My experience as a holistic health consultant
This certainly has been an interesting season in my life. One full of Life Lessons. Becoming a health coach in the holistic community bloomed from my sincere desire to help those in need. Because of my Christian faith, I viewed my practice like a ministry. It was my prayerful intention to publicly share with others my personal experience of using whole foods and holistic therapies as a means to improve health. Because of this desire, I opened doors to Primrose Cottage Wellness Center as an outreach to my community. Over time that outreach was broadened by launching a public website where I offered phone consultation for those unable to visit the center. My name was also placed on other websites promoting health and wellness, including a website titled "Healing Ambassadors", which was personally endorsed by a published health author.
My experience of being placed on this popular website was both positive and negative. Positive because it provided me the opportunity to meet and guide so many amazing people! For this I am truly grateful and extend a thank you to all I spoke with during my years as a practitioner. You ALL changed my life immensely. Your warmth, kindness, and friendship are something I will carry with me forever.
However, with every positive, there comes with it some amount of negative. In short, my listing on this website caused me to feel pressured and confined within my practice as it closely associated my work with others who, within their own right, taught things a bit differently; both holistically and spiritually.
In the end, I removed my name from this list when it became apparent that there was a misalignment of my personal Christian values, beliefs, and health advice. I should also mention, the community of social media followers of this group had become extremely judgmental between [some] of its members. So much so, that it began to take the form of something which felt more like a cult following, rather than a community seeking goodwill and wellness.
In the past couple of years I've lingered in the health and wellness field, occasionally offering my [updated] counsel to clients while continuing to sort out all of the information I had read and witnessed. The following is what I learned while working with hundreds of people over these past five years.
Untangling the net
During consultations (especially those in the last two years), I've spent most of the time reconstructing and repairing my clients thought processes and emotional state towards food. While some were doing well, many others were coming to me in a terrible state of confusion and completely guilt-ridden about what they were eating or not eating. In general, they were frustrated because their health did not seem to be improving despite the dietary changes they had made. In some cases, it seemed to decline! Many reported that they felt better in the beginning, but as time went on previous health complaints began to return. This was a huge net to untangle because it was hard to understand why so many people were struggling. The same plant based whole foods which helped me to feel better, were not having the same effect for everyone.
So digging deeper into their daily routines of food and supplements, it became clear to me that these routines had morphed into something unrecognizable and more like an obsession in a negative way. They were reading health books and perceiving that recommendations of fruits, vegetables, smoothies, juices, and detoxifying cleanses as something they HAD to consume (and in great quantity), instead of something to joyfully consume on occasion. It was described to me as something they would physically force themselves to eat and drink for fear they would become seriously ill if they stopped. For many, their heath efforts became focused in fear. This fear had replaced joy and overshadowed everything.
Eat with wisdom and clarity
After this realization I understood the need to approach things differently. Thus, I began digging deeper into the health field and have spent countless hours reading scientific journals and documented peer-reviewed studies. Because of what I have read and experienced, at this time of writing I do not believe that there is such a thing as a one size fits all healing diet plan, or any one single miracle food or herb. For example: some people do well on a low fat, plant based diet - for others an omnivorous diet helps them to thrive. Some people find celery juice helpful, for others - not so much. The list goes on.
The most important lesson I can share from all of this is to choose food wisely but more importantly, without fear. Eat in balance with nature and beware of indulging in too much of one food or herb; even those considered "good". Too much of a good thing can become something negative when done in excess.
Listen to your body. If a certain food causes an unpleasant reaction, stop eating it. Contrary to popular belief, this is not a detox reaction. If your diet plan is causing anything negative such as excessive fatigue, or discomfort in any way, stop what you are doing and consult with a medical professional who can help guide in an appropriate diet plan specifically for you.
No matter which course of dietary path chosen, I have found that the most important thing for well-being is not solely food, but moreover, a positive emotional state in combination with a healthy attitude towards food. By adopting this approach we free ourselves from guilt and negativity. It is only then that we can joyfully live, in God's grace, without fear.