What’s the missing conversation between the medical establishments and you?
Live Healthy recently hosted The Wellness Collective to discuss functional medicine and how we can integrate and improve the medical establishment by understanding the body’s system—not just symptoms.
What is meant by the word “holistic”?
Nadia: “The term is all encompassing, but in essence it means that everything is interconnected. Emotions affect the way we think. Our thoughts affect our physical bodies, and our physicality affects our mental well-being. We are fully integrated beings and, in order to be ‘well’, we must be alert to our ‘whole health’, rather than just our movement. We need to pay more attention to what we eat, how much we sleep and our relationships—this is what’s meant by the term ‘holistic’”.
There’s a lot of talk about ‘mind-body connection’ but, in your opinion, what’s missing in the conversation?
Suzie: “We need to look at whole-body health and can no longer afford to view organs and systems in isolation. What we do used to be considered “Light Science”, but in the past 10 years, there’s been a realisation of how everything is interconnected and how we can view our health from a preventative space. Take, for example, 2020. We’ve faced a pandemic—the first of our lifetime. If you didn’t or still don’t have your wellness systems in place, you were/are panicking.
Doctors aren’t taught prevention. They’re taught only how to fix something broken. It’s our job to remind you that you don’t have to let your body break at all if you make the time for the prevention and care that all of our bodies need and deserve”.
How then can we thrive rather than constantly fix?
Suzie: “We educate and empower people to take ownership of their bodies and their health. You can’t just sit back and put all your trust in the “white robes” [medical doctors] to fix it all for you. They’re knowledgeable about anatomy, command attention and people trust them but please seek out more knowledge about prevention. We urge you to become their own healthcare detectives and examine your own health. Ideally, we’d like to see more members of the medical establishment give their patients the same advice, but for now, it’s up to you to become your own best advocate and empower your own health. There is a lot that you can do for yourself”.
What’s missing in this conversation with regard to diet?
Mira: “We ask doctors to fix us rather than looking critically at our own lifestyle. Doctors rarely ask the right questions, such as What have you been eating?
- How much are you sleeping
- Have you been active?
- Have you been meditating?
- How are your relationships with people?
Instead, you go to the doctor for a headache, and they prescribe you painkillers to stop the pain. We’d like to see the White Robes begin to seek out the root cause of the pain in lieu of prescribing bags of pharmaceuticals and creating fear.
Here is where you can take ownership and examine your lifestyle because HOW YOU LIVE affects HOW YOU FEEL. I’ve dedicated my life to making healthy food enjoyable and not feel like a punishment. Food should be something that we enjoy whether it’s cooking or eating it or both”.
Do you feel the “White Robes” are open to this line of questioning?
Nadia: “Well, if he or she isn’t, you’re definitely NOT with the right doctor, and you should walk out and find another. This is the message that we, as patients, must start to send the medical establishment. Just because we don’t have medical degrees, it doesn’t mean that we’re stupid or that we are unable to understand our own bodies. Our symptoms are real and need to be addressed.
We see this as women more often. As teenagers, girls begin to have severe cramps, they go to a doctor and they’re prescribed birth control. In 20 years, look at what’s going on with your hormones and mental health. How have these pills affected you?
Whatever you put in your mouth has a side effect, positive or negative. It’s okay to ask questions. It’s okay to trust your gut instinct; it tells us a lot. We’ve completely ignored our gut. You will find doctors open to such discussion, and it’s those that we want to seek out, share and elevate”.
Do you feel the medical establishment takes a one-size-fits-all approach to most people?
Suzie: “There’s a pill for every ill and on average most of us spend as few as seven minutes with our doctor. That’s just not enough time. Doctors should be asking how we’re feeling, what’s going on in our personal lives that might be triggering the feelings of dis-ease. Disease doesn’t happen overnight; it happens over years and decades”.
Nadia: “We’ve all been victims of this one-size-fits-all approach, but that wrong approach was also what prompted us to take ownership of our health and make a change.
If you don’t know where to start, this is where social media really excels. There are numerous people to follow online that offer advice for free. We all have the ability to make change and to learn what’s right for ourselves”.
As much as there’s a push on pills, there’s dually a push towards supplements. What do we really need and how can we evaluate it?
Mira: “Again, there’s no one-size-fits-all with supplements. What works for me may not work for you. My advice is to get tested to learn what you really need. Maybe your Vitamin D levels are low? If so, take the supplement”.
Suzie: “It’s like a new green pharmacy. I believe in supplements, and I’ve done my research on them and have the background to experiment. If you’d like to dabble, please be sure to buy the highest quality supplements that you can afford—it really matters! Higher quality supplements are more expensive, so it’s wise to get tested to be sure you need them. Know why you’re taking them and consider how you feel while taking them. If it doesn’t feel good, don’t continue taking them”.
Nadia: “What I personally love about naturopathy is that you develop a relationship with your practitioner; it’s not a one-off. You can and should be prepared to ask a lot of questions, and you will leave with a plan. Your naturopath will explain what every supplement is for and how long you should take it. No supplement is meant to be taken forever. You will come back in a few weeks or months and report on how you’re feeling, and if you’re feeling better, you may or may not be taken off the supplement because it did its job.
Do not take anything blindly. Ask lots of questions before you take anything”.
How do you know if you are making the right decisions with regard to health and not just following fads and trends?
Suzie: “Healthy eating should not be a fad. In my practice, I have noticed that no one really knows what that even is anymore. Everyone asks me to tell them exactly what to eat and that they’ll do it, but it’s not that easy. I can’t help anyone that way. If I tell you what to eat, you’ll do it for a few weeks and then go back to your natural habits. If I arm you with the knowledge to fight back on your natural habits, you will be empowered with the tools to enact real change.
If you want to have a healthy eating mindset, you should never feel guilty after eating. Food should be enjoyable. Food is love. Food can be our best medicine or our worst disease.
We must change the way we look at food! We must look at what our food is communicating to our bodies because there’s a connection”.
What advice would you like to leave people with from this talk?
Mira: “Cook your own food”!
Nadia: “Take control over your health! Understand what metabolic health means and how impacts you. Research how you can prevent COVID-19 complications by taking better care of yourself and get a handle on your gut”.
Suzie: “I would encourage you to look at the amount of sugar that you take in! Even if it seems a so-called “normal” amount, it’s still not good for you. When sugar is around, our immune systems crash. Eat well. Get sunlight. Sleep more and better and practice daily self-care”.
You can find the Wellness Collective on Instagram: @wellnesscollectiveuae