces, to name a few. It is time we seriously begin to care for our land naturally, without the need to break up every ecosystem and cutting down needed trees. We should respect the fact that science can do a better job of by letting bugs take care of each other, and count on them to enhance our gardens through pollination. Wasn’t it Einstein who said, “Humanity would have four years once the bees were gone.” Do you realize what he meant?
- How many of you have lost a pet to cancer? Ever wonder how happy and healthy our pets would be if they didn’t have to lay and play in all the toxic herbicides and fertilizers we toss onto our lawns and gardens, as we lock them in behind electric fences. This is animal cruelty!
Now, in the face of today’s most pressing environmental challenges – climate change, polluted waters, declining ocean health, unsustainable resource management, and threatened cultures, we must look to science to educate us and we must support their recommendations, among those we should support are The Union of Concerned Scientist and Earthwatch International. Let’s forget putting our money into empty campaign promises, and give to those who will work for us.
So how do we deal with all of this? On a daily basis, we encounter psychological and psychosocial stresses to varying degrees that are typically a central part of everyday life. As a result, Whole Health Educators learn that an individual’s stress-response system is an innate, natural survival system. However, unlike other animals, the human response is not only triggered by a life-or-death situation, such as when crocodiles hunt their prey, but also often by psychological reasons.
We are facing uncertain times, and the natural human survival system was not designed to combat the disturbing thoughts and recurring memories which often include worries about children, relationships, school, the economy, a job, the environment, our health, international events and other occurrences. Concerns such as these result in worries not experienced by other animals.
Thus, the chronic stress that humans face in their day-to-day lives can turn our stress response from a safety mechanism to a real problem for our physical and mental well-being. As human intelligence and reasoning has progressed the human physical response to it has not kept pace. This difference may be detrimental to human health. It is important that individuals learn to manage their everyday stresses by building their immune system, addressing inflammation, learning the importance of nutrition, balancing their hormones, calming the nervous system, and eliminating stressors—each to the fullest extent possible.
Whole Health Educators can work with individuals as a vital component in maximizing efforts towards improving their unique state of whole health, which requires acknowledgement of the five aspects of health—physical, emotional/social, nutritional, environmental, and spiritual.
We must also remember that our world was developed not only by competition alone, but through heart-felt cooperation— as we all work together to address our world for future generations, we may find strength in remembering the bravery of prior generations who also suffered during times of war and during the Great Depression, or at other more personal times, and then we must realize that we are falling upon uncertain times when we all must support each other. Only by comprehending the five aspects of health, will a sustainable and healthy life and world be achievable.
Humans are the superior animal in that we have a cognitive and limbic system that enables us to think, have a conscience, and feel with our hearts and emotions. As a result we must learn to walk in each other’s shoes, with respect of each other, in spite of sex, color, nationality, monetary level, creed, or age. For it is important that our world comes together to ensure it is habitable by future generations.
For more information on Michelle S. Fielding, visit www.michellesfielding.com.