This is the article I wrote on Health and Wellness for the Autism Community Magazine.
I recently heard Rebecca Onie speak on TedTalk about the current healthcare system in the US. She poses the questions: “What if our health care system kept us healthy? What if waiting rooms were a place to improve daily healthcare? What if doctors could/would prescribe/facilitate diet and lifestyle change and improve health?” The work the patient needs to do is not done after the prescription is written in the doctor’s office. So, having said all of this, how we can reclaim our own health?
Change is–a-coming! I know this as a Certified Health Coach (CHC) along with thousands of others from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition based in NYC. A Health Coach is one, who, along with their client, facilitates diet and lifestyle change. As Health Coaches are not quite yet mainstream the concept prompted me to write about how important it is for everyone to manage their own health care. We are not alone and yet, at the same time we are responsible. We need to become self-reliant and accountable for our own health.
I own my health. I have Celiac Disease. I am intolerant to gluten; the protein found in wheat, rye, barley and some oats. I was diagnosed in early 2009 a few months after being told by my Primary Care Physician that I was anemic. Anemia usually does not stand on its own as a specific disease, but rather it stems from an underlying illness and can serve as a red flag that something else more serious is going on below the surface. I was sent to get a blood test and endoscopy to check for Celiac Disease. The gold standard in the industry is both a positive blood test and an endoscopy to prove villous atrophy in the intestines – or in other words, gluten intolerance damages the small intestine causing malabsorption of nutrients.
From the day I was diagnosed forward, I have gone on my own journey to manage my own healthcare. Even as a health coach I also have my own health coach that I speak with twice a month. By owning my own health, I make sure that I have fresh food at home to eat/cook at all times (vegetables, fruits, eggs, fish, meats…). It’s essential that I eat a 100% gluten free diet (this is currently the only cure for Celiac Disease) and I have also taken on eating 90% less dairy and 90% less sugar. My doctor, my health coach and I have talked about the fact that my intestines have not fully healed and as such I need for them to heal. I have begun to make juice from vegetables and fruits; my favorite being kale, green apple and celery. I also make soup made from bone marrow to get the most nutrients as possible. How else do I own my health? I do something active every day; whether it’s 30 minutes of stretching and walking, a long bike ride or a 3-hour hike up a mountain. I keep moving. That is my mantra.
So what is actually meant by ‘managing one’s own health care? Whether you have been diagnosed with a chronic disease, as I have, or you are in prevention mode; which, by the way, is like an investment account for your body. Devoting time to being healthy – like athletes do for their optimal performance – requires a major time investment. It takes time, effort and energy to create good lasting habits. The way we live our lives is most important. How do you handle stressful situations? Do you know what foods work for your body? Do you have a regular work out regime? It is what we do every day that affects us. So often our time and energy is invested in the health and betterment of others around us (i.e. busy parents focused on their children), and not on ourselves. This can present a risk to our own lives.
Equally important to diet, if not primary to being healthy, is everything else that goes on in your life. Some may include but are not limited to: having healthy relationships, being in control of your finances, being on spiritual growth path, education, having a full social life, enjoying a hobby, utilizing your creative powers, having confidence to do or be what you need to in this lifetime, having a fulfilling career, being healthy and taking part in physical activity, cooking at home and enjoying your home environment.
So, how do YOU own your health?
Ilise Ratner, MA, CHC lives and works in metropolitan NY She is a Health Coach that inspires her clients to live an all-around healthy lifestyle. She facilitates healthy relationships with food, body and mind. Ilise specializes in healthy gluten free living for those with Celiac Disease and gluten intolerance. She is a Consultant to the gluten free industry. Ilise is also the Treasurer of the International Coach Federation, NYC Chapter. Call or Skype Ilise for a health consultation. 646.491.1452 Skype ilise.ratner www.go-with-your-gut.com firstname.lastname@example.org