Holistic Happiness

Shantella Y. Sherman | 3/16/2013, 10:30 a.m.

When I first decided to seek the advice of a naturopath, it was after years of suffering sinusitis and allergies; the remedies of which consisted of an almost daily dose of antihistamines or over-the-counter decongestants.

Over time,the over-the-counter variety gave way to prescription strength dosing of the same types of drugs. Coupled with a love for espresso, chocolate, and all-things fatty, my weight skyrocketed to nearly 240 pounds by the time I was a junior in college. Though I never developed any of the chronic health conditions, like hypertension, high blood pressure, or diabetes that are associated with poor eating habits and excessive weight gain, the sinusitis was a direct result.

Knowing this in no way made me give up decadent foods.

Like many Americans, especially African Americans, I never counted my weight as the problem others did. After all, wasn't weight like a hairstyle or clothing - an aesthetic that would appeal to some and not to others? Yes, and no. Fortunately, I became acquainted with naturopaths like Dr. Andrea Sullivan and Dr. LaJoyce Brookshire, who began to redirect my focus from weight to the overall benefits and preventative aspects of holistic health. You know the saying, "I can't do it like I used to," well when you eat right, exercise, and take full responsibility for your overall wellbeing, aging is graceful, comfortable, and void of lifestyle-related, chronic health conditions.

I revisited the health plans of Sullivan and Brookshire and began only recently at age 42 to fully embrace them. Going to bed at a decent hour, eliminating "white" products (pasta, potatoes, bread, and white rice) from my meals, and drinking my veggies when I don't want to eat them, have given me energy and vitality I believed lost as a teen.

With this special Health, Wellness & Nutrition section, I felt it important to introduce Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM), its practitioners, and its benefits to our readers. Currently, four in 10 adults in the U.S. use some form of CAM each year, more than $10 billion has been spent on CAM research in the last ten years, and many health plans offer CAM discount programs and/or coverage for certain CAM treatments if prescribed by a medical doctor.

In this edition naturopath Dr. Andrea Sullivan talks about making the transition from conventional to holistic treatments and to assess the health benefits and dangers of popular fast food items among teens, the Informer had three analyzed by Howard University dietician Thelma Baker.

Staff writer Michelle Phipps-Evans caught up with the Juice Doctor, Ava Hall to discuss how best to integrate freshly juiced fruits and vegetables into ones diet, and Gail Horton Gay sat down with Dr. Akmal Muwwakkil and Dr. Renette Dallas to discuss the importance of consuming fresh and raw foods.

Finally, to offer a bit of encouragement, Dr. Deborah Grison shares her miraculous holistic triumph over obesity and immobility with you.

We hope their stories encourage you to eat better and live smarter.

Read & Enjoy,

Shantella Y. Sherman

Editor, Special Editions